http://images.multiply.com/multiply/player2.swf The vampire folklore offers a plethora of fascinating possibilities for expanding a universe of blood-sucking immortals, flesh-eating beasts, and their innocent victims. Thanks to the compelling performance of Alex O’Loughlin as Mick St. John, “Moonlight” has been gaining traction in the fall ratings war in spite of its initially flimsy premise.
The gist is pretty simple: Mick is a private investigator whose bride, Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon), turns him into a vampire on their wedding night 60 years ago. He has no prior idea that his bride is not exactly human. Desperate to build a family and keep her husband, Coraline kidnaps a young Beth to, sort of, make her a part of her household. Because Mick does not warm up to the idea, a vampiric domestic fight ensues which results in the death of Coraline. Beth (Sophia Myles) eventually grows up and starts to build a name as feisty online video news reporter under whose charm Mick falls. Unfortunately, Beth is already with perfect goody-two-shoes lawyer boyfriend.
The first four episode’s hook is the unspoken attraction between Mick and Beth. Each scene involving these two is rife with romantic/sexual current, they’re eye-f***ing nearly all the time. But as all series start with establishing the lives of their central characters, the first episode introduces Mick as a vampire, but one that is different in so many ways from what people usually believe about his kind. He does not hunt humans (even the bad ones) for food; stakes only paralyze him; garlic doesn’t repel him; he does not burst info flames when sunlight hits him. It is too much or prolonged exposure to it, though, that can kill him.
There is nothing much, or nothing at all, that is unique about this series. Both TV and movies have churned vampires-turned-nice in Blade, Angel and Underworld. Moonlight’s superhero is expectedly a flawed character who corrects his ways by using his “special abilities” to save the world from criminals and protect the innocent against rogue vampires. He may be sleeping alone at night (in a freezer, to boot), but he earns the confidence of his secret love, Beth, and the friendship of Josef (Jason Dohring), a 400-year-old babyfaced billionnaire kindred.
Moonlight is your cookie-cutter investigative-slash-superhero TV fare complete with an eye candy main character blessed with super abilities (doesn’t die, runs super fast, is super smart, has super sense of smell), a smart and smashing sidekick chick with a perfect boyfriend to provide enough tension to the love triangle angle. When LAPD cannot solve a crime, the undead P.I. comes to the rescue and solves the mystery. One would wonder, though, how the weird crimes come about or why someone always beats them into the case. On the other hand, I wish it were darker and didn’t veer too much from the folklore. While getting blood supply from a blood bank is practical and more logical in the present-day context, the diminished effects of stake and sunlight is just too convenient.
If this were not a vampire fare, one would think it was yet another comic superhero knock-off. As usual, the hero is torn between lady-love and the need to just be his humanity-protecting self. Beth, just like any object of many a hero’s affection, inspires Mick while at the same often falls into trouble. The hero-press reporter partnership reeks of Superman-Lois Lane affair; replace the guy who plays Beth’s perfect boyfriend with James Marsden, and all you’ll need is a Lex Luthor to complete the picture. Oh wait, the baddie in second episode is a bald psycho with a penchant for killing his wives.
Still, Moonlight is entertaining and offers enough conflict to push the story forward. It effectively humanizes the vampire who makes a living by eliminating those that cannot be caught or punished according to society’s conventions and dilutes his messianic tendencies through his friendship with the rather world-wise Josef. Another thing that I’d like to see is a back-story to their friendship, such as how they met and came to trust each other.
Beth’s character will start to be uninteresting if all that is going for the character is her is her job or her feelings towards her boyfriend and Mick. The only background that is known about her is that she is the girl that Mick saved from being turned into a child vampire. Right now, she’s Mick’s object of affection, sidekick, and on two occasions, savior.