Moonlight is a series I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. I re-watched it this past couple of weeks and everything I remember about it is still there and then some. In the wisdom of my considerably advanced age, I now noticed things I missed before that I’ll share in future posts. In the meantime, I want to encourage people to find this series on DVD, or Netflix, or on someone’s Youtube channel.
Affectionately referred to as CSI: Vampire, Moonlight is the story of Mick St. John, a vampire working as a private detective in Los Angeles who deals with clients and criminals of the human and vampire variety. A World War 2 medic in mortal life, Mick became a vampire after marrying Coraline. Coraline, whom we later learn is the daughter of King Louis XVI, kidnaps a little girl in order to win Mick over after he leaves her. He rescues the girl, kills Coraline, and that little girl grows up to become Beth Turner. Beth is a reporter for the online news feed Buzz Wire, who runs into Mick while investigating a series of vampire-like serial killings. In the course of events, Beth learns Mick is the one who saved her as a child, she learns he’s a vampire, Coraline comes back from the dead, and believe it or not it all ends on a Happily Ever After Note. Or as much of a note as a series that lasted only one season can end in. There was a tiny fragment of a story line that would have been followed if the series was renewed, but as far as fans are concerned, all of the major plot lines of the show’s solitary season were resolved and the curtains closed on a kiss.
The first episode of this series was written by David Greenwalt, a writer familiar to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Moonlight introduced American audiences to Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin and may also have attributed to Sophia Myles’s rise to fame. Before Moonlight, Sophia had a supporting role in Underworld with Kate Beckinsale. Also, point of trivia, Alex O’Loughlin was the villain in Whiteout, another movie starring Kate Beckinsale.
Moonlight shared Firefly‘s fate in getting axed after only one season. Unlike Firefly, however, there was no follow up movie, or comic books, or franchise to speak of. While fans of the show were certainly pining for these things, the actors and crew had moved on to other things. Alex O’Loughlin even sent out a message to his fans asking them to watch and support his newest endeavor, the equally short-lived medical drama Three Rivers.
Probably another thing that didn’t help was the fact that Moonlight came so closely on the curtails of Angel. Angel, the spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also set in Los Angeles and had the lead character running a detective agency with a similar business model. Moonlight also shared similarities with Forever Knight, although both shows had their own sets of strengths and weaknesses.
In either case, Moonlight represented the end of an era where vampires were for grown-ups. You could argue that True Blood, which is also a mystery and romance, was such a show. But unless you subscribed to HBO or later bought the DVD box sets, it’s not really a fair comparison. Moonlight was on CBS and available on basic cable. Then not too long after its cancellation, a relationship that hits all of the red flags in the abusive relationship handbook stole the hearts of teenage girls and 40-year-old single women across the globe.
In addition to a great stories, three dimensional characters, and strong continuity, Moonlight is a proud representative of a decade. In the way that we associate Law and Order with the 90’s, 21 Jump Street with the 80’s, and Foxy Brown with the 70’s, I have no doubt Moonlight will go on to be remembered as a show for fans of the 00’s.