What would you do if you received tomorrow's newspaper today?
After his wife throws him out of his house, Gary Hobson starts receiving tomorrow's issue of the Chicago Sun-Times every morning, always accompanied by an orange cat. At first he tries to use this for personal gain, but after he sees an accident that was exactly described in the newspaper, he has a change of heart. In the end, he and his friends Chuck and Marissa start to use the newspaper to save people and prevent problems.The series ran for 90 episodes from 1996 to 2000 on CBS. It wasn't renewed for a fifth season, even with fan demand. The first season DVD came out in June 2008.
The show provides examples of:
Action Girl: Renee Callahan and Gary's mom in "Don't Walk Away, Renee".
At other times, Gary was unavoidably detained and tried to get the paper sent to him, but that wasn't necessary, either.
The Cameo: Roger Ebert talks to a kid who runs crying out of a movie theater showing Bambi, assuring him that it's only a movie. It's later revealed that Chuck asked Roger to talk to the kid, thus preventing the kid from getting killed by running into heavy traffic.
Cassandra Did It: Police and others sometimes put Gary in this role when he tries to avert disasters.
Chekhov's Gunman: The pilot begins with a shot of a man sitting on a train station bench. He tries to rob a bank later that episode.
Chick Magnet: Gary, due to his heroics. Extreme examples of his in-universe fanbase include a cheerleading squad, a Russian princess, and a woman who turned down a marriage proposal from a world-famous, philanthropic doctor.
Gary's Dad: Tomorrow's newspaper . . . today. Comes in the morning with the cat. So, you read a story in the newspaper and you run out into the city and save somebody's life and just like that, the story is gone? Gary: Something like that. Gary's Dad: Well, how do they do that? Some kind of special ink? Gary: I—I'm not sure. Gary's Dad: I bet it's the ink. Disappearing ink. The army was working on something like that when I was at Fort Briggs. Top secret stuff.
For Want of a Nail: In episode 2, "Choices," Gary has to choose between saving the life of one little girl and saving 200+ people in a plane crash. He keeps trying to prevent the plane crash but, in the end, he's only able to save the little girl. As it turns out, the little girl's father was the pilot of the plane. Because she got the proper medical attention, he was pulled off of the runway at the last minute to go see her in the hospital, so the plane crash never happens.
Gallows Humor: The Future-Flashback scene in "The Wrong Man" is chock full of this.
Heroic BSOD: In "Fate", when he accidentally let a homeless man he was trying to rescue fall to his death.
Heroic Sacrifice: Again in "Fate", when Gary goes into an abandoned building that's about to collapse so he can save a young couple, even though he knew his obituary was in tomorrow's paper due to the collapse. He ends up surviving though.
I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Gary was using the paper for profit until someone he knew got into an accident.
Impairment Shot: Gary takes a hit from a Capone-era T-Man and the shot goes out of focus from the camera's point of view rather than Gary's.
It's All About Me: Many of the people of Chicago think like this. One basketball coach from episode 6 made it quite clear that he cared more about his own career ambitions than about the health of his team.
Jerk Ass: Gary's ex steadily evolved into this, though in all honesty, she was like that to begin with.
Gary's former boss Phil Pritchard fits this to a T.
Motor Mouth: Virtually every resident of the city of Chicago. They all seem to have a penchant for interrupting, and talking over Gary when he tries to get a word in edgewise.
Never Win the Lottery: One story involved people trying to fix the drawing. Other stories establish Gary wagers just enough with the future knowledge to pay his living expenses, much to Chuck's dismay.
Noodle Incident: Gary has saved people off-screen. Like in episode 2, Chuck mentions the time Gary saved a trailer park from a tornado.
Passing the Torch: Gary received the responsibility of getting the paper by a guy who gave him a Swiss army knife with his name on it. Gary later gives it to a little girl whose name is now on the knife, as she will receive the responsibility when he's done.
Selective Obliviousness: In one episode, Gary tries to approach the girlfriend of a mob boss in order to warn her of her impending assassination. Unfortunately when they find her she holds him and Chuck at gunpoint because she finds their behavior suspicious. What's downright appalling is the fact that she does this in the middle of a crowded hotel, and the people all around seem to outright refuse to comprehend the fact that there is someone literally waving a gun around right in front of them.
Unbelievable Source Plot: the premise of the show. Gary gets tomorrow's newspaper today. He frequently asks for help from a detective on the police force, who eventually learns to trust his "intuition." Frustrating, because Gary would be so much more effective if someone on the police force just knew his secret, so he wouldn't have to persuade them from scratch to help out. They could just consider him a golden tip — but he never tells anyone, and each episode where he needs police help, he has to convince someone all over again. The detective, when he is around, usually reluctantly agrees to help based on years of experience with Gary.
Ungrateful Bastard: Gary once saved an old lady from getting run over in the street by a fire truck. Her way of saying thanks? Hitting him over the head with her cane, then telling him to "get a life" as he walks away.
Gary stands out in the frigid cold for hours in the episode "Frostbite" waiting to save a man from getting hurt in a car accident. Once he does it turns out the old con-man was going to deliberately break his leg so he could sue the driver. The man even has enough gall to insult Gary for his selflessness.