Mid­night, teXas

Veil threats

SFX - - Contents -

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?”

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