Moonlight Falls on the Adult Vampire Series

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.

Corrina Chapman, my New, New Best Friend

The Corrina Chapman mysteries are written by the same author who created the insatiable Phryne Fisher. There’s a bit of confusion regarding the copyright notice on the first book, Heavenly Pleasures, but it still counts as a Come Lately review. I’ll explain this soon.

Unlike Phryne, Corrina lives in the very modern Melbourne, Australia. A former accountant turned baker, Corrina is unashamed of her body and proud of her success. Her constant companion is Horatio, her cat, and two additional cats known as The Mouse Patrol, who keeps her bakery free of vermin in exchange for treats.

Her bakery, Earthly Delights, is in the same building as her apartment, a Roman inspired structure that was spared from urban renewal known as Insula. Each of the apartments are named for Greek or Roman deities that correspond with the characters. For example, Corrina lives in Hebe, named for the “waitress” of the gods. Apropos since Corrina keeps a shop where she sells her bread to the working stiffs of Melbourne. She doesn’t have to, she just likes to see people enjoying her life’s work.

Initially, I checked this series out because I wanted to see Kerry Greenwood’s more iconic Phryne Fisher series wasn’t just a fluke. I’m not one who judges the success of an author by whether their books make it to screen and just because I haven’t heard of Corrina, doesn’t mean she isn’t as compelling as the Lady Detective. I flew through the first book, Earthly Delights and am now in the middle of Heavenly Pleasures. First and foremost I love that Corrina is a fat character. By fat I mean, she’s also an XXL (like yours truly) and the fast paced nature of her work ensures that she has a healthy appetite. The second thing I love is that Corrina is not someone who goes out of her way to find problems. They find their way to her in a way that never seems forced, and these things effect her in such a way that it makes her involvement seem not only believable, but you’d less of her if she didn’t get involved.

So far, the other thing I like is that Kerry Greenwood doesn’t stick to the murder=mystery pattern that I’ve criticized other authors for. A death might happen in the story and a murderer may be involved but it’s secondary to the main plot (so far). Corrina has more than enough on her own plate (sorry) that she doesn’t get in the way of the cops, who are quite competent at their own jobs, thank you very much.

As to my question about the copyright, there’s a bit of confusion there. It tells me that the date for this book’s copyright is 1992. This doesn’t make sense, since Earthly Delights alone has enough Buffy references to qualify as a TVTropes entry and the pop culture references are also as recent as the late 90’s, early 00’s.

My theory has to do with the fact that the American copyright is 2006. So I wonder if Greenwood wrote this book a lot so one rand either it was published in 1992, or she had the copyright secured before she actually started writing it. I also don’t know how much Australian copyright laws differ from American ones, nor do I know a heck of a lot about American copyright laws, so all of this confusion could be the result of my own crippling ignorance.

It’s one mystery I’ll eagerly solve when and if I get the chance to ask my new favorite author.

 

The Town Pump by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Flipping through an old copy of Twice Told Tales Volume 2. (never, ever, ever “flip” through a twelfth edition copy of any book, ever) I found The Town Pump.

Unlike the Birthmark, The Town Pump doesn’t open with a lot of exposition. It reads more like a script than a story, which is appropriate since it is told from the point of view of one of Salem’s most underappreciated landmarks: the bus station.

Seriously though, The Town Pump is a fast paced read and it doesn’t take long to be sucked in by the personality and the ego of the titular “character”. The Town Pump begins by telling everyone how it is arguably the most useful individual in Salem. You can’t argue with the logic, since it was used to hydrate people, pets, and livestock at all hours of the day.

In the flow of the story, you’ll learn aspects of American history that are as relevant today as they were when it was written. For the daring street performer, this story even  offers plenty of opportunities to interact with any potential crowd you’d be lucky enough to draw within the flow of the narrative. It was almost as if Hawthorne intended for this story to be read before a crowd… hmmm.

For the devoted teacher who is struggling to get their students turned on to one of America’s literary giants, I would strongly recommend The Town Pump. It is to The Scarlet Letter what baby food is to a ten course meal at the Red Lobster.

 

The Birthmark ~ By Nathaniel Hawthorne

This is the first short story I have ever read by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s actually the first time I’ve read his work period. If you’re like me, you didn’t actually read The Scarlet Letter, but more likely your teacher gave you the basic summary and focused entirely on the character analysis and cultural impact. You might have even seen a documentary or some televised film version.

