Saturday, January 7, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Blade: The Series

Blade: The Series originally aired starting in 2007 on Spike TV. There was only one season of Blade that contained 12 episodes. The previously reviewed Blade: House of Chthon was the two-hour pilot episode for this series. The only way this series is in continuity with the Blade movies is if it happens prior to Blade: Trinity due to the fact that all the vampires die in Blade: Trinity. Stylistically and visually the series is very similar to the movies.

I went into Blade: The Series with low expectations. Honestly, I wasn't even going to watch all twelve episodes - watch the first few, perhaps the last episode, and then review it. But I got hooked. It's surprisingly good! I'm guessing this has a lot to do with Geoff Johns, famed comic book writer, being tapped as the lead creative force behind the show.

The action picks up right from the plotlines of the pilot. A large portion of the series is focused around Krista, who worked with Blade but was turned into a vampire in the pilot. One of the great things about a TV show compared to a movie is that there's all kinds of time to explore the backstories and personalities of the supporting cast. Marcus Van Sciver, Krista, Shen, Chase, and Charlotte are the main characters and their individual stories are woven together. In some ways, it's almost like Blade is a secondary character in his own series. Krista is really the main character as she struggles to maintain her humanity. 

The series breaks some new ground for vampires as well. A vampire rip out his own fang to cut his way free. Krista must undergo a "sweat-lodge" ritual in which she is completely submerged in a pool of blood. Krista turns her own mother to save her from cancer. There's a vampire restaurant where vampires get to pick out their human meal like lobsters in a tank. Vampire ash is used as an ingredient in street drugs, turning users into vampire-want-to-be's called "Ashers" for an hour or two. I particularly liked the parallel that was drawn between returning from war as a veteran and adjusting to vampirism. I also liked the vampire "child" Charlotte and seeing the colonial indian vampires.

There are a few plotlines that get lost along the way. What ever happened to the cop that Krista turned and then was hunting? What about the agent that was learning about vampires? Nothing ever comes of these storylines. 

Then again, at times a very, very minor character shows up out of the blue and we're suppose to remember them from eight episodes earlier. For example, the agent shows up at a lady's house in episode 11 (I think) and we haven't seen her since episode 1! You're left wondering - who is this lady? 

And, of course, we're given plenty of Blade action. We find out that Blade actually ran with a vampire gang called "Bad Blood" as a youth. We get references with Whistler and even see him as a youth and discover how he hurt his knee. 

I think my favorite character may have been Shen, though. He's Blade's assistant and he's got real personality.  At one point, to make a distraction in a casino, he jumps up on the casino table and starts shouting, "I am Godzilla!" The series, although heavy in tone, is littered with little humorous moments or when they play against expectations. Like when Blade goes to confront a doctor who is working with the vampires. He kicks open the door only to see... a room full of pregnant women. Hilarious!

I wish the series had a more satisfying ending, however. You can tell the creators of the show really thought they'd get a second season. The main plotline of the first season wraps up nicely but the last scene is a real teaser. Sigh. I suppose it fits with the old Hollywood mantra, "Leave them wanting more!"

1LR Review - 15 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

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