Having experienced the first few episodes of Stalker on CBS, I feel like I’m plenty qualified to talk about just how stupid this new crime procedural really is.  However, for now I’d like to talk a bit more about why I’m still watching.

Stalker is at its best in the few scenes where it genuinely tries to set an atmosphere of suspense.  The opening to the second episode is a great example.  Stealing plenty from the opening scene to the fantastic horror/slasher film Scream (also from creator Kevin Williamson), the opening few minutes were the kind of scary, suspenseful, can’t-look-away, edge-of-your-seat mood setting that you typically don’t find on television.  I knew it was effective when my wife made me turn on a light before we could continue watching.

Of course, this great suspenseful show then proceeded to become a crime-of-the-week police procedural, complete with the requisite logic-defying coincidences and simple conclusions with bows tied around them 40 minutes later.

Stalker Cast

I’m still watching because I have a real appreciation for media that can build a true sense of anxiety and tension.  I loved early seasons of Supernatural because some episodes truly felt like mini horror films.  There are similar moments in The Following (also from Williamson), and now I’m enjoying those moments in Stalker.

My problem with the show is that it seems comfortable being a watered down Criminal Minds rip-off when it could really differentiate itself by being THAT show people talk about – the scary one.  What better buzz than to be the show people have to watch with the lights on?  Spend more time exploring the actual stalking within the show.  Look at the original Halloween film.  Michael Myers is scary because of the way the film explores his stalking of Laurie.  Let THAT be your guide!

I want the cheap scares!  Give me scary music, jump scares, loud noises, open doors,  shadows moving in the background…  Give it all to me, but make that the focus of your show!

Stalker may not yet have MY undivided attention, but the Parent’s Television Council is certainly paying attention:

“Tonight, CBS and 200 of its affiliated stations around the nation will use the public airwaves ostensibly for ‘torture porn.’ How does that serve the public interest, as mandated by every broadcast license issued to CBS stations by the FCC? It doesn’t. And it’s time that those who distribute and sponsor TV shows like ‘Stalker’ are held publicly to account for exhibiting graphic and gratuitous violence, especially against women.” – PTC president Tim Winter

I’m not sure if the Parent’s Television Council watched anything beyond the first two minutes of the pilot, otherwise they’d likely be complaining from frustration and boredom as I am.  I’ll never understand the inflammatory statements from these groups.  If anything, they’re bringing additional attention to the show, which is only rated TV-14.

I can only take so much generic crime-of-the-week forced drama, but for now I’m bought into the show’s unrealized potential.  Is anybody watching?  (That could be their slogan.)  Let me know what you think.  Check out the trailer at the top of the page.

About The Author

By day I’m a producer/director at a video game development studio. By night, I’m… um… yeah, i’m usually just a more tired producer/director at a video game development studio. BUT, by weekend I’m a husband, father, and critic of all things.