[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thedeadzone_4729.jpg]]

''The Dead Zone'', a.k.a. ''Stephen King's Dead Zone'' (in the USA) is a 2002 American-Canadian science fiction/suspense series based on Stephen King's 1979 [[Literature/TheDeadZone novel of the same name]], Starring Anthony Michael Hall as Johnny Smith.

Small-town teacher Johnny Smith is involved in a car accident that leaves him comatose for approximately six years. After regaining consciousness, Johnny begins having visions of the past and future triggered by touching items or people; doctors attribute the visions to activity in a previously unused "dead zone" of his brain that is attempting to compensate for the impaired function of the portions injured in the accident. Johnny also learns that his fiancée, Sarah, gave birth to his son in the interim following the accident, but has since married another man.

With the help of Sarah, her husband Walt, and physical therapist Bruce, Johnny begins using his abilities to help solve crimes. However, his attempts to do good are complicated by intermittent visions of apocalyptic events brought about following the future election of congressional candidate Greg Stillson.

The show was originally commissioned for UPN, but the network later dropped the show and it was picked up instead by USA. The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for its first five seasons. The sixth and last season was billed as "The season that changes everything" and production was moved to Montreal. ''The Dead Zone'' was expected to be renewed for a seventh season, however due to low ratings and high production cost the series was canceled in December 2007, without a proper series finale.

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!!Tropes:

* NinetyPercentOfYourBrain: Johnny's powers come from the "dead zone" of his brain being activated.
* AbsenteeActor: For a show with only four main cast members it's surprisingly rare to find episodes featuring all three, Nicole de Boer (Sarah), Chris Bruno (Walt), and John L. Adams (Bruce)! Usually just one or two of them - there are even episodes where none of the three are featured! The only cast member to appear in every single episode is Anthony Michael Hall.
** Sarah in particular is noticeably absent for most of Season 5--seemingly due to Nicole De Boer starring in a MadeForTVMovie at the time. In Season 6, Bruce is PutOnABus, seemingly out of a desire to cut production costs.
* AbortedArc: The Christopher Wey arc of Seasons 2 and 3 seems to be building up to some major revelations about what leads to Armageddon. Ultimately, however, [[spoiler: the mental and physical strain of these "super-visions" causes Johnny to throw away his cane at the beginning of Season 4, thus severing contact with Wey and his own future self.]]
** More blatantly was how the promise of an epic fate-of-the-world final duel in the Season 5 finale between [[spoiler: Johnny and Janus]] was unceremoniously thrown away in the first episode of Season 6, which has [[spoiler: Janus killed in a fire and Armageddon seemingly prevented, just like that.]] The worst part was [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks this is presumably part of what led to the]] [[SeasonalRot declining ratings of the season.]]
* AlternateContinuity: The series is implied to be this compared to the book. One episode shows that the book's ending is what would have happened [[ForWantOfANail if Bruce hadn't been around.]]
* TheAnticipator: Johnny plays this trope very well by sometimes exploiting his SpiderSense and sometimes just being really intuitive.
** In the episode "Vanguard", when Stilson returns to his limo in front of the lab, Johnny is sitting in the other seat already, which temporarily surprises Stilson. It is unclear whether his powers had anything to do with it.
** Johnny, since he is psychic, exploits SpiderSense to invoke this plenty of times. However, some instances stands out; in the episode "Double Vision" Johnny knows fellow psychic Alex will be in a parking garage so he waits for her casually. However, this trope gets weirdly subverted when Alex also anticipates him being there in the parking garage. They are expecting each other, but both refuse to be the one to open the door. Neither ever see each other in that scene.
** Alex becomes the Anticipator later when a clue she leaves for Johnny leads him to a fancy restaurant. She cranks this trope UpToEleven: she has prepared for him a sports coat he likes, but pretends not to; she has ordered his favorite foods, and she begins rambling about what he'll think of the meal.
* BackStory: For both Johnny and Stilson, uncovered in bits and pieces over the course of the show.
* {{Badass}}: Walt always keeps a cool head in a fight. A cute SeinfeldianConversation in "Descent" even brings up a comparison of him to Creator/JohnWayne, [[RatedMForManly and it's not hard to see why....]]
* BecauseDestinySaysSo Averted. Turns out the the visions of the future allows one to change it.
* BettyAndVeronica:
** Played with some with Sarah and Dana (seasons 1 and 2). [[GirlNextDoor Sarah,]] a brunette, Johnny's old ChildhoodFriendRomance, is Betty, but she's married now. [[MsFanservice Dana]], the [[HeroesWantRedheads redhead]], is more like a typical Veronica.
