The Dead Zone - the original pilot
Posted: October 22, 2003
This is the original pilot. Most of the scenes are exactly the same as in the one that was shown on TV later and if you listen to the audio commentary with Lloyd Segan and Shawn Piller you learn that many of the scenes where left from this one in the one that aired. Sometimes it caused the filmmakers some problems with the changed hairstyles and such things. The only real difference between the two versions are that there are some actors/actresses that are different from the later version and that some scenes are shoot different. Another thing is that Reverend Gene Purdy is portrayed as a women's man in this version, something that they removed for the version that aired.
Here we have Michael Moriarty as Reverend Gene Purdy instead of David Ogden Stiers and a blond woman as Dana Bright instead of Kristen Dalton. There are also some smaller roles that have been re-casted for the later version.
I must say that this one really was a joy to see. Not that it's that different and a new history appears before my eyes but I found it interesting because this is the original pilot. This is the one that I imagine convinced USA Network that it was a show worth investing in. It's also interesting to see what changes they did concerning the casting. I don't know all the reasons why they replaced Michael Moriarty and the blond woman playing Dana but the fact that they did it are interesting. I think that both David and Kristen are much better as Rev. Purdy and Dana no question about that. Some reasons are given in the commentary and as I interpreters what Segan and Piller says they aren't that found of Michael Moriarty either…
Unfortunately this DVD isn't for sale in any story. If you bought the box with the entire first season you got a chance to get this one for free. As far as I know that's the only way to get hold of it. It's a pity since it's definitely an interesting DVD to watch but I guess it would be a bit confusing if the pilot were released in two different versions as well…
On this DVD you also get some extra material. As I have mentioned we get audio commentary from Lloyd Segan and Shawn Piller. We also get several promos for the second season of the series. What makes the extra material really interesting though is 10 minutes of deleted scenes. Some of it was re-shot and some of it was cut entirely. All the deleted scenes have audio commentary where it's explained what's wrong with them and what was changed for the finished version.
Lilja's final words about The Dead Zone - the original pilot
If you get a chance to see this one I think you should take it. It gives you an interesting look into the series development and you get to see how other actors and actresses portrays the characters you have gotten used to. Just don't expect to get another story here. The story is entirely the same as the pilot that aired on TV.