Back in 1997, CBS gave us Gary Hobson – a divorcee who, suddenly and inexplicably, begins to receive tomorrow’s newspaper today. An early edition of the Chicago Sun-Times arrives on his doormat – along with a cat – every morning at 6.30am, and he has 24 hours to change the headlines and save lives.
Over the course of four seasons, Hobson (played with brilliant humour by Kyle Chandler) wrestles with the logic behind the magical periodical, as well as the effect that such a responsibility has on his personal life. Along with his closest confidante, Marissa Clark (Shanesia Davis), Hobson goes from being a dissatisfied stock broker (with Clark as his receptionist), to being the owner of a bar (with Clark as his business partner) – all the while leading a double life as an unsung hero.
The show featured a number of other recurring characters – including actor Fisher Stevens as Hobson’s best friend, Chuck – while the nature of the newspaper ensured a wide variety of entertaining guest slots. Perhaps the most important of these slots occurred in the season four episode Time, which aired just prior to the penultimate episode of the series – and took the form of a young girl named Lindsey Romick (Janelle Ginestra). Within an episode that explains the mechanics of the early edition, and explores the reasons why Hobson is the recipient, we see the urban crusader essentially take steps to ensure a future passing of the torch – gifting Lindsay with an item that guarantees the newspaper will be delivered to her in the event of Hobson’s death.
Now that 18 years have passed since Hobson’s first early edition arrived, it is time to move the story along. The premise of the show would be that Lindsey is now an adult, leading a busy and fulfilling life, until one day, she hears a cat at her door at 6.30am. Her heart sinks, as she knows in herself that this means Hobson has passed away – and she must now deal with the paper and all the responsibility that goes along with it, while trying to fit it into her life.
There are few television shows currently on air with the charm of Early Edition, and fewer still that have an opportunity to deliver a female-led story in which the main character is entirely relatable, while being thrown into an entirely unique situation. This would not simply be a re-run of the original with different casting – Lindsey would be in a different place in her life, and would face different challenges posed by the paper. Most importantly, she would approach them all differently, from a female perspective.