Mick St John -
Beth Turner -
Josef Konstantin -
OTHER VAMPIRE SHOWS
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
There's No Such Thing As Vampires
Whilst at the scene of murdered woman with two puncture wounds on her neck, Private Investigator Mick St John tells journalist Beth Turner that there's no such things as vampires, but then he would say that because he happens to be one. Admittedly, he's the kind of vampire that doesn't drink live people and tries to save the innocent to make up for his past, but he's still one of them. The murder is making the other vampires nervous because they prefer humans to believe they don't exist and so don't need the exposure. Mick digs into a blood cult at the dead girl's college to see if he can find out who is behind it.
When the 'private eye being aided by a vampire' series BLOOD TIES came out there was a big drive to point out that it was not like ANGEL, when it did, in fact, turn out to be a lot like that. Now comes MOONLIGHT that ought to carry an ad campaign saying that it's not like either of those two shows. It is, in fact, very much like both shows, although the leading man isn't as charismatic and the script isn't as witty. It doesn't help that it's saddled with a dreadful chandleresque voiceover narration that really irritates from the get go as it does nothing more than illustrate what we can already see on the screen.
Alex O'Loughlin doesn't get much chance to be either scary or charming in this opener and so makes very little impact, which is something of a problem considering that he's the leading man and the anchor of the show.
On the other hand, we do have Sophia Myles. The SCI FI FREAK SITE are big fans of Sophia Myles. She was the only good thing in the ill-considered big screen live action version of THUNDERBIRDS, was the only thing worth watching in the BBC's latest adaptation of DRACULA and absolutely made the second best episode of DOCTOR WHO's second season (much as we like Ms Myles our heart belongs to Elisabeth Sladen) - The Girl In The Fireplace. Sadly, the character (or, rather, non-character) that she is saddled with here proves to be more than even her talents can bring to life.
It's a pilot episode so we don't want to be too hard on the show at the outset, but this is a unexceptional introduction to the characters and their relationships and it needs to get a lot better fast fi it plans to make any sort of mark in a crowded landscape of vampire shows.Top
Out of the Past
A man emerges from prison with a vendetta against vampire private investigator Mick St John. He also knows what Mick is and how to hurt and kill him. As Mick struggles to tell everyone the truth, the con plays the innocent man and frames Mick for both assaulting and shooting him. Now a fugitive, Mick has to find a way to save his reputation and stop the killer without giving away the truth of what he is.
For virtually the entire screen time, this is a straightforward revenge story where the vampire angle barely impinges. Apart from Mick pretending to be his own son to get around the not ageing issue, it could be any con comes out of jail and takes after those that jailed him story from any mainstream cop show.
Then Mick has to get all vampy to save an innocent woman and Beth arrives at his house to learn the truth.
There is so little here that is original or, heck, even well done that dullness turns to boredom fairly early on and is never quite alleviated. Mick's final assault on the bad guys' hideout is far from spectacular and the whole thing is so predictable that you have to wonder if it came off an automated script production line. The dialogue is trite and hackneyed and gives neither Alex O'Loughlin nor Sophia Myles anything to work with.Top
A vampire professor is knocked down by a car and bites a passerby. He leaves the scene, unaware that he has actually turned his victim rather than killed him. As a result, there is a rogue vampire running around the city giving in to his urges without the knowledge of who he is or what to do, making him a danger to both the human and the vampire community.
Beth now knows about Mick and is trying to get her head around it. Thinking of him as a good guy is a lot harder when there's a bad vampire carving people up around the city. It's also hard to think of him as the hero when he allows a dotty professor to stake him through the heart (it doesn't kill, only paralyses apparently, but not the mouth so Mick can tell Beth to take the stake out). The fight between himself and the other vampire ought to have been titanic and turned out to be as lame as those in BLOOD TIES.
There isn't a character in the whole thing that you can believe in actually. The professor turns from not caring about his victim to parent/defender in seconds to then turn tail at the first sight of his offspring being a bit bad. Beth has taken the whole vampire thing in her stride and Mick is clearly warming to her as he tells her all about his birth (his wedding gift from his wife apparently).
