Night Springs is a popular TV show in the Alan Wake universe. It has spawned both a video game and board game from its success. It is an obvious homage to "The Twilight Zone," with very similar opening music, logo design and a dead-on Rod Serling impersonator who explicitly states the episodes premise and moral at the beginning and end of each episode, respectively (just like in The Twilight Zone). It's a fictional show about the paranormal and can be watched in-game through TV sets spread throughout the levels. Watching all episodes in the game is part of the achievement, Couch Potato.
Every episode has a different protagonist and setting, although it all takes place in the fictional town of Night Springs. The protagonist will experience something paranormal, usually resulting in the death of the protagonist. It seems to be a late night show, as Alan is never seen watching it during the day. Given the way it is referenced as the beginning of Alan's career, it seems likely that Night Springs ran for several seasons and then ended years ago.
Episode list, summary and location
Episode 1: Quantum Suicide
Doctor Barclay Colvin has called a press conference to demonstrate a practical demonstration of the many-worlds theory. He shows the press a loaded 9mm pistol. He explains the gun cannot kill him. He says that every time he puts the gun to his temple two realities are created: One where the gun did not fire and one where it did. A special machine is to make sure only the former happens, making Colvin immortal. Just as he is about to demonstrate this, the foot of one of the journalists gets caught in a power cord, unplugging the machine. He asks if it's supposed to be plugged in, but Doctor Barclay is too busy ranting to notice. Doctor Barclay pulls the trigger and shoots himself through the head, killing him instantly.
Location: During "Episode I: Nightmare" In front of the gate to the lumber yard, there is an office with the button to get into the lumber yard. This office has a TV.
Episode 2: The Man in the Mirror
An FBI agent confronts a man who has confessed to murder. The murderer bludgeoned a man to death with his bare fists, to the point that he was impossible to ID. The agent then reveals that the murderer and victim had identical finger prints. He also points out that the clothing on the dead man is what the man's child described him as wearing. The murderer reveals that his goal was not to kill, but to disturb the child. The agent moves to shoot him, but the murderer states that he's already going to prison, so there's no point to it. The agent states his confusion, and the man states that he will never understand. He then implies that he is a malevolent force, not a man at all, killing people in the guise of their own reflections.
Location: During "Episode 2: Taken." In Elderwood, after you leave the cabin with Barry inside, you will head down the path. The second cabin you will encounter will have a broken door, which you have to kick down. Inside the cabin is a TV.
Episode 3: A Family Occasion
Alvin Derleth, a paranormal investigator (possibly named after Lovecraftian horror writer August Derleth) has never had any luck with his job comes searching for the local culture and population of the town in hopes of finding mythology. A seductive woman and a man tell him that they will help him on his search, and the woman promises him "something more." Alvin initially believes that the couple are going to allow him to assist with their ritual, but the woman tells him that they're a man short and invites him to participate. Alvin asks what he should do. The woman responds by passionately kissing him. Soon the kiss is interrupted when the journalist starts to feel sick and something starts to visibly rumble in his stomach. The woman then says that he will be host to a mythological creature called the Dweller in Flesh and its thousand offspring. The episode ends right afterwards, and the narrator states that "If you go looking for mythology, it may come looking for you...and such quests always bear fruit".
Location: During "Episode 3: Ransom." After you cross the bridge you will be in an industrial yard. You will have to push a button to enter a garage. On the second floor of the garage is a TV.
Episode 4: The Dream of Dreams
A man is seen walking through a vast nothingness of pure white in his pajamas, until he sees a gathering of people around a sleeping man. He asks a man in a coat why they're all watching the man sleep. He tells him that they're all watching the man sleep because they're in his dream and they're all figments of his imagination. The man in pajamas tells the man in the coat that it's his dream, not the man sleeping. The man in the coat looks at him as if he is crazy, and tells him that he must be a confused figment. Moments later the man in pajamas hears a strange ticking and asks if anyone else hears it. The man in the coat realizes that the man in pajamas is the dreamer, about to be awoken by an alarm, and begins to panic as the sleeping man awakes, therefore killing all the figments.
Location: During "Episode 4: The Truth." In the Farmhouse, with the viking ship, there is a TV attached to one of the poles on the right.
Episode 5: Taken in his Prime
After answering an ad in the paper for a job in the service industry, Manny finds himself being chased by two men in the forest. Despite his efforts, the two men overtake him, and push him to the ground. As Manny pleads for a reason why he is being beaten, the two men explain that they first need to beat something out of him. After landing several blows, one of the men reaches into the young Manny and pulls out a dark object. He says, “This free will thing is more trouble than it’s worth.” The man proceeds to burn the dark object with a lighter. Afterwards, Manny gets up off the ground in a calm matter, questioning what had just happened to him. Manny then states that he does not know what he is supposed to do. One of the men assures Manny that they will tell him all about that.
