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Midnight, Texas Pilot preview: ‘A faithful and thrilling Charlaine Harris adaptation’

The new supernatural series is your new guilty pleasure.

Midnight, Texas
Credit: NBC

Midnight, Texas is the latest series adapted from Charlaine Harris’ books and it promises to be your new guilty pleasure.

If you’d prefer not to read any spoilers about the first episode of Midnight, Texas we suggest you stop reading now. If you don’t mind some spoilers, keep reading to hear my thoughts.

By now it’s very possible you’ve come across some very scathing and negative reviews of Midnight, Texas and I implore you to ignore all of them. If you’re expecting a rehash of True Blood (based on the Sookie Stackhouse books also by Harris), as some critics have lazily labelled the show, then you’ll be disappointed because Midnight, Texas bears little resemblance to that show and in my opinion that’s a good thing. By the end of True Blood’s run, the show was an overblown mess that lost all of the charm it started out with thanks to nonsensical plots that moved away from the source material.

If you’ve read the three Midnight, Texas books – Midnight Crossroad, Day Shift and Night Shift – you’ll know exactly what to expect from the show and I’m pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint. Developed by Monica Owusu-Breen (Alias) and Mark Hentemann (Family Guy), Midnight, Texas is a fun supernatural romp full of colourful characters, suitably creepy scares and special effects. At this point I’ve only seen the Pilot and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Midnight, Texas

Credit: NBC

Midnight, Texas revolves around a small town that exists on a hell mouth. Small-time psychic Manfred Bernardo (François Arnaud) runs away from his troubles and winds up in Midnight. His troubles are hinted at during the episode and the opening moments show him being possessed by the ghost of a man whose wife is a regular client of Manfred’s and seeking permission to move on to a new romance. It’s a thrilling, and chilling, moment that immediately draws you in.

Once in Midnight, Manfred encounters the various inhabitants of the town; local witch Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley), assassin Olivia (Arielle Kebbel), vampire Lemuel (Peter Mensah), angel Joe (Jason Lewis), mysterious Rev (Yul Vazquez) and good old regular humans Creek (Sarah Ramos) and Bobo (Dylan Bruce). Renting out an apartment next to the town Pawn Shop from Bobo Winthrop (avid Harris readers will remember the character from the Lily Bard series), it soon becomes very clear that Manfred won’t be able to out-run his problems and that his psychic abilities will be pushed to their limits.

During the course of the first episode a murder takes place, setting up a mystery for the series and taking the plot from Midnight Crossroad. When I spoke to Dylan Bruce, who plays Bobo, earlier this week he explained that the series encompasses all three books so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Bruce’s character Bobo is very much at the heart of things and unlike other supernatural shows, the wildly different characters come together to protect him rather than fighting against one another. There’s a strong theme of acceptance and understanding that runs through the Pilot.

Midnight, Texas

Credit: NBC

For my money all of the cast members are perfect for their roles. Standouts include François Arnaud who brings charm and charisma to Manfred, Dylan Bruce who plays against type as the devilishly handsome but ordinary Bobo, and Peter Mensah as the chillingly awesome Lemuel. I must also mention Arielle Kebbel who often isn’t given the credit she deserves because she is seriously kick-ass as Olivia and I can’t wait to see her character develop more.

Midnight, Texas isn’t trying to compete with the likes of Mad Men, House of Cards or Game of Thrones. The show is a faithful adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ best-selling novels and it’s wonderful fun. I quite honestly don’t understand some of the reviews I’ve read the past few days. Midnight, Texas establishes the rules of its universe quickly and adheres to them, something not many supernatural shows manage to do. I found the pilot to be pretty thrilling to be honest and I already can’t wait to see the next episode.

Midnight, Texas premieres at 10/9c Monday 24th July on NBC in the US and at 9pm Thursday 27th July on Syfy in the UK. Watch the trailer for the show below:

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