The 1979 novel “The Dead Zone” by author Stephen King was adapted into a feature film starring Christopher Walken in 1983. Nearly 20 years later, the series of the same name debuted on the USA Network. All three tell the story of Johnny Smith, a school teacher who falls into a coma as a result of a car accident, suffering brain damage in the process. Johnny later awakens, only to find that the titular “dead zone” in his brain has unlocked latent psychic and precognitive abilities.
In the series, Johnny (Anthony Michael Hall) wakes up to find his pregnant fiancee Sarah (Nicole de Boer) has given birth and moved on while he was comatose, now married to sheriff Walt Bannerman (Chris Bruno). Johnny begins to use his new-found powers to help solve crimes, aided by Sarah, Walt, and his best friend and physical therapist, Bruce Lewis (John L. Adams). Life’s not all good deeds, sunshine and rainbows though; Johnny starts having some pretty messed up visions. Prophetic visions, like end of the world material, all centered around the election of seemingly insane politician Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery). That adds a slightly larger item to Johnny’s to-do list.
“The Dead Zone” ran for six seasons before being canceled over low ratings and high production costs; as a result of its cancelation, the show did not receive a series finale. As Reuters reported in 2007, the series debut of “The Dead Zone” has set the record for a basic cable television premiere, attracting 6.4 million viewers.