“ The series follows private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O'Loughlin), who was turned into a vampire by his bride Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon) on the couple's wedding night fifty-five years earlier. In the present day, he struggles with his attraction to a mortal woman, Beth Turner (Sophia Myles), his friendship with Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring), and his dealings with other vampires in Los Angeles. „
About a year ago I had caught a couple of episodes of Moonlight when it was showing on Living TV. Although I enjoyed it, when I moved I couldn't get Virgin so had to settle for Freeview. I was pleased to discover that Virgin were showing this on their self named channel a few months ago and ensured I tuned in to watch.
Moonlight tells the story of Mick St John, a Private Detective who was turned into a vampire in the 1960s by his then wife Coraline. Reporter Beth Turner starts helping Mick with his cases and no matter how hard he tries she just won't go away.
There are some similarities between this show and the much loved Angel, mainly that the lead character is a vampire that saves people but this does have some new ideas and even the similarities become unimportant once you start watching.
Each episode is a story in its own right normally focusing on a crime that needs solving. The crimes do seem a bit lame sometimes, giving the impression that they are just a backdrop and not an essential part of the plot. I do think it's advisable to watch the series from beginning to end as the character development is a very important part of where the story goes.
As the series progresses, so does the relationship between Mick and Beth. It does get a bit weird when we find out Mick rescued Beth from his wife's clutches when she was a child and he has been watching out for her ever since.
Obviously the course of love never does run smoothly especially when one of you is immortal. Just when you think Mick and Beth might be getting somewhere a mysterious woman named Morgan starts working at Beth's office. The strange thing is she looks just like Coraline and Mick becomes obsessed with proving it is her.
Mick is a typical brooding hero; he is dark, mysterious and tortured but wants to save others because he feels he can't save himself. The problem here is that the programme has drastically moved the goalposts regarding vampire legend, so much so that there appears to be no real downfall to being one of the immortal. This does at times mean Mick comes across as a bit of a whinge because why wouldn't he enjoy being one of the undead.
Josef Kostan is one of Mick's oldest friends, at 400 he had much more experience than Mick and seems to relish in the limelight instead of hiding from it. I think Josef is there to give things a lighter feel and although we do get to see he has had his own problems, he is living his life to the full now.
All of this makes for an interesting watch and the show regularly includes flashbacks that give you a taster of what happened without giving away all the detail. These snippets definitely increase the tension and make you eager to find out what will happen.
The special effects are okay but there are times when the blood looks a little to fake and it's obvious the programme didn't have a big enough budget to pull off some of the scenes. The show is set in an American city and some of the night-time shots are quite eye catching but some of the sets especially Beth's office look too much like cardboard cut outs.
Alex O'Loughlin takes the lead as Mick; he does a good job at giving Mick a believable personality with depth and substance. I don't think the show would have succeeded had he not done such a good job.
Beth Turner was also well played by Sophia Myles; her character was sweet without being sickly and she gave her a no nonsense attitude without ever being harsh or insensitive.
Alex and Sophia are at their best when playing opposite each other. They make their will they won't they relationship great fun to watch and even though this continues for some time without answers, it never gets tedious or boring.
The supporting cast added to the great acting of the leads particularly Jason Dohring as Josef and Shannyn Sossamon as Morgan. The only disappointment was Beth's boyfriend josh played by Jordan Belfi; he got a bit annoying and whiney at times and just became a bit annoying.
Disappointingly Series 1 stopped filming due to the 2007 writers strike never resumed. At present there are no plans to continue with the show. By the end of the sixteen episodes that were made the story was getting really interesting as the relationships between the characters had really evolved.
Overall this is a great series that has solid characters with interesting backgrounds, the story gets more intriguing as the show goes on and although there are comparisons to be drawn between this and popular show Angel, this has its own take on mythology and Mick isn't quite as tortured as Angel. The series can be bought for under £10 from Amazon and is a certificate 15.
Moonlight was perhaps around too soon and i've often wondered if it had been made around this current Vampire boom we've been having if it would have stood a better chance. Cancelled after one season Moonlight follows Mick St. John a private investigator who also happens to be a vampire.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in this show is the way it changes the mythology of vampires. It's never stated whether or not these are mythical creatures or products of a virus although it is hinted at. Unlike most these vampires aren't all inherently bad although most do evil things but mostly because they can. Also sunlight doesn't kill them just weaken them over time, stakes to the heart paralyse them and garlic and holy water have no effect.
