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Review: 'Midnight, Texas' overloads on supernatural, lacks luster

Parisa Fitz-Henley, center, and Francois Arnaud in Midnight, Texas.


Parisa Fitz-Henley, center, and Francois Arnaud in Midnight, Texas.



There is a cemetery full of great supernatural shows out there. Unfortunately, Midnight, Texas isn't one of them.

The new drama from NBC mixes a gaggle of creatures of the occult -- witches, vampires, psychics and even angels -- and crowds them into a small Texas town that just so happens to sit on the veil between the living and hell.

Midnight, Texas is based on the series of novels by True Blood author Charlaine Harris. Though any comparison to the sexy vampire series is lost in the seemingly bloodless Midnight, Texas.

The series follows Manfred (Francois Arnaud), a powerful psychic who flees to Midnight after a tip from his ghost grandma. He can not only speak to the dead, but also see them as smoky, ethereal corpses.

When Manfred arrives, he quickly finds out why Midnight is all but deserted. It's home to a ragtag group of people who just don't fit in anywhere else -- and would rather keep it that way.

There's Bobo (Dylan Bruce), the local pawn shop owner who becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of his ex-fiance. There's also the local witch Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley), who owns a Wiccan shop and has a sassy talking cat. Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) is human, but an extremely talented assassin with a weapons store to match.

On the more mystical side, there's Lemuel (Peter Mensah) a wise old vampire who has seen some things and has powers that go beyond immortality and blood-sucking. Joe (Jason Lewis) is a literal guardian angel who lives a quiet life with his husband Chuy and their dog.

As if moving to a new town full of supernatural creatures wasn't enough for Manfred, he also finds out his new abode is a portal to the realm of the dead. Oh, and on his second day a woman's rotting body shows up in the river.

He can already see dead people, but he should be looking for the next train out of town. Instead he suddenly deeply cares for everyone in Midnight, which isn't the only head-scratching decision this show makes.

I really want this show to work. Supernatural shows are my jam, and when done right they break the mold of niche TV and can reel in a bigger audience.

But Midnight, Texas doesn't offer anything we haven't seen before. And for die hard creature feature fans, some of the decisions made in regards to the otherworldly beings could be downright blasphemous.

Witches and vampires and angels all getting along? Seems a bit far-fetched.

I could almost write that off if the series had a better story. We've all seen the stories about people who communicate with the dead, those who wield magic and heavenly hosts who've fallen from grace.

You know what I haven't seen? Werewolves trying to explain to their bosses why they need the night of the full moon off every month. Also, vampires going to the dentist -- well, except in that one Halloweentown movie.

A show that delves into the mundane, everyday lives of people and creatures who don't fit the norm would be a refreshing diversion from the usual end-of-the-world trope.

But alas, the series falls into the dead of summer trap, where not many a show have recovered.

If only Midnight, Texas had taken a page out of its older sister's playbook and gone full-on bloody vampire saga instead of feeling like a censored, less focused episode of True Blood.

The were-tigers and witches and vampires of this world deserve better.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.


Midnight, Texas premieres at 10 p.m. Monday on NBC


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[Last modified: Thursday, July 20, 2017 10:55am]


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