Wow. That’s a long title. It’ll get shortened, I promise. (I like acronyms.)
So. Here’s the thing. I have some time on my hands and a whole shit-ton of vampire movies and TV shows on DVD. Since it’s a while since my next book comes out, and since I know all of you out in Catherine Winters FanLand (all, like, 10 of you, I know) are dying to hear my opinions on everything (snort), I figured I’d use my powers for good. Or, at least, for snark.
So, first up is my absolute most favoritest vampire series ever: Forever Knight. It’s a Canadian series (and someday, I will get to my theory that Toronto is absolutely overrun with fanged citizens) that ran on CBS between 1992 and 1996 – roughly the years I was in high school. It was pretty influential. Well, for me, at least.
Forever Knight is an amazing cheesefest about one of those “tortured” types who have become so popular in the intervening years. It’s not a vampire trope I particularly care for, so if you read my novels, you’ll notice there aren’t many of them, and when I absolutely have to include one, things don’t end well. (Oh, who are we kidding – things don’t end well for anyone.) The IMDB description is thus: 800-year-old vampire Nick Knight quests for redemption as a cop in Toronto, trying to hide his vampiric nature from the rest of the world. And really, that sums it up. So let’s get to the good stuff.
These DVDs have all the stuff that aired with the show, so our first introduction to the series is sexy saxophone music, a lit match, and this lovely graphic:
I should note that this show aired at like 1 am on a Tuesday. I basically wore out my VCR programming skills to watch it.
So. After our sexy intro, we open on a crypt lit with candles and inexplicably loud with whispered conversations. The title card tells us it’s 1228. A woman comes into frame, speaking French to her lover, who pops in to kiss her. She tells him they have “an endless parade of nights before” them. They walk over to another man who’s playing some sort of weird instrument meant to indicate the thirteenth century, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t count on this bunch to get it right. He calls the first man “My Nicholas”, also in French.
Then there’s a lot of painfully overdone “I’m thirsty” BECAUSE I AM A VAMPIRE AND I WANT TO DRINK BLOOD conversation.
Jump cut, and we’re flying over a city. (Spoiler: It’s Toronto. It’s always Toronto.) A security guard walks by some dinosaurs and through a museum, eating something and carrying something. First glance, I thought cupcake and lunchbox, but the rest of the scene bears it out to be an apple and a radio. Like, with dials and shit. This show is old.
Mr. Guard goes into a storage area, and we’re shown a green carved cup in a case. Someone takes the guard’s radio off the top of the case, smashes the case, takes the cup, and then kills the guard. Then the opening credits roll.
The credits are great. Voiceover sets up the whole story for us:
He was brought across in 1228. Preyed on humans for their blood. Now, he wants to be mortal again. To repay society for his sins. To emerge from his world of darkness, from his endless FOREVER KNIGHT.
You don’t really need “endless” before “forever”, but what the hell. Let’s go with it.
So, a detective walks into a museum…and the press are behind the uniforms and the crime-scene tape? Toronto, what kind of a show are you running, here? Some reporter in pretty awesome tortoiseshell glasses holds a mic up to our detective and asks if this is another vampire murder. Probably, Toronto. You’re overrun with them.
So there’s a body in the museum, and it has no blood in it. The reporter accuses the detective – whom she calls “Knight” – of stonewalling, so he turns to her and does the whole “look eento my eyes” bit and tells her to go home. In front of like a zillion other reporters and uniformed police.
Yeah. Knight’s reeeeeeeal professional.
Cut to some other detective giving the crime scene photographer pointers. He’s in a tie and trenchcoat, while Knight is in a leather jacket, so right away we know that Knight doesn’t play by the rules. The body (the security guard) is “the fourth one in two weeks”, and Straitlaced Detective makes fun of Knight for reacting badly to a little blood.
