The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

‘Midnight, Texas’ is a Strange Place to Visit

Review of "Midnight, Texas."
 (l-r) Peter Mensah as Lemuel, Arielle Kebbel as Olivia, Parisa Fitz-Henley as Fiji
(Photo by: Cathy Kanavy/NBC)


Among NBC’s other summer fare of America’s Got Talent, World of Dance and American Ninja Warrior, the new scripted series, Midnight, Texas, looks out of place. Yes, the special effects are very impressive for a TV show, but like the residents who live there, this show is probably best suited for a unique audience.

Based on the book series by Charlaine Harris (who’s other book series inspired the True Blood TV series) the show is a mishmash of genres including horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery and some soap opera thrown in for good measure. Sort of like if you put The Sixth Sense, X-Men, Dracula and Days of Our Lives in a blender, Midnight Texas is what you would get.

The pilot opens with Manfred (Francois Arnaud) opening the door to his faithful client. He tells her that he has to raise his fees and she assures him that he is worth every penny. The camera then shows the door of his bedroom leading the viewer to believe that he works as a gigolo, but in fact, he actually works as a physic and good one at that. In the middle of their session, the woman’s dead husband appears not too happy to hear about her new dating life, possesses Manfred and all hell breaks loose. This is your first clue that the viewer is in for a wild ride and a huge warning to people like myself that this is not your kind of show.

So, apparently, Manfred likes to think of himself as a fraud but he clearly isn’t. He has a knack for communicating with dead people. When he packs up his belongings in his RV to skip town, his dead grandmother Xylda (Joanne Camp) hitches a ride. She tells him about the town of Midnight Texas and how it would be a good place for her grandson to lay low for a while. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Review of "Midnight, Texas."
Manfred (Francois Arnaud)
The town of Midnight is said to “sit on a veil between the living and hell” according to NBC. Although some of the residents seem friendly, this is an angry place and one that seems bent on offending Christians. There is the spooky Rev. Emilo Sheehan (Yul Vazquez) who seems well aware of the supernatural events that surround his town, but isn’t fazed by them. He is quite fond of his pet cemetery for some reason. Fiji Cavanaugh (Parisa Fitz-Henley) is described by one of the local police officers as being either a witch or a lesbian. (This seems rather harsh and I wouldn’t be surprised if this police officer will later be viewed as a self-righteous Christian, but I’m only speculating.) Joe Strong (Jason Lewis) sprouts wings and is described by NBC as being an angel who works doing the day as a tattoo artist. It is implied that he has a gay relationship with a beautician. He tells that same police officer about how some of the locals frown upon his lifestyle but he doesn’t judge others because that’s the “Christian way.” Lemuel (Peter Mensah) is a blue-eyed African American vampire who works the “night shift” at Bobo’s (Dylan Bruce) pawn shop. Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) is a mysterious assassin and Creek (Sarah Ramos) is a writer who seems the most normal of the bunch but is said to find out that her family is harboring a secret.

Review of "Midnight, Texas."
Francois Arnaud as Manfred, Yul Vázquez as Rev. Sheehan
Manfred has barely arrived then a dead body has washed up onto shore. Since he can talk to dead people, she arrives in his new home wanting to chat. She’s also brought a few friends with her as well. He attempts to communicate with them by using a Ouija board.

So, essentially, Midnight is a town for outsiders, dead or alive, who don’t fit in with what we consider “normal” society. The townfolk band together to fight off the deadly “satanic” biker gang and local police in order to keep living their lives in peace. Uh-huh.

This isn’t my kind of show not only because of the subject matter and tone, but also because the storytelling seems sloppy. It seems that the show is giving away too much of the mystery elements too soon. However, you can judge for yourself as Midnight, Texas premieres tonight and continues each Monday at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.


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