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Summer of Spirituality?

June 16, 2005 By:
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Anthony Michael Hall of “The Dead Zone”: Touched by an angel?
God Giveth — and God be taketh away.

But just because “Joan of Arcadia” and its God-inspired arc have gone up in flames on one network doesn’t mean that spirituality isn’t getting spin elsewhere.

Indeed, two current shows, just returning from past successful seasons, prove that God is in the details — of good scripts, acting and metaphysical megillehs.

Take USA’s “The 4400.”

Reappearing on earth after years of an inexplicable vanishment, these 4,400 spectral survivors recall the land of the lost with better plots. This series parries paranormal and parasitic disbelievers, and arrives at cosmic questions, if not answers.

And then there’s “The Dead Zone,” also on USA Sundays, in which Johnny Smith not only sees dead people, he breathes life into their visions — long before “Medium” hit the medium.

Has God gotten to the networks? Maybe it’s true — God is on USA’s side.

Anthony Michael Hall will take the heavenly help; as producer and star of “The Dead Zone,” the erstwhile member of “The Breakfast Club” has cooked up a grittier and more exclusive club, one made up of paranormal players.

This psychic hot line — based on a Steven King novel — is one of cable’s hottest attractions.

Has God gone Hollywood?

Does spirituality spark ratings?

“The spirituality is an element I’m proud of,” says star/ producer Hall of what he agrees is an “otherworldliness” that “The Dead Zone” exists in.

Heaven help us — to look within?

What is especially engaging, says the articulate actor, “is the “moral and ethical dilemma the character faces each week.”

Certainly, “The 4400” face countless conundrums, finding logical deduction after their abduction proves fruitless. “Part of the reasons of its success,” says star Billy Campbell, “is that it’s allegorical.”

And mystifying.

“In a sense, it’s mystical and mystifying,” explains the actor of “Once and Again” fame.

(But then, he adds, what could be more mystifying than such a gentile actor as he taking on the role of Moses in “In the Beginning” miniseries some seasons back? Even he, says Campbell, was puzzled being cast in the part —- although not enough to drop the tablets.)

But drop in on either current show, and discover that the Hollywood sign these days is pointing in a direction of inner exploration in an outwardly materialistic town.

Go West, young man?

No, go heavenly.

 

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