Buy Tru Calling – The Complete First Season on Amazon.
Tru Calling has a lot to offer the average Joss fan, not the least of them being our beloved Eliza Dushku. Eliza plays the title character, and as Tru she crusades about saving helpless victims using a supernatural talent that came upon her suddenly. Sound familiar? The show takes this theme and delves into new ground, exploring the idea of a normal girl gaining the power and responsibility of saving lives. Though in this case, Tru is an adult rather than an adolescent, and her power does not put her in danger as much it does those around her.
Tru works in a morgue, she helps process the bodies that come in and occasionally one of the bodies will ask Tru for help. That’s where the fun begins. At the end of the request, Tru’s day rewinds in an Angel-eque flash of scenes flying by and she wakes up to find herself back near the start of her day. She then spends the day trying to determine who to save and how to go about it. Throughout the series she does this with various amounts of background information, and with varied results.
The series opens up with the audience learning that her own mother died when Tru was young and that Tru was present at the tragic event. We are also introduced to her brother Harrison, her sister Meredith, and her best friend Lindsay. Later we also see a close friendship develop between Tru and her boss at the morgue, Davis. While the relationships are not as solid as those we can find in much of Joss’ works, there are some interesting developments and the closeness between Tru and Harrison and Tru and Davis could contend with that of Buffy and Xander or Mal and Zoë. Tru herself finds support and comfort from the two men who are the only people she shares her secret life with.
The show is somewhat short lived, lasting only a season and a part (a pretty good shake considering it was Fox), and the writers of the show take an idea that could get old fast and continue to put a new spin on it. Sometimes Tru returns to wake up from a nap she was having in the middle of a car lot, sometimes she repeats the same day more than once, sometimes she saves one person only to watch another take their place. Throughout it all, the continued mystery of her mother’s death and the constant struggle to keep those close to her (specifically her brother and sister) out of trouble keep the show from feeling tired and repetitive.
Another appealing aspect of the show is the theological ideas that it plays with. The story suggests that saving people from their death might not always be the happiest solution, and in some cases might not even be likely. There are some interesting underlying questions throughout the series questioning fate and how possible it is to alter.
The major drawback to this series is that the tail end of it seems to suffer from poor rating stress. Much like many other struggling series, the cast of the show was “enhanced” by adding a new character played by a well known hunky actor, and the quality of the show subsequently takes a serious downturn. Some of the original story arcs are abandoned and never heard from again, and the six episodes of the second season focus almost entirely on the dynamic between Tru and this new character. The ending of the series is abrupt, with several loose ends unresolved. Apparently, the cast and crew were told of the cancellation on the last day of shooting the final episode.
Overall it is a series worth checking out, it’s a relatively small commitment for some quality story and hey, who doesn’t love Faith?