Vampires are big news in the film and TV world and have been for some time, from the teenage sap of Twilight to the R-rated raunch of True Blood there seems to be something for everyone. But what if you’ve watched all the big hitters and still need a vampy fix? Well in that case there’s Moonlight, a vampire show that is a little different from the rest – which may well be why it only lasted one season before getting the axe.
The show focuses on a private investigator in Los Angeles, Mick St. John. However there is a difference to this crime show, our leading man is a vampire. You’d possibly think that this could get in the way of his work, but he always cracks the case. Vampires in this show’s reality are very fast, can jump great distances and can smell things a police sniffer dog could never trace – good qualities in a P.I. When not working Mick spends most of his time with his vampire friend Josef or with the woman of his dreams Beth, a mortal – now if only he could stop being scared for long enough to tell her how he feels. Moonlight is about Mick and his life, his loves, and who in the world he’s going to stop the two colliding together and being destroyed. Not that he ever has much time to think about this, Mick is one of the most highly regarded P.I’s in town, and is called on a lot by both vampires and mortals to help solve cases the cops haven’t been about to solve – all the while trying to protect the secret that vampires exist. Easy life right?
Vampire Conventions in Moonlight
So what are the rules for vampires in Moonlight? As we all know the traditional rules aren’t always followed and Moonlight is no exception. So here are the rules pertaining to Moonlight:
-A sire as always is the vampire that turns another. However here a large onus is on the sire teaching the fledgling vampire how to live as one. This is imperative to ensure the secret of vampires existence does not become public knowledge.
-Daylight does not kill vampires outright; there is no bursting into dust at dawn or lighting on fire (Like in the fantastic vamp flick Near Dark). However sunlight does weaken vampires and too much will reduce them to a state near death that only blood can recover them from.
-Silver and fire will kill vampires, but holy water and crucifixes won’t. Also as for the garlic thing, even they think it tastes good on pizza.
-A stake will not kill a vampire, but it will paralyse them.
-They can see and hear insanely well due to heightened abilities; they can also jump great heights and run so fast we should have them on an Olympic team.
-They have a pulse and are not cold-blooded, but they do need to keep themselves cool as much as possible to prevent decomposition. This is why Mick sleeps in a freezer.
-Due to the advent of digital camera’s they can now be photographed as the process no long requires silver. Hence why they can also see themselves in mirrors, no silver in those!
This show does have a lot of characters, but the series essentially is based around 3 main characters with others in supporting roles that pop up frequently.
Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin): The vampire P.I. He leads a double life that isn’t simple. He is always solving a case and doesn’t seem to know to take a holiday once in a while. Mick, unlike many other vampires, doesn’t go out to feed. In fact he has been trying to stay clean and instead gets blood from the hospital morgue where a fellow vampire supplies him with all he needs. At less than 100 years old Mick is a youngster compared to some, and he still holds a slight obsession for his wife Coraline who turned him on their wedding night. But his heart belongs to Beth, the mortal reporter he has known for quite some time, even though they only meet in the first episode.
Beth Turner (Sophia Myles): Beautiful, independent and determined, Beth works for online news company BuzzWire. Craving a serious journalistic career she gets involved with Mick, helping him to solve cases with her less than legal contacts and scooping top stories for her and the website. The connection between her and Mick is very clear from the start, though she does wonder why he’s only about at night. She is very much attracted to him; however she is in a long term relationship with Josh.
Josh Lindsay (Jordan Belfi): Beth’s long term boyfriend, he wants more than Beth will give him. They haven’t even moved in together which everyone claims is strange. He works at the D.A (district attorney) office and gets rather annoyed that every time he’s dealing with a case, Mick gets there first, but otherwise he likes our vampire lead. Josh is a good man with strong morals who wants to protect both the city and Beth.
Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring): You may recognise this face from Entourage or Veronica Mars, but this for me is his stand out role. Josef is a young, rich businessman who is also a vampire. He doesn’t hold the same morals as Mick but he is good friends with him, often helping him when need be, and often yelling at him because the secret that vampires exist is going to get out if Mick doesn’t fix something. Though smug, amoral and rich you will love Josef because he is the funniest character in the show – every line is dripping with wit or dark humour. Josef my not be an out and out good guy but he’s also not a villain, which is one of the things that makes him gloriously fun.
Coraline Duvall (Shannyn Sossamon): Seductive, sexy, and just a wee bit crazy. Coraline turned Mick on their wedding night and since then she has done some horrific things, including trying to keep her husband (After turning him) by kidnapping a child. She is around 300 years old and was a courtesan in France. The story goes that Coraline is dead, but seeing as no-one ever saw the ashes, who can really tell?
No Such Thing as Vampires: Vampire P.I. Mick St. John heads out to the scene of the crime on his latest case, where he bumps into reporter Beth Turner who is covering the story and very curious about the marks on the victim’s neck.
Out Of The Past: An enemy from Mick’s past is freed from prison and charms the media with a book he has written, but there’s a hidden agenda that Mick is determined to find out. In the meantime he has to worry that his secret will be revealed and that Beth will run scared.
Dr. Feel-good: In a classic case of no good deed going unpunished, a man who stops to help someone hit by a car is fed on and accidentally turned by the very man he was trying to help. Now the problem is without an elder vampire to guide and teach them, new vampires tend to go completely blood-lust crazy. Will Mick and Beth be able to stop the fledgling vampire before someone finds out?