It probably insults his ghost more to know that I’ve lived in his birth town, walked by his statue, ate beneath the roof of his namesake hotel, and never once bothered to pick up one of his books. And here I am expecting others to do the same for me. The nerve!

The Birthmark’s theme is simple: Man can’t presume to perfect what Nature has made imperfect.

This theme is revisited many times in other works, such as Flowers for Algernon and Gattaca. The theme is revisited far more times throughout the flow of ordinary human life, which is what makes this 19th century offering so timeless.

Although, one thing that strikes me about stories like this one and by other older authors like Chesterton and Dickens are the overwhelming amounts of exposition and speech tags. These things are often praised as necessary in the works of the classics, but if I were to hand The Birthmark in at a creative writing class, I would get so many marks off just for the speech tags alone. (I would probably also be expelled for plagiarism)

Hawthorne is one of those authors that the majority of the world has a love hate relationship with. If you were forced to read his work in school, the last thing you want to do is go back for more. It’s one of the challenges the man you see standing beside me faces when he does educational functions and special events, especially when most of the people who would like to get to know the author’s work are so traumatized by the educational experience.

If you’re trying to get into Hawthorne but you’re not ready for a full novel, I’d recommend starting with The Birthmark. The story is simple and straight forward, there are only three characters, and the theme is one we can easily identify with. As an educational piece it serves its purpose as a measuring stick by which we can compare our own work and if nothing else, it lets us into the mind of one of the literary giants in American history.

Bunny Lake Is Missing (My Second Faux TVtropes Entry)

Tvtropes has a terrible login system, so this was my attempt at contributing to TVtropes via my own blog.

Confessions of a Cart Jockey

Continuing with my trend of being a self-styled honorary troper until someone from tvtropes.org notices me and helps me get my membership in order, I have decided to make a new page for the movie Bunny Lake is Missing. It’s especially apropos, since there is no full page in existence at the actual website.

Bunny Lake is Missing is a film in the Mystery, Thriller genres, filmed in London in 1965. Starring Carol Lynley, Keir Dullea, and Laurence Olivier.

After leaving her four year-old daughter, Bunny at a nursery, Annie Lake spends the morning adjusting to her new life in England. Upon returning to the preschool, Anne is distraught at learning that not only is her daughter missing, but that none of the staff seem to remember seeing her.

Only her brother, Stephen seems to be aware of Bunny’s existence and even that becomes suspect as it seems that…

View original post 1,226 more words

The Smallest Dragonboy By Anne McCaffrey

Someone introduced me to Anne McCaffrey a very long time ago. I loved the premise, but in true teenager fashion, I was instantly opposed to anything someone else suggested.

With apologies to the late author, who made such an impact in the world of writing and science fiction that it’s unacceptable not to know her name, I have now read one of her stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever tackle the entire Dragon Riders of Pern series, but this story was an excellent sampling of the greater buffet that I denied myself for years.

The story is simple. The smallest potential dragon rider is picked on and undervalued by his peers, especially the big jerk who has constantly failed to Impress a hatchling after eight tries. The boy winds up overcoming adversity by impressing the dragon that is of a very high and impressive breed.

I say it’s simple without intending to insult the McCaffrey. It’s because I have been reading with a critical eye of late that I saw the ending coming long before reading the last page. That should not be taken to mean that you should not read the story, or that it wasn’t an impressive journey from the first word to the last.

 

Come Lately Reviews: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

John and I were going through our videos last night, deciding on what to watch. As I rifled through the DVD’s, I said, “What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?”

“I think I remember the film.”

“Well, that’s the one we’ve got.”

Later, as I write this review, I’m recalling some of the finer details. But, as I recall, I think we both kind of liked it.

This is the first film based on the works of Truman Capote that I have knowingly watched. It’s billed as a comedy, but it’s what I think of as a realistic comedy. It’s a story full of naturally occurring humor that balances out against the moments of drama and tragedy. Audrey Hepburn clearly showed her chops her in the way she portrayed a wild child who goes from place to place and fights the world’s attempts to restrain her at every turn. George Peppard perfectly compliments her and his character’s story is as realistic and touching to watch.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of those movies that I’ve heard about all my life. Like many people my age, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought the song by Deep Blue Something was in the soundtrack, but like the song, the movie has little to do with Breakfast or Tiffany. In fact, Tiffany and Co. plays a very minor role in the film, but is no more or less a character than New York City in 1960, and the rest of the human cast.