MOONLIGHT is still a long way from establishing itself as a show to be reckoned with.Top
Beth's district attorney boyfriend Josh hires Mick to find a vital witness in an important case against an arms dealer. The bad guy has top class assassins after the woman, so even vampire Mick is going to have his work cut out to keep her alive.
What starts out as a simple and overly familiar private investigator story (cop babysitters slaughtered, tracking down the girl etc) turns into something a bit different when Mick and the witness stumble off into the desert after having their car taken out by air-to-ground missile (we like the line 'You had to piss off an arms dealer'). Out in the sun, Mick suffers big time and the only thing that's going to keep him alive is blood. The only source of that anywhere nearby is the pregnant witness.
It was inevitable that Beth was going to find out that Mick was a vampire and it was even more inevitable that she was going to have to let him feed on her at some point. It's a shame that it was quite so early on, but at least the series makes a big deal out of it for the pair of them. A thing like that can kind of change a relationship. The fallout will no doubt come in future episodes.
As for the rest, the story's fine, if unoriginal; the acting is fine if uninspired and the action is fine if a little on the rare side.Top
A serial killer known for his MO of killing internet escort girls has moved to the city and has started killing there. Mick knows he is a vampire, a vampire turned as a teen and so locked in an eternity of surging hormones and spots and teenage angst. Mick wants to help, but it seems likely that he is going to have to take the vampire down.
This is a straightforward case that would be dull as ditchwater were it not for the vampire element. The idea that the age at which you are turned locks you into that kind of behaviour forever is a bit of a downer, although you would think that a couple of centuries of experience would be enough to overcome a few hormonal surges, especially since those have been fulfilled quite a few times along the way.
There are some hormonal surges running through Mick and Beth as well as they fight their mutual attraction (non-too-successfully), but the characters are so poorly drawn and unoriginal that it really is hard to care.
MOONLIGHT continues to be solid, but nothing more than that.Top
A model overdosing on a new and unidentified drug leads to a fancy nightclub and a private room where you need a microchip in your hand to get into the private area. That's run by Lola, an ancient vampire who is using a tonne of silver (literally) to create the wonder drug. Unfortunately, the other ingredient is vampire blood.
Using dead vampires as a drug is nothing new. We last saw it in BLADE-THE SERIES, but then there is little here that is new. The ancient vampire is played by Holly Valance, although 'played' might not be the right term as she is not one of the world's greatest actresses. For a while, though, in the final faceoff it looks like the Lola character is going to prove to be a fitting villain to take on Mick in a major dust up, but the fight is over just as it gets going, leaving a real sense of anticlimax.
Seeing as it's a story about pretty people being excessive, it's a chance to get Sophia Myles into a succession of tight dresses, revealing underwear and short shirts. Whilst we're not averse to Ms Myles in this manner, it is so blatant that it undermines the rest of the story. 'Drugs are bad' may be the moral, but it's not something that is hammered home and at least the show has the guts to show the high, making it more believable that people would take this stuff. Lola's reasons for doing what she's doing are far less understandable considering that she's a woman who has an occasional lover who is quite willing to hand over a million dollars just because she asks him to.
There are flashes of potential in this show, but it is consistently swamped by the mediocrity of the rest.Top
A place with some good memories gets burned to the ground and Mick sees a photographer who is the exact duplicate of his wife, Coraline, the vampire who turned him. It can't be Coraline because Mick killed her, or so he thought, in a fire and this woman is human. The photgrapher's camera's are stolen and this leads to a man who was dead before the burglary and photographs of Corline being murdered. Is Mick in pursuit of a conspiracy aimed at him or is he simply losing his mind?
With this episode MOONLIGHT steps up a gear and makes a bid for parity with the other big hitters of the vampire TV show big leagues. This is an intriguing plot that doesn't give away its secrets easily and in keeping its audience guessing as to just what is going on creates a mystery and tension that has been missing from the series to date.
It's actually a set up to what will clearly be the series plot arc, which means that there is no real resolution to the episode, but it does leave us wanting more, something that few of the previous episodes have actually managed.
