Midnight, Texas S01E01 Review – Pilot

What with ‘The Vampire Diaries’ now finished and ‘Supernatural’ having stopped giving a shit around 7 series ago, American television has been suffering from a supernatural show dark age, hence ‘Midnight Texas’, a supernatural show about a load of supernatural goings on in a small town in Texas. Usually, I’d be all over a series like this but it does
suffer from one, glaring flaw, it’s not very good.

Midnight, Texas shows what can happen when the last 20 years of supernatural TV culture in morphed together into one, flabby blob and what we get is a boring mess filled with uninspiring characters and doesn’t have an original bone in it’s body. The plot starts off well, but goes down from there.

Manfred Bernardo (Francois Arnaud) is a bloke who can see dead people and sensibly uses this ability to make money. The first time we see him, he is performing a seance for a widow who is trying to contact her husband. Manfred makes contact and the wife tells her deceased husband that she is seeing another man. The husband gets angry and possesses Manfred by entering his mouth in a cloud of smoke, ‘Supernatural’ style. The husband uses Manfred to try and kill his former wife but Manfred fights back and expels the spirit. According to the show, this method is not ‘possession, rather ‘high-jacking’ and seems to have negative after effects on Manfred. Once the lady leaves, he is seen taking a
painkiller and washes it down with a bit of vodka, as you do. He then gets a phone call from someone called ‘Hightower’ who he apparently owes money to, money he cannot pay so he is forced to leave Dallas. This is a good entrance for a main character as it shows both his abilities and his vulnerabilities but more importantly, it moves the plot forward whilst wondering about his background. However once he leaves Dallas, the show leaves behind both subtlety and pacing.

Manfred lives in a retro RV but he is not alone. His travelling companion his the ghost of his grandmother, she tells him to go to a town called ‘Midnight’ because she thinks
he will be safe there. She however neglects to tell him that the town is full of supernatural beings. Once he arrives, he goes into the pawn shop and can psychically listen to the voices of the owner of the pawned artefacts. The pacing is very quick in the first episode. It goes from Dallas, to Midnight, to Pawn shop, to house, to restaurant, to picnic, to murder. Manfred’s landlord, Bobo (Dylan Bruce) asks for his help in finding his missing fiancee, Aubrey. However, her bloated body is found in the river the next day,
therefore kicking off a murder-mystery plot. The coppers from the next town over are reluctant to get involved because they know that the residents of Midnight are ‘odd’ and
trying to find a murderer in Midnight would be like trying to find one specific pin in a sea of identical pins.

So lets have a look at the unusual residents of Midnight. There’s Lemuel the vampire (Peter Mensah) who does drink blood when he can be arsed but at all other times, he settles for leeching energy from people, his ‘friend’, Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) a hit-woman of some kind who has the most irritating character trait in the whole of television, ‘angry
for no reason’. I’m not sure if Olivia and Lemuel are shagging but she is comfortable enough standing in front of him whilst completely in the buff and looks like she gets off
on Lemuel leeching her energy. Who else? There’s Figi (Parisa Fitz-Henley) the resident witch who doesn’t think twice about baking a batch of cookies for Manfred and tainting
them with something that would make him violently ill if he had ‘bad intentions’, Joe (Jason Lewis), the local Tattoo artist and is also an angel. I’m not making that up, he
is actually an angel with wings and everything. Finally, there’s the Reverend or ‘Rev’ (Yul Vazquez) as he is refered to, who is obviously a were-wolf but it isn’t confirmed.

Back to the murder-mystery about some chick I don’t care about. Over the course of the episode, her past is revealed. Even though she is engaged to Bobo, she is already
married to a white-supremacist gang member. The name of the gang is hilarious, ‘The Sons Of Lucifer’. Subtle, isn’t it? Her gang-member husband is now missing and considered the prime suspect. Meanwhile, Manfred is visited by Aubrey’s ghost who wants his help and she leads him to the location of the gun that she was shot with. Manfred is now drawn into the investigation by the police and is forbidden from leaving town even though he’s got shit of his own to deal with. More specifically, his house is haunted. Not only by ghosts but also by some orange, glowing demon that likes to fuck with the floorboards. Manfred is forced to flee his house and live in his RV. At the end, he
comes home to find a load of ghosts having a big ghost party in his house.

Also there is a love interest sub-plot that has to be there by law. This sub-plot involves the colourful and interesting, Manfred fancying the blank-slate that has taken human
form and calls herself, Creek (Sarah Ramos). There’s something going on here because the first few episodes of a ‘love’ plot involves a lot of back and forth and playing
hard to get but the writers are getting straight to the point with these two and they nearly have their first kiss at the end of the first episode. They are interrupted
by the police showing up and arresting Bobo for Aubrey’s murder. Good. I would have cherry-picked him right from the start because he doesn’t seem particularly devastated, or even sad by his fiancee’s death. No tears, no nothing. Either he did it, or this guy is a really bad actor. In fact, there’s not a whole lot going on in the whole ‘acting’
department. On that note, lets head to the list of characters that are dragging the show down.

Olivia is at the top of the list. Her character is so basic and boring that I can barely register anything she says because its all just angry, sarcastic quips. She’s good
at violence but I need more. Bobo doesn’t seem to have any emotions or a point at all. It’s already established that both he and Olivia are some of the only humans in
Midnight but they are ‘open minded’. Creek is on the list also. I think she’s meant to ‘the girl next door’ type of character and given the generic ‘dead mum’ back story.
She clings to Manfred straight away and looks like she has no intention of letting go.

Conversely, there are the characters that I like and are interesting.

Straight off, there’s Lemuel. His whole exterior says ‘mysterious’. I’d like to know more about him. I know he’s a vampire but how did he become a vampire? How long has he
been alive or undead? How did he end up in Midnight? He also knew Manfred’s grandmother before she died and I’d like to know in what capacity. Figi is on the list also. She’s caring and kind-hearted on the outside but she has a secret to hide, the secret being that she burns hair for some reason. I want to know more about Joe aswell. It’s
clear that he’s an angel but how did he end up on Earth? Finally, there’s Manfred. There’s a lot more going on with this guy. He’s obviously a psychic but when Bobo asks for
his help, Manfred denies being a psychic and claims that he is ‘really good at reading people’. He tells Lemuel that his grandmother performed ‘fake’ exorcisms for money and
owed some shady people a lot of money. When she died, the debt was passed down to Manfred. I’m wondering who the real con-artist is, Manny or granny? At the moment, his
character is driving the plot so the show had better start getting interesting and pretty fucking quickly.

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