Since apparently only geeks stay home, the latest entry into the Friday night/genre death slot has arrived. Twenty years ago, creator Ron Koslow gave us that paranormal romance, Beauty and the Beast. Paired with Ghost Whisperer, Moonlight seems like a good fit. Not that it tries too hard, but Moonlight won’t be able to escape the Forever Knight (and, for that matter, Angel) comparisons.

Private investigator, Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin), was transformed into a vampire 60 years ago by his ex-wife, thus he remains the perfectly preserved thirty something do-gooder for hire. Playing web casting Lois Lane to his undead Superman is Beth (Sophia Myles), who shares a bond with him. Rounding out their little ensemble is his 400-year-old friend Josef (Jason Dohring), who is a part of some greater vampire conspiracy/network only interested in his selfish pursuits and keeping the reality of vampires a secret.

At some point they will hopefully re-think the voice over exposition. Not that the device works often (Desperate Housewives and Burnout being exceptions), but for the device to work, the narrating character needs to have something interesting to say or at least say it interestingly. In Moonlight’s case, the voice of the character lands somewhere between emo, Anne Rice-an and poor film noir, except devoid of humor and anything engaging. Acknowledging that a joke is bad (“being a vampire sucks”) doesn’t make it any better.

“When you live forever, the past always catches up to you.” –Mick

Moonlight has redefined vampire lore (albeit awkwardly, in a talk show format, pre-credits “interview”) so that there is very little religious overtone to the vampire mythology, except for the idea of blood leading to eternal life. However, it isn’t his vampire nature that is the spiritual lynchpin of the show, but rather his humanity. His choice in vocations and how he chooses to live his life is what is of interest.

“There is no time. There is no life. There is 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 out way back. Back to that perfect world.” –resident bad guy

The fallen state that we find ourselves in leads Mick to confess that “For the longest time I was like most people, looking out for myself.” He reaches a climax point in his life when he realizes that living his life for his own ends and purposes is a hollow pursuit which is why he begins living his life for others. It is his attempt at redemption. At the same time, “the thirst for blood is symbolic of a deeper hunger,” a desire to connect. He has a longing to connect not only to his lost humanity but to others and perhaps find himself.

In the twenty years since Beauty and the Beast, the mopey, melancholy hero (especially in vampire form) has been done to undeath. O’Loughlin doesn’t bring anything to the role beyond the ability to pose and we’re still waiting for the chemistry between him and Beth to take root. (Although, the whole “I’ve been watching you since you were a child” vibe is probably the creepiest thing about the show). Apparently the key to doing something new with vampires is to make them boring and unsexy. Brilliant!

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