Spoilers hide major secrets in every small town!
Welcome to Midnight, Texas. A very small town, where everyone seems to know everyone else, and yet everyone keeps major secrets from each-other, and have done for years. But now, as Manfred Bernardo (Francois Arnaud) shows up in town like the worst pill-popping medium catalyst you can think of, all those nasty secrets are about to come to light, whether our Midnighters like it, or not.
First, there’s our resident Reverend, Emilio Sheehan (Yul Vazquez). With some help from discreet townsfolk, the Rev gets himself chained up in a storm shelter every full moon, because he happens to be a, wait for it, were-tiger. I dig it, why not. We do have a vampire in our supernatural ‘burgh, simply because you have to have at least one, but Lemuel (Peter Mensah) is of course “different”. He does still need to feed, but as his electric-blue eyes will attest, he feeds off of emotions and not actual blood anymore, since a Gypsy cured him. In theory. There’s a hedge witch, of course, with the unlikely name of Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley), making potions and growing determined plants with only a little magical help out here in the desert. And over there in the tattoo studio, an actual angel is called Joe (Jason Lewis) hiding out with his fallen angel demonic counterpart lover Chuy (Bernardo Saracino), both trying to keep a low profile and ignore the tear in the Veil between worlds, one that had opened up in Midnight long before it was ever called that, which seems to be returning right about now too.
It’s interesting to note that though many of these characters are something other than all-white and the very first episode did deal with racist dickheads, after that the show made a point of leaving that issue the hell alone, and instead focusing on the eternal war between good and evil. Dear little Bobo (Dylan Bruce) may be related to the white supremacists, but that didn’t prevent him from desiring the less-than-lily-colored Fiji.
So the first few episodes introduce us to each of these Midnighters and their various supernatural issues – that time the were-tiger got loose; the episode where old vampire buddies of Lem came back to town; the show where a fellow angel came to Midnight to track down Joe and drag his feathered ass back for judgment; and of course the demonic haunting of our green witch. Despite each supernatural getting their own episode, there just doesn’t seem to be enough attention paid to their various backstories, it’s as though the show has this rushed quality, needing to hurry past character building to get to the big showdown of the first season finale. But if enough care and attention isn’t paid to these individual characters, how could we the audience ever love them?
Somehow Manfred gets himself involved in each and every one of these instances of supernatural troubles, and somewhere in almost every episode is him summoning or otherwise jockeying with ghosts. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t make a lot of sense to those of us who’ve seen multiple supernatural shows at this point, such as, well yes, Supernatural, but also Grimm and even Lost Girl. Manfred’s ghostly grandma Xylda (Joanne Camp) haunts his oversize camper, and because she was of course a previous resident of Midnight herself, she has ties to some of these main characters. Insisting that Manfred’s character is the Chosen One of the series, the one who can speak to the living and the dead and seal the breach of the Veil, no pressure there, the main plot point around which all these other nifty characters are to gather, feels a bit rushed. Also stubbornly including the female love interest Creek (Sarah Ramos), who has nothing otherworldly to commend her at all, but that she’s a permanent resident of Midnight and by that alone will call Manfred back when he runs off like a coward at one point, is kind of pathetic and sad. I wanted her to have at least one secret of her very own.
The last couple episodes of season one deal almost exclusively with the demonic haunting of Fiji by something she dubs Colconnar, her own budding powers, and yes that damned Veil tear is still a problem. I understand that in the past Fiji’s done some terrible things with her magic; it’s not like she did them on purpose. The need to blip Fiji’s backstory does a disservice to the character I was getting to like. Though the idea that a demon after her virginal witch booty could be thwarted with some good old fashioned lovin is a very Charlaine Harris thing, and she wrote the book series of the same name the show is based on.
There just isn’t enough of anything on the show. The sets seem to suffer from sparseness, yes I know it’s set out in the Texas desert, still. It appears most of the budget went to CGI special effects, there’s almost no practical effects at all, and it seems kind of a shame to me. The soundtrack is plenty good usually, and while the actors give the performances their collective all, the characters they’re being given to play just aren’t that good, just yet. I do like the talking cat they deplorably named Mr. Snuggles though. They could grow on us the audience, it is possible. Anything is possible in Midnight, Texas.
Catch up with the newest ghost town of America, Midnight Texas, on NBC.com now!