Early Edition is a television series that aired on CBS from September 28, 1996 to May 27, 2000. Set in the city of Chicago, Illinois, it followed the adventures of a man who mysteriously receives each Chicago Sun-Times newspaper the day before it is actually published, and who uses this knowledge to prevent terrible events each day. Created by Ian Abrams, Patrick Q. Page, and Vik Rubenfeld, the series starred actor Kyle Chandler as Gary Hobson, and featured many real-life Chicago locations over the course of the series' run. Despite fan efforts to save the show, it was cancelled in May 2000, and it began airing in syndication on Fox Family Channel that same month. Consumer demand later prompted Paramount Home Entertainment to schedule a DVD release of the complete first season on June 24, 2008.
Despite their idea, Rubenfeld and Page still faced the daunting task of finding a way to get the show on network television with limited television production and writing experience between them. Rubenfeld decided to pitch the show to Ian Abrams, whom he knew through a group called the Professional Authors Group Enterprise (or PAGE). Over lunch at RJ's restaurant in Los Angeles, Rubenfled and Page pitched the idea of "a guy who gets tomorrow's newspaper today." With Abrams' help, they decided to try and convince Tristar to pick up the show, and went about adding a few ground rules for the story, such as having the paper always accompanied by a mysterious cat. In an effort to rouse Tristar's interest in the show during their pitch meeting scheduled for August 24, 1995, Abrams had a mock newspaper created with the headline "Let's just let it end. O.J. Simpson confesses he is guilty of homicide." The catch to the mock newspaper was that it was dated the next day, August 25, 1995. After presenting the fake newspaper during the pitch meeting, very lively conversation ensued, until someone realized the paper was dated the following day. Early Edition was green-lit not long after.
Since its debut, the plot of Early Edition has been compared to other intellectual properties with similar themes. In particular, the 1944 feature film "It Happened Tomorrow" centered upon a newspaper reporter who had the ability to receive a newspaper from the future in advance. However, Early Edition's creators have "always maintained that Early Edition is in no way based on this film.
Early Edition premiered in the United States on CBS on September 28, 1996. A total of 90 episodes were produced over the course of the show's four seasons, with the last original episode airing in the United States on May 27, 2000. Its original time slot was Saturday night at 8pm Central Standard Time, sandwiched between airings of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Walker, Texas Ranger. When Dr. Quinn ended in May 1998, Early Edition then began airing one hour earlier at 7pm for the remainder of the show's run. In January and February of 2000, Early Edition went on temporary hiatus as the Dick Clark game show "Winning Lines" aired in its time slot.
Season 1 consists of 23 episodes, and ran from September 28, 1996 to May 10, 1997. The show begins by following Chicago resident and stockbroker Gary Hobson as he returns home from work one day, only to be thrown out of the house for no reason by his wife Marsha. Upon taking up residence in the Blackstone Hotel, Hobson begins receiving a copy of the Chicago Sun-Times every morning that is accompanied by an orange tabby cat. Slowly, Hobson realizes the paper's contents reflect what's going to happen tomorrow, and confers this with his co-workers and friends Chuck Fishman and Marissa Clark. After deciding to use his knowledge of the future only for good (and not primarily for profit), Hobson is soon consumed by trying to prevent tragedies and help people, leading him to quit his job. During the season, Chuck consistently tries to use "The Paper" to make money, while Gary develops a precarious relationship with police Detective Ezekiel Crumb. By the season's end, Gary had begun to uncover some of the mystery surrounding The Paper, including confirmation that a man named Lucius Snow received The Paper before him.
Within the course of the series, Gary discovers that a few other people share his gift of receiving a newspaper "early". The only people, besides Gary, who know about his gift are his parents; his friends Chuck Fishman (a former fellow stock broker) and Marissa Clark (the blind former receptionist at the brokerage); and, Erica and Henry Paget, a single mother and her son (Gary gives Erica a job at McGinty's) though he certainly tried to tell a few people such as his attorney and various police officers (Episode 407/408, "Fatal Edition"). On some occasions, he is given the ability to wake up in another time (such as in the early 1900s) to change the past. People who encounter Gary often strongly suspect (or know) that he has a secret, but do not know what specifically it is.
During the course of the series, it is never clearly stated where the paper comes from. In one episode, Gary meets the group of people apparently responsible for giving him (as well as others) the Paper. Nothing much is revealed about them except that they have some sort of supernatural abilities, such as being able to mysteriously appear at any location.
In season four, episode 420, "Time", (series finale that aired a few episodes early) it is briefly explained why Gary started receiving the paper. Apparently, he was given the responsibility by Lucius Snow (the man who received the Chicago Sun-Times before Gary), after Snow saved Gary's life when Gary was a child. The responsibility is represented by a pocket knife imprinted with the initials of the person next to receive the paper (Lucius gave Gary the red Swiss Army Knife). The initials mysteriously change every time the current person decides on a new person to receive the responsibility. At the end of the same episode, Gary passes on the same pen knife to a young girl named Lindsey Romick who had just lost her grandfather; and it is implied that Lindsey will begin receiving the paper when Gary is no longer able to carry on the responsibilities.
The show rarely dealt with a common theme of time-travel dramas — the theory that changing the past (or the present in this case) produced potentially adverse consequences in the future. More often, the show would subtly display the butterfly effect.
Chuck was a foil to Gary, being a somewhat cynical, wisecracking realist in contrast to Gary's growing idealism. In early episodes, Chuck seeks to parlay the advance knowledge provided by the newspaper into windfall profits (e.g., sports betting and stock-market 'insider trading'). Over time, however, he begins to take a role in helping and backing up Gary as a problem-solver.
Davis-Williams may have performed an overlooked artistic service, in portraying a blind person able to cause one to totally overlook her blindness. Marissa often was the voice of reasonable conscience, balancing Gary's earnest idealism against Chuck's skeptical realism.
Stevens' departure from the show after two seasons, however, fundamentally changed the dynamic of the show. The device of his voice-over narration was done away with, the theme music was changed, and there began a revolving door of foils for Gary, including Billie Worley and Kristy Swanson. The latter had a romantic subplot with Gary. Fisher Stevens made several guest appearances on the show after leaving, and several of the characters stayed (such as a hard-boiled detective named Crumb, and Gary's bartender Patrick).
CBS Home Entertainment released Season One of Early Edition on DVD in Region 1 on June 24, 2008. In written material sent to retailers, the studio cited consumer demand as one of the "Top 10 most-wanted TV series that is not yet released on DVD" as a reason for retailers to stock the item. The six-disc set lacks substantial bonus material, but includes episodic promos.
|Title||Ep #||Release Date|
|Season 1||23||June 24 2008|