The Dead Zone

Season 1 Episode 1

Wheel of Fortune

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jun 16, 2002 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
166 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Wheel of Fortune
Johnny Smith was leading an idyllic small-town life: working as a high school science teacher, engaged to the love of his life, Sarah, and being a devoted son to his widowed mother, Vera, who lives nearby. But after a near-fatal car accident puts him in a deep coma, Johnny awakens six years later to find everything has changed: Sarah is now is married to someone else, local sheriff Walt Bannerman; the child they are raising is actually Johnny's son and knows nothing about his real father; and Johnny's mother Vera has passed away, leaving Johnny's finances under the thumb of Reverend Purdy, an influential religious leader who is also his mother's former lover. But, most importantly, Johnny himself has changed: he now finds himself with the gift (or curse) of second sight. Through visions he sees with a simple touch, he becomes responsible for saving a nurse's little girl from a fire, helping his Vietnamese doctor reunite with the mother he thought was killed during the fall of Saigon, and now must prevent a local serial killer from striking again. Now Johnny is faced with the daunting task of coming to grips with his new powers - and navigating his way through his new life.moreless

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  • Should be a good, interesting show, I've seen some of the ideas before but that's not a problem!

    This was interesting, there's no doubt about that. I always love this type of thing, a mix of real life, mystery, humour and drama, plus some science fiction thrown in. The main guy was good, as were the rest of the characters. The one thing I don't think I've seen is touching someone and then you see there past. I liked how it started, with Jonny as a boy and the drowning boy.

    The wheel of fortune was like a set up to his powers, well kind of. The whole waking up and your life is different has been done loads, but luckily I like it so that doesn't dock it any marks. I like the black guy, he seems like he'll be Johnny's friend. The of Sarah being his also adds something to the show, great ending as well ... will that woman die?moreless
  • Lots of good promises.

    For many years I never wanted to watch this TV show, but a friend of mine finally dragged me into it. And it's good.

    I started by watching the unaired pilot, I do not know in what ways it differs from the actual pilot, but I'm guessing they're pretty much the same concerning the main events. It's one hour that never starts to bore. From a prequel like introduction, to the actual incident, to what happens when he wakes up. All of this is followed by a mini episode where he tries to catch a serial killer. A good division between introducing the characters, and showing us what's next in line. The main characters perform their roles well, even though the story itself is a bit of a cliche. Guy wakes up from a coma, has second sight and goes on to help the police solving crimes. A bit like shows such as Ghost Whisperer and Medium, even though The Dead Zone was here first.moreless
  • Absolutely Fantastic TV

    There is a lot of TV out there, there are good shows and bad shows. But There are also a couple of shows which are truly fantastic; 24, Lost, Scrubs etc. The Dead Zone Is One Of Those shows. This is the Pilot episode and the start to an amazing TV show. I love the whole Sci-Fi Genre, but it can be a dangerous one, if the director doesn't know what they are doing. But this one obviously did. Because this show is right, right, RIGHT. The storytelling is fantastic and the plot of the show is great. This episode establishes Johhny's Situation basically and presents to us, the audience his abilities and what he is able to do with them. Exciting us to the potentials of where this show might go.

    I look foward to seeing more of this show. It's Awesome!moreless
  • Following the novel and movie the Dead Zone pilot premieres with Jonny Smith's coma and his mysterious psychic powers.

    Pretty decent pilot a lot of it was the same as watching the movie with Christopher Walken , however, since this was billed as a series they made some changes. Smith doesn't die and his powers are used to solve crime cases and so forth. In the pilot , the same events from the movie happen. Except now Smith's powers are exposed at an early level. He makes a good friend in his nurse of sorts named Bruce. He meets Sarah and her jerk husband Walter who is also the Sheriff. He is made into quite a celebrity.

    The special effects were beautifully done, beautifully done and a great example of what's to come. With the help of computer graphics they extended the "visions" from just one scene to the next and blended them.

    The big high point was Anthony Michael Hall's acring. He really came a long way from just playing the class clown in so many movies. This role which really had to be played straight and serious was something that I didn't think he could pull if you've seen his work but he did it well.

    A decent pilot episode.moreless
  • Johnny goes on a road trip and sees his friends death.

    This is one of my favorite shows. And this one has to be one of my favorite episodes. I really like when they get away from the whole ex-girlfriend/sheriff/his kid story to give us some other story lines! And this one fit the bill. It kept you wondering until the very end. And I really like that about the show. The writers should do more episodes like this one. Where Johnny has a life of his own and goes out and finds other people to see things about.

    I loved the end when he put his seat belt on and the bad guy says "what are you doing" and Johnny says...THIS! Right after you see the shot and wreck and you don't know if it is happening or is a preminishion. But then he turns the wheel and gets the bad guy away from his friend. Very good show!moreless
Gina Chiarelli

Gina Chiarelli

Nurse Elaine MacGowan

Guest Star

Donald Fong

Donald Fong

Uncle Tran

Guest Star

Emily Holmes

Emily Holmes

Allison Connover

Guest Star

Anna Hagan

Anna Hagan

Vera Smith

Recurring Role

Rick Tae

Rick Tae

Dr. Tran

Recurring Role

Michael St. John Smith

Michael St. John Smith

Mike Kennedy

Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Johnny: I'm not going to Atlantic City with you, Bruce.
      Bruce: Okay, okay, that Indian Casino in Connecticut is closer, just one day.
      Johnny: No
      Bruce: A few hours. Damnit, Johnny Boy, with your talents and my twenty bucks...

    • Johnny: Still teaching?
      Sarah: Subbing now and then. I left to do something with my music.
      Johnny: Good for you.
      Sarah: I wrote some country songs, but it didn't work out - so much for being the next Shania.

    • Johnny: Who's President now ?
      Bruce: George Bush.
      Johnny: George Bush? Again!
      Bruce: The son - long, long story. Damn, you missed O.J too, didn't you?
      Johnny: O.J Simpson? Let me guess, Ambassador to the United Nations?
      Bruce: Not exactly!

    • Dr. Tran: The brain is not really precognitive. It just plays tricks on us sometimes to make us think so. We know less about how the brain works than any other organ in the body. What seems to be clear is that your brain has found a new way to work. It's taking a detour around the damage and tapping into a region of the brain that humans don't normally use to handle sensory perception. In anyone else, this part of the brain might be considered a dead zone. In your brain, the dead zone is suddenly very much alive.

  • NOTES (7)

    • The Bangor Strangler is probably based on Frank Dodds from the book The Dead Zone. He was a cop who raped and murdered several women and one 7 year old.

    • Lions Gate Home Entertainment released the entire First Season of The Dead Zone in a 4-DVD Disc Set on June 17, 2003.

    • It is revealed later in the season that Johnny Smith awoke from his coma on September 1, 2001--exactly 6 years, 2 months and 27 days after his car crash.

    • The first DVD/Video of the series that was released on November 5, 2002 combines both "Wheel of Fortune" and the second episode, "What It Seems" into a two hour movie. This version entitled in the opening credits, "The Dead Zone: The Beginning" aired on January 5, 2003 on USA during a marathon that led up to the start of Season 2.

    • Johnny and Sara make out in the car to the music Sleepwalker. Stephen King also wrote the movie Sleepwalkers.

    • Premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel on Friday: July 12, 2002 at 8 P.M.

    • The viewer numbers broke the record which the series Tek War previously had as the highest rated debut of a series on USA. Also, the show has broken the best ratings record in history for a series on cable, which was previously held by The Shield.