There's also finally a spark of true chemistry between Alex O'Loughlin and Sophia Myles at last, no doubt catalysed by the introduction of the other woman. The jealousy angle is the episode's big failing, being quite dull, but that aside this is easily the best the show has been and promises better things for the future.Top
A cult leader who massacred a family is executed in front of the one survivor. She is somewhat distraught and Beth takes her under her wing, remembering a time when she suffered in a similar way. When the cult leader comes back from the dead, Beth calls in Mick who realises that the leader is a vampire, turned just before the execution and the survivor is now his prime target.
Another bad guy who turns out to be a vampire? This show is starting to turn into a one trick pony. Apart from the villain's true nature, this is pure police procedural with Mick tracking down the serial killer just in time to save the girls. That's not a spoiler as there is never any doubt as to the eventual outcome. It's OK as a story, but it's nothing that we haven't seen before and there isn't anything new being brought to the party.
The only wrinkle comes in the relationship between Beth and Mick, with her finally finding out that he is the man who saved her when she was a child. Her troubles with her boyfriend are looking likely to be getting deeper and that is where the main interest lies at present.
MOONLIGHT is fine, but it's still not coming up with anything exceptional.Top
Fleur de Lis
Beth has concerns that the photographer Mick mistook for his vampire wife in The Ringer has a past that is a little too perfect and so she starts digging. Mick, meanwhile, takes his own tack, hiring her to take part in a surveillance operation with him to provide the photographic evidence of a woman's infidelity. Beth gets suspicious as Mick and Morgan grow ever closer until she takes drastic action.
This episode takes a direct lift from the classic film THE CONVERSATION and incorporates it into the plot arc. The surveillance man pieces together his evidence, but then gets cold feet when murder is mentioned and he's not sure who's going to kill whom. It's neither convincing nor well played, but then it's not really the meat of the story. That belongs to the gradual unmasking of Morgan for what we already know her to be, Mick's vampire wife turned human. There is a cure, she's the only one who knows what it is and Beth's just done something to put all that in jeopardy.
Unfortunately, this story requires Beth, who has taken the last 8 episodes coming to trust, and love, Mick to throw all that away to immediately assume that he is going to fall back into the self-destructive relationship with the psycho vampire bitch. Love may be blind and jealousy even blinder, but is it really completely braindead?
Despite the ramping up of the main storyline, the show continues to entertain mildly, but nothing more.Top
Morgan, now revealed as Coraline, is lying in a hospital bed close to death. If she dies the cure for vampirism, something that Mick craves so dearly, will be lost with her. Other matters become more immediate, however, when his friend Josef is targeted by a mercenary who seems to know exactly how to kill vampires and has the military grade weaponry to do it.
OK, this episode is much better than recently, taking its lead from the characters and their twisted relationships. Josef's secret, and the reason why he has been targeted, relates directly to Beth and Mick's relationship and thus into Mick's need for the cure. The characters have something a bit deeper emotionally to delve into which allows the actors a chance to show what they can do for a change.
Mick is also given an opponent who would be more than a match for him were it not for his vampire ability and so the action is a bit better than the damp squibs that have been on offer to date.
It all ends a bit unsatisfactorily, though, when the secret is revealed. The story just sort of stops. Nothing is wrapped up. It just sort of stops.Top
Love Lasts Forever
A powerful drug lord is indicted by Beth's DA boyfriend and she is targeted for revenge. When the case goes ahead, however, it is Josh who is kidnapped. Using his contacts Mick gets Beth to the car with Josh in it and takes out the villains, but not before Josh is shot three times. Mick struggles under the sun to save the beloved of the woman he loves.
Wow, MOONLIGHT just upped its game in a big way. After the initial set up, the whole episode is done in approximate real time as Mick and Beth chase after Josh and then fight to save his life. If blood makes you squirm then get ready to do a lot of it. It's not graphic, but it gets across the messy, nasty, bloody nature of it all.
Then comes the sucker punch, something that makes Mick's revenge seem somewhat anticlimactic.
MOONLIGHT just made good on its promise. Now can it maintain that?Top
The Mortal Cure
Whilst Beth comes to terms with the emotional fallout of the events of last week, Mick tracks down Coraline and saves her from a superstrong vampire with an all-black eye. Coraline stole the cure from an old bloodline of vampires who want it back and because Mick has taken the cure, he's not in any shape to protect her.
