tek's rating: ½

Midnight, Texas, NBC
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Caution: spoilers.

This is based on a series of books I haven't read, by Charlaine Harris, who also wrote the books upon which True Blood was based. (I haven't read those books, either, and only had the chance to see the very beginning of that TV series, though I certainly hope to see the whole series someday.) Anyway, I thought the first episode of this series was kind of "meh," but I became increasingly interested in the story as the series progressed.

Season One
A psychic/medium named Manfred Barnardo is on the run from someone named Hightower. Manfred can communicate with the dead, and his late grandmother, Xylda, (who was also a psychic while alive) advises him to go to a town called Midnight, Texas. When he gets there, he finds the town is a sort of sanctuary for various people who are either supernatural or have abilities in that realm. (Though I guess most of the town's inhabitants are just regular people.) There's a vampire (and former slave) named Lemuel Bridger, who has the ability to drain, I guess, like, emotional energy, rather than blood. (Though he can also drain blood, it's a habit he gave up long ago.) His lover is a woman named Olivia Charity, and while she's an ordinary human, she's also a deadly assassin. There's a Wiccan named Fiji Cavanaugh, who is in love with a normal man named Bobo Winthrop, whose fiancee, Aubrey, was murdered sometime prior to the start of the series. While Bobo was briefly the prime suspect, it turns out that Aubrey was secretly married to a white supremacist (and member of a biker gang called the Sons of Lucifer) named Peter Lowry, whom Bobo now believes killed her. Meanwhile, Fiji is his best friend, and she's reluctant to reveal her true feelings to him. There's a human waitress named Creek Lovell (Sarah Ramos), who soon starts a relationship with Manfred, but they must keep it secret because of her father, Shawn's distrust of Manfred (and general overprotectiveness of Creek). She also has a teenage brother named Connor. The town's reverend is Emilio Sheehan, who turns out to be (I shit you not) a weretiger. There's also a guy named Joe Strong, who is secretly a fallen angel, who is married to a guy named Chuy. Oh, and I guess I should mention that Fiji has a talking cat named Mr. Snuggly, whom she inherited from her Aunt Mildred.

Well, there seem to be episodic "stories of the week," while each episode also advances the show's mythology by small increments. It seems the veil between this world and the spiritual world is thin in Midnight, and it's getting thinner. And somehow this is drawing various supernatural beings to the town. Which is problematic on a number of levels. The townsfolk will have to deal with these creatures one way or another, while also trying to avoid drawing too much attention to themselves, as the police from a nearby city already don't trust the Midnighters. And of course many of the main characters have issues from their pasts that complicate things. And it's not long before we learn that a powerful demon is calling out to Fiji through the ever-thinning veil, and he plans to eventually claim her for himself. Which, naturally, freaks her out. (We eventually learn the demon's name is Colconnar.) Throughout the ten-episode season, various problems are resolved, including Hightower's pursuit of Manfred. And Aubrey's murder is solved (in an episode that makes a previously superfluous-seeming character turn out to be much more important than I originally thought). Bobo and Fiji eventually get together. And in the finale, the Midnighters finally defeat Colconnar. And... I've left out a few major plot developments that I don't feel the need to spoil.

Well, a couple of new plot threads are set up in the finale that seem to be setting up the second season. There's a character named Madonna Reed, whom I never mentioned because she seemed like a background character, with very few lines and little if any importance to the story, aside from the fact that she owns the restaurant where Creek works. (I discovered online that she's played by Kellee Stewart, whom I knew from My Boys, though I somehow never recognized her while watching this show. In fact, some of the main characters are also played by actors I failed to recognize, despite having seen them in other things.) But at the end of the season, Madonna makes a suspicious phone call, which appears to set up one of the plot threads I mentioned (though it's likely related to a plot thread that had been dealt with earlier in the season, it's not something I ever would have suspected she would turn out to be involved with). The other new plot thread involves the arrival of a character named Melanie Pratt, who works for a company called Albany Worldwide, which has just bought and begun renovating a long-abandoned hotel in Midnight. So that would presumably lead to both increased (and unwanted) tourism in the town, and more problems of all sorts. Anyway... I guess I liked the show well enough to have some interest in checking out the next season.

Season Two
Well, we don't see any more of Melanie this season, but the hotel has been turned into a healing spa called Crystal Desert. It's run by a guy named Kai Lucero (Nestor Carbonell) and his wife, Patience (Jaime Ray Newman). Kai has the ability to heal people with physical problems that should be unfixable, and it also turns out he has the ability to remove "monster energy" from, you know, monsters, thereby turning them human. Reverend Sheehan has Kai do this for him in the third episode, and leaves town. Later in the season, Lem gets Kai to turn him human, as well... though that doesn't last, for reasons I won't get into. Anyway, at the end of the first episode, Creek moves to Austin, to get away from all the dangerous supernatural stuff that goes on in Midnight. Manfred is upset to lose her, but it doesn't take long for him to start having an affair with Patience. Meanwhile, Fiji eventually learns that there's a curse on her family, which will result in the death of anyone who loves them. This puts Bobo in mortal danger, so she breaks up with him, but he isn't willing to let her go. And Joe starts demon-hunting with a guy named Walker Chisum, but Joe doesn't tell Chuy about this. And Joe eventually cheats on Chuy with Walker. As for Madonna, it turns out she had been sent to Midnight by Olivia's father, to spy on her. When Olivia finds out about this, she tells Madonna to leave town. I should also mention a pizza delivery boy named Basil... who turns out to be much more than he seems, but I won't spoil the details of that.

Of course there are various stories-of-the-week, as well as a season-long story arc. For most of the season, the Midnighters are suspicious of Kai, whom Manfred discovers is hiding a demonic head in a space behind a painting. Kai has also been storing the monster energy he extracts from anyone who wanted it extracted (something he'd been doing since long before coming to Midnight). In fact, the reason he and Patience came to Midnight was because of how many supernatural folks lived there. All of this ties in to things that happened like 800 years ago, when dark magic was first created. (I guess prior to that, there was only light magic.) I don't really want to spoil what the evil plan is in the present, or any details of what happened in the past, but I will say that there's a light witch named Delilah (Jaime Murray), who has been trapped in a painting for 800 years. Manfred wants to release her, so she can help stop the evil in the present. The Midnighters also get some help from a light witch named Addie. And of course the good guys win in the end, but there are lots of major losses throughout the season.

Well, the finale once again sets up some more changes for the town and its residents, as well as giving us a glimpse of a new threat. So... I'd be interested in seeing what happens next, but alas, the series was cancelled. I mean, it's not a great loss, because I still think the show was just okay. But I'm at least a little disappointed it won't get a third season.


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