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Moonlight: No Such Thing as Vampires

“The food is mouthing off about the farmer.”

Due to popular demand—and our first annual Vampire Month—Billie and I are going to alternate reviews of Moonlight. We drew straws, and I wound up with the pilot. Once I looked it up on Netflix, though, I realized something. Something important. I’ve actually seen this episode before. I just forgot all about it.

Why? Well, the pilot isn’t that great. It does the necessary work of introducing us to all the major characters as well as the probable season-long arc of Mick’s vampire ex-wife. It has some great location shots, and the actors are beautiful people. But it also seems highly derivative: Mick, our hero, seems to have recovered Angel’s car from the alley behind the Hyperion, as well as his PI license; Beth, our heroine, looks frighteningly like Elizabeth Rohm; Kevin Wiseman is the gadget guy, just like on Alias. Even Jason Dohring’s Josef didn’t do much for me, and I love Jason Dohring.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) is a 90-year-old vampire PI in Los Angeles. He’s on the wagon and lives off “retail blood” that he gets from his vampire-guy at the morgue. He also has been stalking—but not in a creepy way—Beth, whom he rescued from his ex-wife’s clutches back in the eighties. Beth is played by Sophie Myles, who was the titular "Girl in the Fireplace" in Season Two Doctor Who, in which she was stalked—but not in a creepy way—by an immortal PI... I mean, um, Time Lord.

Mick and Beth start to develop a relationship during their first shared case, the disappearance of a Hearst College student. (I guess Veronica Mars was busy this week.) Beth, a reporter for BuzzWire, is pursuing the story to further her career, and out of the goodness of her heart. Mick is pursuing the case to please Josef, the oldest vampire in LA (which seems to give him say-so over Mick’s life), to protect Beth, and to cover for vampires everywhere.

Those vampires need help because the victim appears to have been bitten by a vampire, and belonged to a school-sanctioned vampire cult run by a professor who has managed to keep his tenure despite sleeping with his students and sharing his blood with them. Oh, and he holds a study group in the boiler room. (What college still has a boiler room?) The surprise twist, of course, is that the grad student did it. This is not really a surprise, as the grad student is always the bad guy. Who can trust those smart-alecky wannabes with no apparent jobs?

Snark aside, I’m not dreading this summer reviewing project. I suspect the show will get better, because people seem to like it so very much. It does a great job with the noir atmosphere, and all the actors have lots of promise. I assume it’s a case-of-the-week kind of thing, yes? Well, I guess we’ll find out.


• Mythical anthropology? What is that, exactly?

• Mick on the roof. He’s good on roofs.

• The girl was laid out in the fountain by the Pacific Design Center, so “Murder on Melrose” actually would have been accurate. And the detective that Beth talked to was eating at a restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. near Robertson, which isn’t far from there, and is almost across the street from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station.

• In this universe, vampires like garlic, are visible in mirrors, aren’t scared of crucifixes, and can only be killed by a flamethrower or decapitation. Sunlight makes them weak, but they won’t explode. And they sleep in freezers. Or maybe that’s just Mick’s thing.

• Did the professor look familiar? He was Dracula in "Buffy vs. Dracula." (Thanks, Billie!)

And Pieces:

• Mick: “When I was turned into a vampire, all my senses were heightened to eleven.” And then my drummer friends spontaneously combusted.

• The Wife: “He can be very charming. Like a snake.” I am not easily charmed by snakes. But I do have issues. I admit that.

• The Professor: “We have all fed on blood... in the womb, our first meal is blood. We feed in darkness. There is no time. There’s no life; there’s no death. It is a perfect world, seemingly everlasting—until we are ripped from the womb into daylight. When we are born, that paradise is lost. And we spend the rest of our days trying to find our way back, back to that perfect world, of blood and darkness.” Freud, gone wrong. Which is, like, wrong squared.

• Josef: “I know you have morals and scruples, and that’s fine.” Actually, I’m tempted to quote Josef’s and Mick’s entire conversation in Mick’s apartment.

Two out of four grad students.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Nothing can keep you guys away from vampire shows! ;)

    I love all those links in the review, no need to explain all the references this way. That's something that should stay.

  2. Actually, I’m tempted to quote Josef’s and Mick’s entire conversation in Mick’s apartment. Yes, I agree. My favorites were "What is it, like nonfat soy vegan blood?" and the bit about the Snoop Dogg chalice.

    Nice review, Josie. It's going to be fun tagteam reviewing another show with you.


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