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New WB series is just deadly

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

The WB's "Dead Last" lives up to its name in a couple ways. Intended as a midseason replacement, it's the last series of the 2000-01 season to premiere. And it's pretty much dead on arrival.

Starring in "Dead Last" are, from left, Kett Turton, Tyler Labine and Sara Downing. (The WB, Frank Ockenfels)

The one-hour series (premiering tonight at 9 on WCWB) takes the premise of "The Sixth Sense" and asks, what if little Haley Joel Osment grew up to be a sullen teen-ager in a rock band?

That's the conceit of this undistinguished show: They see dead people and then help them.

Tonight's pilot sets up the premise. Brooding lead singer Vaughn (Kett Turton) tries to get his band, Problem, a deal with a record company, which leads to much arguing about who's in charge. His ex-girlfriend, Jane (Sara Downing), is the bass player, which complicates matters further.

In the midst of this, static cling-haired Scotty (Tyler Labine) finds an ancient amulet, and the trio suddenly find they're forced to see ghosts. To get rid of the paranormal apparitions, they must presumably "help them cross over to the other side," although the show doesn't spell out that that's what they're doing.

"Dead Last"

When: 9 tonight on WCWB.

Starring: Kett Turton, Tyler Labine, Sara Downing.



"Kill me, possess me, eat my brains, do whatever it is you're going to do," Jane shouts at the ghost of a pilgrim that appears to her and explains the group's new task.

That's sort of clever, knowing dialogue, but there's not enough of it to hook most teen viewers, the show's target audience. And the characters certainly aren't developed well enough to warrant attention from most adult viewers.

What's most disappointing is that "Dead Last" is executive-produced by the co-producer and writer of two films that are far more intelligent, "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "High Fidelity."

"Dead Last" should be smarter; it should be more clever. Instead, it's just a stiff.

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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