First aired:24th July 2017
Francois Arnaud – Manfred Bernardo
Dylan Bruce – Bobo Winthrop
Parisia Fitz-Henley – Fiji Cavanagh
Arielle Kebbel – Olivia Charity
Jason Lewis – Joe Strong
Joanne Camp – Xylda
Peter Mensah – Lemuel Bridger
Sarah Ramos – Creek Lovell
Yul Vazquez – Rev. Emilio Sheehan
Bernard Saracino – Chuy Strong
Kellee Stewart – Madonna Reed
Joe Smith – Voice of Mr Snuggles
Plot: A con artist poses as a medium, appearing to contact the dead husband of a wealthy widow. Problem is that Manfred is an actual medium and has the dead husband’s spirit finds his way into him and terrifies the client. That particular threat over, Manfred relaxes, only to get a call from someone called Hightower. Once that ominous call is ended, he is heading out of town with great haste. He heads towards the town called Midnight, at the behest of the ghost of his grandmother.
After seeing some of the locals, Manny walks into the pawn shop, to speak to it’s owner Bobo whom he has arranged to rent a house from. He’s disturbed with how his medium powers are affected by the objects in the shop and is happy to get into the house. Later that night, he goes to the local diner and meets chef Madonna, barmaid Creek and the mysterious Olivia. He also meets Lem, the local vampire. He flirts with Creek, who invites him to a picnic event the next day.
At the picnic, the town is meeting and it all seems quite lovely, until the dead body of Bobo’s missing fiancee Aubre is found on the riverbank. The local sheriff’s dept is called and they are neither sympathetic, nor helpful. That night, Aubrey’s ghost visits Manfred, who agrees to help. Local witch Fiji visits Bobo, a man she’s clearly in love with, to offer support. The sheriff arrives and tells Bobo that Aubrey was already married to a white supremacist with the local biker gang Sons of Lucifer. Manfred visits the local church to steal holy water and is caught by the local preacher, who gives tacit approval. Manfred goes home and uses a ouija board to summon Aubrey’s spirit, but also manages to summon every restless spirit nearby and his house is full of the voices of the dead. He sets wards and charms tohold the spirits back and leaves. The police start questioning the residents of Midnight, Manfred uses information he’s gleaned from Aubrey to get the police away from him, gaining him the ire of Lem and Olivia. Once Manfred reveals he is Xylda’s grandson, Lem trusts him and they and Fiji let him go.
Two of the Sons of Lucifer visit Bobo, it’s about to get nasty when Olivia and Lem arrive from upstairs where they live. Olivia injures one and Lem rapidly kills the other, then questions the survivor. When that proves fruitless, he feeds on him.
The next day Manfred visits the Gas’n’Go and sees Creek, also meeting Creek’s overbearing father, who quickly voices his disapproval of Manfred and warns him away from his daughter. Later she visits Manfred and they two share a beer. She describes the locals and we see Joseph growing wings and flying, Bobo hiding a secret and Fiji casting a spell, whilst being heckled by her cat. Creek and Manfred grow closer.
The Sheriff arrests Bobo, but can’t take him as Fiji starts moving the police car, she stops when the reisidents of Midnight agree to help. The sheriff drives off, leaving Manfred to go back to the house he is growing more and more afraid of.
Notes: The Midnight Texas stories were the brainchild of Charmaine Harris, the writer of the Sookie Stackhouse books that formed the basis of the show True Blood. Although there are similarities to it. Protagonist with psychic powers living in a rural southern town with a populace of supernatural creatures, the TV adaptation is a very different beast. Gone is the top layer of sex and gore and replacing it is a quirky strangeness. The cast are mostly unknowns or actors who haven’t had big starring roles and yet each of them brings a depth and originality to the most unbizarre of characters. The vampire Lem is unlike any vampire you have ever seen on TV, there’s no sense of menace, but a calm and relaxed demeanour that belies his size and unearthly blue eyes. The local preacher is clearly a man full of secrets, as is the apparently likable Bobo. Despite the bizarre nature of everyone, it’s Olivia who comes across as the most dangerous, but that seems to go away completely when she talks to Fiji. While not being a vampire, nor being from Texas, this place with it’s relaxed friendliness and everyone knows everyone air, is very relatable for me. This felt like a real town in way that most small towns on TV don’t.
Arnaud’s Manfred is an unlikely star of the show, understandable given that the town is the star. He’s not particularly noble or heroic and starts off the show trying to con a grieving widow. He’s running. he’s in over his head and isn’t in Midnight to do anything other than hide from Hightower. But in a TV landscape full of pretty people being unnaturally capable, this show stands out, showing more of a variety and depth. I watched this when it aired last year and then again for this and both times, felt I was watching something a little special. This was a lot of fun, just fun with a darker tone than usual.
Does it work? Yes, it’s a forumla that has worked before and is used to great effect.
Does much need fixing? Not really, the story has started and seems to have it’s course tightly plotted.
Does it stand up? Have watched the show a couple of times and was highly entertained.
Do I want to watch the next one? The show was re-shown before the second season aired, so I and the MIGHTY Rosie watched two episodes a week until the whole thing was done.
Did I enjoy it? Defintely.
Overall: 5 out of 5. An outstanding show that should be tried out.