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Moonlight
Moonlight series2.JPG
Format Paranormal romance
Action
Supernatural
Horror
Created by Ron Koslow
Trevor Munson
Starring Alex O'Loughlin
Sophia Myles
Jason Dohring
Shannyn Sossamon
Narrated by Mick St. John
(portrayed by Alex O'Loughlin)
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 16 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Ron Koslow
Trevor Munson
Gerard Bocaccio
Joel Silver
Rod Holcomb
Chip Johannessen
Gabrielle Stanton
Harry Werksman
David Barrett
David Greenwalt
Running time 42 minutes (approximately)
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Silver Pictures
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 28, 2007 – May 16, 2008
External links
Official website

Moonlight is an American paranormal romance television drama created by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson, who also served as executive producers for all episodes alongside Joel Silver, Gerard Bocaccio, Gabrielle Stanton and Harry Werksman. The series follows private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O'Loughlin), who was turned into a vampire by his bride Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon) on the couple's wedding night fifty-five years earlier. In the present day, he struggles with his attraction to a mortal woman, Beth Turner (Sophia Myles), his friendship with Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring), and his dealings with other vampires in Los Angeles.

The series was commissioned by Warner Bros. Television in 2007 as a presentation lasting 14–20 minutes. Alex O'Loughlin, Shannon Lucio, Rade Šerbedžija and Amber Valletta were cast in the lead roles, and Rod Holcomb was hired as director. David Greenwalt joined the staff in May 2007 as showrunner and executive producer alongside Joel Silver; however, health reasons forced Greenwalt to leave the series. All of the original actors, save for the male lead role, were recast in June 2007, and Sophia Myles, Jason Dohring and Shannyn Sossamon replaced them. With an almost entirely different cast, a retooled, full-length pilot for television audiences was re-shot.

Moonlight premiered on September 28, 2007, airing on Friday nights on CBS. Although received poorly by critics, the pilot finished first among total viewers and adults 18–49 for its night. The series garnered generally negative reviews, and averaged 7.57 million American viewers per episode. Many critics criticized the acting and the writing; however Jason Dohring's performance was praised. Moonlight went on hiatus due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, but returned with four new episodes once the strike ended. On May 13, 2008, CBS announced that Moonlight was officially canceled.

Contents

Production

Conception and crew

Trevor Munson conceived the character of Mick Angel in 2004 and spent two and a half years writing a novel featuring the character. The story was adapted into a feature film script, and Bruce Willis was considered as a possibility for the lead role. The script was shown to Nina Tassler at CBS, who paired Munson with Ron Koslow, creator of Beauty and the Beast, to rewrite the script as a television series.[1] The series was titled Twilight, and Koslow and Munson wrote the pilot, which Warner Bros. Television initially commissioned as a presentation lasting 14–20 minutes in January 2007. Joel Silver and Gerard Bocaccio were hired to be executive producers on the project under the former's production banner, Silver Pictures, in the same month.[2] Alex O'Loughlin and Shannon Lucio were cast in the presentation,[3] and Rod Holcomb was hired as director.[4] The project was renamed Moonlight when picked up by CBS on May 14, 2007, prior the upfronts.[5] David Greenwalt, creator of Miracles and co-creator of Angel, joined the staff in May 2007 as showrunner and executive producer alongside Silver.[6] CBS had hired Greenwalt during the pilot process to restructure the original concept by Koslow and Munson, but health reasons forced Greenwalt to leave the series,[7] and Chip Johannessen took over showrunner duties in August 2007.[8]

Casting

Rade Šerbedžija was originally cast to play Josef Kostan, but was replaced by Jason Dohring to make way for a younger cast.

During Greenwalt's restructuring of the pilot, all of the original actors save for the male lead role of Mick St. John were recast in June 2007: Shannon Lucio, Rade Šerbedžija and Amber Valletta were originally cast in the roles of Beth Turner, Josef Kostan and Coraline Duvall respectively before Sophia Myles, Jason Dohring and Shannyn Sossamon replaced them.[9][10][11] With an almost entirely different cast, a retooled, full-length pilot for television audiences was re-shot.[12] Joel Silver approached Dohring "out of the blue and said, 'There's a role, and I'm making it younger'". Dohring read two pages of script featuring Josef, and was interested by the character's "dark" and "sharp" personality. Dohring had to go through the normal audition process and was not sure if he would have gotten the role without Silver, who had "pushed it all the way through to the end".[7]

Munson explained that the goal of the casting changes was "to lighten the show up a bit". He believed the changes granted the studio's and network's wish to "make it a little younger and hipper".[1] O'Laughlin felt that the whole cast's becoming "a little bit younger" especially affected the character Josef, as the originally chosen actor, Šerbedžija, was twice Jason Dohring's age. The creators and the network were concerned that Josef, whose relationship with Mick was important, would appear as more of a "father figure" rather than as a friend. O'Laughlin supported the recasting of Josef with a younger actor due to the resulting "level of ease in that age difference".[13]

