Moonlight: Out of the Past

Josef: "Humans don't know how to properly deal with their bad guys."

As I've said before, I fully acknowledge that Moonlight is derivative. But it's derived from lots of stuff I love, sort of like fantasy show smorgasbord. A little Angel, some Forever Knight, a touch of Highlander, my favorite actor from Veronica Mars. There's even a reckless girl reporter who gets into constant trouble, so you can add Superman to the list. And most importantly, Moonlight has star-crossed Buffy-ish romance, and I'm a sucker for that. Mick is a monster who saved the life of a little girl twenty-two years ago and has watched over her ever since. That's basic beauty and the beast. Very romantic. Not stalker-like at all.

I'm not a fan of the non-supernatural detective genre, though, and the plot of this one was only okay. I'll admit that Lee Jay deliberately putting his head through a window was startling, and the way he was constantly shocking and framing Mick did its job of making our vampire lead look helpless and human. But shouldn't Lee Jay have considered that killing the author of the book that got him out of prison might, you know, give his true self away? I also thought it would have been more suspenseful if they had cast a mild-mannered looking actor as Lee Jay, instead of one that looked like a serial killer, right down to the maniacal eyes.

But the detective plot wasn't the point. This episode was about Mick, and Lee Jay was there for contrast. Lee Jay was a human being who reveled in being a monster, while Mick is a monster who has chosen to be a good human being. In this episode, Beth saved Mick's un-life and saw him at his most vulnerable: weak, helpless, even hideous. And now she knows. I liked that we didn't have to wait through a season of angst for her to know. Especially since this series turned out to be regrettably short.

(I thought Alex O'Loughlin did a good job with that final scene. Not great, but good. It's a hard scene to sell.)

For me, the biggest reason why I liked Moonlight from the beginning is the cast. I got so into Alex O'Loughlin in the space of five minutes that I rented his Australian movies. He is such a hot property that the suits are still trying to find the right vehicle for him; since Moonlight went under just two years ago, he's starred in the failed Three Rivers and is about to do the reboot of Hawaii Five-0. I don't do cop shows, but Hawaii Five-O is going to co-star Daniel Dae Kim from Lost (and Angel!), so I'll definitely try it.

I like Sophia Myles a lot, too. She makes Beth a more dimensional character than she actually is: smart, enthusiastic, open to possibilities, intrigued by darkness. She got the best line in the episode ("Why does the girl always have to wait in the car?"), and hey, she didn't wait in the car. I liked the matter-of-fact way she told her friend the cop that she was the one who killed Lee Jay, too.

And of course, Jason Dohring is a blast, even though Josef is essentially what Logan Echolls would have been if he were a four hundred year old vampire. Loved the eighties Duran Duran flashback and the conversation in the Disney Hall parking lot.

As to what doesn't work for me, I wonder if the real problem with Moonlight was that they toned down the vampire stuff a bit too much? And Alex did his best with the white eyes and fangs, but they never quite felt right. And I think what I just wrote was contradictory. But I'm going with it, anyway.

Bites:

— A stake paralyzes vamps in this 'verse, but doesn't kill them. And they can be photographed with digital cameras, but not with the old-type silver emulsion technology, which is a nice touch.

— Beth's cool boyfriend, Josh the ADA, is already suspicious that he has a romantic rival. Probably because Beth was moaning "Mick" in her sleep.

— Loved the bookcase in Mick's apartment. And the fireplace.

— This episode was written by producer David Greenwalt of Buffy/Angel fame.

— Mick: "If I hadn't become a vampire, I would have missed out on the Internet, TiVo, World of Warcraft, and GPS."

Better than the pilot. Two and a half out of four rounds of silver buckshot,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

3 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

Much better than the pilot, definitely, even though there were some gaping holes in the detective-story holes. (Gunshot residue, anyone?)

"Jason Dohring is a blast, even though Josef is essentially what Logan Echolls would have benn if he were a four hundred year old vampire." This sentence? It's just one of the many examples of why you're my reviewing role model.

I think we can add Supernatural to the smorgasbord, too: that shot from the trunk of the car just as a character said "We go hunting" was pure Sam and Dean to me.

Billie Doux said...

Actually, I cribbed myself with that Jason Dohring comment. I noticed what I said about him in 2007, and was lazy enough to repeat it. :)

I missed a chance to mention Supernatural? What's wrong with me?

Patryk said...

It definately got better and better with each episode.