Midnight, Texas (S01E01) "Pilot"

This past Monday marked the debut of the new paranormal mystery series ‘Midnight, Texas.’
‘Midnight, Texas’ is based on a series of books by Charmaine Harris, of ‘True Blood’ fame. Of course, ‘True Blood’ was shown in HBO, while ‘Midnight, Texas’ is on NBC. It should be interesting to see how different it is, being on a regular network, and not one known for being particularly adventurous at that. But first, let’s meet our Cast of Characters:
Manfred Bernardo – a psychic, and our Hero
Bobo – the owner of a pawn shop and Manfred’s landlord in Midnight
Fiji – a witch with a talking cat
Olivia – an assassin
Joe – an angel
Creek – a bartender who catches Manfred’s eye
Lemuel – a vampire
Emilio – a minister and a werewolf
Sheriff Livingstone – that one’s pretty self explanatory
Like most pilot episodes, this one is mostly about setting up the story, introducing characters, and exposition. Our hero, Manfred, arrives in the small town of Midnight, having been directed there by his dead grandmother. Because of course he was. The first person he meets is Bobo, who asks for his help locating his missing fiancée Aubrey. Poor Manfred, he’s been here for all of five minutes and already involved with one of Midnight’s mysteries. Later, he meets a vampire named Lemeul, a mysterious woman named Olivia, and Creek, who invites him to the town picnic the next day (which is almost ridiculously wholesome, if you think about it).
The plot thickens considerably at the town picnic, when Aubrey’s body is found on the river bank. (Do towns really have picnics still?) Later, she visits Manfred, who is waiting with a ouija board (I LOVE ouija boards!) and Aubrey spells out P-E-C-A-D-O-S. Manfred has no idea what it means.
All the characters are questioned in turn, which isn’t the least clever method of exposition I’ve ever come across. We learn that there were animal remains around Aubrey’s body, who died of drowning but had been shot first. We also learn that Fiji the Wiccan didn’t like Aubrey one bit and she was right not to; Aubrey may have been engaged to Bobo but she was already married to a white supremacist named Lowry.
The deputy is suspicious of Manfred, assuming that he is a fake, until he mentions ‘pecados’. He doesn’t know what it means, but the deputy does. It turns out there is a place called Acequia de Pecados, which Google has translated to ditch sins. I’m reasonably certain there is a better translation out there, so if anyone knows Spanish, feel free to chime in. Anyway, they search the irrigation ditch and find a gun, the murder weapon. Score one for the psychic!
Lowry shows up and is promptly shot with an arrow by Olivia, and finished off by Lemuel. They’re quite the team, but why an arrow? And why was Olivia wearing basically a leather bikini? Does she just round up people and let Lemuel finish them off? I need answers, dammit!
Manfred and Creek are just getting cozy in his RV when there hear a commotion. The sheriff is arresting Bobo. Turns out the gun belonged to him. The townspeople aren’t happy, and I wonder if this is shaping up to be a war of between them and outsiders. After the encounter, Manfred goes back to his house, where red light pulses in the windows and he can see people-y shapes.
Well, if anyone was hoping for the next ‘True Blood,’ they were probably disappointed. I know I was. It lacked that show’s interesting subtext and commentary. The producers put just about every kind of supernatural being in the town, and it feels less like diversity and more like checking off boxes. There’s even a talking cat. The characters weren’t particularly compelling, though I’m interested enough to wonder why an assassin would chose to live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. In short, it’s not the worst summer show ever to air, but it is a weak, watered down version of the vibrant ‘True Blood.’
Other Thing:
– I’ve never seen a traffic light with only two colors. Is that an actual thing?
– If the church advertises weddings and pet funerals, who is doing the people funerals? Are there any people funerals in Midnight?
– Fiji is supposed to be into Bobo (what is with the names in this town?) but am I the only person to sense more of a vibe between Fiji and the deputy?
“I guess Harold still hates change.”
“I thought she was sweet until I knew she was duplicitous.”
“Some folks say she’s a witch…or a lesbian.”