** Sarah could be dealing with her own inverted version: The sensitive NiceGuy Johnny as Betty, and the RatedMForManly Walt as Veronica.
* BigBadDuumvirate: From the Season 4 premier to [[spoiler: the Season 6 premiere]], Greg Stilson and Malcolm Janus.
* BlackBestFriend: Bruce
* BlondGuysAreEvil:
** Averted, as it's Anthony Michael Hall as the protagonist.
** Played straight in "The Mountain" with ''both'' the blond ranger and blond shopkeeper.
* BurnTheWitch: In 1.10, "Here There Be Monsters", John is detained on a witchcraft charge to try and frame him for a murder.
* CameBackStrong: Johnny is critically injured in a car accident and is in a coma for five years. When he wakes up, he has PsychicPowers, including [[{{Seers}} precognition]] and psychometry. Averted with his physical state, though. It takes few operations, implants and months of rehabilitation for him to be able to even move on his own. He's well-aware and informed many times that he will be never as strong as before the accident.
* CanonForeigner: Rev. Purdy, Bruce Lewis, and Malcolm Janus.
* CatchPhrase: "There's still time." Reviewer [[http://www.billiedoux.com/deadzone.html Billie Doux]] refers to this as "The Dead Zone Mantra."
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Averted with Reverend Gene Purdy, who is a typical protestant minister and dresses in suits.
* CompositeCharacter: Walt is a combination of two characters in the novel: the sheriff and Sarah's husband.
* ContinuityNod: The logo of the Native American casino in "Dead Men Tell Tales" is the cave drawing the old shaman in Johnny's vision of the past made of Johnny in "Shaman".
* ConvenientComa: It's one of few examples where this trope is averted.
* CoolTeacher: Johnny, when he was a science teacher.
* CostumeTestMontage: At the beginning of "Dinner with Dana", Dana combines this with the LingerieScene as she prepares for her date with Johnny.
* {{Crossover}}: Some Creator/USANetwork promo ads are skits where Jonny Smith meets with Adrian Series/{{Monk}} ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws-1iF8gUaY several]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoz-WrK-Rcc times]]) and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f50yHDekFfg Shawn Spencer]] of ''Series/{{Psych}}''.
* CutenessProximity: Sarah, upon seeing the baby Johnny found in "Grains of Sand". [[FriendToAllChildren Maternal instinct]] [[UpToEleven on overdrive.]]
* DeathByAdaptation:
** Johnny's mother is revealed to have died during Johnny's coma--[[spoiler: by suicide, out of grief over losing her son]]. In the book, she's the voice of "faith" for Johnny...which Rev. Purdy supplies in the series.
** Johnny's father is indicated to have died a long time before the series begins. In the book, he's Johnny's voice of reason. Bruce fills that role in the series.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Somewhat subverted in "Misbegotten" when Penny, the obsessed CrazyCatLady, wants to have Johnny's baby. Johnny is not thrilled. It's not portrayed as good at all, but she's portrayed as slightly sympathetic.
* DownerEnding / GainaxEnding: [[spoiler:They manage to break up Stillson and Sarah, but by doing that TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt is put back on track; it had previously been averted.]] Thanks both to a WGA strike and declining ratings, this cliffhanger is not resolved.
** Potentially a BittersweetEnding, as [[spoiler: Johnny's father notes that if Johnny doesn't marry Sarah the world will end. Just before he dies, he tells Johnny that Sarah still loves him, despite the rift.]] Further, an arc over the course of the season has culminated in [[spoiler: JJ discovering his own "dead zone" abilities--which may be even more powerful than Johnny's.]] As such, the fact that [[spoiler: Sarah and Johnny are on the path to reconciliation in the final scene]] implies that things might be on the right track, after all.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim:
** [[spoiler:Malcolm Janus]] in the final season. He was [[spoiler:the ManBehindTheMan for much of the show, the BigBad of Season 5, and an all-around MagnificentBastard...and best of all, that season's finale seems to be setting us up for a BIG epic showdown between him and Johnny.]] And what happens? In the first episode of Season Six, [[spoiler:he is killed ignominiously in a fire along with Sheriff Walt Bannerman.]]
** [[spoiler:Walt]] could count as well since it seemed calculated to give [[spoiler:Johnny and Sarah a chance to hook up]], but the ramifications of his death were handled much more realistically.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Johnny has constant visions of it.