Knight goes to see the curator, who heard a crash and found the body. No one knows how the killer escaped so quickly, or why he’s taking blood. And then Knight starts identifying all the artifacts in the room with them, and says that the glyphs on a big wall carving match his alarm code. Curator lady is obviously surprised he reads the ancient language of a South American indigenous people, but he brushes it off by saying he’s an amateur. She doesn’t buy it, but he redirects her by asking about the jade cup that was taken. Knight basically tells her he knows that the cup was used to drink sacrificial victims’ blood. But he’s hiding his vampire nature, you guys! He’s doing really, really well with that, too!
Cut to the morgue, and medical examiner Natalie Lambert (it says so on her mug) stirring something green and giving it to Knight. It’s tea, apparently, but he spits it out, and there’s some banter that tells us not only does Nat know that he’s a vampire, but she’s trying to change him back.
The stiff on the table is just like all the other bodies: drained of O+ blood. But the first three victims had their throats slashed; this guy has “two neat little holes”. Natalie asks Nick if this is something she should worry about. Gee, I don’t know, Nat. It’s probably fine. It’s not like there are vampires running around or anything.
Nick has to go see the captain, who is wearing the most ridiculous hat I’ve ever seen. Nick’s getting a partner, which he doesn’t want, and three cheeseburgers from the lunch runner, which obviously he has some other plan for. The captain tells him that the partner is non-negotiable, and it turns out to be Straitlaced from the museum – who, by the way, is John Kapelos.
Nick pulls up next to some homeless people who are talking about the murders. He passes them the burgers and tells them they can sleep in his garage, but they decline.
Nick goes home, pulling his ridiculous ’62 Cadillac convertible into said garage. He lives in a giant loft with sun-blocking shutters that come down over the windows. He goes right for the fridge and his bottled blood, then walks across the room to pour the blood into – DUN DUN DUN!!!! – the jade cup!
And now it’s flashback time! Which is just boring. The blond man from the beginning brings in an unconscious woman, and there’s a lot more totally subtle vampire banter in French. Nick chomps her, and then he’s waking up in present day, covered in blood sweat, which I thought was actually a wonderful detail.
Elyse Hunter, the museum curator, has called him during the day, to invite him to do more research on the jade cup. Natalie has called to tell him to eat, and we see him throwing away three empty blood bottles. Which…why throw them away? Does the butcher he gets his blood from routinely sell the blood in corked wine bottles? Reuse, reduce, recycle, Nick. Come on. You’ll be here a lot longer than we will. Don’t you want to live in a nice place?
There’s a blood drive at the police station, and a gag with garlic, and then Straitlaced – whose name I missed in the ep, but is Schenke (rhymes with Skanky) – and Nick are in the car. Schenke asks why Nick doesn’t drive a regular cop car, and Nick says, “Trunk space.” For bodies or for himself, he doesn’t specify.
They’re driving along and Nick goes into vampire-vision and hearing, which seem to be on some sort of switch for him. There’s a crazy man with a gun in Chinatown, and Nick hears the commotion and rushes in to save the day. He ends up pulling the crazy out a, like, fifth story window and throwing him into a Dumpster, and then he just flies away.
Yeah. Backup has arrived, people are asking questions, and Nick is just gone. What did I say? Consummate professional.
Elyse is reading about the previous excavation of the site where they found the jade cup, and she finds a picture of Nick. Because it’s a secret he’s a vampire. She hears a noise and goes out to see what it is, and of course it’s Nick, because where else would you go in the middle of a shootout, right? He’s scared Elyse, and instead of being all pissed, she tells him to hold her.
So we’ve got a couple of consummate professionals on our hands.
Meanwhile, back at the station, Schenke has some questions. The gunman said a vampire pulled him out of the window. The captain tells Schenke some totally random story about scorpions and then tells him that there’s no such thing as vampires, duh. It’s just a legend.
Nick and Elyse banter some about history and how she likes the night, and then it’s makeout time. But uh-oh, Spaghettios: making out makes Nick want to chomp her, even though she’s telling him the story about the last dig and how there are two cups. And then he’s gone, because Honey Vampire don’t care, Honey Vampire don’t give a shit that other people might want a goodbye once in a while.
