TV: Kolchak - The Night Stalker
To most people, Darren McGavin is the lovable goof who played Ralphie's dad in "A Christmas Story." For me, though, McGavin's greatest role will always be "Kolchak: The Night Stalker":
McGavin plays Carl Kolchak, a reporter who investigates the paranormal; every episode, he crosses paths with some mysterious menace. Unfortunately, Kolchak's editor (played with bombast by Simon Oakland) and the authorities don't believe him, so Kolchak is invariably forced to confront the monster alone. Even more unfortunately, Kolchak never seems to retain any hard evidence of these supernatural encounters.
If the premise sounds familiar, that's because "Kolchak" is the primary inspiration for "The X-Files." Both shows feature a mix of the fantastic and the mundane, and both shows have a streak of black humor. The best laughs comes from McGavin himself - like his previous turn as hardboiled detective Mike Hammer, McGavin injects Kolchak with wry sarcasm. Just check out this clip, where Kolchak fights a deadly werewolf on a cruise ship by handloading his own blessed silver shotgun slugs: