As a long time fan of Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series of books (aka The Blood Books), I approached the new Lifetime TV series with some trepidation. I wasn’t so much worried about how the supernatural elements would translate to the screen. With almost every network leaping on the current genre revival bandwagon, this show would only succeed if the three main characters were successfully portrayed. You would have to believe and more importantly, you’d have to care.
Three episodes in and my fears have been mostly laid to rest. Vicki Nelson, a Toronto PD detective who chose to quit the force rather than ride a desk after developing retinitis pigmentosa (a condition which means her night and peripheral vision is gradually failing) is played to perfection by Christina Cox. She has the right combination of toughness, vulnerability and looks to carry off the part. Dylan Neal as Vicki’s ex-partner detective Mike Celluci does a great job with a character that could have come across as stuffy. Finally Kyle Schmid’s portrayal of graphic novelist Henry Fitzroy, who also happens to be a 450-year-old vampire and the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, is sexy, seductive, playful and dangerous. These three have a wonderful chemistry together that really makes the show come alive. My only casting reservation at the moment is Gina Holden’s Coreen who is unfortunately stuck with the sidekick role, but hopefully her character will be given something meaningful to do as the series continues.
The two part pilot episode is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the first book in the series, Blood Price. Vicki is walking home from a date when she witnesses an attack on a young man by a cape-wearing figure. She gives chase but the figure vanishes and unfortunately she’s too late to save the victim. The cops arrive, including Vicki’s ex-partner Mike Celluci, and they discover the victim has bite marks on the neck and is drained of blood. The following day Vicki gets a visit from the victim’s girlfriend Coreen, who is not happy with the police investigation and wants Vicki to take the case. As the body count rises Vicki is drawn to the theory that a vampire is at large in the city. When she continually spots the same man as she carries out her investigation, she discovers that Henry Fitzroy is indeed a vampire but not the person responsible for the murders. He has his own reasons for not wanting a vampire killer on the loose in his city.