Judge David Johnson is really a 400 year-old vampire. No, that's not true.
A crime series with bite.
If that dopey tagline isn't enough to send up the red flags then maybe this corny vampire detective series is for you.
Facts of the Case
On the mean streets of Toronto, evil is afoot. Strange, supernatural occurrences have swept through the city and lone wolf private investigator Vicki Nelson (Christina Cox) has been caught up in the craziness. However, she has help combating the forces of Hell. His name is Henry Fitzroy (Kyle Schmid), a pretty boy vampire who writes graphic novels and has fully-clothed casual sex with strange women.
When Henry bails Vicki out of a sticky situation, the two become BFFs and each of Season One's 13 episodes find them solving supernaturally-themed cases, like stuff involving ghosts, demons, kid psychics, and voodoo princesses. There's another guy helping out—straight-arrow police detective Mike Celluci (Dylan Neal)—who mainly tries to cockblock Fitzroy whenever Vicki is hanging around in a tight T-shirt.
With apologies to my pals in the Great White North, this Canadian experiment in supernatural tomfoolery is a knock-off of the superior Joss Whedon TV fang-travaganza Angel…and it's not even a good knock-off.
Based on a series of books by Tanya Huff, I can't imagine her fans are ecstatic about how the mythology has been retold on the small screen…or maybe this is a pitch-perfect adaptation and the books are really this cheesy.
Blood Ties 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. Here's why:
1. The characters are uniformly uninteresting. Of the three main characters, well, none are memorable. Vicki is boring, Celluci is a stiff, and Fitzroy is a weenie. I could go on, but I don't think I'll ever write a more concise sentence. I don't want to ruin the magic.
2. You've seen all these plots before. In superior series like The X-Files, Buffy, Angel, and Supernatural.
3. The writing blows. Please note I didn't say "bites." That would have been something you would have seen in a Blood Ties script.
4. The vampire coolness is just not happening. A very important aspect in a vampire detective series is making sure your fanged antihero does cool 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.
The four-disc DVD set fails to overwhelm. The fake widescreen transfer is fine, but the non-anamorphic treatment is a farce. Audio is 2.0 stereo and adequate. One extra: a standard-issue making-of feature.
Are you ready for this humdinger of a play of words? As far as vampire detective shows go, Blood Ties is a pale imitation.
Guilty. Fangs for nothing. Ba-da-bing!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
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