Sci-Fi Fodder

Impressions: "Moonlight"

A lot of people were waiting for the debut of "Moonlight". It drew comparisons to "Angel" and "Forever Knight", albeit unfavorable ones. For myself, I had very low expectations and labeled it the leading candidate to be the "First New Show to be Cancelled".

I didn't watch the show until Sunday night, so the scathing reviews were already in. Check out this compilation of reviews on Aint It Cool News. The professionals were pretty brutal, describing it as "...a terrible show", "...the worst new fall show" and "...'Angel' with much less creativity and more familar, conventional plots".

But, I don't always agree with the big-time reviewers, so let's break it down:

The Good
Yes - there were some good points! I liked the vampire 'super-speed' effect. And, I do think the backstory that involves Mick's (Alex O'Loughlin) rescue of Beth (Sophia Myles) when she was a child has good potential. I would love to add a plug for Jason Dohring ("Logan" from "Veronica Mars"), but his character of "Josef" left me a little cold. I know that the role was recast 'younger', but it felt like the dialogue was written for another actor. Jason still did a good enough job with the lines to make me want to see where this character goes, though.

The Not-So-Good
We will have to take things one step at a time and really put one foot in front of the other for this section. I really want to knock this section out of the park, but keep my feet on the ground while reaching for the stars!


There are so many cliches in the pilot episodes that I considered creating a drinking game (for each cliche by the narrator, drink once. for each cliche in the character dialogue, drink twice!). I might not make it through a whole episode with those rules, though. Bottom line: the episode was not very well written and, on top of that, it was very transparent.

The 'Mick is driving' scenes are really bad also, with poor blue screen effects and even worse narration.

The Verdict
It's not great. It's not really even good. The (the writers and producers) need to rent "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" for a refresher on good voiceover narration techniques. Still, I will be watching again on Friday, if for nothing else that to try out my new drinking game. I think I'll call it "Booze-light"!

Everyone keeps talking about "cliches," yet no one ever names what exactly was cliched. When I was watching, there were devises I'd seen before, and not just on Angel or Forever Knight, but other programs and films. But since other shows apparently use these types of shots and don't get dinged for it, I'd like to know what they were and why only Moonlight gets the gong.
The only cliches I saw were Mick standing on the roof with his coat blowing in the wind. Since this only lasted about 10 seconds, I didn't see the harm (tho coulda done without it), and its been put to use so often, I didn't see why Moonlight should be dinged for employing this "I can see into the distance and muse over the city" shot. The other was the driving in the car shot. Other than that, most vampires cliches weren't used, as Mick can walk in the sunlight, sleeps in a freezer, and can, apparently, "see" through blood-scents. This is unique.
So, please enlighten me on what was supposed to be cliched about the pilot! And while I hope we don't get narrative on other episodes, I wasn't bothered by its inclusion in the pilot, and didn't feel it intrusive or clumsy.

While I wasn't overwhelmed by the pilot - I thought they tried to cram too much information into the episode and it felt cluttered - it won't stop me from tuning in this week!

-- Posted by: KayDee at October 1, 2007 1:34 PM

Funny - it seems we all have different definitions of what we call 'cliche'.

I wasn't bothered by the 'coat in the wind' scene and the only reason I criticized the 'driving in the car' scenes were for the bad blue screen work and the narrative.

It was the narrative and dialogue that I thought were cliche - especially in the first half hour. Not wanting to watch it again, here are some from memory:

"The thing about living forever is that the past always catches up with you"

"My guy at the morgue, Guillermo, deals in information and blood. Tonight I needed both."

"I'm able to smell the past, glimpse the future. And I can hear a marriage go down the drain from a hundred yards,"

"60 years is a long time to deny yourself the touch of another, but you do it, because you can't bear the thought of seeing yourself as a monster in another's eyes."

So...maybe what I didn't like was not correctly described as cliche, but just a bad implementation of the hard-boiled gumshoe detective narrative style.

-- Posted by: Fred at October 2, 2007 2:41 PM

(OK...those are not from memory...I looked up the quotes) :-)

-- Posted by: Fred at October 2, 2007 2:43 PM

Ah, those are finally some good examples of what you're talking about. Personally, they didn't bother me, and I just took some of those as the writer's attempt to be "noir" in the narrative. Though I wasn't bothered by the spots of narrative, apparently the writers aren't planning on an abundance of narrative in the future. The only ones that sounded fake to me was the "blood and information, and tonight I needed both," and the line about the past catching up with him. Both made me smile, but I wasn't unduly annoyed.

And the passage about "smelling the past and the future" I thought was a literal revelation that Mick seems to have the ability to get a vision of sorts from blood-scents, which I thought was a creative twist on drinking a person's blood and getting a "reading" of their life, like in "Underworld" and other vampire lore.

All in all, while I think Joel Silver and the likes behind "The Matrix" and "Beauty and the Beast" should be able to work out the kinks, and I have faith they will. So I'm not remotely ready to give up on this promising series.

-- Posted by: KayDee at October 3, 2007 3:12 PM