Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blood Ties cont.-- review

-- I promised to follow up with a review of Blood Ties once I had a chance to watch it, and so here we are.

At the start of Blood Ties, someone-- possibly a vampire-- is killing people in Toronto, and three different investigations are underway: one led by copy Norman Bridewell, slick and blond, one from Vicki Nelson, PI, a former cop whose bad vision caused her to leave both the force and her affair with Norman, and one from Henry Fitzroy, a Jim-Morrison-attractive, dark-haired vampire whose casual life of charm and seduction has been interrupted by a fear that humans will decide to hunt him down over crimes he didn't commit. These three investigations soon meet, and form the cornerstone of the series, which is a nice blend of genres-- a crime show with a unique female lead, and a vampire story that treats its vampirism with a matter-of-factness we might call innocent.

In the universe of crime shows, PIs have authority that they generally don't in real life-- they talk tough and bartenders give up information readily. It's the way these things work-- Vicki is that kind of PI, except that her blurred vision, glasses and neatly drawn-back hair are a charming departure from the norm.

The DVD Set includes the whole first season, but Episodes 1 and 2 form the Pilot, which means the action has to serve the double duty of telling an episodic story (in this case, about a small-time nerd who's discovered how to summon a murderous, slightly bigger-time demon) while also introducing the world and the main characters. This leads to a lot more explaining in the dialog than you will ever have again-- though the story Henry tells of how he became a vampire is earnest and compelling and marks the point at which the characters come into their own-- supernatural naturalism.

I like that Vicki is immune to Henry's mojo, at least the kind he uses for the Jedi-mind-trick style questioning and suggestion he likes to pull on the random people he meets. When Henry he tries to hypnotize her as they first meet, Vicki snaps, "You might want to take that hand off my arm before I snap it off at the wrist."

This is popcorn, pure and simple, but as any fan of SLINGS AND ARROWS who also watched STUDIO 60 will tell you, there's usually a Canadian "version" of your favorite show that's probably better, and that goes for popcorn, too.

Of course vampire stories are evergreen, which is why creators get to use them in so many ways; we have romance vampire stories, terrorist vampire stories, superhero vampire stories. BLOOD TIES is a surprise-- an exciting mesh of crime drama and supernatural romance with a cool heroine at its center.

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