Zeke Stone
Created by Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff

WARNING! Another gimmick-ridden tv eye, although this one's a helluva gimmick. For the 1998 season, Fox TV proudly delivered a series called Brimstone in which Satan sends dead NYPD detective (Thirty-something's Peter Horton) out to track down the escapees from hell .

Seems fifteen years ago, ZEKE STONE, avenged his wife's rape by murdering her attacker in cold blood. Now, dead and sent to hell to suffer his penance, the Devil has a proposition. Seems there's been a mass escape, and 113 of the most vile souls ever condemned to Hell have managed to make it back among the living as demons, each possessing supernatural powers. The Devil promises Stone heavenly redemption in exchange for his bounty-hunting skills. For each soul that Stone captures, a corresponding Runic tattoo etched into his torso vanishes. If he fails to round up the errant demons, the price will be eternal fire and, yes, brimstone.

This mixture of the occult and the private eye genre has been attempted before, most notably with William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel and HBO's Cast a Deadly Spell movies. Will it work on a weekly television show? I have my doubts, although it does say something about the state of much of the entertainment industry these days. Evidently, gimmicks like intelligent scripts, good acting and compelling characters are no longer enough. What the hell were they thinking? On the other hand, what do I know? I thought Dellaventura was going to be good...

UPDATE: And it turns out Brimstone isn't that bad. Nice, understated acting by Horton, and a real moody, atmospheric vibe go a long way, although it didn't take long for the plots to fall into a rut, as each week the Devil appears, gives Zeke a clue or two about his next target, Zeke tracks him down, they struggle, the runaway escapes, the Devil reappears, mocks Zeke, and then Zeke meets the runaway again, and this time he prevails. So far, that seems to be the pattern. Better writing, and a bit more scary stuff (there are supposed to be escapee demons from Hell, not cookie cutter bad guys) could make this a cult hit, I think...

POST MORTEM: Well, it coulda been a cult hit. As it was, it did gather a small cult, who tries to start a petition to keep the show going when it was inevitably cancelled.


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