Night Visions – Switch (09/23/02)

nvswitch02This episode is rated dead last in the IMDb User Ratings, redeeming a shred of credibility in that dubious index.  As I watched it, it just seemed like a mess.  At the end, I realized it was worse than that — it was also a hugely missed opportunity.

Rather than the usual snotty recap — because it is almost recap-proof — maybe just a few observations like I had for another fiasco, Poltergeist.

I haven’t seen Pam Grier in many things, but from what I’ve seen and heard, this is a pretty unusual role for her.  She does well as the psychiatrist and not just because the rest of the cast is so bad.  But they are.

Natasha Gregson Wagner gives such an awful performance that the ending made me question whether it was a conscious acting choice.  Maybe the wooden, stilted delivery was meant on convey that someone else was doing the driving.  I don’t think that is the case, but if so, the director should have told her to moderate it a little.  Or a little less.

The director’s thought process also eludes me.  Jefery Levy did a great job with the suspenseful Dead Air.  He also made the bizarre After Life into a solid episode.  His style here is radically different, though.  Granted, he was portraying a different environment — the psyche of a trouble young woman — but this is just off-putting.  The constant jump cuts and flashing lights are just too jarring to be effective.   I would advise avoiding if you have epilepsy; or good taste.  Add Wagner’s leaden voice-over, and it is deadly.

I’m not sure I can fairly evaluate the writing because the execution was so bad.  That’s why the Grammys present separate awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.  This episode is like if Elton John were forced to live with William Shatner’s version of Rocket Man as the only rendition of that song the public would ever hear.

There are enough good points — and actual ideas! — throughout, that I tend to think the direction, the performances and the poor presentation on YouTube conspired against this script.  The end reveal is great, and like Bitter Harvest, it is followed up with another twist.

This has been a good series so far; it deserved a better fate.  This episode represents its low-point.


  • Sydney says she was young when her mother died.  Natasha Gregson Wagner was eleven when her mother Natalie Wood died.  Both mothers died under questionable circumstances.
  • Her father Robert Wagner was in a TV series named Switch.
  • Director Jefery Levy co-wrote Ghoulies.

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