John Walker's Electronic House

Moonlight – CBS

by on Sep.29, 2007, under Television

What television needs is another show about vampires. Goodness knows there haven’t been enough yet, and goodness knows it’s important that they all be made with a budget of 10p and a cast of people you recognise from films you once saw on TV late at night.

Moonlight – the latest attempt to wring another drop of blood from the poor undead bastards – embraces everything at its very worst. Episode one is a cavalcade of awkward exposition. The episode begins with the central character, vampire private detective Mick St. John (played by Alex O’Loughlin, who peculiarly looks like a young Jon Stewart), explaining to an unseen television interviewer all about himself. Here he’s asked about all the various vampire details, and blithely dismisses various vampire rules so we know the score here. Crosses, holy water, garlic, and stakes through the heart can’t hurt him, and sunlight makes him feel ill. Turns out you can kill a vampire by setting him on fire, or chopping his head off. And then, oh the surprise, the interview is his own fantasy, and he tells us about his average day.

But the laboured exposition doesn’t end there. We have to see him injecting blood with a syringe, because he’s a good vampire, and therefore doesn’t drink the stuff like every other vampire in the universe. And we get to hear about how his life is about to change, because he saw a reporter on an internet site reporting on a murder.

Sophia Miles (cursed with small parts in vampire nonsense, from the BBC’s recent dreadful Dracula, to the abysmal Underworld sequel) plays Beth, said reporter, who decides the attacker of the murder victim must be a vampire due to the puncture marks on her neck. But she’s not a reporter for a TV channel! Oh no! This is the Noughties. She’s a reporter for an online news site called Buzz Wire, that looks like it was designed by MTV in 1987. In fact, it looks like that pizza commercial Winona Ryder’s film gets made into at the end of Reality Bytes. Her boss exclaims to her,

“200,000 unique visitors on your vampire story, and we posted less than 24 hours ago! The vampire angle was genius.”

Vampires, you say?

Buzz Wire has its own open-plan office filled with nu-media lovelies who get scoops over the television channels, because it’s all about the internet nowadays, someone once told the writers.

And so we are forced to accept that St. John and Beth will become teamed up and fight mysterious crime together. And that friendly vampires are everywhere. And people are interested in vampires but don’t know about them. And goths, called “emos” by the moronic writers, want to murder each other and become like vampires. And vampires. Vampires I tell you. Vampires.

Everything you’d assume a minimal-budget, yet primetime show would do wrong is here. Green-screened driving sequences, tacky beyond belief. Filmed like a soap opera. Incredibly claustrophobic small-set shots. And lots of sweeping, sped-up helicopter shots of cities, because Angel did that so then we’ll look like Angel.

Worst is the miserable attempt to include Whedon-esque banter. It’s just horrible. Everyone comes off sounding deeply smug, rather than witty, ensuring you hate everybody involved. And naturally it’s vital that we see Beth stripped down to her bra twice in the episode, and then drugged by evil men, and rescued by the good man.

Somehow it manages to be worse than cable attrocity Blood Ties, by failing to at least have the decent fight scenes. So naturally it will run for fifteen seasons, despite including narrative dialogue such as,

“Relationships are complicated. Vampire or mortal, that’s one thing we have in common.”

And it finishes with fucking Evanescence.

5 Comments for this entry

  • The Powers That Be

    Ack, you got 2/3 of the way through without mentioning Angel. That’s more than I would have, but still, Angel deserves more than to be mentioned in the same breath as this piece of crap. It is poor, poor, poor. And no, it doesn’t even compare well to Blood Ties; I almost got to the end of the pilot for that, but Moonlight was abandoned after just 30 minutes. Greenwalt did well to jump ship.


  • The_B

    And it finishes with fucking Evanescence.

    I think that pretty much summed it up for me before I read the rest.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    I’m so disappointed. I expected this to be a romantic tale of love blossoming over the course of late-night chats on Citizens Band radio, the transceivers glinting in the lunar reflection through skylights in lonely attic rooms. But it’s just more boring American TV. Bah.

  • Tedi Worrier

    …but no mention of Buffy ((sob)) …nor Willow (((gasp)))

  • mathew

    When I was a kid I really liked Forever Knight. I’ve never seen it as an adult, because I’m scared to shatter the illusion that it was really, really cool.