Blade The Series Review


Recently, I had the chance to see the 2-hour series premiere of "Blade: The Series." David S. Goyer, who wrote not only all three "Blade" films but he also wrote "Batman Begins" and is attached to a slew of future comic book movie adaptations. Any series that tries to follow in the footsteps of a great feat for the big screen doesn't automatically translate to success on the small screen. The first "Blade" movie starring Wesley Snipes as the dark and dangerous Daywalker was regarded as one of the first signs that Marvel was breaking free of its infamous curse. The worth of the next two "Blade" films, particularly "Blade III: Trinity" is dependent upon who you ask generally, but they were both fairly true to the original film, and Goyer and Snipes were the primary reasons that the mood and action didn't deteriorate as could have been the case. Even though Snipes chose not to reprise his role for television, Goyer has surprisingly managed to keep the feel of the series authentic to the films that inspired it.

"Blade: The Series" stars Sticky Fingaz, one of the members of the 1990s rap group Onyx. Fingaz's first movie was 1995's "Clockers" and with many roles in between, he had a recurring part on the FX original series "The Shield" before getting his big break as the lead in "Blade." While Fingaz could never replace Wesley Snipes as Blade, he does an impressive job of capturing the gestures, expressions, inflections, and movement that Snipes gave the character in the films. Fingaz head is shaved and his voice isn't as deep as Snipes, but aside from those superficial details, he becomes the role without trying to play it differently but without trying to imitate Snipes either. Fingaz performance is not only a convincing one but a smooth and intense one. His supporting cast, Jill Wagner ("Monk"), Neil Jackson ("Alexander"), Nelson Lee ("Law & Order" as well as two of its spin-off shows, "Special Victims Unit" and "Criminal Intent") is as well suited to the parts they play as their Blade is. Also, Randy Quaid plays a paranoid expert on the subject of vampires.

The pilot episode begins with Blade chasing leads to infiltrate and destroy a coven led by Marcus Van Sciver (Jackson). But, when his informant Zack Starr is discovered and killed by Marcus, his military-trained sister Krista (Wagner) takes up the hunt for her brother's killer. As she comes upon corrupt officials and familiars, she also runs into Blade. During an operation that goes bad when Marcus makes Krista for a spy, the big bad insidious vampire leader makes her a vampire. Blade tries to do a little run-in interference before she can make her first kill, but it is too late. She is one of them, but if he can provide her with the same serum that keeps him from drinking blood, maybe he will have his inside man, or woman, after all. This sets up the premise of the series nicely, and introduces us to the bewildered but tough Krista as well as Blade's new tech guy, Shen (Lee). The story laid out here is a great and entangling one, and the foundation is truly strong.

Not only does "Blade: The Series" have what it takes to be a hit show, but it holds its own in the continued mythology of the movies without directly drawing on events from the films, therefore standing on its own feet and its own merit. There is sufficient background exposition to lay the groundwork for any newcomers to Blade canon, so it isn't necessary to have seen the movies to enjoy the show. Most significantly, the series is not suppressed or too tamed down for cable network TV. There is graphic violence, lots of blood, some uncensored language, and more mature sexual content, all of which is above the usual limit that most shows are allowed to broadcast on television these days. It's a refreshing and daring formula that permits "Blade" to be faithful to its dark subject matter and adult themes. The action is also well executed, as they could have gone the cheap route and turned "Blade" into a campy, hokey-looking effects carnival, but it goes above and beyond the confines of normal TV's production values and achieves something much closer to movie quality that makes it more appealing to the fans of the films. This is definitely a comic book movie to television series worth watching.

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