Let’s Talk About Midnight, Texas
“Did you just find a new fandom?”
I had been talking about the premier episode of Midnight, Texas all. day. long. Seriously, there was nothing anyone could do to get me to shut up about the show. In fact, I was demanding all of my friends watch the show. When I first heard about the show, I was apprehensive to say the least.
The initial trailer seemed to be missing something. It’s possible I didn’t look close enough, or this character really wasn’t included. Chuy Strong appeared to have been erased from the Midnight, Texas universe, and I was livid. As such, I took to Twitter to express my distaste. You’re really going to make a show like this and not include the gay guys? Really? Monica Breen corrected me quickly. “You mean Chuy? He’s in the first episode.” Oops, ignore the angry queer girl in the corner. I chose to watch the first episode and reserve any judgment.
Y’all. I don’t even know where to begin. This show is remarkable. I am a huge fan of Charlaine Harris. I have read all of her books several times. When I get frustrated about writing, I remind myself that a bad ass like her went out there and created magic. Then, I go for it and write weird shit like stories about Weresharks. Screw it, it’s all fair game. If Charlaine can create all manner of creatures and monsters and magic, I can too. Seeing the world of Midnight, Texas come alive has practically been a religious experience.
The cast for this show is insane. To be honest, no one in the cast is how I mentally pictured any of the characters in the book. However, once the show began and they started speaking and acting, I was sold. These people really are the best choices.
One of the first things we see in the first episode is Manfred Bernardo (François Arnaud) conducting a psychic reading. At first sight, my initial reaction to Arnaud was “That is not what Manfred looks like.” Manfred was supposed to be a walking “I’m a freak” billboard. He was supposed to be all tattoos and piercings and vibrant hair color. Francois Arnaud looks so…normal. This dude is light years away from normal, and I say that in the most complimentary fashion possible. Watching him interact with a spirit no one else could see, getting possessed by that spirit, talking to his dead grandmother…I’m sold. Arnaud is Manfred Bernardo and I couldn’t be more delighted by that. Someone in casting watched him and said “YES!” and did the world a huge service. As for the missing tattoos and piercings…they’re still there, just subtle. The closer that I watched the character, the more frequently I would catch a glimpse of something shiny or of some ink. This is attention to detail on a whole other level.
Sidenote to go with Manfred: Xylda (played by Joanne Camp) is brilliant. This woman comes off as the well meaning (albeit dead) grandmother with some spark to her. She could be leading you to a messy situation just to amuse herself, or she could really be aiming to take care of you. Buy the ticket and take the ride.
Olivia Charity (Arielle Kebbel) is one of the first citizens we come across in midnight. Another thing that worried me about the show was what would happen with Olivia. Would they turn her into some daddy-issue-ridden-sex-kitten? Y’all. High fives all around. Olivia is every inch of the badass in the show that she is in the books. Even in a scene where Olivia is in her underwear, it’s not in order to be sexy. She was off duty and getting ready for bed (it would appear) when her help was needed. Who the hell has time for pants? Olivia grabbed up her bow and arrow and went to work. This girl is murder and kindness and energy and grace and strength rolled into one and she. Gets. Things. Done.
Next up, we meet Bobo Winthrop. He is renting out a house to Manfred. Whoever cast Dylan Bruce as Bobo deserves a raise and a bottle of whisky. I fell in love with the character of Bobo Winthrop in the Lily Bard series. We watched him grow from a goofy teenager to a man with a huge heart. His family situation imploded and Bobo just kept plowing forward. He has always had a calm, easy going, charm about him. This guy, though, has one “weakness” so to speak. He can stand on his own two feet and has proved that many times. Bobo is at his most effective with a woman’s support. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he always needs a romantic partner. He just happens to do best when there is a woman there to tell him “This is okay, you are okay, I’m here.” There’s a scene in the first episode where Fiji and Bobo are sitting together and a police officer asks to speak to Bobo privately. Fiji gathers herself to leave, Bobo reaches for her and asks her to stay. That is classic Bobo. He knows he can do it alone, but would prefer not to. Dylan Bruce managed to bring all of Bobo’s best parts to the table.
Creek Lovell is played by Sarah Ramos. If I’m honest, I never gave much thought to Creek in the book series…even though her family has a pretty solid plotline. Sarah Ramos has given Creek so much depth that I am officially in love with Creek. Don’t get me started on shipping Manfred and Creek…I’m already there. She’s a strong woman trying to do right for her brother Connor. All I want for her are good things. During episode one, it is Sarah Ramos in voice over giving the lowdown on the citizens of Midnight. It appears Creek knows a little about everyone there.
In the book series, Reverend Emillio Sheen was a mysterious creature. He kept to himself and tended his church and graveyard. As the books progressed, he added on the care of young Diederick, but still stayed somewhat disconnected from the world around him. Between the talented writers and the wonderful Yul Vasquez The Rev is a brand new man. Sure, he’s still mysterious. Everyone in Midnight has their secrets. But, the way this character is written and acted have me empathizing so much more with him. It was an unexpected quirk of the show, but not unappreciated.
Lemuel Bridger (played by Peter Mensah) is probably the world’s coolest vampire. Not only has he been around long enough to control his impulses, but he can also leech energy instead of taking blood. Watching Mensah play Lemuel in a moment of bloodlust (where he leeched Manfred instead) was breathtaking. The careful, controlled, restraint shown was exactly what one would expect in that situation. His interrogation of the Sons of Lucifer member was horrifying and wonderful. Mensah definitely showed how immune to the concerns of humans an ancient vampire would be.
Fiji Cavanaugh in the books and the show is a breath of fresh air. This witch is incredibly brave and talented. Additionally, she’s not afraid to show her softer side. Fiji has always been a motherly type of character. I didn’t know what to expect with Parisa Fitz-Henley playing Fiji. Really, I don’t watch a lot of TV shows (only Midnight, Texas and Supernatural right now!) and am not familiar with her work. From the second Fitz-Henley took the screen, I was smitten. This woman…wow. She is kind, courteous, bad ass, and magical. This year, we got Gal Gadot as Wonderwoman…by the same token, we need to appreciate the hell out of Parisa Fitz-Henley as Fiji. The heart of everything Fiji is can be found in loving kindness and a desire to protect others. She is, for sure, the Wonderwoman of this show.
Let’s put the next two together, because that’s where they belong. Chuy and Joe Strong (played by Bernardo Sarcino and Jason Lewis respectively) are couple goals. These two men are angels…literally. In the first episode we get treated to Joe unfurling his wings and flying around. Can we just take a moment and appreciate the VFX and SFX teams? Joe unfolding his wings was gorgeous and a little gruesome. In their daily lives, the two men run a tattoo shop (Joe) and Nail Salon (Chuy.) The second episode treats us to a touching exchange between the two men. Though it is of Chuy questioning Joe’s decision to go flying and a little tense, you can see the love they have for each other. These two men have watched over the crossroads for ages. The end of the second episode reveals that Joe was in Midnight millennia ago. I cannot wait to see how things progress this season and to have Chuy and Joe’s perspectives on unfolding events.
Y’all…I literally do not have a single complaint about this show. There are certain unexpected aspects of it, but none of them are unpleasant. With episode two concluding, the overarching plotline for the season is starting to come together. The strengths and weaknesses of the citizens of Midnight are being revealed. Add in the amazing writing and killer visual and sound effects and this show really is a can’t miss.
P.S. Fiji’s cat talks…and he’s got a Texas accent!