Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Latest L.A. Vampire
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It would be easy to dismiss Moonlight as yet another vampire trying to get along in the modern world TV series. It’s already being compared, sight unseen, to Angel. Actually, Moonlight’s themes are more closely aligned to the Beauty and the Beast mythos, with a touch of pre-noir private eye thrown in for luck.
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True, Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) is a vampire by circumstance and a private investigator by lifestyle choice. And, yeah, he’s a do-gooder by nature, defying the conventions of vampirism to help the living. He even eschews fresh blood, opting instead for “retail” blood, which he procures from a mortal dealer named Guillermo (Jacob Vargas) who works in the LA County morgue. (How Guillermo knows St. John’s secret isn’t revealed in the pilot episode.)
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What we do know is that Mick St. John is eternally 30 years old, thanks to being bitten 60 years ago by his bride, Coraline, who apparently didn’t think the fact she was a vampire was something they should have discussed before getting married. Maybe thinking it might save their troubled marriage, Coraline, in 1982, found a mortal child who could become their “daughter.” That didn’t set well with Mick, so he saved the child and torched the wife.
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The child, Beth Turner (Sophia Miles) is grown now, and is an Internet investigative reporter (they have those?). Of course, she’s blonde, ambitious and quick on her feet, even though she works for a tabloid website. When a series of vampire-style murders plague L.A., Mick finds himself suddenly reconnected with Beth. Mick has been assigned by vampire czar Josef Konstantin (Jason Dohring) to get to the bottom of this, and Beth, self-proclaimed media whore that she is, wants that perfect headline.
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It sounds very campy, and it is — there are the obligatory shots of the brooding hero, perched on a nighttime rooftop, long black coat lapping about him. There’s also a fair amount of satire. Josef, the 600-year-old vampire, comes off more like a playboy CEO than an evil lord of the undead. In the vampire underworld of Los Angeles, it’s all about business and living the good life. Moonlight manages to make the vampire clich├ęs work — in fact, it turns them on their ear.
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It’s all very silly, but it’s just clever enough for a Friday night at home. With the popular chick flick inanities of Ghost Whisperer as a lead-in, Moonlight may have a chance to develop its storyline.

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