Promotion and distribution

To promote the series, Silver and the main cast attended the Comic-Con International on July 27, 2007, where the series was featured.[14] Moonlight premiered on September 28, 2007, airing on Friday nights at 9:00/8:00c on CBS, following Ghost Whisperer.[15] Internationally, CTV began airing the series in Canada in simulcast with the American broadcast;[16] Living began airing the series in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2008;[17] and Channel Nine in Australia began airing Moonlight on December 12, 2007, although it stopped showing the series after the eighth episode.[18] The series finale aired on May 16, 2008 in the United States.[19] The Sci Fi Channel began airing repeats of the series on January 23, 2009 on Fridays at 9 pm/ET.[20] The series averaged one million viewers per episode on the Sci Fi Channel, making it one of the better-performing acquired series of the channel in recent years.[21] Warner Home Video released the complete first season on DVD on January 20, 2009.[22] Episodes are currently showing on Irish TV Channel 3e.[23]

Cast and characters

The main cast of Moonlight were; from left to right: Jason Dohring as Josef Kostan, Shannyn Sossamon as Coraline Duvall, Alex O'Loughlin as Mick St. John, and Sophia Myles as Beth Turner.

Main

Alex O'Loughlin portrays Mick St. John, a private investigator who was turned into a vampire on the night of his wedding by his bride, Coraline. Mick is 85 years old,[24] and unlike other vampires, he has standards and does not hunt women, children, or innocents. Although he realizes that he has feelings for Beth, he is reluctant to continue a romantic relationship with her, knowing that being a vampire would hinder any sort of normal life.[25][26]

Sophia Myles portrays Beth Turner, an internet reporter and Mick's love interest. Beth has some memories of being rescued from a kidnapper by Mick 22 years prior, but does not initially realize that Mick is the same man. At the beginning of the series, she is dating an assistant district attorney, Josh Lindsey (Jordan Belfi), but later develops a romantic relationship with Mick.[25]

Jason Dohring portrays Josef Kostan, a 400-year old vampire and Mick's mentor and friend.[27][28] Josef is a businessman who does not stint himself in luxuries, from an expensive house to the company of numerous beautiful women who are more than happy to sate his desire for blood.[25]

Shannyn Sossamon portrays Coraline Duvall, St. John's ex-wife and sire. A courtesan in early 18th century France, she is approximately 300 years old. After turning Mick into a vampire, the couple became estranged and Coraline was presumed dead for more than twenty years.[25] When she returns under the pseudonym Morgan, she appears to be completely human and claims to have a cure for vampirism, which Mick becomes desperate to obtain.[29]

Supporting

  • Jacob Vargas as Guillermo Gasol, a morgue worker who steals blood from dead bodies for himself and other vampires.[25]
  • Brian J. White as Lieutenant Carl Davis, one of Beth's contacts and a friend of Mick.[25]
  • Jordan Belfi as Josh Lindsey, Beth's boyfriend who works in the district attorney's office.[30] Josh is killed by a member of the MS-13 gang.[31]
  • Tami Roman as Maureen Williams, Beth's boss at BuzzWire. Maureen is killed by a vampire over one of her stories.[32]
  • Kevin Weisman as Steve Balfour, a friend of Beth and co-worker at BuzzWire.[25]
  • David Blue as Logan Griffen, a vampire computer hacker and technology-obsessed recluse who Mick often goes to for help.[29][31]
  • Eric Winter as Benjamin Talbot, an assistant district attorney who offers Beth a job.[32]

Plot

Synopsis

The pilot introduces Mick St. John, a private investigator who has been a vampire for over fifty years. Mick meets Beth Turner, a reporter for the online newspaper BuzzWire, at the scene of the murder of a young woman. Mick and Beth begin investigating the crime together, helping each other to catch the killer. Flashbacks to 22 years ago show a domestic fight between Mick and his ex-wife Coraline Duvall over a kidnapped girl. Mick lights the house on fire and rescues the girl, leaving Coraline to the fire. It is revealed that the little girl has grown up to be Beth, and that Mick has tried to watch over her and keep her safe over the years.[25] In the present, Beth discovers that Mick is a vampire,[33] and Mick reveals how one becomes a vampire and tells her the story of how he was turned on his wedding night by his ex-wife, Coraline.[34]

