Creators: Ron Koslow, Trevor Munson
Starring: Alex O’Loughlin, Sophia Myles, Jason Dohring, Shannyn Sossamon
Have you heard? Vampires are the hottest thing in entertainment. Oh you have. Well, just because they’re trending doesn’t mean everything with vampires is actually good… and apparently it doens’t mean everything vampire is very popular.
“Moonlight” debuted in 2007 on CBS and only lasted for one season before being canceled. It doesn’t have the most original premise of all-time: the protagonist is Mick St. John and he’s a private investigator in Los Angeles. Apparently there are hundreds of vampires living in L.A. and no one knows about it. During his investigation on a string of vampire-like murders, he meets Beth Turner who is a cop reporter for the tabloid news service Buzz Wire.
In the pilot episode, the writers lazily display Mick St. John seated in a room with an interviewer, explaining the rules of vampires in “Moonlight.” This sort of fast-forward, catch-up method doesn’t really seem necessary in a TV-series of hour-long episodes. Maybe in a rushed 90-minute movie, but I’m sure they could’ve explained the standards for the “Moonlight” vampires within the 692 minute length of the season.
Anyway, the guidelines are something like this: Vampires don’t like the sun, but they certainly don’t turn to dust if sunlight hits their skin. A stake through the heart merely paralyzes a vampire, not kills them. The only way to kill a vampire is to be-head them or to burn them with fire. The term “turning” refers a human changing into a vampire. This is done when a vampire drips his/her own blood into a human as they’re feeding off of them. These vampires still have incredible strength, speed, sense of smell and hearing. They sleep in freezers or bathtubs of ice cubes, anywhere that’s cold. Crosses and garlic doesn’t effect vampires at all. And they cannot fly. I think that’s about it.
The show suffered from the writer’s strike and the sloppiness was evident from the uneven storylines throughout the season. My main problem with the show was that season-long story arc, which was basically the up-and-down relationship between Mick St. John and Beth Turner. The whole romance plot entailed the issues between a human and a vampire, a serious couple being outted by a P.I., a love triangle turned into a love rhombus, and a bunch of mythology to give it any sort of authenticity. It was messy, unfocused, and poorly executed.
I did like plenty of the individual cases that Mick St. John had to solve, sometimes with the help of Beth. They did make a good team when they were on-screen together. Separately, Alex O’Loughlin held his own better than Sophia Myles did. This stems from the fact that I was on the border of hating Beth. To me, her character wasn’t in the least bit likable. She was in a relationship with Josh but then developed feelings for Mick even though Josh was seemingly perfect. She wasn’t very subtle about her feelings towards Mick and when Josh confronted Beth, she didn’t have the courage or respect to tell him the truth. In fact, she would try to spin it back at him to make it seem like it was his fault, and somehow he would end up apologizing. She was a confused, ungrateful brat who always wanted what she couldn’t have.
The beginning of the series held my attention with the suspense of Beth finding out that Mick was a vampire. The revelation was discovered in the conclusion of the second episode, which in my opinion was way too early for such a turn of events. But it was clear the writers wanted to concentrate on the love story between the two and to throw all the mystery behind them as soon as possible.
As the series went on, storylines got more and more jumbled together. It’s discovered that Mick and Beth actually have a past together, Mick’s ex-wife returns, Beth’s relationship with Josh hits a rocky road, people die and some come back, and the ongoing saga whether or not Mick and Beth will get together trudges on.
I will reiterate, the main reason I wasn’t too fond of this show is simply because the season-long story arc, in my opinion, was a weak one. Perhaps the show should’ve followed a season-long story arc based on one huge investigation, with smaller individual cases every episode. Having the main plot being character-based, they needed to develop better and more interesting characters. Just because Mick St. John gets beat up once in a while doesn’t mean he’s flawed. And for a vampire with morals, you can’t really relate to most of the things he does. His character is static throughout the whole show. You want to see a successful episode-to-episode series with a character-based plot… watch “House.”
It was mildly entertaining viewing the writers trying so hard to be hip and funny but instead only achieving levels of cheesiness. They did have their moments though. I liked the references to famous entertainment blogs like Perez Hilton and Ain’t It Cool News, along with mentioning emo music developing from Jimmy Eat World to Dashboard Confessional. But the chatter isn’t close to the wonderful voice of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), nor is it even as good as Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars).
Overall, the show was solid but the only explanation for why it had a cult following was because of the vampire aspect. I believe that with all these vampire movies and shows popping up everywhere, there’s a simple way to determine which are good and not. If you take away the vampire element, is the show/movie still effective? As for “Moonlight,” if you take away the vampire element you’re stuck with a very dull and corny cop show with two lead characters you don’t want to see get together, though you know they will.