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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 91 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. Very, very late.
It Needs More Love.
The show provides examples of:
- An Aesop: One for each episode.
- Action Girl: Renee Callahan and Gary's mom in "Don't Walk Away, Renee"
- All Just a Dream: Marissa Clark run over by car in "Run, Gary, Run".
- Black Best Friend: Once Chuck Fishman (Fisher Stevens) left the show, Marissa became Gary's best friend.
- Blessed with Suck: Gary views the newspaper as this.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Gary once tried spending the night in a cabin in the woods to avoid getting the paper, and it still found him.
- Cassandra Did It: Police and others sometimes put Gary in this role when he tries to avert disasters.
- The Cat Came Back: The pilot shows Gary tried to avoid the cat, to no avail.
- 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.
- The Chosen Many: Gary is not the only one who gets the paper.
- Christmas Episode: Gary and Crumb team up to find a bomber.
- Completely Missing the Point: From the episode "Dad":
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.
- Cool Car: Chuck's.
- Crossover with Martial Law
- and Chicago Hope
- The Determinator: Gary. No matter what life throws his way (be it plane crashes or rogue federal agents or Bat Masterson), he always prevails often through sheer force of will and some quick thinking.
- Enhance Button
- 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.
- Gilligan Cut
- Groundhog Day Loop: "Run, Gary, Run".
- Heroic BSOD: When Gary is unable to save someone.
- 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.
- In Mysterious Ways: The group of people who gives various people (and Gary) the papers.
- Jerkass: Gary's ex steadily evolved into this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chuck, and sometimes Gary, when having a particularly bad day.
- Lottery Ticket: One story involved people trying to fix the drawing. Other stories establish Gary wagers just enough with the future knowlege to pay his living expenses, much to Chuck's dismay.
- Mean Boss: Gary's ex-boss. Gary even saved him from being killed by an angry employee.
- Meaningful Name: Gary Hobson is presented with a daily Hobson's choice.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
- Noodle Incident: Gary has saved people off-screen. Like in episode 2, Chuck mentions the time Gary saved a trailer park from a tornado.
- Poorly-Disguised Pilot: That episode about the girl with psychic powers.
- Put on a Bus: Chuck.
- Rear Window Witness: Gary gets caught up in a plot while stuck in his apartment with a broken leg in one episode.
- Refused the Call: Attempted by Gary several times. It never worked out well for him.
- Ripple Effect Indicator: The newspaper itself.
- Rogue Juror: Gary in the episode "The Jury".
- Secret Keeper: Gary's parents, Marissa, Chuck, Erica, and Henry.
- Self-Defeating Prophecy: The whole show.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The show was thoroughly on the idealistic side.
- Three Amigos: Gary and his two best friends.
- Train Station Goodbye
- Time Travel: The paper apparently comes from the future. (Occasionally people time travel, too.)
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Gary supports himself by using the paper to bet on horse racing.
- Threefer Token Minority: Marissa (black, female, and blind).
- Unlucky Everydude: Gary, full stop.
- Very Special Episode: A season 1 episode dealt with gun violence.
- Wake Up, Save The World
- Who Shot JFK?
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Chuck tries to pitch a TV Show about a guy who get tomorrow's newspaper. It doesn't go over very well.
- Word of God: Co-creator, Ian Abrams, has explained that the newspapers were being delivered by Mark Twain from Heaven as part of a bet.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In the episode where Chuck is marrying Amber/Jade, Gary confronts her in the hotel room and they fight. When Chuck walks in, Jade claims that Gary had hit on her.