ORBzine Now and Again February 2001

  • Eric Close [ Dark Skies ] as Michael Wiseman
  • Margaret Colin as Lisa Wiseman
  • Gerrit Graham [ Philadelphia Experiment 2 ] as Roger Bender
  • Dennis Haysbert [24] as Dr. Theodore Morris
  • Heather Matarazzo as Heather Wiseman
  • Now and Again [Season 1, Episode 1] Origins
    shown 15th February 2001 [Thursday]

    This is the pilot, part one of a 2-episode story. Our hero is Michael Wiseman (John Goodman), a fat boring middle-aged Insurance executive. One day he is in a horrific accident, and the US Government offers him a deal. They can rebuild him to be stronger, faster, more agile, etc - and in return he has to work for them as a secret agent. The only catch is that he is officially dead, and can have no contact with his friends or family from his old life.

    This is a direct take on the 1970s show Six Million Dollar Man , but the emphasis so far is on the character's emotional side rather than on the action-adventure of the older series. Of course, this might well change; after all, Steve Austin once attempted suicide in his series.

    Eric Close, star of Dark Skies , plays Newman (New man, get it?) the younger version of Goodman's character. The scene which introduces him, where his new boss (the token black guy, who went on to play the US President in 24) sings Karen Carpenter's Close to You, is a gem.

    Now and Again [Season 1, Episode 2] Origins, Part II AKA "On The Town"
    shown 22nd February 2001 [Thursday]

    Our hero Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) finally gets to do his stuff. He takes on an evil Japanese OAP who uses SARIN-filled eggs. Yes, this show looks more like Six Million Dollar Man every time.

    Also, he gets to meet his widow and his best buddy Roger (Gerrit Graham - Philadelphia Experiment 2 ).

    Now and Again [Season 1, Episode 3] Over Easy
    shown 1st March 2001 [Thursday]

    Finally we get the third part of this show. For something that ITV no doubt paid an awful lot of money for, they have made no attempt to give it decent scheduling.

    This is basically the climax of a three-episode story. The confrontation of super-man versus egg-man.

    The fact that this story, which would have been okay in a single ep (but seem too drawn-out for a two-episode pilot) has been stretched to THREE episodes highlights pretty much everything wrong with the show.

    Now and Again [Season 1, Episode 4] One For The Money
    shown 15th March 2001 [Friday]

    Now and Again [Season 1, Episode 5] The Insurance Man Always Rings Twice
    shown 30th March 2001 [Friday]

    The hero's mission this week is personal. Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) wants to get his ex-boss to pay out the life insurance to the hero's widow. How he does it is a bit contrived, but mildly entertaining.

    Despite its potential (albeit potential to be a straight-out clone of Six Million Dollar Man ), this show has turned out as more of an insipid drama than either SF or thriller.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 6] Nothing to Fear, but Nothing To Fear
    shown 11th April 2001 [Wednesday]

    Yet more of the soap opera that fails to live up to its obvious Six Million Dollar Man inspiration. This week the villain is a self-proclaimed scientist who wants to polute the city's water supply with ... well, some kind of pollutant, I suppose.

    The scientist's secret weapon is a drug that can make people fearless. Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) is jealous, since this can cure all phobia. Of course, since fear keeps people from doing stupidly dangerous things, dumping it in a reservoir is a bad idea.

    The actual plot only starts up about half way through the ep. The rest of it is crap about Newman's widow and orphan.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 7] A Girl's Life
    shown 18th April 2001 [Wednesday]

    Wiseman's daughter ( Heather Matarazzo ) gets struck by lightning. She thinks she sees an Angel - it is really Newman testing some hi-tech gear.

    Our hero parades around in a luminous jumpsuit. His daughter sees him and thinks he is an angel. When she tells people, they think she is crazy. That is about it, really.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 8] Pulp Turkey
    shown 27th April 2001 [Friday]

    This is the Thanksgiving episode, but we have nothing to give thanks for. Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) and his boss Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) pay a visit to the widow and orphan, who are having Roger (Gerrit Graham - Philadelphia Experiment 2 ) over for the big dinner. As a guest, that is.

    Anyhow, before they can sit down to eat the house is hijacked by a pair of gun-toting jewel thieves (a PG version of Vincent Vega and Jules Winfield from Pulp Fiction) working for the HIV-positive Capo from Oz. As you can guess, the good-guy robbers get beaten up by the self-richeous prick who used to be John Goodman.

