Moonlight (2007)
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Moonlight (2007)

With all of the variations possible for a subject in a romantic story one the least like has to be the vampire. After all they are dead and have a perchance for sucking the blood out of people. Then there is that whole sleeping in a coffin all day long. Some women may rationalize that their boyfriends or husbands drink and lie around the house all day so a vampire might be a step up since at least he would take her out at night. Vampires weren’t always the go to guy for a romantic drama. In 1922 one of the seminal movies about vampires was released, ‘Nosferatu’ featuring Max Schreck as the vampire. He was barely human with a bald misshapen head, long protruding fangs and slender fingers ending in overly long, sharp nails. Even after last call at the local bar no woman would find this creature remotely appealing. Less than a decade later Bela Lugosi helped to change the image of the vampire into a more suave and sophisticated creature; one of good taste and worldly. He wore full evening attire and was smooth. Then vampires got a major make over with the Dracula as depicted in 1979 by Frank Langella. He had the ladies wowed with his sexy forbearance and pleasant façade. Television was not to be left behind in this trend. In 1989 Geraint Wyn Davies played a troubled vampire trying to fit into the human world in ‘Forever Knight’. More recently vampires have become full out romantic idols in the teen girl oriented film ‘Twilight’ and the HBO series ‘True Blood’. Even the regular broadcast television network had a brief dalliance with vampires such as the series under consideration here ‘Moonlight’. This series took a strong idea and was just beginning to discover its tempo when it became another victim of the dreaded 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike. This prevented the show from realizing the potential it held. Many had complained that the series was too episodic and predictable but towards the end of its 16 episode run it had begun to develop multi episode arcs that unfortunately will now never be fulfilled. There was some talk that CBS would add a few new episodes that would complete the first season but the show soon was officially cancelled. At least Warner Brothers stepped up to the plate with sufficient respect for the fan base and released the series’ aired episodes on DVD.

The series was created by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson. Koslow already had some experience in the strange romance on television department thanks to his writing work on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ back in the eighties. If a woman could be swept away but an physically ugly man-beast that lived underground a handsome vampire was no problem at all. Munson was new to the trade at this point. In the basic story the vampire in question was Mick St. John, nicely played by Alex O'Loughlin. He worked as a private investigator looking into crimes that typically the police couldn’t be bothered to investigate. The main human woman in his life, so to speak, was Beth Turner (Sophia Myles). She was employed by an online news site, Buzzwire, as an investigative reporter. During the course of her assignments she noticed that Mick seemed to always be one step ahead of her. Since there is nothing that can supplant a romantic triangle for sexual tension we have one here. Beth’s fiancé is Josh Lindsey (Jordan Belfi) who works in the Distinct Attorney’s office. He is in a bad position since Beth’s investigations frequently parallel his and he is unable to talk about an ongoing case. Josh also becomes jealous and increasingly suspicious of all the time Beth spends with Mick although she claims he is just a friend and a source. Mick’s best friend and confidant is Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring). He is over four hundred years old and is a rich and influential in the vampire hierarchy. Josef is somewhat amused by Mick’s refusal to accept all that being a vampire can offer and worried about his endless quest to find a ‘cure’ and return to being human. Josef lives in luxury with many human and vampire servants and usually a few beautiful young women he invites over for a ‘drink’.

One of the worse memories Mick has concerns how he became a vampire. In the 1950’s he was working for a resort hotel in a minor capacity when he meet the alluring Coraline Duvall (Shannyn Sossamon). They quickly fall in love and get married. On their wedding night Coraline reveals that she is a three hundred year old vampire and turns Mick. They become estranged and finally she goes insane kidnapping a young human girl. Mick is tortured by the thought of what Coraline will do and rescues the girl. In the process he set the house on fire to trap and kill Coraline. As it turns out that little girl was Beth. The series began too move full steam ahead when Coraline reappears and apparently has the cure for vampirism.

Mick is reminiscent of the old private eyes of the forties. This gave the series a little film noir feel to it. Like most vampire love stories Mick is filled with angst. He is falling in love with Beth but she is unattainable for two reasons; she is happily engaged to another man and that old vampire thing. Initially Beth suspects that there is something very different about Mick. She also has a nagging feeling that she knew him from somewhere else; unaware that he saved her decades ago. Beth is by nature nosey, something that has made her Buzzwire’s most valuable reporter and she can’t help it and has to poke into Mick’s life. When she finds an old photo of a Mick St. John she questions him and he tries to convince her it was his father. Eventually the secret gets out and Beth becomes aware of Mick’s true nature. In one episode Mick is trapped in the desert and is so weaken by the sun that he is about to die. Beth saves him by offering him her own blood. In another episode a rouge vampire is using vampire blood as a drug Beth takes a taste and wants Mick to turn her. Mick’s superhuman strength, speed and agility often are used to get Beth out of danger giving the show a little ‘Lois Lane’ always in trouble feel. Over all the stories were getting interesting with the return of Coraline and the quest for Mick’s humanity but it was just at that point that the series was cancelled.

This was a strong contender in the all import 18 to 49 demographic and for good reason. The fundamental premise was strong and the romance just cheesy enough to work out well. Considering some of the terrible so called reality shows that seem harder to kill than the undead it is a shame this series is gone. While a lot is left up in the air after the 16 episodes here this is still something that will provide strong entertainment.

Posted 12/21/08

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