Welcome to the quaint, sleepy town of Perfection, Nev.: proud home to the Graboids – a species of enormous, tentacled, burrowing sand worms. Even though Graboids will make a meal out of just about anything from humans to cattle to automobiles, they are a government-protected endangered species. This leaves the small population of stubborn and eccentric Perfectionistas no choice but to learn to live with the dangerous beasts.
Based on the 1990 film and its numerous sequels, “Tremors: The Series” is best described as an action sitcom. The quirky and one-dimensional folks of Perfection make up a ragtag crew of do-it-yourselfers who accept the challenge of dealing with Graboids as well as investigating other unexplained phenomena, the likes of which Perfection Valley has no shortage.
Although Kevin Bacon does not reprise his role from the original movie, the gun-toting paramilitary soldier and conspiracy theorist Burt Gummer (Michael Gross, “Family Ties”) is back in a lead role. Gummer was a standout character in the movie, and placing the series’ focus on his vigilante activity makes “Tremors” similar to Chris Carter’s short-lived “X-Files” spinoff, “The Lone Gunmen.”
Alongside Burt Gummer is the town newbie and dashing hero-hunk, Tyler Reed (Victor Browne), a former NASCAR driver who arrives in Perfection intending to revive a defunct tour company that formerly led visitors through the perilous valley. While most of the action centers around Tyler and Burt, characters like former hippie chick Nancy Sterngood (Marcia Strassman) and cute, perky general store owner Jodi Chang (Lela Lee) add some cheesy humor to the mix. Rosalita Sanchez (Gladise Jimenez), an ex-Vegas showgirl, runs a ranch in town and brings requisite sexual tension to the show through her ongoing flirtation with Tyler.
“Tremors” features a variety of special effects, combining computer graphics and puppetry with generally good-looking results. The notorious albino Graboid, El Blanco, burrows under the sand Bugs Bunny-style and, in one scene, bursts through the floor of Chang’s Market convincingly. The frenetic camera work during action scenes as well as the overall tone of the show is reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s successful syndicated fantasy series “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
“Tremors” debuts tonight at 9 p.m with two episodes on SciFi, but it will normally air Fridays at 10 p.m. The show stays true to the movies by featuring real action thrills but never taking itself too seriously. While it can’t be considered first-rate television per se, the formulaic “Tremors” captures a distinct B-movie flavor and charm that is sure to attract a large following.
Rating: 3 Stars