The main character is very well played by Alex O'Loughlin as is his centuries old best friend Josef. However the rest of the cast is distinctly average including the main female protagonist who is hard to sympathise with. The stories are often clichéd and obvious. One particular stand out is the release of a prisoner the Mick helped put away years ago, now he has to pursue the same man pretending to be the son of the original private eye. It's a shame this show was cancelled so early as i think it had great potential but it's worth the watch on dvd, if only to see what could have been.
In my run of reviews of quirky TV DVDs this was an obvious choice to talk about, as anyone not living under a rock will have seen, everyone loves vampires! Be it Twilight, Blood Ties or True Blood there is a vampy offering for every taste.
So what about the lesser heard vampire shows? This could strictly count as one of them, seeing as it was axed in the US after just one season - which was a shame because this show was a little different.
What Is Moonlight About?
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!
Who's In It?
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 (Think Perez crossed with CNN and you have the general idea - they do the grisly murder news and politics but also celeb gossip). 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?
There are 16 episodes in this first (and sadly only) series. Now currently these are showing on Virgin1 so if you are reading this review before the 23rd November when the last episode airs in the UK and you don't want to know even the tiniest thing about it - don't read! I will be keeping this as always, as spoiler-free as possible.
No Such Thing As Vampires: Vampire P.I. Mick St. John gets a case and heads out to the scene of the crime, where he bumps into reporter Beth Turner who is covering the case and very curious about the 2 bite 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 vampire secret will be revealed and that Beth will run scared.
Dr. Feelgood: 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. Well how was he to know he was a vampire? 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 he outs all of vampirekind?
Fever: When officers protecting a witness are killed Josh is worried there is a leak, he hires Mick to find the witness who has now fled and bring her back safely. In a literally 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 young witness and needing blood, will Mick turn his back on his reformed ways?
Arrested Development: With Mick avoiding Beth they work on two separate cases, a missing daughter and the murder of an online escort. But when the two cases turn out to be linked Mick has no choice but to work together, making for an awkward episode in both the series and their relationship.
B.C: A model dies whilst Beth is filming her 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 a vampire creating drugs from vampire's blood - effectively turning on fellow vampires to harvest it. Watch out for a guest appearance from someone you may just recognise if you're a geek like me (Or just a red blooded male with eyes!).
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 is very distracted because Morgan is a dead ringer for someone.
12:04am: A demented murdered vows to return for revenge moments before he is executed, and when the person that had him sent down 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 to her.
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 and finds out that this isn't the first time she's met her. 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 as hires a professional killer, whom Mick tries to track down whilst discovering that whoever has a grudge against Josef knows that he's a vampire and told the hired killer how to kill him. 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. Will he find a cure to his biggest problem?
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?
Why Should You Watch?
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.
I simply adore Moonlight - i donwloaded the whole series a couple of months ago (when waiting for True Blood) to occupy myself as was travelling with work - I was hooked from the word go!
I now see its playing on Virgin One on Mondays which is fabulous as everyone who likes these sort of vampire programes should give it a chance. Its funny, romantic and sexy with a bit of action thrown in!
So, in summary, Moonlight follows the days (or should I say nights?!) of private investigator Mick St. John, who happens to be a vampire, bitten 60 yrs ago by his rather intense vampire bride (no, he didn't know she was a vampire) as her wedding 'gift' to him! Since then, he has been trying to solve cases and keep the good guys alive and deal with the bad guys in a sometimes rather traditonal vampire way. His love interest, Beth (a news reporter), who he has known since she was little from a kidnap case he investigated, causes him great torment. Can a vampire and mortal truly have a succesful relationship? Will she want to become a vampire? Can he become mortal? Of course there are complications in the way of true love in the form of Beth's current Boyfriend and Mick's ex-wife! Josef, his mentor and best friend also features heavily throughout the series and provides some comic value (although at times a little stilted). What ensues is a series full of 'will they or wont they', vampire stunts and intruiging cases to be solved.
Yes it can be a tad cheesey BUT it is fun, lighthearted & entertaining and a must for any vampire fan!
Sadly though, and I hate to break the terrible news, they are not making anymore after this first series!! I was devastated!!! I wont give away any spoilers but suffice to say they could have gone on for much much longer. Apparently the series had a good loyal following but not enough it terms of quantity to keep it on the air waves - such a shame!
For those who are rather partial to the leading man, Mick St John (Alex O'Loughlin) he will be starring in a couple of films coming out soon. Sadly though, not as a hunky vamp!