Screen savors: Toothless in Toronto

Keep a lot of garlic around the house to keep this vampire and his investigator friend far away from your TV set.

September 20, 2007 15:00
3 minute read.
Screen savors: Toothless in Toronto

vampire fangs 88. (photo credit: )

After wasting an hour watching the perfectly dreadful new AXN series Blood Ties (Saturday, 21:55), about a woman investigator paired with a toothsome young vampire, it's almost too easy to take a shot at this awful program. A bloody mess? It truly sucks? We got a million of 'em. But our best advice is simply keep a lot of garlic around the house to keep this vampire and his investigator friend far away from your TV set. The Lifetime network series fails on about every level: script, special effects, and logic. True, we only watched the first of the two-part pilot, but in the spirit of the High Holy Days, we took it as an act of self-forgiveness. After all, what is there to make of a series in which investigator Vicki Nelson, apparently the heroine of a series of books called The Blood Books, stalks bad guys in Toronto armed with a flashlight and what appears to be a very nasty long knife? Early on we learn - through painfully obvious references from co-characters, like her old boyfriend and handsome cop Mike - that Vicki "walked away from the job" because of some kind of eye injury, which explains the glasses she wears through most of the series, except when Mike slips them off to plant a kiss in an attempt to reignite their failed relationship. Groan. But it's not just her optician's number he's after. Both of them are trying to discover just who's responsible for a series of murders in which the victim's necks were bitten, and their blood drained out. Of course, we know who, silly! It's all the fault of a nasty creep who wants money, women and power and summons up a badly dressed fellow from The Other Side to do his bidding. Before you can say Bela Lugosi there are three bodies, and Vicki's figured out where the fourth one's going to turn up. But so has Micky (Kyle Schmid of The History of the Traveling Pants), the good vampire, whom we later learn is 450 years old, the son of Henry the VIII and has his own bag of tricks, including the ability to plant words in human's minds - convenient for getting rid of unwanted bed partners before the sun comes up and he becomes dysfunctional in more than one way. Working for one of the victims, Vicki (Christine Cox of The Chronicles of Riddick) heads to the park to trap the perpetrator, as does Micky. When they meet, more than sparks fly, with our investigator literally swept off her feet and whisked back to Micky's lair, where presumably they sign a partnership in blood, or some such thing. Okay, okay we didn't watch any more, partly because AXN hadn't screened it yet and partly out of self-protection. After all, when the best they can come up with to foreshadow the bad guy's approach is some blowing leaves and bad music, we're hitting the remote. And you could gag us with some chopsticks when Vicki and Mike, sharing some bad Chinese food and reviewing their failed relationship, pause as she cracks open her fortune cookie revealing: "The night will be filled with mystery and budding romance." Actually, no - just bad writing, as in Mike explaining to Vicki: "You never knew the difference between pity and someone actually caring about you." Maybe, but we have no pity on this show, which actually included a TV exec being strangled as her murderer declares: "Sorry, love - you just got cancelled." It's the kind of awful mess that includes a waitress reading newspaper headlines trumpeting: 'Three more victims of vampire found!" just ahead of someone asking Micky what he thinks of the slayings, or Vicki telling her client: "I told you this was going to take some time," and the client answering: "We may not HAVE time." Bad enough to make us want to howl at the moon, whoever is responsible for this attempt to channel Angel or Buffy or what have you should have a stake driven through his heart so he can't offend us again. AXN deserves credit for bringing some good old series back, like Homicide: Life on the Street, and rerunning others like The Shield and Alias. Their choice of new series is not always as good, however, and this one - putting it gently - really bites.

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