Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2011-02-05 Entry: "Blood Ties - "Blood Price""

The first of the Canadian vampire shows, a short-lived show from 2007 is up next...

Aspect Ratio: Non-anamorphic widescreen... and yes, that's a bit annoying...
Audio: Is hard to determine, the box has the dobly digital logo on it, but refuses to disclose how many channels it actually uses...

Vicki Nelson - Christina Cox
Mike Celluci - Dylan Neal
Henry Fitzroy - Kyle Schmid
Coreen Fennel - Gina Holden

So we open on a woman walking along a street at night making a phone call, then cut to some guy performing some sort of magic ritual, and then back on the street where another guy gets attacked by someone who looks like "the freaking Prince Of Darkness." The woman gives chase but the cloaked attacker disappears. Cue theme music (with actual title sequence and theme music and everything).

The woman, Victoria "Vicki" Nelson, used to be a cop, so having to stick around to be questioned by her ex-partner, Mike Celluci, leads to some mild flirting and a bit of hostility. Vicki left the force due to bad eyesight... and is now trying to take up as a private investigator. This isn't the first body with the same injuries.

Coreen Fennel comes to Vicki - she was the girlfriend of Ian, the dead guy - and she's convinced Ian was killed by a vampire... which is why she didn't go to the police. The fact that Ian was drained of blood tends to lend credence to Colleen's story, but she still comes across as a crazy woman. But she is willing to pay for a couple of days of Vicki's investigation to try and find something.

Cut to vampire in bed with a girl - Henry Fitzroy, graphic novelist (yeah, really!) - and he gives the girl the brush off (as an aside, is that the annoying perky blonde from the last season of Charmed?) with a little bit of hypnosis. Unfortunately, the "vampire" has made the papers, which Henry isn't exactly pleased about... as if people start looking for vampires, they might find him...

Henry and Vicki both find a symbol drawn on the wall by the body when they run into each other doing their own investigations; Henry manages to slip away before Vicki manages to talk to him though. Vicki's friends with the pathologist so manages to get in to see the body.

The guy performing the magical ritual - Norman - is stalking Coreen at her coffee-shop job. Scratch one up for "vampires are dead during the day" for this one - Henry comes back to life as night falls. Norman's back to performing his crazy ritual... and he's got simple requests from his Australian demon: new clothes and a car, in return for blood and souls. Celluci and Vicki have bad chinese together; he's been doing some digging into her eye condition in an attempt to get her to rejoin the force, but she's clearly bitter about it and the fact that she wouldn't be allowed to do anything but desk duty.

Australian demon kills another woman. Mike and Vicki share a kiss, but she's got work still to do. Ian worked at Club Nirvosa, which is what you'd expect from an underground heavy metal goth club. Henry's followed the same lead... but unfortunately for him, Vicki's immune to his hypnosis. Ian had a beef with a couple of guys in the club - Henry questions them (finding out Ian got them thrown out), but they decide they want to take all his money and he's forced to "deal" with them... draining them while Vicki's in the club probably isn't the best idea.

Henry escapes to the rooftop - can he fly? Just climb really well? He nearly doesn't make it home beofer sun-up - clearly vampires here are highly susceptible to sunlight. A hot-dog vendor tells Mike that the killer formed out of a swarm of bats. Norman's got himself a shiny new Porshe and fancy new clothes, but that doesn't appear to be helping him with the ladies; he's still a creep.

Vicky's spotted that the murders are starting to look like the points of a pentagram, which means she's going to try and predict where the next murder takes place. Henry's spotted the same pattern, but he's working off a previous ritual he witnessed a couple of hundred years earlier. Norman's setting up the girl who blew him off earlier, but in return he wants Coreen to love him... which the Australian demon can't do (but can put Norman in touch with a more powerful demon who can give him what he wants once the pentagram is finished).

Henry fights off the Australian demon, but Vicki shows up and gets the wrong idea about him. He accidentally knocks her out and runs off with her before the police show up... cue end of part 1 credits.

