02 October 2007

MOONLIGHT TV Pilot: Review

I never saw Forever Knight (didn't own a tv at the time), but I'm familiar with the premise -- vampire PI wants to help people, not eat them. Angel I did watch and enjoyed it. Also Blood Ties, in which the vamp isn't exactly a PI but he's the right hand man of one.

I've seen this comment made other places online, but when did vampire PI's become as commonplace a premise as, say, loud, fat husbands and their hot wives for sitcoms or passels of lawyers/doctors/cops for dramas? Ok, maybe not as commonplace as those, but it's not like you see any vampire beauticians, statisticians, or fat, loud husbands with hot werewolf wives.

Regardless of the possibility it would be derivative, I caught the pilot episode of the latest vamp on the block, Mick St. John in Moonlight. My overall assessment would be that it wasn't anywhere near as bad as Painkiller Jane and I'd watch it again, particularly if I need something to blog about! However, it never rose above the formula that prior shows tweaked and twisted into very watchable programs.

Quit reading here if you don't want to be spoiled!

The show opens with a snarky mock interview of the hero explaining what it's really like to be a vampire. This infodump gets some basics out of the way but it's telling instead of showing, quite literally. The technique -- and the subsequent and frequent voice overs -- have gotten very mixed reviews. Naturally we discover the hero buys his blood instead of sucks it and loves to help people with his heightened vampire senses, which allow him to smell the past and glimpse the future -- this basically means he gets hints of what he needs to know in order to track people down or find out what went down. In a later scene he contrasts himself with his best friend Josef, saying Josef wants him to hunt the villian in order to hide all knowledge of vampires from the public, while the hero just doesn't want the baddie to kill anyone else. Isn't that sweet? Mick seems to have few if any base impulses, unlike Angel, who was always going on about what a horrible person he was in the past.

That being said, Mick is still broody, never missing an opportunity to tell us in his monotone voice over that "sixty years is a long time to go without the touch of another" or to stand on a rooftop in a long black trench, silhouetted against the lights of the city. Is it even legal to make a vampire show or movie without such a scene? I'm not sure. He also drives the Angelmobile. Maybe it's not the exact car Angel drove, but it was a long black convertible sedan. It might as well have been. I wonder if there's an Angel puppet in the glovebox?

As for the relationship aspects, there are heavy romantic overtones between the hero and the heroine, for the paranormal romance fan. The story begins with him fixating on a blonde reporter doing a webcast. He sees her on the computer and jets to her location. We know he didn't jet there as a bat, because his infodump assured us he can't turn into a bat, but he gets there within minutes. Thematic piano tinkles when he catches sight of her, implying she's an important person. Maybe a....vampire soul mate? Reincarnated human lover he's got to save this time around? Only time and his rather cheesy flashbacks will tell! After she sneaks some photos of a supposed vampire killing, they engage in witty repartee and he disapears.

On to the investigation, which Beth, the heroine, pursues with vigor and Mick does as well since whoever is murdering girls is making it look like a vampire is doing it. It may or may not involve a creepy anthropology professor who thinks he himself is a vampire (a vampire of loooooove!), though you know it's never the person who gets fingered up front. Except when they get fingered in such an obvious way you're supposed to think they're a red herring, and they're really evul. I did get a chuckle out of one scene where the heroine claims her name is Kate (shout out to the blonde police detective from Angel she resembles?), last name Nelson (shout out to Vicki Nelson of Blood Ties?) Apparently there is a shout out to the show Veronica Mars in the name of the college, as well, but I didn't watch that program.

The hero doesn't demonstrate many vampire abilities throughout the episode, except when the heroine turns her back and he whooshes away while she's mid sentence. Because that's what vampires do. He runs fast, freaks the pseudo villain out with his vamp face, which resembles a husky dog, and punches the villain to the top of a streetlight pole. There were some vampire secondary characters who seemed non vampy as well, part of their strategy of blending with humans. Angel never mingled with regular humans much, mostly just people who knew who he was. An entire network of vampires trying to stay hidden in what Josef points out is an age of DNA and fingerprinting has potential, if the show goes there.

All in all, it was enough that I'll turn Moonlight on again Friday night and see what happens next. Maybe I'll even review it here, if anyone's interested?

Jody W.
Post a Comment