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It's Nothing Like "Angel," We Swear: CBS's New Vamp Detective Show "Moonlight"

Sophia Myles and Alex O'Loughlin

He sleeps in a freezer, not a coffin.  He gets his blood from his dealer, a guy who works at a blood bank.  He doesn't burst into flames in the sun and he can't be killed with a stake through the heart.  He likes golf, Steve McQueen movies, classic Star Trek and Miles Davis.  That's the modern vampire as seen on the new fall show Moonlight (airing Fridays on CBS at 9PM EST/PST, starting September 28th).

Mick St. John, played by Alex O'Loughlin, is the latest vampire detective to hit primetime TV.  It's a subgenre that most people equate with Joss Whedon's prematurely cancelled Angel.  Executive producer Joel Silver says that Moonlight will not be Angel 2.0.  "It's just a different world," he says.  "There are no demons, there are no other entities.  It's a world where there are vampires, and they're around, and they're living among us.

Besides the good-guy vampire hero and the Los Angeles setting, Moonlight has one other thing in common with Angel - writer/producer David Greenwalt, who served as Moonlight's showrunner until just recently.  Although Greenwalt had to leave the show for health reasons, he's already left his mark.  "He worked really hard on the arc of the series," says Silver.  "He really helped us focus and get started."  Actor Brian J. White agrees that Greenwalt is the guy you want for your vampire detective show.  "David Greenwalt is right on the pulse with what the next permutation or evolution of that kind of series is," says White.  Hopefully new showrunner Chip Johannessen (Dark Angel, Millennium) will continue where Greenwalt left off.

Moonlight has undergone a number of changes since the series was picked up by CBS.  Of the original cast, O'Loughlin is the only one remaining.  "A lot of times you do a pilot, and you know if the concept's working and you know if the pieces aren't working.  And I think they knew right away they had a star in Alex and they just rebuilt around him," says White, who feels the reworking has created a very strong show. "There's no weak points, there's nothing that feels forced.  There's laughs, there's tears, there's real emotions, there's real relationships and it's going to be an exciting project to work on."

British actress Sophia Myles, who has taken over the role of Beth Turner, says, "It's a strange. I didn't realize Hollywood worked that way - that sometimes it can be quite so brutal.  And obviously none of us set out to take anyone's jobs at all."

Myles didn't even audition for the part.   "Joel Silver wrote me a letter," she says. "For quite a while I'd said 'no' to American TV just because I didn't want to be away from England - my family's there, my friends, everything - my life's there.  But as an actress, you have to go where the work is.  And I think American television is almost of a higher quality than a lot of movies that are out there now. Back ten years ago, it was like, [disparaging voice] 'oh, you're doing TV'?  Now it's enormously credible."

Beth is a crime reporter for an Internet news site.  "She's an L.A. girl.  Hence all this fake," she gestures at her long blonde hair and laughs.  "They gave me all these extensions.  [Executive producer] Joel Silver turned up on the set and  he asked, 'How would you feel about having your hair changed?'   'Of course, Mr. Silver.  Anything you say, Mr. Silver.'  I was taken to this very expensive Beverly Hills salon last weekend. I was like a scruffy dog going into a dog parlor, and suddenly when they finished I was all clean. I've had the whole Hollywood treatment.  Very exciting."

"She goes to the crime scenes, really hard-hitting kind of dangerous stuff - and then she does live feeds to an Internet news site called Buzzwire News,"  Myles says.  It's at one of these crime scenes where she encounters Mick.  "She meets him in the first episode at the scene of a really horrific crime.  She thinks she knows him, or isn't quite sure - there's some kind of connection."  The audience will find out that connection in the first episode. 

"I think that what will happen is that they'll become a kind of Mulder and Scully type - a working partnership," Myles says of Mick and Beth.  Although Mick falls for Beth, they won't be hooking up together anytime soon.  "I think the minute that those two characters get together, the show is over.  In my opinion, anyway.  You've got to want every episode - you've got to go 'ooh, ooh, are they going there?'" Beth won't know he's a vampire at the start.  "I think you're going to want to watch them fall in love with each other and it's going to get messy.  Complicated.  Really complicated."

