Tru Calling
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Tru Calling

When we were kids playing in the school yard if something didn’t turn out in our favor you could always call for a ‘do over’. Those two simple words had the power to turn time back erasing a mistake and provide a chance to correct a mistake. Unfortunate these words lose their magical ability as we grow into our adult lives. In 2003 Fox decided to perform a little experiment in ‘what if’ we could re-live a day, how would we use that opportunity? The though experiment came in the form of a pretty young woman, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku), with the uncanny ability to relive the previous day. Her story unfolded in the short lived series, ‘Tru Calling’ and for two seasons Tru tried her best to prevent a murder. It was a shame that the series was not afforded sufficient opportunity to grow into its potential and solidify its fan base. While not quite up to the ‘brilliant but cancelled level it defiantly makes the ‘cancelled before its time ‘category. One possible reason for the premature demise of the series may be how it attempted to straddle too many genres resulting in dilution of its audience. In many ways this was a bold experiment undeserving its fate. The primary genre it took on was fantasy. Traditionally fantasy series garner loyal fans but are under appreciated by the network executives. There was also an attempt to infuse just a touch of science fiction; just enough to make sure reruns could pop up on the SyFy network. The best attribute demonstrated here was how the series turned the typical television detective series on its end. Usually the detective has to discover clues pertaining to how a person dies. Unlike the regular show of this type here the victim awakens from death employing Tru for her special assistance. It is possible to get either season individually on DVD but the series was just starting to define itself towards the end so it would be best to get the complete series pack.

Jon Harmon Feldman has been behind quite a number of television series that became cult classics but tended towards the short life spans. The lists of his accomplishments include ‘Roswell’,’ ‘American Dreams’ and ‘Dirty Sexy Money’. In this series Tru is an extremely intelligent young woman with her dream of becoming a doctor getting closer. In the initial episode Tru has just graduated college and is about to attend medical school. She had an internship set up in a hospital but when that falls through she winds up working in the county morgue. One of the first corpses Tru encounters opens her eye employing the startled student for help. The next thing Tru knows she is in her bed waking up but her confusion deepens as she realizes yesterday is repeating. Tru is also taken by the need to track down the woman in the morgue and prevent her death. The reverse mystery comes in since Tru knows the outcome but instead of being engaged by a family member the victim imitates the investigation. This frequently becomes problematic for Tru since when she encounters the soon to be deceased there is no earthly reason for her concern or apparent need to become involved in a stranger’s life. Tru’s ability makes normal socialization almost impossible. Her relationship with her boyfriend is strained not only by the normal pressures inherent in medical school but greatly compounded by her ‘amateur detective work. It’s extremely difficult to explain the reason you missed a date was a corpse asked for you help. This ultimately was the reason she broke up with her love interest in the first season, Luc Johnston (Matthew Bomer). Tru’s siblings frequently result in unwanted drama in Tru’s already hectic life. Her sister Meredith (Jessica Collins) has a serious drug problem while younger brother Harrison (Shawn Reaves) who has a gambling addiction. When he learns about his sister’s powers he tries his best to figure out ways to exploit them.

Towards the end of the first season a new direction was set to establish a foundation for the underlying mythology for the series. Tru is catch in a battle between destiny and self determination. When she prevents a murder Tru is disrupting the balance of destiny usually by keeping somebody alive beyond their pre-established time. A new character is tossed into the mix; Jack Harper (Jason Priestley). His mandate is to maintain the status quo of destiny. He frequently acts directly opposite to Tru making sure her ‘client’ dies on schedule. The one interesting thread that was never given an opportunity to be fully realized is the discovery that Tru’s mother once exhibited the same powers as she has and her father had acted in a capacity the same as Jack. By the second season Jack was fully ‘employed’ by Tru’s father. One thing that could have come from this is a romantic relationship between Tru and Jack that mirrored her parents. The series was beginning to broaden out from the original premise into an almost metaphysical consideration of determinism and the psychological effects on an otherwise normal woman caught in a battle of forces far beyond her understanding moving it away from the formula driven case of the week scenario. Instead it was cancelled leaving behind the DVD sets to remember it and ponder what it could have grown into.

Posted 06/21/2010

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