Natalie goes to Schenke looking for Nick, who left his car at the station. She drives it over to his place and finds him drinking blood and watching an old movie. She tells him it “creates a lot of tension” when he goes missing. Because obviously, he’s done it before. Hasn’t gotten, oh, I don’t know, fired for it or anything, but it’s apparently a habit.
Nick’s all strung out, like blood is heroin or something, and Nat gives him a lecture about being human. To which Nick says – and I am not making this up: “I am what I am. And I don’t think Betty Ford takes vampires.”
This is the portion of the episode where we have a lot of tortured overacting from Geraint Wyn Davies, who plays Nick. Most of the time he’s just sort of smug and annoying, but there’s always a scene or two where he’s just absolutely laid flat by his past sins, and it’s so. boring. Fun Fact: Geraint was also in Dracula, a kids’ TV series in the 1990s, playing a vampire. Which reminds me, I will also do a post on Six Degrees of Vampires pretty soon here, because I can spot them in almost anything these days.
No, I don’t think I have a problem.
OK, so, Nat is lecturing Nick and Nick is being all tortured and yawn, and then Elyse calls. Nat and Nick have the most awkward conversation of all time about how he made out with Elyse, and you can see all over Nat’s face that this is just terrible. Oh, Nat. You can do better. You’ve got Bette Davis eyes!
She tells him it’s time they talked about “the others”, and Nick just stares at her, and then it’s time for a commercial.
Elyse is reading more about the cup being the cure for vampirism, but then we cut back to Nat and Nick. We learn that the vampire who was killing workers on the original dig was Lacroix, Nick’s master. Nick explains it as “like a father or a brother”. Lacroix doesn’t want Nick to have both cups, because if Nick does, they both think he’ll be able to cure his vampirism. Lacroix obviously killed the museum guard, but he’s not responsible for the three other victims, who were homeless.
Cut to the blood mobile, paying homeless people for blood donations. Which seems…not quite right. But whatever, it’s time to find another body, and it’s one of Nick’s friends. He has an incision, though, not puncture wounds, so it’s obviously not Lacroix. Nick blames himself, because he always does, and runs off to a nightclub.
Here we meet Janette, Nick’s lover from 1228. More vampire banter, and Janette gets in a clever little line about “Dorian Grey syndrome” in light of Nick’s having to move to Toronto from Chicago.
You guys, I love Janette. Love her. She’s probably my favorite character, and she has the coolest gloves. She drinks blood out of wine glasses. She mocks Nick for his job and his wanting to be human again. She’s awesome.
Nick’s fishing for info on Lacroix, but Janette isn’t biting. Heh. Biting. Nick badgers her until she writes something down for him and tells him to be careful, because Lacroix is very disappointed.
All this time, we’ve been getting weird camera angles, and as Nick leaves the club, we see why: Elyse is following him. Super smart, Elyse. I see how you got that curator job.
Nick turns on the radio to hear someone who calls himself “The Nightcrawler”, and it’s totes Lacroix. Flashback time! More chomping on the unconscious woman, and Lacroix looking on with glee. Nick almost gets into a car accident, and we hear Lacroix say that “The Nightcrawler’s waiting for you” just before the “To Be Continued” card comes up.
Whew. That was freakishly long. Probably because this ep and its second part were originally a TV movie with – seriously, I am not making this up – Rick motherfucking Springfield. So a lot happens, and it does set up the whole series, but there are a shit ton of subplots all up in here. I was hoping to do a little more analysis and make more jokes, but maybe next time. Well, definitely next time, because now you know all the characters and shit, so hopefully I can streamline the process a little.
Let me know what you liked, what you hated, and if you, too, were a Forever Knight fan back in the day. The entire series is available on DVD, but I don’t know about streaming or YouTube, so I will try to get all the major plot points in so you won’t have to have watched the show to get a sense of what’s going on.
Also, if you like recaps and funny things, please go to Jenny Trout’s site and check out her recaps of the 50 Shades series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s a hilarious blogger and a good writer and I totally ripped this idea off from her.
Until next week, Snowflakes!Show SGRoA Post List