Being human is about being in pain apparently. Beth is suffering from the loss of Josh and the devastation that has brought to her life whilst Mick's pain is a little bit more physical as he gets himself beaten up. The theme is a little overstated throughout, but otherwise provides an interesting companion piece to Love Lasts Forever. Of course if you didn't see that then you'll find this more than a little bit annoying and dull.
This can't be the end of the Coraline plot arc, whatever Mick says, and a whole new threat has been introduced in the shape of the seven vampire bloodline. The scenes of the French Revolution in which the story originates are surprisingly well realised, although they do remind strongly of the flashback structure of ANGEL.Top
Fated to Pretend
Mick is enjoying all the benefits of his temporary humanity, including days at the beach, donuts and sleeping in a bed. Beth's boss gets murdered and so the pair set out on their own investigation, tracking down the suspects in the last cases that the dead woman was working on.
In ANGEL episode I Will Remember You a vampire PI was turned human again and enjoyed a perfect time with the love of his life, but eventually had to set it all to one side in order to save her. In this episode of MOONLIGHT a vampire PI is enjoying being human again and spends a great day with the love of his life, but then.... Well I think you can probably figure out the rest. This is easily the most direct lift from ANGEL yet and completely undermines any argument that it isn't just hashing out old ideas for an audience that was missing the far superior, older show.
There is not one thing here that is new or surprising except perhaps that the cameo by Victoria Pratt (CLEOPATRA 2525) is so tiny that it barely rates as a scene. You just know how it's all going to turn out and it's depressing how right you are.
Even the actors seem to sense it, barely making any effort to suggest this grand passion that is supposed to be between them. They deserver better and, frankly, so do we.Top
Mick finds himself in the limelight when he takes on the job of handling a top film star's security. When she winds up dead, he and Beth set out to find out who killed her, but it isn't easy when LA's paparazzi consider Mick to be the story.
Paparazzi are scum. Perhaps we ought to put that in a bold font and underline it for good measure because that's what this episode does. There isn't a single one of the photographers in the story that is anything other than contemptible and everyone else holds them in utter contempt. This review isn't an apology for them by any stretch of the imagination, but the show isn't exactly a balanced consideration of the issue either.
Apart from the whole 'paparazzi are scum' theme, this is pure police procedural with clues and interviews and lies and discoveries and finally someone gets caught. It's not that hard to figure out either. As a result, it's not much of an episode.
Beth's solution to the blackmailing photographer (told you they were scum) puts her firmly in the morality shades of grey area.Top
What's Left Behind
A child is taken from his home by a serial kidnapper. The DA asks Beth to work with him on the case and then offers her a full time job. Mick offers his services for free on account of the fact that he knew the family before he became a vampire and the child who has been taken might very well be his grandson.
Kidnapped kids are a staple of police stories and this is nothing more than a police story with a worked in wrinkle about Mick potentially being part of the family. It gives the chance to work in some sepia-toned flashbacks to a not very convincing wartime in Italy, but aside from that adds almost nothing to the many times that this story has been told before.Top
A female vampire who's been in a marriage for 150 years murders a human she was having an affair with and is taken into custody by the police. She threatens to reveal the names of all the vampires in Los Angeles unless Mick gets her out, something he was going to do anyway, but there are rules in the vampire world that are not broken lightly.
What starts off as yet another dull police procedural gets more interesting when the woman is taken in by the police. Sooner or later, she's going to need to feed and when that happens then the vampire cover is going to be blown and all hell will break loose. Unfortuantely, the idea doesn't go anywhere as the vampire community comes together to carry out a lame escape plan that only works because security on the convicted woman is even lamer.
This is the season finale and yet it doesn't feel like it. The threat to the vampire community is real and serious, but doesn't feel like it at all. As for the endless misunderstandings causing tension between Mick and Beth, that's getting a bit boring now.
So MOONLIGHT comes to an end with more of a whimper than a bang and if we don't see it return then it's unlikely that we'll miss it.Top
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