* EnemyMine: Johnny and Stillson deeply dislike and distrust one another, but they are occasionally forced to work together to solve the mystery of the week.
* EpisodeOnAPlane: "Cabin Pressure".
* ForWantOfANail: The TV series added the character of Bruce, Johnny's best friend, who wasn't in the book. There is one episode that shows what would have happened if Bruce wasn't in Johnny's life. This episode is exactly what happened in the book. See HeroicSacrifice on the Literature tab.
* GrandfatherParadox: Played with in "Visions". Johnny meets a man from the future who tells Johnny that he needs to figure out how he ended up in a coma (and activated his own Dead Zone). The dilemma is if Johnny does, the man never goes into a coma to have a vision to tell Johnny about it. [[spoiler: Ultimately [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] as the man ultimately changes priorities to saving his family--which Johnny does.]]
* GroundhogDayLoop: In "Deja Voodoo", Johnny lives the visions, and when he and the GirlOfTheWeek get shot, it resets to the point of the original vision.
* HopeSpot: At one point, it seems like a broken and tearful Stilson has been defeated, though a potential scandal involving double-homicide. And then [[spoiler: Janus shows up, and takes charge as his new mentor.]]
** Season 6 has one with [[spoiler: the death of Janus, and Johnny shaking Stilson's hand and seeing a perfectly fine Washington, D.C.]] Turns out [[spoiler: Stilson--and presumably Janus--have been using Johnny's father as a drugged advisor to help them anticipate future events--and when he dies, Johnny sees the Armageddon vision again.]]
*** For the characters, the season also builds up to Sarah and Johnny [[spoiler: falling in love again.]] But then [[spoiler: Sarah learns that Johnny lied to her about the circumstances of Walt's death, and a rift occurs which doesn't heal until the last moments of the season finale.]]
* HostageSituation: The bank robber in ep 1.08 "The Siege". John allows himself to be captured in order to keep everyone alive.
* HotScoop: Dana
* IdiotBall: Johnny holds on to it pretty tight in the episode "Panic". A teenager in the witness protection program shows up at his door bleeding from a gunshot wound in the leg. Johnny doesn't call the police, and performs [[WorstAid terrible first aid]] on the leg. When the assassins try to get into the house, Johnny activates his security system, but doesn't punch in the panic code that would automatically alert the authorities. Then, when one of them is trying to break into the room where he is hiding with the witness and his own son, the three of them rush up to the door to hold it shut ''knowing the guy has a gun.'' He's lucky he has the [[PlotArmor Power of Plot]] on his side.
* TheIlluminati: Malcolm Janus sports a ring with the all-seeing eye, implying that the Illuminati is what's behind Stilson. [[RetCon Ret-conned in Season 5]] where Janus's group is implied to be [[spoiler: a relatively small group of former soldiers]].
* ItsAWonderfulPlot: "Zion", where Bruce sees what it would have been like had he not left his hometown (and not been there for Johnny). Resulting plot is described in FridgeBrilliance.
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:Walt and Malcolm Janus]] in the beginning of Season 6. In the finale, [[spoiler: Stilson's former [[TheDragon dragon]] Sonny.]]
* {{Leitmotif}}: Sarah has a simple and somewhat hauntingly tragic piano melody (a version of which, interestingly enough, also serves as the end credits theme). Also, the emotional arc in Seasons 2 and 3 involving her emotional reconciliation with Walt over the events of "Destiny" is powered by a sadly romantic theme, introduced in the opening scene of "Descent".
* LukeIAmYourFather: Beautifully done in season 3 when Sarah finally tells JJ that Johnny is his biological father. JJ doesn't want to believe it and runs up to his room; Sarah and Walt follow. Johnny slowly, sadly heads to the door... and JJ reappears.
-->'''Walt:''' John, JJ has a question to ask you.\\
'''JJ:''' What am I supposed to call you?\\
'''Johnny:''' (''fighting tears and kneeling down to hug JJ'') "Johnny". Just "Johnny".
* MeaningfulName: Malcolm Janus
* TheMissusAndTheEx:
** Johnny is in bed with Dana, and since he's in his bed, memories of Sarah crouch up, and just when you think he's CursedWithAwesome because AThreesomeIsHot, [[MoodWhiplash David Ogden Stiers as the ex]] [[FanDisservice shows up in the vision.]]
** Also, Sarah's entire life in the show [[spoiler:until Walt dies in the season 6 premiere.]] She's fully committed to Walt, but the LoveTriangle is still always there.