Fever: When the officers protecting a witness are killed Josh worries there is a leak and hires Mick to find the witness who fled and bring her back safely. In an explosive episode we have guns, bombs, car chases and a vampire who has had far too much exposure to sunlight. Stuck in the desert with just the witness and in need, will Mick turn his back on his reformed ways?
Arrested Development: Mick and Beth work on two separate cases, a missing daughter and the murder of an online escort. But when the cases turn out to be linked Mick has no choice but to work with Beth, making for an awkward episode in both the series and their relationship.
B.C: A model dies whilst Beth is filming for Buzzwire while Mick searches for someone for Josef. What she finds is that the model died from an overdose of new hot drug Black Crystal, and Mick finds the creator and is shocked to realise they’ve turned their back on their own. Watch out for a guest appearance from someone you may just recognise.
The Ringer: Beth gets a new photographer, Morgan, who after taking photos of a fire at a building has her camera stolen. So who do they hire but good old Mick, but he’s distracted by how familiar Morgan looks to him.
12:04am: A murderer vows to return for revenge moments before he is executed, and when the person who got him convicted starts receiving death threats Beth takes her to Mick for safety. Is it the crazed cult of followers the murderer amassed that are sending these threats or has he really kept his words? While at Mick’s keeping the witness safe Beth comes across some very important information that links back to a traumatic episode in Beth’s childhood and the reason why Mick has always seemed familiar.
Fleur De Lis: Mick’s obsession with who he thinks Morgan is moves to the next level in this episode, when he hires her for a case of infidelity that becomes so much more because his mind isn’t fully on the job. Beth digs into Morgan’s past to find out more. There is anger and violence in a long awaited showdown for Beth, but has she just done something very stupid?
Sleeping Beauty: Someone doesn’t like Josef and hires a hitman. Mick tries to track down them down before they manage to complete their task. Meanwhile, the victim of Beth’s rage lies near death in hospital.
Love Lasts Forever: The hospital is missing a patient while Josh has been kidnapped by a drug lord’s associates. Though the police try to stop them it’s Beth and Mick who will have to rush to his aid before it’s too late, with Beth asking Mick to do the unthinkable to save Josh.
The Mortal Cure: Beth is distraught and can’t understand Mick’s previous actions, but is distracted when she finds evidence because she thinks she wasn’t the only woman in Josh’s life. Mick starts a search for our missing hospital patient, and to find out what cured them.
Fated To Pretend: Buzzwire’s editor and Beth’s friend is murdered and our duo are in hot pursuit of the killer. Beth and Mick’s relationship is having troubles and Mick has to give up his dream to save his love.
Click: Mick plays bodyguard to a wealthy young actress being hounded by the paparazzi as Beth deals with her new editor – a man who wouldn’t know the meaning of the word integrity even if you put a dictionary in front of him. When the actress apparently commits suicide both Mick and Beth suspect foul play.
What’s Left Behind: When a child is kidnapped from his bedroom Beth is asked to look into it as it appears to be linked to cases she has followed. Mick also gets involved and discovers he may know a lot more about the case than he thought.
Sonata: In the final episode a college athlete is murdered and it turns out that a vampire is to blame. The vampire surprisingly threatens to expose vampires to the world if Mick doesn’t get him out of jail. Will Mick do wrong in order to help the greater good?
Is it any good?
You should watch because this is a different take on the vampire obsession currently gripping film and TV around the globe. This isn’t just for vampire fans, murder mystery lovers should get a kick out of the show too as there are cases, both short and long running, that need to be figured out and you can join in with solving whilst watching. This isn’t like some shows where you know why the crime happened and who did it, we are as much in the dark as the characters themselves.
Now as anyone who watched Angel will know, the crime-fighting vampire theme can be made ridiculously cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Angel but I think we can all agree it wasn’t always the most serious of shows. Moonlight has managed to be of the same genre but without the cringe-inducing cheesiness that would ruin the atmosphere of the show and undermine the entire story.
Also, if you find True Blood (Another of my TV loves) a bit too much for you on the sex, violence and bad language, you may appreciate Moonlight. It is a lot less visceral and so perfect for vampire fans of a more sensitive disposition – or teens/kids that you don’t want watching anything filthier. It’s a big step up on Twilight though as this is designed for adults so I wouldn’t suggest you have your 10 year old watch it unless they are very mature for their age.
Though this isn’t my absolute favourite vampire show it is in the top 3, it is well written and stomps on some of the popular vampire conventions – such as that you can kill a vampire with a stake, that sunlight makes them explode instantly, and that there is no cure. There are good plots regarding the criminal cases and murder mysteries, and I love the modern fast camerawork and panning used to make the show seem even more fast paced than it already is – they pack an amazing amount into what is essentially about 42 minutes sans advertisements. I love that these vampires are wonderfully up to date, using all of the current gadgets with ease and even joking that had they not been turned they would have missed out on such delights as “The internet, TIVO” and shockingly “World of Warcraft”. Suave sophisticated vampires it seems are not immune from the rapidly spreading obsession that is WoW! Even Guitar Hero gets some airtime on this show, with a particularly techie minded vampire spending most of his screen time playing it until someone forces him to do some work.
All of this just adds to the appeal of the show for me, it’s vampires but not as we know them – they love gadgets, have big modern homes and don’t sleep in coffins. And if even a hardened vampire lover (You should see the amount of old vampire movies I have) like me can enjoy this, then I think this could be a good show for those who aren’t as obsessed too.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Moonlight manages to take on a similar concept as Angel, without turning too cheesy. It’s a shame only one season was ever made but it’s still enjoyable to watch.