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Monday, 30 April 2012

100Things #10 Top 3 Favourite Vampire TV Series

I know that many people can't think of 3 vampire themed TV shows, but choosing just 3 for me was actually really hard. They have their own section on my DVD/Blu-Ray shelves. I'm not saying these are the epitome of the vampire TV show, but these three are my favourites.

Now this is of the era of the colon shows (Poltergeist: The Legacy, Highlander: The Series etc), i.e. the mid to late 1990s. By some it was known as Kindred: The Embarrassed, but I always loved it, still do. I am still looking for the pilot that originally aired in the UK, I am sure it was longer and had more footage than the one on the DVD.

This show is based on Whitewolf's Vampire the Masquerade, well know to many role playing fans. I myself once role played a Malkavian vampire who thought she was a Jedi, but who had an alternative personality that thought she was a Sith. It was so much fun :).

Okay, back to the show. I am a huge fan of C.Thomas Howell to start with so having him in a lead role was brilliant and Mark Frankel was superb as Julian Luna. I really think the show could have gone somewhere given a chance, but alas, it was before vampires were really popular. Thinking about it, now would be a really good time to relaunch it :).

It's set in San Francisco, where Julian is the Prince of the City, i.e. he's the head vampire. There are different clans of vampire all represented on the Primogen council that Julian rules: Ventrue, Nosferatu, Brujah, Gangrel and Toreador. Different clans have different traits, in the series this boils down to:

  • Ventrue = bankers, lawers, accountants, big bosses
  • Nosferatu = look like monsters, keep to the shadows, are the sage like characters
  • Brujah = the mob
  • Gangrel = street gangs
  • Toreador = artists, musicians and everything enterainment

The Masquerade is the most important thing to all vampires; the way they pretend to be human. Breaking the Masquerade and allowing humans to find out is the worst crime.

The series follows Frank Kohanek, a detective in the police department as he finds out and comes to understand Kindred. He ends up mixed up in Kindred politics as there is a struggle between the Ventrue and the Brujah to rule the city. I love this series because it has layers. The Kindred are all out to play their own game and they are thinking several moves ahead and yet they all have their failings too. I wish there had been more episodes.

This is one of those British shows that should have had a second series and never got one. It starts with Mike (Jack Davenport) uncovering and being recruited by a secret government organisation after his best friend Jack (Stephen Moyer) disappears the night before his wedding in mysterious circumstances. This organisation deals with all things vampire.

The organisation is run by Pearse (Philip Quast), a Roman Catholic priest and on the same team are Angela (Susannah Harker), a scientist and Rice (Idris Elba), a soldier. They hunt vampires using scientific methods and specially developed weaponry.

Jack has been turned into a vampire and the vampires are also interested in Kirsty, Jack's fiance, who Mike's more than a little bit in love with and who the vampires want to use to get to him. The series is full of relationships and interaction, but it never loses sight of the whole vampire mess either.

I love it because Jack Davenport is sexy as hell, the whole vampire idea is looked at in a different, scientific way, and it's beautifully encapsulated in a dramatic, exciting series. Well worth watching.

Forever Knight

This was made at the same time as the colon series (see above) and I never did get to see more than a handful of episodes while it was actually airing. This did not stop me from being part of the fandom any more than not being able to see Highlander stopped me. I was never as into it as Highlander, but I watched the fandom and read the fic.

These were the days when entire fandoms consisted of a couple of mailing lists and the odd web page :).

I first saw this in made for TV movie form called Midnight Cop in 1991. Rick Springfield played Nick Knight, the vampire turned cop, trying to become human and make up for his previous life of killing. I loved that film to pieces and when they made the series I so wanted to see it. Mostly I could only devour episode write ups and fanfic. In those days some very dedicated individuals would describe whole eps scene by scene for those of us who couldn't get our hands on it.

You have not lived until you have tried to watch an episode of a vampire show that is dark to begin with when it has been converted from NTSC to PAL and then copied three times. You youngsters have no idea how good you have it ;P.

The first episode is basically all about Nick's maker LaCroix trying to turn him back to being a proper vampire, while Nick tries to find out who is killing homeless people in the city. Along with this we meet Janette, another of LaCroix's children who runs a nightclub in the city and Natalie Lambert, the pathologist who is trying to help Nick become human again.

Nick does get a little whiny at times, but there are three series of eps and lots of fun to be had with this show. It has a special place in my heart. Just, word of advice, never, ever, ever watch the last ep of series 3. If there was a how to on how not to end a series, this would be the example. I think they were hoping for renewal, unfortunately then never got it so the blasphemy remains unfixed.

1 comment:

  1. Ultraviolet is a wonderful series. Philip Quast said he felt it was a victim of a change of regime within Channel 4. Regardless of what was said since, a econd series was definitely on the cards beforre that and all the cast were keen. Not surprised, it was very well written.

    And Philip was sexy as hell too...priest or no priest. Are you aware that he is a huge legend ion theatre...musicals especially....his 'Javert' from Les Mis is on Youtube and regarded as definitive by many.


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