'Midnight, Texas': An ordinary tale of extraordinary people

  • TV Review
  • Thursday, 21 Sep 2017

Hasn't this guy watched 'The Exorcist'? It's never a good idea to play with an Ouija board. Photos: iflix

What Midnight, Texas manages to prove is that a series needs to be more than just about one thing.

Based on Charlaine Harris’ novel, it revolves around a group of people living in the town of Midnight, somewhere in Texas. What makes them special is some of the minorities living here are not your average townsfolk.

There is a fallen angel (Jason Lewis), a psychic (Francois Arnaud), a vampire (Peter Mensah), a witch (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and a weretiger (Yul Vazquez). There is even a talking cat!

Every episode sees these people teaming up with a couple of regular residents – tough guy Bobo (Dylan Bruce), an assassin (Arielle Kebbel) and a waitress (Sarah Ramos) – to make sure they are left alone by the intolerant neighbours as well as the law. They also help each other out when one of them is in trouble because that’s what families do.

Unfortunately for this odd community, Midnight seems to be a magnet for all things evil. Murderers, unsavoury characters and other supernatural beings keep popping in for a visit. Not for the sight or the food, but probably due to the fact that the desert town sits on a veil between hell and earth, a Hellmouth if you will.

Going for a family trip can be hell, especially if there is a talking cat in the RV.

Sounds like an interesting premise, right? Especially since author Harris also wrote True Blood which was turned into a hit TV show on HBO.

But unlike True Blood which had a rich subtext on being different, the only good thing about Midnight’s is witnessing how “freaks” who don’t fit anywhere else have found a home and a family at Midnight.

That’s it. It doesn’t sink its teeth into anything substantial, which means there is nothing else going on beneath the surface.

However, there’s a silver lining here; the subplot involving Hell, in which the demons trapped here are about to be set loose on earth as the veil is slowly fraying. And it is up to the good people of Midnight to stop this from happening.

But we’ve seen better series take a stab at this, namely Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. In Buffy, Sunnydale – Buffy’s town – is where Hellmouth is located. Standing in the way of megalomaniac demons is Buffy and her friends.

Going to bed in your work clothes saves you some time in the morning.

Now, Buffy is someone audiences rooted for in every episode for seven seasons because the character was well-developed enough that we followed her adventures, both good and bad, with much interest.

Despite the supernatural element, she had relatable storylines consisting mainly of finding herself as a teenager and an adult, while being a hero.

Also, say what you will about Supernatural running for 12 seasons so far; the series starring Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki still has a large fanbase because it has struck a perfect balance between family and supernatural elements, with plenty of humour and drama thrown in.

Midnight, on the other hand, has no sense of humour, and the camaraderie of the characters is not present.

There is just about one likeable character on the whole show and he starts to get on our nerves after just a couple of episodes.

Meet Manfred Bernardo (Arnaud), a gypsy with the ability to see and communicate with the dead. He arrives at Midnight to lay low from some criminals but finds himself welcomed into the fold of the Midnight-ers with open arms.

Almost immediately he is asked to sit at a table reserved only for residents. He decides to stay in town, especially since he has fallen in love with the waitress, Creek (Ramos).

You would think people who have been treated as outsiders all their lives would be suspicious of others. But not here in Midnight.

In the first episode, the witch pompously announces she is going to help Manfred with his haunted house problem. Really? Lady, that guy could be lying. Just because he is good looking doesn’t mean he is a good guy. He is, but that is not the point.

For the last time, I am NOT Seal.

And what of Creek? First of all, who names their daughter Creek – she probably grew up with everybody making fun of her name. Anyway, Creek falls into Manfred’s companionship almost immediately. Why? Just to piss off her controlling father. What kind of show is this – daytime soap opera?

Erm, it might as well be a soap opera from the awful acting from some of the cast members. Even guest stars give laughable performances. Let’s just say there are no Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer or even Denis O’Hare here.

Let’s not even talk about its pathetic weekly procedural plot. On second thought, let’s. Almost every episode gives a backstory to one of the characters. But, by the end of the episode, there is no obvious impact to the character itself.

It tries to be political by highlighting slavery and white supremacy, but – again – it makes no real contribution to the show.

If Midnight, Texas wanted to assimilate True Blood, it has fallen far, far, from its course. For a show that lauds to be about people who are different, Midnight, Texas is an average affair with nothing different to offer.

This itself is embarrassing when today’s television is populated with so many interesting shows.

Midnight, Texas is available on iflix.

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