Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Vampire PI Series Debuts Fridays!

CBS’s new vampire private eye series, Moonlight, premiered Friday night September 28th at 8 o’clock Central time. It’s a watchable series for fans of PI shows and vampires, and I think it has the legs to go beyond the 13-episode order that’s been generated so far.

I had a good time with this one. There’s a lot of familiar stuff here, a loner detective guy who’s afraid to let anyone get too close, yet who’s part of a secret society, and somehow maintains a smart mouth and a sardonic wit about him.

Those things, by the way, are things that I love. So what I love may not be what you’re looking for. I don’t even mind the immediate romance that appears in the offing.

Alex O’Loughlin, we know him here from The Shield, was one of the finalists for the James Bond role that ultimately went to Daniel Craig. On the new series, he plays Mick St. John, a ninety-year-old vampire (kind of young in the tooth, actually) who still feels the pull of being human and negotiates a thin line policing human activity that crosses over into vampire territory. Mick appears to be an enforcer arm for the vampires to prevent the world from finding out about them. But since he doesn’t see humans as prey and evidently still misses being with them, I see the potential for lots and lots of conflict.

Sophia Myles (Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Dracula) obviously knows her way around vampires. She plays Beth Turner, a reporter for an online scandal newszine that serves up gossip and the sensationalism for the sake of sensationalism. There’s more to the relationship between Mick and Beth, and this first episode has a few twists and turns that will probably surprise some folks, so I’m going to leave them intact for you in case you haven’t seen it.

And you should.

Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars) also has an important role that appears to be ongoing. He’s Josef Konstantin, the oldest vampire that Mick knows. Evidently he’s a mover and a shaker among the vampire community as well as a go-between for Mick.

The initial episode deals with vampires and vampire wannabes. It had to in order to expose both sides of the coin. As Mick states in the dream-induced interview at the beginning of the episode, he would love to set people straight on the facts about vampires, but he can’t.

Mick begins is investigation into the killing for three reasons. The first is to avenge the dead girl. The second is to protect the vampire community and keep it hidden. And the third is for…well, you’ll just have to watch the episode.

Judging from this first episode, the series is going to be action-packed. Mick appears to be as much superhero as vampire and private investigator. That suits me fine. I loved Angel but sometimes it couldn’t separate itself from the Buffy mythos enough to be its own thing. I believe Moonlight has every chance and intention of doing that.

The romance ignites in this first episode as well, and it has more of a history than the casual viewer will see. Until all the twists are played. The trailers for the second show indicate that things heat up pretty quickly by the next episode. I’m looking forward to that, as long as the relationship doesn’t get too complacent or argumentative right off the bat (warning: foul, bad pun. And Mick assures us he can’t turn into a bat, but if he could that would be pretty cool.).

Although the first episode wasn’t great, it was good. I enjoyed settling into the big chair and watching it spin. The moves were familiar and occasional bits of dialogue had unexpected zing. There are enough fronts taking shape out there that I know Mick will have trouble negotiating the twists and turns.

More than that, David Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Surface) was showrunner for a while but had to step down. He put together the first arc of the series, and executive producer Joel Silver has stated that new showrunner Chip Johannessen is going to hold onto what Greenwalt established. At least for now.

At this point, Moonlight isn’t must-see-TV, but it has potential. For that alone you should probably sit down and watch it. I know I will be.


Katie said...

OOOO! I hadn't even heard about it until now! Anything with vampires is good.

Bill Bennett said...

Sounds like a good one.

Ron Simpson said...

I did not get a chance to see this one. We were throwing a baby shower for a freind that turned intoa big estrogen fest. I had to run and hide.....
Did you by any chance watch the Bionic Woman?