Monday, June 21, 2010

The Gates: Another Vampire Show That Kinda Sucks

So did anyone else watch The Gates last night? My first reaction to the trailer for this show was "ugh, another show about vampires and werewolves." Then my immediate second reaction was "Cool... another show about vampires and werewolves!" Now having seen the show I'm thinking I might be leaning more towards that first reaction, but I can't completely decide how I feel yet...

[Warning: This review will contain spoilers.]

Apparently ABC thought there was still room for one more show about supernatural creatures living in suburbia... Sunday was a risky night to air a new vampire drama... ABC was smart enough to schedule this for 10pm (ET) instead of 9pm, when True Blood airs on HBO, but True Blood is by far the superior show. Are viewers really going to be able to handle an extra hour of bloody goodness every Sunday night? Especially when the first one is far superior?

That's not to say that The Gates totally sucks (no pun intended). But this concept has been done so many times by now that a show really needs something extra special to catch our attention. And so far it hasn't caught mine. I think I need to see a few more episodes before I can really know for sure, but so far I'm not a huge fan. It's not a terrible show... but it seems like it can't tell exactly what it wants to be yet. It's been billed a "supernatural crime drama" but I'm not really buying the "crime drama" angle. Yes, there are crimes, but it's a lot more of a melodramatic evening soap opera-type show than a crime show. (Think Desperate Housewives... if the housewives were also vampires and witches.... and the cute young guys were werewolves.) In the same way that The Vampire Diaries is your typical CW show like 90210 with supernatural themes thrown in, The Gates is your typical ABC evening drama like Housewives. And it's certainly dramalicious, but so far it hasn't drawn me in.

The show follows the story of Nick Monahan and his family who has moved from Chicago to a quiet, upscale planned community called The Gates, where he will be chief of police. And bloody supernatural hijinks ensue! Monahan is played by Frank Grillo who you may recognize from Prison Break and his wife is played by Marisol Nichols, who I will admit that I love... although I don't completely buy her as the mother of a teenager (although technically I know she is old enough to be one, she still looks like a teenager).

I was also pleased to see Rhona Mitra starring in a show and she does an excellent job with the slightly creepiness that the role of a vampire housewife requires (craving blood while feeling sorta guilty about it). Of course, she's already got plenty of experience playing a vampire in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. She also stared in a werewolf movie, Skinwalkers, but she played a human being. Although it's a little hard accepting Luke Mably, who plays her vampire husband, as a bloodsucker when I just keep thinking of him in The Prince and Me and then I start to laugh and then I'm not scared of him at all, no matter how sharp his fangs are. The rest of the cast is relatively forgettable... but I'll give them a few more episodes to prove themselves.

Of course, my first complaint is that the vampires in The Gates can walk around in daylight. Between Twilight and The Vampire Diaries we've just about had enough of these rule-bending mythologies. (At least these vamps wear sunscreen.) There are also a few bitchy witches and werewolves that are played basically as football jocks with 'roid rage. Also, interestingly enough the werewolves not only have super strength, speed, and hearing... but they also work as semi-human-lie-detectors, which is a pretty cool. Except that so far all the werewolves are also douchebags.

I think this show would do better if ABC had been a little smarter with its scheduling... They should've done what The Vampire Diaries did... Their first season premiered while True Blood was on hiatus and ended a few weeks before True Blood's season 3 premiere. It was the perfect filler for those of us who were needing a vampire fix and didn't have to compete for fans. Or if they insisted on trying for a summer hit, put it on Thursdays or Fridays... just when people are starting to get a little stir crazy waiting for the next episode of True Blood and will watch anything vamp-related in the meantime. But airing immediately after viewers have already gotten their fix of the best vampire show on TV... that just isn't smart, no matter how great The Gates ends up being (which if last night's episode is any indication, isn't that great... yet).

The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with ABC's The Gates.

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