WONDERCON 2017 [Pilot & Panel Reviews]: Midnight in Gotham.
MIDNIGHT, TEXAS (Saturday) – If the old adage “everything is bigger in Texas” is true, then why shouldn’t that place be where only the biggest and the baddest of the supernatural type hide out? From fan favorite author Charlaine Harris (True Blood) comes a story about a place called Midnight, Texas. The population might be small, but this is ceetainly no sleepy little town. The story begins with an intro to Manfred Bernardo (The Borgias’ Francois Arnaud), a professional psychic who gets clients through his personal website–not sitting in front of a crystal ball in a park. We’re shown that he can communicate with the departed. The problem: Bernardo has to constantly be on the move witha man named Hightower, in on his tail to settle a debt. So, Bern’s dead grandmother’s spirit tells him to move to the safety of Midnight. Yes, folks; it’s the kind of show where a dead grandmother pops up periodically!
Much like Lost, SoA and Breaking Bad before it, Midnight appears to be a show driven by a large ensemble of interesting characters. There’s the smooth and smart vampire (Spartacus’ Peter Mensah), a headstrong assassin (Vampire Diaries’ Arielle Kebbel), Fiji (Luke Cages’ Parisa Fitz-Henley)–a shop owner who also happens to be a real witch, a strong but reserved angel named Joe (Sex and the City’s Jason Lewis), Bobo (Orphan Black’s Dylan Bruce) a local pawn shop owner, Rev. Emilio Sheehan (Bloodline’s Yul Vazquez)–a man of God who takes the light out of enlightenment, and Creek (Parenthood’s Sarah Ramos leaving Haddie Braverman very behind)–a kind, young girl who seems to take a very big liking to the new guy in town. For Manfred the scenario of moving to Midnight plays out like a stranger in a strange land, as he randomly meets people in the town — trying to find his place and understand where he’s wound up. But soon: murder, police suspicion, a house of peace-demanding dead spirits, vampires, and witches. Are you on board yet?!
From the pilot–which I promise to not give much away–there’s such a melting pot of crazy townpeople with plenty of tales to be told. All of the characters have distinct traits that set them apart from each other, and the gray clouds of mystery and uncertainty hover over; setting a tone of many secrets! While I personally see immediate, inevitable comparisons to AMC’s Preacher, which more-so focused more on a couple of key characters, Midnight, Texas appears like it could take turns with different folks every week and find adventures to entail all of their involvement. And it’s not all dark, as there are several comedic moments to send off the proper balance. While the series won’t air unil July, this Divine One has already decided to book his stay. 4.25/5 Ouija Boards. – Derek Vigeant
GOTHAM SPECIAL VIDEO PRESENTATION & Q&A (Sunday) – Let’s talk about Gotham for a minute. When the series was announced, I was beyond excited –- I was burned out on Batman and love Commissioner Gordon. When the show finally aired, however, I was notably less enthused. Gotham spent as much time with baby Batman as it did with a young Jim Gordon, and brought in characters that Batman will face when older way too soon. As the series went on, and more and more villains were introduced, my watching trailed off.
I keep wanting to give the show another chance, however, so I was interested to see where the creators were going in the second half of this season, which heads back to FOX at the end of April. Season 2 suffered from a plethora of villains and way too much time on Baby Wayne; but the current Season 3 re-caught my interest with the introduction of the Court of Owls and the transformation of Edward Nigma from potential crazy person to full blown crazy person.
At their WonderCon panel on Sunday, the cast and creators spoke of where S03 will head when it returns on the 24th. Ed Nigma (Corey Michael Smith) will continue his transformation into the Riddler, although sadly without his iconic wardrobe. Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz, best known previously as Robert California’s creepy kid on “The Office”) will continue his journey from coddled heir to caped crusader, with explosive results. Selena Kyle (Carmen Bicondova) will dig more into her villainous tendencies. The only character missing? Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie). In a show that is, ostensibly, about the detective, he seems, at times, to fall by the wayside as other characters come to the forefront. One can only hope that, with the continuation of the Court of Owls that ended the midseason finale, everyone’s favorite Gotham cop will stay in the forefront of the series. 3.25/5 Bat Riddles. – Sarah Obloy