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Blood Ties (2006)
Creator: Peter Mohan
review by Michael Bunning
Vicki Nelson (Christina Cox) was the best detective the metropolitan Toronto police department had: smart, tough and dedicated. Until, that is, she began to lose her sight. The police department took her off the streets and offered her a desk job, but Vicki declined, leaving the force to set up her own private investigations firm instead.
Walking home one night, she witnesses a murder. Rushing to try to help, she scares away the assailant, who vanishes into thin air, leaving the victim with bite marks on his neck and with most of his blood drained. The police write it off as a dog attack, but Vicki knows better. Later, she's contacted by the victim's occult-obsessed girlfriend, Coreen (played by Gina Holden), who is sure that the murderer is a vampire. Vicki takes the case, and along the way meets Henry Fitzroy (Kyle Schmid), who really is a vampire (and is also Henry VIII's illegitimate son, supposedly dead since 1536). The two team up to catch the murderer, frequently butting heads with Vicki's former partner Mike (Dylan Neal).
The opening two episodes (a two-part story) do a good job of setting up the show's premise and getting all the main characters together. Vicki continues to work with Henry and bicker with Mike. Coreen becomes Vicki's receptionist and researcher. The inevitable Henry - Vicki - Mike love triangle is established.
Unfortunately the next 20 episodes aren't as strong. It's watchable, in the way that many US TV series are, but it's not standout good. The acting's pretty poor, with Schmid in particular laughably bad at being Henry the vampire. He's supposed to be sexuality personified, but comes across as simply smug; and when he vamps out and is supposed to be terrifying, it's clear that he couldn't hurt a fly. Mike has only two emotions: brooding worry for Vicki and brooding jealousy of Henry; and Vicki herself is remarkably one-dimensional for a lead character: she's bitter and scared about losing her sight and covers the fact with a hard outer shell. Her sight is another problem: it's massively inconsistent. In one scene, she'll be reading a book without her glasses and in the next she won't see a huge dustbin. She's blind when it'll help the plot, and has perfect sight when it won't. It's irritating, and suggests lack of talent in the writing department.
However, as previously mentioned, it is watchable as very light entertainment, although it doesn't match up to the excellent Buffy and Angel series (which worked in large part because they were aware of how stupid they were, and played to that fact. Blood Ties takes itself seriously, which hurts it more.). Just don't expect to be glued to the screen when you're watching.
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