    Normally in a show the script that rips off Desperate Hours and Die Hard will be held back until the final season, when the show has lost all originality. Here we are less than half way through Season One!!!

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 9] By the Light of the Moon
    Original US Air Date: 26 Nov 99

    Wiseman is given a female partner - Reiko Aylesworth . Yes, Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) is trying to wean him off the widow.

    Meanwhile, the widow is romanced by a lawyer type.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 10] I've Grown Accustomed to His Face
    Original US Air Date: 17 Dec 99

    A dying man kidnaps Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24), hoping to make him transplant his brain into a new body.

    A stranger confronts the hero's widow. Knowledge of the secret project has leaked out ...

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 11] Fire and Ice
    Original US Air Date: 7 Jan 00

    Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) is testing Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) for endurance in extreme heat and cold. However, he still denies Newman a diet of sufficient energy.

    Theo falls for an African-American lady scientist, but needs Newman to play Cyrano de Bergerac. However, he denies Newman the right to celebrate his marriage anniversary.

    Wiseman's widow tries to relive the days of her youth. In a tame and unsuccessful way.

    As a pointless subplot, the teaser and tag contain spontaneous human combustions.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 12] Disco Inferno
    Original US Air Date: 14 Jan 00

    The Spontaneous Human Combustions continue. The baffled cops call in Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) and Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ). Newman, with his insurance investigator skills, refuses to ignore the puzzle.

    The trail leads back to Tamara Gorski and a religious cult. Theo has a religious experience.

    Roger (Gerrit Graham - Philadelphia Experiment 2 ) takes Wiseman's daughter ( Heather Matarazzo ) for a driving lesson.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 13] I Am the Greatest
    Original US Air Date: 28 Jan 00

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 14] Film at Eleven
    Original US Air Date: 11 Feb 00

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 15] Deep in My Heart is a Song
    Original US Air Date: 18 Feb 00

    We take a flashback into an alternative universe - What if Wiseman (John Goodman) had taken the car to work?

    Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) actually bonds with him!

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 16] Everyone Who's Anybody
    shown 3rd May 2001 [Thursday]

    Roger (Gerrit Graham - Philadelphia Experiment 2 ) takes the widow to a fundraiser party. Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) goes undercover as a Dot-Commer at the same party.

    James Rebhorn plays the US General that Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) is helping. Faith Prince also makes an appearance.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 17] Boy Wonder
    shown 8th May 2001 [Tuesday]

    This is the episode with the African-American kid who thinks he is a superhero. Lots of possibilities for the story, you should think - especially when he uncovers illegal arms shipments and sees Michael Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) the superhuman in action.

    Unfortunately, most of the screen time goes to Roger (Gerrit Graham - Philadelphia Experiment 2 ) and his comical endeavours to buy and sell on the Internet stock market.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 18] Lizzard's Tale
    Original US Air Date: 31 Mar 00

    Lizzard (Guest director Bob Balaban - Face of Fear ) is Doc Theo's College buddy and friendly rival.

    Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) is bored, and his widow needs to make some sales or lose commission. Christine Baranski Guest-stars.

    The team investigate an organ thief - shades of Coma. The ending is very dark, especially for a light-hearted show like this. Poetic Justice is the excuse.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 19] There Are No Words
    Original US Air Date: 14 Apr 00

    Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) is going stir crazy without any reading material - Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) forbids him from reading. However, something microscopic starts to eat all the ink in the world. The result is a slow Apocalypse, as society can no longer function ...

    It is a nice idea for a plot, similar to the oil-less world of Doorways . Pencil and carbon-copies should be OK because they use graphite. Printers can be adapted (dot-matrix, then typewriters). Even handwriting can be recovered with pencil-scoring.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 20] The Bugmeister
    shown 31st May 2001 [Thursday]

    White-collar men in NYC are being wiped out by insect attacks. Doc Theo (Dennis Haysbert - 24) is called in to consult. Of note, the Doc has finally decided he can allow Newman (Eric Close, star of Dark Skies ) to read newspapers and even do the crossword!

    The daughter ( Heather Matarazzo ) is in the middle of some teen angst. She goes on a school trip to the Natural History Museum, and meets a scientist who specialises in entomology.

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 21] The Bugmeister, Part Bee
    Original US Air Date: 28 Apr 00

    Now And Again [Season 1, Episode 22] The Eggman Cometh
    Original US Air Date: 5 May 00