Judge David Johnson is a sexy vampire. There, cat's out of the bag.
A crime series with bite.
Canada's answer to Angel lands in its entirety in high-def. Is there that large a fanbase for this show?
Facts of the Case
Toronto is going down the supernatural toilet. Strange, possibly evil occurrences have ravaged the city and only private investigator Vicki Nelson (Christina Cox) seems to buy into the idea that hellish trouble is brewing. But she's not flying solo in her quest to unravel the eerie forces behind the crimes; her new best friend is Henry Fitzroy (Kyle Schmid), a pretty boy vampire who writes graphic novels and has fully-clothed one-night stands.
One night, Henry rescues Vicki from an attack and the two immediately become inseparable, gallivanting off and tackling the cases standard-issue authorities have no interest in (ghosts, demons, psychics, voodoo princesses, you name it). The third banana of the team is police detective Mike Celluci (Dylan Neal), a rival for Vicki's amorous attentions.
Yes, to answer your question, Blood Ties comes across as a low rent knock-off of the superior Joss Whedon TV vamp-a-rama, Angel. Here, the characters are less interesting, the cases flimsier, and the vampire at the center of it all is kind of a douche.
Blood Ties is based on a series of books by Tanya Huff and I would guess there is some sort of following for Fitzroy and company. However, I can't imagine her fans are ecstatic about how the mythology has been retold on the small screen, considering how cheesy the whole enterprise is. This series is a clunky, amateurish hour-long that tries really, really hard to be cool and edgy but consistently bungles its attempts. The show has a sensationalistic look about it, substituting flashy transitions and a bombastic color palette for genuine style.
Of the three main characters, none stand out. Vicki is a bore, Celluci is a stiff, and Fitzroy is a weenie. Plus, the stories they're tossed into aren't anything you haven't seen before, recycled from superior shows dealing with the supernatural. Like, Supernatural for example. Likewise, the dialogue these guys have to churn through "bites," which ironically is the sort of wordplay that passes for clever in Blood Ties.
Finally, there's the utter lack of vampire coolness. A very important aspect in a vampire detective series is making sure your fanged antihero does stuff like fly around and punch people in the face real hard. Fitzroy, supplemented by some jokey special effects (the camera skips frames and moves extra-fast to simulate AWESOME VAMPIRE SPEED), just doesn't cut it. He's not dark, mysterious, or vicious. He's just lame.
Following the four-disc Season One set on DVD is the complete series on Blu-ray, totaling just 22 episodes and, incidentally, ending on a cliffhanger. Fans will be gratified to know the high-def experience is up to the task, fronted by an attractive 1.78:1 letterboxed transfer. Though it weirdly maxes out at 1080i, the picture quality is clean and colorful; the boosted resolution and HD sheen serving the over-stylized presentation of the series well. Audio? Not so much. All you get here is Dolby 2.0 Stereo, which is a first in my Blu-ray reviewing tenure. Extras: a standard-def behind-the-scenes documentary, and a photo gallery.
I wasn't enamored with this tepid series when it was in standard definition, and the hit-and-miss high-def upgrade doesn't change anything.
Guilty. Who invited you in?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
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