At the beginning of the series, Beth is involved with Lt. Carl Davis, played by Brian J. White.  "I'm her source in the police department for all the information, so she can always get the inside scoop,"  White says.  "All these crimes are now happening that involve the vampire folklore and here we are, trying to solve them together." 

Another romantic wild card is Mick's ex-wife, Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon), the woman who turned him into a vampire on their wedding night.  "She's incredibly beautiful, very seductive - she reappears throughout," says Myles.

"She's not a good person," Silver says of Coraline.  "She hasn't been a good person for a looong time."

Mick has cut ties with Coraline, but his best friend is vampire Josef, played by Jason Dohring.  "My guy's always trying to pull him back into the fold," Dohring says.  "He's 400 years old, a vampire, has a penthouse in Century City. He has like, concubines all around who he drinks from whenever he wants, billions of dollars, a hedge fund trader, which I had no idea what that was, so, apparently, you have a lot of peoples' money and you can do what you please with it with very little risk - uh, of them suing you.  High risk of the investments of it."

"Jason is such a strong actor.  He's so funny and just wicked as Alex's best friend," says White.  Will Josef kill people?  "Yeah, he's a bad guy.  A very bad guy."

Actor Brian J. WhiteActor Brian J. White

A bad guy?  "Yeah, what a surprise," laughs Dohring, best known as bad boy Logan Echolls on Veronica Mars.  "He's similar to Logan, dude.  He's got, you know, billions of dollars instead of millions - you know, what the hell is the difference when you have millions or billions?  I think there is an element of command with this character, so that's going to be an interesting part of it.  Logan had similar qualities, you know, but it is a bit different.  It's so cool, bro.  I think it's going to be awesome." 

"You get to see both sides," says White.  "But our protagonist is Alex.  So we're definitely putting vampires and vampire mythology in a positive light.  There are good and evil in every culture and subculture and I like that.  I think there's always two sides to everything."

"It gets pretty dark.  It gets intelligently dark.  I mean, when they touch on the mythology or they explore the mythology, they really get in there and talk about why people do things.  In this first episode, we explore the dark side of a fanatic - a fanatical professor who crosses the line a few times.  I think that's going to be what's interesting about the show," White says.  " It's incredibly well-written and it's effortlessly funny. And the way it's shot - it's heavily stylized, it's like watching a film. I think it can find an easy fan base because there's something for everybody.  Whether you're just purely into the mythology or purely following an actor that you like on the show, once you've arrived there, I think you're going to be interested."

What a terrific article!

What a terrific article! I've posted it (with due credit) at my Moonlight fansite - Moonlight-Detective.com.

The Hype

After hype like this, the show better blow me away. KJC (an Angel fan & general overall fan of vampire lore) http://showbizprgirl.blogspot.com/

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"He went for a little walk! You should have seen his face!"

Angel 2.0

Firstly Joss Whedon should sue the people who make this show due to the fact this is a total rip off from Angel. The vamp who doesn't kill people and is also a detective. Hello ANGEL. His ex-wife a vampire who turns him *cough* Darla. Even this english actress looks like Kate (Elizabeth Rohm) I think thats her name. And finally the rich evil vampire who has loads of people sounds like the plot for the first episode of Angel. Sorry but In my opinion this is Angel.

I dunno. So much of Joss

I dunno. So much of Joss Whedon's show was based on a world of demons -- this huge, supernatural cosmic story running behind everything. Here it just sounds like there's vampires and that's that. Plus, there's still Forever Knight fans arguing that Angel ripped FK off, so really it's just an ever-spiraling chain.

"He went for a little walk! You should have seen his face!"


Joss, please come back to TV and put the posers in their proper place

No problem - link fixed to

No problem - link fixed to redirect readers over here for the full article. Looking forward to sending more people over here for future articles! Moonlight-Detective.com


I really appreciate it. We're planning on continuing coverage of horror television, including "Moonlight", so you should have plenty of reasons to come back.

"He went for a little walk! You should have seen his face!"

If this is a rip-off of Angel...

