From the makers of True Blood, another excursion into Charlaine Harris’s America.
UK Broadcast Syfy UK, finished US Broadcast NBC, finished Episodes Reviewed 1.01-1.10
although Midnight, Texas is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris – whose Southern Vampires series inspired True Blood – comparing the two shows is a pretty pointless exercise. Sure, they both contain supernatural beasts, but so do Buffy, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf and Being Human. Tonally it’s like neither True Blood’s intense and icky early years, or the camp carnival splatterfest of later years.
Instead, Midnight, Texas fills a Grimm-shaped hole; network-friendly, adult-aimed, gore-free supernatural horror. The trouble with sanitising supernatural horror is that you need to replace the gore with something. The teen shows tend to go for a bit of relationship angst. Buffy also added wit. Grimm went for a police procedural approach. Midnight, Texas doesn’t seem to have worked out how to fill the gap. It’s affable. It’s watchable. But it’s far from appointment TV.
The central schtick is that on-the-run psychic Manfredo and his gravity-defying quiff take refuge in Midnight, Texas on the advice of his dead grandma (she still chats to him, you see). Midnight is a tiny town where many locals are supernaturals laying low: a priest who’s also a weretiger; a vampire; a fallen angel; a demon; a witch. There’s also an assassin. Just because. Everyone in town seems to have a dark secret, too – so much so that you wouldn’t be surprised if the barmaid turned out to be a Martian. Oh, and the town is on a Hellmouth, though for legal reasons it’s called a “weakness in the veil between worlds”.
All of which sounds promisingly quirky, but the show plays things straight. The characters are likeable enough, but none of them really grab your attention. Assassin Olivia shows spunky promise, which fades as the season goes on. The dialogue occasionally zings but settles for bland functionality.
While the show seems unable to work out if it’s a serial or monster-of-the-week affair, the season finale delivers an actionpacked, stylish and good-looking conclusion. It’s just enough to make you hope a second season might find its groove. Dave Golder
“Fancy a slippery nipple?”