Beth asks Mick to help her friend Morgan find her stolen cameras. When he meets her, Mick is completely shocked; Morgan is identical to his ex-wife, Coraline. He becomes even more confused when his vampiric sense of smell tells him that Morgan is human. Mick tries to expose Morgan as Coraline, but finally comes to believe that she is a doppelgänger when he sees that she does not have the fleur de lis tattoo on her shoulder as Coraline did. When alone, Morgan scrubs away the heavy makeup that has been covering her fleur de lis tattoo.[28] Beth snoops through Mick's property, and finds out Mick was the one who protected her as a little girl when she was kidnapped.[35] Morgan goes with Mick to his apartment to clean up after almost getting hit by a car. Mick joins her in the shower and finally sees the tattoo on her shoulder, revealing her identity as Coraline. When Beth learns that Morgan is really Coraline, the lady who kidnapped her as a child, she goes to Mick's apartment and stabs her through the heart with a wooden stake, not realizing that she has become human.[36] Coraline goes to hospital, but recovers and leaves after being revealed to be a vampire again.[37] Beth's boyfriend Josh is kidnapped by a dangerous Los Angeles-based gang. Mick and Beth witness the event and drive after him, but Josh is shot. Beth realizes that Josh is dying, and begs Mick to turn him into a vampire; he refuses and Josh dies.[31] While putting Josh's affairs in order, Beth discovers that Josh was about to propose to her.[29]

Mick encounters two vampires who are looking for Coraline. Once they leave, Mick visits his vampire friend Josef, who tells him that one of them was Lance (David Merheb), a rich and powerful vampire. Mick finds Coraline at a storage facility working on a compound for the vampire cure. Coraline explains that during the French Revolution there were seven siblings of royal blood who were vampires, two of which were Lance and Coraline. She then uses the compound to cure Mick's vampirism, although Lance arrives and takes her away.[29] Mick enjoys life as a human, although the cure is only temporary. Beth's boss at BuzzWire is killed, and a new assistant district attorney named Benjamin Talbot (Eric Winter) investigates the murder. Mick and Beth discuss the problems of having a romantic relationship, and although they end up kissing, Mick tells her he needs time to figure things out.[32] Photos of Mick getting hit by a vehicle find their way into the hands of Talbot. Mick and Beth decide to start a romantic relationship, and go to a restaurant for their first date.[38] After quitting BuzzWire and becoming unemployed, Talbot offers Beth a job as a civilian investigator.[39] Talbot receives a list of names of all the vampires in the area, including Mick, from an unknown source. Beth tells Mick that she cannot continue to date Mick because of their vampire-human situation, but Mick says that he loves her and they kiss.[40]

Mythology

The conventions of Moonlight are based on a unique mythology.[13] A sire is the vampire who turns a human into a vampire, and must teach him how to live as one. A vampire's bite is not enough to turn a human into a vampire; the human, when near death, must drink the sire's blood.[34] Daylight does not kill vampires, but does make them progressively weaker. Silver and fire are toxic,[33] whereas garlic, holy water and crucifixes are useless.[41] A vampire's image cannot be captured with analogue cameras containing silver emulsion in the film; digital cameras are able to capture an image because they do not use silver emulsion.[33] Vampires have a pulse, are not cold blooded, and cannot turn into a bat.[42] They must consume human blood to survive, and the best ways to kill them is by decapitation or burning; a stake through the heart is painful but only causes paralysis.[43] Vampires have heightened senses, which allow them to hear and smell very well. They also develop psychic powers and can glimpse the future.[44]

Reception

Moonlight attracted a loyal and devoted fan base which included internet communities. Fans coordinated with the American Red Cross for a series of charity blood drives, and Alex O'Loughlin became a national spokesman for the charity.[45] The series averaged 7.57 million American viewers per episode, ranking 89 out of 281 in the 2007–08 ratings.[46] The pilot finished first among total viewers and adults 18–49 for its night,[47] and was seen by 8.54 million American viewers.[48] By comparison, the series finale was watched by 7.47 million viewers upon its original broadcast, making it the 41st most watched episode of the week.[49]

Reviews were generally negative for the pilot,[50] and for the series as a whole.[51] Metacritic gave the series a Metascore of 38 out of 100, signifying generally negative reviews.[52] Several critics compared it detrimentally with the television series Angel,[53][54] as well as other vampire related media, including Forever Knight, The Night Stalker,[24] Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blood Ties,[55] Dark Shadows and the works of Anne Rice.[56][57] Tim Goodman of The San Francisco Chronicle considered the series to be "the worst new fall show".[58] Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it as "a weak, generic private-eye drama with a vampire story overlay",[55] and Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe felt that it came close to a "full-on nightmare".[59] The writing was criticized as "ponderous",[54] and having "familiar, conventional plots".[55] One critic claimed it did not offer much "to inspire an actor",[56] while another thought it had the "worst writing of the new season".[58] The dialogue was described by Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune as "groan-inducing".[12] Tom Shales of The Washington Post criticized the series creators' decision to make Mick a private investigator, and felt that they "appear eager to avoid what makes their show unique".[60]

Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times saw promise in the series, but remarked it got "lost between concept and execution, and instead of suspense we get silliness, as if the creators were determined to use only the clichés of both genres".[43] The acting of the pilot was criticized as "sub-par" and "woeful".[58][61] Robert Bianco of USA Today felt that Moonlight had a "less adept cast" than Angel.[54] Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe depreciated the chemistry between O'Loughlin and Myles as "artificial", and said that they "exchange lines of dialogue with a stilted rhythm and no natural flow". O'Loughlin was described as a "flatliner",[56] and "passable in the lead role",[12] while Sossamon's appearance was said to be "preposterously not-scary".[12] Travis Fickett of IGN praised the actors, however, and felt that O'Loughlin did "a decent job", and that Myles was "perhaps the most promising aspect of the show".[62] Ryan commended Myles as "reasonably good".[12]

Not all reviews, however, were as negative. Kara Howland of TV Guide gave the pilot a positive review, and thought it was a "solid start".[24] Sarah Stegall of SFScope said that if Moonlight could survive "the Friday night time slot" and the "thwarted expectations of [vampire] fans who were expecting Blade", she thought it would "rock".[57] Several critics praised Jason Dohring's portrayal of Josef. One said that he gave the series "a small burst of energy",[56] while another said that he made it "crackle with a bit of wit".[12] Dohring was described as "a welcome presence",[62] and one critic wished for "a bit more screen time".[61] Travis Fickett of IGN praised the action scenes, and noted that "once the action gets started, it plays well".[62]

Cancellation

Les Moonves, President of CBS, stated on December 4, 2007 that Moonlight was likely to return for a second season.[63] Due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, production of the series was halted by December 19, 2007,[64] and only twelve episodes of the original thirteen-episode order were produced.[65] Once the Writers' Strike ended, CBS announced that Moonlight would return April 25, 2008 with four new episodes, to be part of the series' first season.[66] On May 13, 2008, CBS announced that Moonlight was officially cancelled.[67] Following the CBS cancellation, Warner Bros. Television inquired with other outlets about their interest in the series.[68] One of the outlets approached was Media Rights Capital,[69] which is responsible for The CW's Sunday night programming, although it decided not to acquire the series.[70] It was later reported that Syfy was considering picking up the series. Writer and executive producer Harry Werksman said that "talks" were under way for a second season, and noted the possibility of a film.[71] On June 23, 2008, James Hibberd of The Hollywood Reporter reported that efforts to sell Moonlight to another network had failed, and that the series was permanently cancelled.[72]

References

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  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 3, 2007). "Tambor saluting Captain". The Hollywood Reporter. 
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  5. ^ Michael, Schneider (May 14, 2007). "CBS Picks Up Drama Shows". Daily Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117964876.html?categoryid=2569&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  6. ^ Nellie, Andreeva (June 1, 2007). "Greenwalt Bites into Moonlight". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3ic037e503baf6e57c2233c754efeb30c9. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
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  29. ^ a b c d "The Mortal Cure". Chip Johannessen (writer) & Eric Laneuville (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2008-01-18. No. 12, season 1.
  30. ^ "Fever". Jill Blotevogel (writer) & Fred Toye (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2007-10-19. No. 4, season 1. 42 minutes in.
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  32. ^ a b c "Fated To Pretend". Gabrielle Stanton, Harry Werksman (writers) & David Barrett (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2008-04-25. No. 12, season 1.
  33. ^ a b c "Out of the Past". David Greenwalt (writer) & Fred Toye (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2007-10-05. No. 2, season 1.
  34. ^ a b "Dr. Feelgood". Gabrielle Stanton, Harry Werksman (writers) & Scott Lautanen (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2007-10-12. No. 3, season 1.
  35. ^ "12:04 AM". Jill Blotevogel (writer) & Dennis Smith (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2007-11-16. No. 8, season 1.
  36. ^ "Fleur de Lis". Gabrielle Stanton, Harry Werksman (writers) & James Whitmore, Jr. (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2007-11-23. No. 9, season 1.
  37. ^ "Sleeping Beauty". Trevor Munson, Ron Koslow (writers) & John Kretchmer (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2007-12-14. No. 10, season 1.
  38. ^ "Click". Erin Maher, Kathryn Reindl (writers) & Scott Lautanen (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2008-05-02. No. 14, season 1.
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  40. ^ "Sonata". Ethan Erwin (writer) & Fred Toye (director). Moonlight. CBS. 2008-05-16. No. 16, season 1.
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