Henry's kidnapped Vicki and taken her back to his apartment... and he fills her in on the demon, as well as the fact that he's a vampire. No garlic or crosses will harm these vampires. Henry's almost 500 years old. Stabbing himself through the hand and healing the injury just about manages to persuade her he's telling the truth... which doesn't exactly make Vicki's night!

At least having the pilot in two parts mean I get the theme tune a second time... it is quite a catchy tune. Henry tells Vicki that because she's resistant to his hypnotism, he only has two options - trust her or kill her. He's going to try trusting her (oh, and vampires move faster than the eye)... and he wants to team up - he hunts the demon by night, she hunts the guy summoning the demon by day.

Henry Fitzroy claims to be the son of Henry VIII... and being an artist of graphic novels is the bit that disturbs Vicky! It was 1890, at the Hellfire Club, that Henry first ran into demons. And that's interesting - the previous encounter involved trading blood and a soul... Henry's blood and soul... in return for freeing the demon. So vampires aren't soulless.

Coreen's still convinced it's a vampire. Norman's still being seduced by the Australian demon. Vicki's looking for recent thefts and locates a bunch of thefts around the university, but it doesn't narrow it down much. Henry avoids the dark arts, but he has a way of tracking the demon... oh, and vampires appear in mirrors. We get Henry's origin story - including the tragedy that two vampires cannot share the same hunting ground, their territorial instincts drive them apart. Henry gets pretty seriously cut up by the demon and has to feed on Vicki to heal. She gets him home and is there to witness his death at sunrise.

Heh. The doorman at Henry's building is carving stakes during work. I'm not sure a croquet mallet is really what they were thinking of when they talked about pounding a stake through the heart! Unfortunately, he thinks it's Henry who's the vampire. Luckily for Henry, Vicki answers the door in her underwear... and she's still getting dressed when Henry comes back to life. Henry has a contact at the university who might be able to point them at a number of students who might have an interest in demonology.

Mike wants to bring Vicki in for a lineup as she was spotted at the latest attack, but she's willing to bring him into the case as far as the list of names is concerned. Norman abducts Coreen for his final demon-summoning ritual. Vicky follows a message from Coreen to Norman's apartment, but nearly ends up being the final sacrifice in the ritual. Henry shows up to try and reverse the summoning - Vicky manages to break the pentagram and Norman gets sucked to hell, but not before Mike shows up and sees the demon. Vicki's ended up with a nasty looking tattoo on each wrist and an assistant in Coreen (who's willing to keep quiet about Henry in return for the job).

You know, I kind of like this one. Yes, it's based on a book series (which I read after seeing the show), and it's typical vampire romance, but the love triangle between the three leads is extremely well played. They get all the basic vampire lore out of the way fairly quickly, and get on with the important things - the romance and the crazy detective stories - and you've got a nice mix of the over-enthusiastic, believe anything Vicki and the no-nonsense logical explanation seeking Mike, with Henry thrown in to mess with his head. I'm not entirely convinced by the chemistry between Vicki and Henry yet - she seems entirely too quick to accept his abduction of her, his vampirism, feeding him her blood to heal him, and stripping half her clothes off to fend off the bellman; but maybe that's all just part of her recklessness showing through.

Obviously you've got some tensions remaining for the show: When does Mike find out? What are the effects of those nasty tattoos Vicki's been left with and when's the demon going to put in another appearance? Considering Henry basically beats you over the head with it, when's Christina, the vampire who turned him, going to show up? And will turning Vicki into a vampire cure her eyesight?

And I have to rave about the theme again (which requires some bopping around the room as it plays over the end credits). For reference, it's "Live Forever" by Tamara Rhodes... and her website appears to be partucularly unfriendly to my browser, so I can't actually check out any of her other work.

Vampire checklist: Appear in mirrors, immune to garlic and holy icons, dead during the day, harmed by sunlight, transformed by the whole big sucking thing, can hypnotise with their eyes.

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