Moonlight created by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson. Review by Tom McMeekin

Book Cover

The plot behind Moonlight is older than some of the ancient vampires in the show, but it still manages to be bloody good entertainment.

Vampire detective flirts with human girl: it's been done before, in fact, change the names and you could probably pass off the scripts as vintage Angel (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off). Not Angel in its later seasons, mind you: the further that show went the further it strayed from the original cops & vamps premise to deal more with hell dimensions and the spawn of gods and devils. Moonlight is like returning to the roots of Angel. It's a film noir procedural with a bite. Private eye Mick St. John rescued a young girl from becoming a vamp baby for him and his ex-wife—only to have the girl, Beth Turner, show up on his cases years later when she's a reporter for a TMZ/National Enqurier-clone Web site.

The cast is the show's strongest element, all of whom can make fan-boys and -girls tingle. Alex O'Loughlin is a relative newcomer as Mick, but he quickly proves his mettle. Sophia Myles (Beth) is known for dating current Dr. Who David Tennant, and she has had tasty roles in Who as well as Art School Confidential, both Underworld films and as the title character in Tristan + Isolde. Shannyn Sossamon (Mick's ex-wife Coraline) is best known for A Knight's Tale, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and for playing a schizophrenic's hallucination of a dead girl in Dirt. Kevin Weissman is instantly recognizable as Marshall from Alias and continues to play the geeky tech-saavy character here. Unfortunately, Weissman's character has not appeared in quite some time. Perhaps most exciting to some, fresh off the cancellation of Veronica Mars is Jason Dohring. There he played bad boy Logan; here he's somewhat-friendly vampire playboy Josef.

While discarding the original pilot and re-casting almost an entire cast is often a sign of a faulty premise, I think here it worked wonderfully here and capitalized on the timing by picking up some actors who wouldn't have been available otherwise. Not since Firefly has such a cohesively strong and sexy cast been assembled.

Mostly Moonlight follows a murder-of-the-week format, with a different vampire going out of control and being reined in by Mick and company. One of the ongoing storylines is the budding romance of star-crossed couple 'MickBeth,' which is progressing at a nice pace (despite some questionable detours). The other main story is the apparent resurrection of Coraline, which brings with it the show's best twists.

The show uses occasional flashbacks to Mick and Coraline's past, with the typical color-corrected cinematography for such scenes. The vampire-face makeup and vampire lore is perhaps more steampunk than mystical. It treats vampirism as a medical condition rather than possession by a demon. Mick and Josef work more along the principle that keeping vampires out of the way of humans is beneficial for their species, and other vamps succumb to the same greed and physical needs that drive humans to evil, rather than because they lack souls. However, replacing coffins with freezers and the like isn't that bold. It even uses Evanescence songs in the first episode's soundtrack—an annoyingly cliché move.

However, it's not that difficult to look past the show's occasional faults and find something to enjoy. The reason the plot has been recycled so often is its appeal, and any one of the cast members makes it worth tuning in.

If you liked the "Buffyverse," you'll like this for its similarities, and if you didn't, you may find appeal in its tonal differences. Since I often pined over the loss of certain storylines in Angel I was especially happy to see Moonlight, even though it does take more than a page from his book.

Moonlight returns with four new episodes beginning Friday, April 25, at 9 p.m. on CBS, bringing the total number of episodes in the first season to 16.


Tom McMeekin is a writer and artist from Pennsylvania and a recent graduate of Clarion University. His Web site is TomMcMeekin.com. For more from Tom, check out his ARWZ Blog