THE GATES (TV Series 2010-?): It’s Halloween Everyday
October 8th 2010 07:42
Category: No Category
The Gates is a self-enclosed suburb in which every house is inhabited by the Addams family. “Desperate Housewives with bite” does sum it up nicely. Or “Weeds with fangs”. And fur. And succubi. Who needs drugs?
Imagine the surprise of ex-detective Nick Monohan (Frank Grillo), who moves his family from Chicago into The Gates to start a new life as security chief after an early retirement from the police force. Suburbia is synonymous with secrets, but his is neither the only one, nor the most disturbing. In other words, he fits right in.
Typically suburban bitchiness abounds, as does human drama and weakness, amplified manyfold by the fantasy element. Domestic violence, single parent households, affairs gone fatal, abductions, betrayals, hexes and murder galore, are just part of everyday life in this exclusive neighbourhood. Rhona Mitra (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Boston Legal), probably best known as the body model for the game version of Lara Croft, stars as outwardly perfect housewife Claire Radcliffe, who struggles with balancing her blood cravings and her vampire husband Dylan’s (Luke Mably, The Prince & Me, 28 Days Later) expectations of a perfect family for their adopted human daughter Emily (Georgia Cole). Can they do better than Louis and Lestat in Interview with a Vampire?
Teenage Andie (Skyler Samuels) on the other hand, discovers she is a succubus and therefore doomed by nature to suck life force energy out of every boy she kisses. A similar problem to the one Anna Paquin had to deal with in X-Men. Wait, actually this series just happens to touch on several problems Anna Paquin happens to be dealing with….
Andie’s werewolf hunk of a boyfriend Brett (Colton Haynes) has trouble keeping his temper down, a general feature of his kind. Especially when Andie meets new kid on the block Charlie Monohan (Travis Caldwell). So besides fang trouble, wolf pack issues, and bewitched herbal teas, there are also strange boxes with power over life itself, it seems.
Derivativeness aside, and despite appearances to the contrary as described above, this underrated series with its peculiar mixture of charm, cheesiness and rawness, somehow manages to make for compulsive viewing. Which is why ABC is still deciding whether bring it back to life next summer.
Brainchild of creators Grant Sharbo (The Mountain) and Richard Hatem, who had writer/producer gigs on Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Supernatural, and Tru Calling, The Gates has neither the depth nor humour, nor gore of True Blood, or even the sexy intensity of feeling occasionally displayed in The Vampire Diaries, but with its attractive cast, and bizarre déjà vu scenarios, it lands squarely in the guilty pleasure territory alongside the latter and...Gossip Girl, indiscriminately making use of all plotlines available in the script-writing universe. For fans of the genre it is a little heart-shaped poisonous treat nevertheless.
Review by Patricia Bieszk
Copyright P. Bieszk 2010
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