* ModestyBedsheet: Dana, Sarah, and any love interest for Johnny or Stilson or whoever that has a bed scene.
* MrFanservice: Walt, particularly one scene with him standing around in his underwear.
* MsFanservice: Dana. Sarah also has her moments.
* MundaneUtility: Although in the beginning Johnny Smith has little control over his powers and they manifest only at dramatic moments, as the series goes by he gets better at using them voluntarily, sometimes just to make his life easier. For example, telling which worm has the greatest chance of catching a fish during a fishing trip.
* MythArc turned into AbortedArc: The TV show is based off of Johnny trying to stop Stillson's rise to power. [[spoiler:At the start of Season 6, this is dropped entirely, leaving the show to do a bunch of standalone episodes. The ratings suffered from the drastic changes to everything. Realizing their mistake, the writers picked up the arc again at the end... just in time for the show to get canceled]].
* NebulousEvilOrganization: Malcolm Janus's "Coalition for a Better America", which may or may not be a branch of TheIlluminati. (We learn the name in Season 5, [[spoiler: as part of the RetCon that implies that it may not be, after all.]])
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: "The Cold Hard Truth" has a VERY thinly-veiled Expy of Creator/HowardStern.
* NoirEpisode: Season Six's "Switch", which involves Johnny trying to protect a FemmeFatale from being thrown off a train. Bonus points for most of the action taking place at night--with the train stations seeming lit specifically for noir.
* OddlySmallOrganization: Initially, it can be pretty hard to believe that Janus's "Coalition for a Better America" [[spoiler: consists of the small group of former soldiers in the photo Johnny and Walt discover late in Season 5]]--until we realize that 1) [[spoiler: aside from Janus himself, we've barely seen ''anyone'' from his group]], and 2) [[spoiler: those in the photo could easily be explained as the ''leadership'' who formed the Coalition out of an elaborate con game]].
* OpeningNarration: Nearly every episode until Season 6 has Johnny explaining the premise of the show to the audience:
--> "I had the perfect life--until I was in a coma for six years. When I woke up...I found my fiancée, married to another man. My ''son''...doesn't know who I am.[[note]](After "The Cold Hard Truth", changed simply to "And they're raising my son".)[[/note]] Everything has changed.... ({{Beat}}) Including me: One touch...and I can see things. Things that happened. Things that ''will'' happen. You should see what I see."
* PensieveFlashback: Some of Johnny's visions work in this manner. He can even sometimes rewind or replay the vision in BulletTime to get a better perspective of the events he's seeing.
* PregnantHostage: Late in Season 5, Sarah is kidnapped during the early stages of pregnancy. This isn't revealed to the audience (or her family) until the midpoint of the episode, though.
* PutOnABus: Bruce and Gene Purdy in Season 6 of the show.
** Dana also leaves some time earlier. TheBusCameBack eventually, but only for one episode.
* RatedMForManly: Walt, resulting in in-universe comparisons to Creator/JohnWayne.
* ReallyGetsAround: Kind of subverted with Johnny as they don't really happen, but [[YourMindMakesItReal he lives]] the personal visions. He even went so far to say that one vision living through another man's affair was his first time since Sarah. He even had a vision of being in bed with Dana before actually being in bed with Dana. A tally is being kept in the [[Trivia/TheDeadZone trivia section]]
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Sheriff Bannerman
* ResetButton: Occasionally.
* RetCon: A few, ranging from Sarah's son being "renamed" (sort of) from "Little Johnny" to "JJ", to the ''exact'' events involving the car crash, to the reason for the absence of Johnny's father from his life, to the nature of Janus's organization. Many of these overlap with TheReveal, below -- a few are matters of detail and are just shrugged off. Perhaps the weirdest retcon involves locations in Season 6, which look different for the simple reason that the series moved filming to another city.
* TheReveal:
** The pilot suggests that Johnny woke up when the nurse whose house was burning down brushed his arm because he had a vision of her daughter. The Season 1 finale reveals that in fact [[spoiler:he woke up the moment Greg Stillson was sworn in as a state representative, kicking off the main story arc of the next few seasons.]]
** In addition, the pilot also implies that Johnny was in a coma from the moment of the crash. A Season 3 episode has him discovering lost memories of his lingering before ultimately losing consciousness in the hospital.
** "Babble On" has a memorable one where Johnny discovers that [[spoiler: his father didn't die when he thought, but at some point gained the same abilities Johnny did, only ''stronger''...which seemingly drove him insane.]] This leads to another one in the Season 6 finale, where he discovers that [[spoiler: his father's alive, and being held by Stilson as an unwitting advisor.]]
