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Is Moonlight Just a Reflection of Television Past

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On the new series Moonlight Alex O'Loughlin plays Mick St. John, a vampire / private investigator living in Los Angeles. If this concept sounds vaguely familiar, don't feel like you've developed an odd sense of deja vu. This concept has not only been done before, it's been done twice before.

Although vampire television dates back to 1967 when the television soap opera Dark Shadows introduced Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid), a 175-year old Vampire with low self-esteem. Although his appearance was meant to be brief, his popularity with the viewing audience expanded his role. However after the series ended in 1971, vampires were relegated back to the big screen and rarely, if ever, seen on the small one.

It wasn't until 1992 that vampires would again play a major role in a television series. This time, the show was Forever Night. Forever Night was about another vampire private investigator who worked as a detective in modern Day Toronto. In the series, Nick Night (played by Geraint Wyn Davies) is an 800-year-old vampire who is working as a private investigator in Toronto. The series lasted for three seasons and had a devoted cult fanbase, if not a popular one.

Vampire lovers did not have to wait long after Forever Night was canceled for vampires to appear on television again--although this time they were more often the deadly demons then cuddly companions. Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted in March of 1997. While the heroine was definitely anti-vampire, her love interest, Angel, was not. Angel, the vampire cursed with a soul (and thus a conscience), soon became a favorite of fans and was eventually spun into his own series, Angel.

The series Angel starred David Boreanaz as Angel, a two-hundred year old vampire who becomes a private investigator in Los Angeles. Angel lasted five seasons, but its departure did not leave vampire lovers without a show.

Suddenly, vampire shows began unearthing all over the television. Shows such as Blade: The Series, Blood Ties, and Kindred: The Embraced were all competing to fill the void (and earn the ratings) that Angel's departure had left behind.

Now it's Moonlight's turn at bat (Sorry, bad pun). All ready Angel and Forever Night fans are lamenting at the show's obvious rip-off from the past. Perhaps TV executives didn't think viewers would mind. Considering all of the different Law & Order and CSI spin-offs, who can blame them?

Reading the previews for Moonlight, and having been a fan of Angel, I have to admit that the similarities are a little close for comfort. While Mick St. John is a much younger vampire (a mere 80 years to Angel's 200 and Nick's 800 years) and some of the vampire "rules" are different (such as vampires can move about in daylight for brief periods). Meanwhile, you have Mick falling in love with a mortal, the L.A. background, and a whole slew of "evil" vampires to make the comparison between it and Angel much to easy.

New shows have so many problems to overcome in order to survive, adding such a comparison is likely to prove fatal for this fledgling series.

Sources:
Wikipedia
IF Magazine: http://ifmagazine.com/new.asp?article=4746

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