Does that mean Angel was a rip-off of Forever Knight and if Forever Knight was a rip-off of Forever Knight does that mean Forever Knight was a rip-off of Dark Shadows... etc etc etc... It sounds pretty much like a it's its own show to me

I don't know about an Angel rip-off, but.....

this character seems a lot like the Carpathians from Christine Feehan's "Dark series" books. They are good guys, who need blood to live, are immortal, and hunt other vampires. I've been waiting for a show like this, because I love those books. Even if it's not a Carpathian rip-off, I think it will be hot!

Rip off after ripoff after rip off...oops! I mean...homage!!

This sounds like a rip off of FK and Angel for the vampire detective part, and X-Files and Bones for the "chemistry" between the two leads part. When there is this much ripping off, can any good come from it? Finally...Greenie left...and that's the biggest clue.... I won't be watching....

i'll give it a shot

there's always the possibility that it will rock, as well as the possibility that it will suck or be mediocre. it certainly sounds interesting enough for me to give a shot. besides, every show rips off some other idea, and yes, sounds like a bit angel-esque, but angel rocked, so i'm okay w/ that. angel's not around anymore, so hopefully this can be at least half as entertaining as that was. plus, jason dohring is in this, which is enough reason for me to watch at least a few eps.

I think this show sounds

I think this show sounds more like Forever Knight than Angel...but if it is a well-done well, I could care less what previous series it is like.

Hmmm...sounds familiar??

Vampire detective fighting against his true nature??? Yeah so it's been argued that Angel copied Forever Knight, but it's Angel! Who gives a crap about Forever Knight? (I'm a sucker for Joss and I miss the Buffyverse. What can I say?) Has anyone seen the commercial for this?? Besides the fact that the voice-over could be a commercial for Angel, it has a shot of him standing in a dark fluttery trench-coat at night over-looking the city. Brings to mind some other show... The only difference even CBS could provide was "there's no other demons." The ONLY difference. Character and overall plot is the same. UPN, which is owned by CBS, cancelled Angel. Why are they picking up some knock-off now? I agree with everything in the Angel 2.0 post. I was thinking Kate when I saw the pic. If David hadn't left I'd have a little hope. I wonder why he got the job.... I miss Joss. He should come back to TV.

Er, Angel was cancelled on

Er, Angel was cancelled on The WB, a few years before it merged with UPN to become the CW.

"He went for a little walk! You should have seen his face!"

Complete rip off of Angel

Complete rip off of Angel and Bones. I have to agree with previous posts. It rips off Angel, and Bones both. Bones for the chemistry and Angel for the character line. Ugh. It's sad that other shows have to rip off other shows to even get anywhere. =( not going to waste my time watching this show.

People need to come up with

People need to come up with some fresh ideas. Joss was good at that but it seems hollywood doesn't like him much. There should be buffyverse movies. I think this show will run out of steam because it is just vampires. If they introduce any demons they should be sued. It's not that I don't like the show it's just too much like Angel without giving them any credit. They should get permission to run the same storyline as Angel without David. He made a good angel but the show must go on.

when is Moonlight coming back?

when is moonlight coming back i watched this show since it started and i feaked out when it didnt show what the hell i really love this show its the best.


One comment was 'Who gives a crap about Forever Knight' The individual then proceed to rant about how this show was a rip off of Angel. Now that's what we call hypocrisy. If Moonlight must be rejected for no other reason than it has a predecessor by that individuals standards Angel should have been cast aside for the same reason because Forever Knight proceeded Angel. The history is as fallows. First there was Dark Shadows then came Forever Night followed by an American version of Forever Night that didn't last as long as the Canadian. (I remember the American pilot was a duplicate of the Canadian Pilot but I digress.) Forever Night was followed by Angel and now we have Moonlight. Can we lovers of horror and Goth please watch Moonlight and judge it on it's own merits. I loved Angel too but then I really enjoy our original Canadian Forever Night and was not the least upset when the Americans tried it. It had it's good points too and by the why the grandfather of the vampire TV shows Darkshadows wasn't a detective but it was one hell of a show in it's day. Yeah Yeah that's a little before most of your time. Your loss. In closing GIVE IT A REST, ENOUGH WITH THE RANTING A RAVING. There are only so many things you can do with an idea and everything is going to hint of a show of the past these days.