** The Season 5 finale reveals that not only dos Janus ''know'' about [[spoiler: Johnny's visions of Armageddon...he and his crew actually ''want'' it to happen, so as to rid the world of the old order and bring in the new.]]
** The RetCon concerning Janus's organization can count as this: [[spoiler: They may not have been the Illuminati after all -- but a band of crooked former soldiers ''posing'' as a grand, evil cabal so they can intimidate people into giving them what they want.]]
* SecondLove: Walt for Sarah.
* ShoutOut:
** An aspiring writer who Johnny sees in a vision is told that "Stephen King must be shaking in his boots."
** In the EpisodeOnAPlane "Cabin Pressure", one extra notably sleeps through the entire troubled flight and awakens only after the danger has passed. Something very similar happens with one passenger on the [[spoiler:dimension-crossing]] flight in Stephen King's short story "Literature/TheLangoliers".
** In "The Storm" Robert Picardo says Jane Lynch was a ''Literature/{{Firestarter}}'', which she dismisses as accidents. WildMassGuessing could be that she is [[spoiler:Charlie grown up]].
** One episode has a hotel desk clerk reading a book by [[SameFaceDifferentName Richard Bachman]].
* SpecialPersonNormalName: Johnny Smith. Leads to a RunningGag where people smile and treat his name like it's a cover name.
* TelevisionGeography: The first 5 seasons were filmed in [[StargateCity Vancouver]]. The obvious signs are the Rogers video stores.
* AThreesomeIsHot: See example under TheMissusAndTheEx.
* TimeyWimeyBall:
** In "Shaman", Johnny meets a Native guy from the past who has the same ability he has. The Native saw Johnny appear to him in Johnny's future, so he knows he has to save Johnny so Johnny can later appear in his past. Is something of a StableTimeLoop as well.
** A loose story arc beginning in Season 2's "The Storm" and continuing on to the premier of Season 4 has Johnny regularly contacted by [[spoiler: future counterpart Christopher Wey, who survived Armageddon and is just as desperate to find out how it happened as Johnny is.]] Ultimately, [[spoiler: Johnny breaks contact because of the harm it's been risking to his brain.]]
** Also "Collision" Johnny finds out [[spoiler: his future self appeared to him in a vision right after the car crash and saved his life]] otherwise Johnny wouldn't be alive.
* TitleDrop: Every version features the phrase "the dead zone". However, oddly enough each version ascribes the phrase a different meaning. In the TV series, Johnny's powers stem from the fact that his brain was badly enough damaged during the coma that certain mental functions were re-routed through [[NinetyPerCentOfYourBrain an area which had up until then been dormant]] -- a "dead zone".
* TookALevelInBadass: The Season 6 finale indicated this has happened with [[spoiler: Stilson. Janus may be dead but Stilson seems to be running the organization in his place--and doing a disturbingly good job of it.]]
* TheWatson: Poor Bruce, who must be spending every spare moment away from his physical therapist job helping Johnny on his various adventures. Sarah also fills this role on occasion throughout the series--most blatantly in Season 6, following Bruce leaving town.
* WeHaveThoseToo: On the first episode, someone starts explaining to Johnny what a CD is, only for him to tell them that they had [=CDs=] when he went into his coma in 1996.
* WhamEpisode: Most of the season finales, naturally--but also "Babble On", where Johnny investigates what ''really'' happened to [[spoiler: his father]], culminating in a WhamLine as he confronts Rev. Purdy: [[spoiler: "WAS MY FATHER ''LIKE ME''?!"]]
* WorstAid: Caring for a kid shot in the leg, Johnny starts by tying a tourniquet above the wound. See the trope page for why this is a bad idea. He also does this while the kid is sitting on his countertop with the leg dangling down. The ''first'' thing you should do with a heavily bleeding wound is elevate the limb, to lessen the blood flow.
* YouCantFightFate: In an episode guest starring [[Series/{{Charmed}} Lochlyn Munro]] and [[Film/TheBreakfastClub Ally Sheedy]] as old friends of Johnny's who are brother and sister, he kept getting visions that ended up in the same way; [[spoiler:the sister committing suicide in order to give her heart to her brother, who is in desperate need of it]]. He tries desperately to change the events, but is forced to let it happen at the end.
* WorthyOpponent: Both Stilson and Janus view Johnny as this.

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