Update 10/25/18: Added link to new TVLine exclusive sneak peak clip.
Midnight, Texas premiered as a summer show on NBC in 2017 with a 10 episode run and poor to mediocre ratings. Somehow, they were given a second season and moved to the fall- probably because of supernatural interference. Or an enthusiastic global and digital response to the show. Charlaine Harris has connections, y’all, she can make these things happen.
Ms Harris is the author of the wildly popular Southern Vampire Mystery series, otherwise known as the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries/True Blood TV series. Midnight, Texas is currently a three novel series that takes place in the same universe as the Sookie Stackhouse novels. There are a few crossover characters in the books, though I don’t remember seeing any in season 1 of the TV show. They don’t arrive in town until the second book, so keep your eyes open this season. Last season combined storylines from the first and third books. So far it looks like season 2 will cover the second book.
Just like Sookie’s town of Bon Temps, LA, the small southwestern town of Midnight, TX attracts outsiders, loners and misfits, especially those who are a little more than human. Midnight is sparsely populated, with barely enough permanent residents to even be called a town. It sits at a dusty crossroads with magical properties. The people who are drawn to settle there form a close-knit, protective community. They are slow to trust outsiders and don’t share secrets easily, but they are a force to be reckoned with when one of their own is threatened.
Season 1 begins when Manfred Bernardo, a psychic with true abilities, which he sometimes needs to fake for customers, drives his ancient RV bus into town on the advice of the ghost of his grandmother, Xylda. Manfred was mostly raised by Xylda and they’re still close. They’ve been able to remain close because Manfred sees dead people. Everywhere. Sometimes they possess his body, but only if he lets them. Manfred is on the run from Hightower, to whom he and Xylda owe(d) a large sum of money.
In season 1, the town was also inhabited by the kindly but powerful local witch, Fiji Cavanaugh; a fallen angel/tattoo artist named Joe Strong and his manicurist husband Chuy; an energy and blood draining vampire, named Lem Bridger, who’s nearly 200 years old, and his assassin girlfriend, Olivia Charity; the Lovell family (Shawn, Creek and Conner), who run the Gas ‘n Go and have a particularly dark secret; Madonna Reed, who runs the local diner; the Reverend Emilio Sheehan, a brooding and somber were tiger who keeps to himself and his church; and Bobo Winthrop, a good-natured human who runs the Midnight Pawn Shop with help from Lem and Olivia.
The main mysteries in Season 1 centered on the disappearance/murder of Bobo’s fiance, Aubrey Hamilton, and an overwhelmingly evil presence that had been awakened underneath the town. It was living under Manfred’s house and became obsessed with Fiji. Everyone in town became involved in solving the two mysteries, bringing them closer together and forcing them to reveal more about themselves.
But my quick thumbnail description doesn’t give you a true sense of the charm and humor of Midnight. It has all of the playfulness that typically characterizes Charlaine Harris’ work, her written work especially. Both the books and the show are lighter than True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse books. You get the sense that the actors and crew are having fun making this show, and not taking themselves too seriously.
It’s on NBC, so it’s forced to be less edgy and gory than its HBO cousin. I love an edgy vampire as much as the next witch, but I never need to see someone turn into blood soup in Alexander Skaargård’s or Anna Paquin’s arms again. The fact that Midnight uses the form of vampire death described in the books, turning to dusty ash, is a major plus for me.
That’s not to say that Midnight is a slave to the books. As I mentioned earlier, season 1 altered storylines from two different books. So, if you’ve read the books, this will be familiar, but new. They aren’t following the rules of the supernatural universe from the books exactly either, but I would say that they’re closer than True Blood.
I’m hoping that we’ll get some guest appearances from minor True Blood characters if the show lasts long enough. There’s no way they could afford the stars, but maybe Hoyt’s mother, Maxine Fortenberry, or town drunk, Jane Bodehouse, could drive through Midnight sometime. (It seems like practically every character on that show either died or their actor got popular, though.)
So, season 2. If you take a look at the posters from seasons 1 & 2 at the top of the page, you’ll notice a distinct difference in tone between them. In season 1, even the long-term Midnighters didn’t actually know each other that well. They were friends and protective of each other, but still guarded their secrets. Then they spent the season saving each other’s lives, revealing secrets, and making connections, some of them romantic.
In season 2, our babies are all grown up and have learned how to smolder! Instead of standing in their own spaces on the public street, they’re in a sexy pile on satin sheets. Hopefully in one of the rooms at the newly reopened hotel. This season will focus much more on the character relationships that were established last year, and on how the new characters that are being introduced will affect those relationships.
And what it means, for example, when the relationship between an energy sucking vampire and a volatile, world-class assassin is perturbed. Maybe someone should hide the knives, for starters.
We know from the trailers that one of the main plots is a riff on the second book, Day Shift, with a new couple moving to town and renovating a long abandoned hotel. The husband, Kai, is a faith healer who may or may not be for real. The wife, Patience, will get involved with Manfred in some kind of caper.
Midnight, Texas stars François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Peter Mensah, Sarah Ramos, Yul Vazquez, Sean Bridgers, Nestor Carbonell, Jaime Ray Newman and Josh Kelly.
First Look/Sneak Peek Season 2:
Clip: Fiji, Patience & Sedona:
Clip: Healer Kai and the Crystal Desert Hotel
Clip: Olivia and Lem’s Psychic Connection- ‘Til Death Do Us Part
TVLine interview, in which we discover Mr Snuggly is a diva, Manfred has demon cancer, Olivia and Lem have a psychic connection that’s dialed up to 11, and Bobo is a lover, not a fighter this season, but Fiji just might be fighting patience and Kai.
Season 2 Promo:
Season 1 Recap:
Images Courtesy of NBC.