Location: During "Episode 5: The Clicker." When you enter the town hall in search of the helicopter keys, you will find a TV on the top floor.
Episode 6: An Absence of Creativity
A woman named Martha answers the door for her friend, Lydia. Martha proceeds to hurry her friend into the basement, insisting that there is something strange taking place there. As the two women enter the basement, they are greeted by the sight of what appears to be a whirling vortex. Soon after, a man appears, standing in front on the void. The women inquire as to the man's purpose and he responds by telling them he is the one responsible for everything around them, except the strange void. He then expresses his frustration, having run into a case of writer's block. He is presumably a writer for the show Night Springs, and has run out of ideas where to take the present episode. The man then insists that the women return upstairs while he tries to figure out what to do.
Location: During "Episode 5: The Clicker." After you cross the bridge, go to the building to the left, opposite the tow truck.
Unknown Episode: Return
Although the episode is not actually shown to the viewer, Alan (vaguely) describes it as being about a battle between the "Herald of Darkness" and the "Champion of Light", who cross over from another universe into the town of Night Springs. He re-uses this concept to create "The Return", casting himself as the Champion of Light and his evil duplicate, Mr. Scratch, as the Herald of Darkness.
The final plot of "The Return" as seen in Alan Wake's American Nightmare consists of the Herald of Darkness attempting to trap the Champion of Light in a time loop, returning him to the moment he entered Night Springs every time he entered the room where he might be able to defeat the Herald. However, because the Champion and the people he met were able to remember the previous time loops, they were able to prepare for things better, and after three distinct loops, the Champion was able to alter reality and destroy the Herald of Darkness once and for all, at which point the Champion of Light was returned to his home dimension. Whether this is similar to the plot of the "Return" Night Springs episode is unknown.
Relation with Alan's story
Several episodes of Night Springs have parallels to Alan's struggle against the Dark Presence.
- "The Man in the Mirror" foreshadows Alan's battle with Mr. Scratch in Alan Wake's American Nightmare. Mr. Scratch is a malevolent force trying to kill Alan while mimicking his form.
- Alan collecting a set of alarm clocks to try to wake himself up during The Signal, while going through his subconscious, is similar to "The Dream of Dreams". While Wake is sleeping, his inner being is trying to sort out his mind and fight the darkness alongside Thomas Zane; all the while believing he is real and everything else around him is imaginary.
- Hartman and the Dark Presence attempting to abuse Alan's ability to create stories to further better themselves, as they did with every other artist that arrived in Bright Falls, is similar to the two men from "Taken in his Prime" throwing the scared man to the ground and ripping out his creativity to destroy it.
Night Springs isn't exactly a fixed place in the world. According to a manuscript page, Night Springs is merely a name that becomes attached to the place where the strange events are happening. This is extremely similar to the lore surrounding the Twilight Zone. In Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Alan takes advantage of a "thin spot" in the universe over a small town in Arizona, similar to the thin spot over Cauldron Lake near Bright Falls. He uses this thin spot to temporarily transplant his fictional creation of Night Springs into reality, with the small town in that spot then becoming Night Springs, Arizona, complete with the memories of its inhabitants and the businesses established there, for just one night.
- Alan Wake has written episodes for this show. Barry got him the gig before Alan began writing the Alex Casey novels. The producers have asked Alan to write them more episodes for the upcoming season. "The Man in The Mirror" Episode is adapted by Alan for the purpose of combating Mr. Scratch in Alan Wake's American Nightmare.
- In Alan's dream in "Episode I: Nightmare," he is driving to Night Springs when he hits the hitchhiker with his car. It is unknown if this has any relation to Night Springs, Az featured in American Nightmare.
- When Barry had to call people for Sheriff Odin and Tor, they are playing a board game based on the show. Copies of the Night Springs videogame become collectible items in the second DLC chapter for Alan Wake, The Writer. Each one signals its presence by making the signature chime of an Xbox 360 console turning on.
- In game TV shows like this are somewhat of a trademark for Remedy Entertainment. Both Max Payne games featured TV's that could be turned on to watch TV shows.
- Night Springs shows real life actors, instead of in-game models. This is true for everything that can be seen on TV in Alan Wake, including the times he himself appears on a TV.