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Kindred: The Embraced

Series resembles cross between oldie soap "Dark Shadows" and syndicated "Nick Knight" in its balance of action and romance.

With:
Cast: C. Thomas Howell, Kate Vernon, Stacy Haiduk, Brian Thompson, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau, Brigid Walsh, Channon Roe, Basil Hoffman, Richard Danielson, Jeff Kober, Mark Frankel, Tara Subkoff, Cristina Ehrlich, Gil Combs, Luiz Defreitas. San Francisco is overrun by vampires, operating so secretly that police detective Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell) doesn't even realize he's sleeping with one and closely associated, though unromantically, with another. Thus begins "Kindred: the Embraced," Spelling Television's newest series of the season and Fox's latest foray into the fantasy genre.

Series resembles cross between oldie soap “Dark Shadows” and syndicated “Nick Knight” in its balance of action and romance.

Kohanek is busy chasing wealthy Julian Luna (Mark Frankel), whom he knows to be a powerful capo. What he doesn’t know is that Luna is the “prince” who rules the uneasy local alliance of five vampire clans: the intellectual Ventrues; the artistic Torreadors; the rebellious, motorcycle-riding Gangrels; the alienated, bald-pated Nosferatu; and the warrior Brujah.

All are humanlike and (this being a Spelling/Fox series) youngish and darkly good-looking, save for the bald-pated Nosferatu, who sport ears resembling a Vulcan from “Star Trek,” only pointed downward. This doubtless will take viewers (and probably the show’s writers) some sorting-out as the series progresses.

Premiere episode introduces regulars, and finds Kohanek falling in love with stunning blonde Alexandra (Kate Vernon). Despite her pale complexion, penetrating stare, icy body temperature and taste for rare steaks, he suspects nothing until Alexandra tells him she’s one of the “Kindred”– violating a trust that marks her for killing.

Death doesn’t come easy for vampires, though: stakes through the heart and exposure only inconvenience them, though a plunge into the San Francisco Bay evidently will do the trick. Too bad: Alexandra may be the standout character of premiere.

Regulars not already mentioned include Stacy Haiduk as Torreador leader Lillie Langtry (yes, the 19th-century actress); Jeff Kober as Nosferatu chief Daedalus; Patrick Bauchau as Luna’s mentor, Archon; Channon Roe as Gangrel head Cash; Erik King as Kohanek’s partner, Sonny Toussaint; and Brigid Walsh as Sasha , human descendent of Luna.

Sasha, who storms into a vampire funeral on a motorcycle, looks like trouble, sneering disrespectfully to Luna, “You’re the uncle from the city who never looks any older.” Another regular, Kelly Rutherford, debuts in a future episode.

Acting and dialogue are frequently stilted; this may be intentional, as characterization of the other-worldly. Overall look of premiere is fine.

Ninety-minute pilot airs Tuesday night, with first hourlong episode assuming series’ regular 9 p.m. Wednesday spot April 3.

Kindred: The Embraced

Production: Kindred: The Embraced (Tues. (2), 8-9:30 p.m., Fox) Filmed in Los Angeles and San Francisco by John Leekley Prods. in association with Spelling Television. Executive producers, John Leekley, Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent; producer, Llewellyn Wells; co-producer, Mark Rein Hagen; director, Peter Medak; script, Leekley, based on the book "Vampire: The Masquerade" by Mark Rein Hagen.

Crew: Camera, John R. Leonetti; editor, Ray Lovejoy; production designer, Trevor Williams; sound, John Sutton, Charlie Kelly; music, J. Peter Robinson; casting, Rick Millikan.

With: Cast: C. Thomas Howell, Kate Vernon, Stacy Haiduk, Brian Thompson, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau, Brigid Walsh, Channon Roe, Basil Hoffman, Richard Danielson, Jeff Kober, Mark Frankel, Tara Subkoff, Cristina Ehrlich, Gil Combs, Luiz Defreitas. San Francisco is overrun by vampires, operating so secretly that police detective Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell) doesn't even realize he's sleeping with one and closely associated, though unromantically, with another. Thus begins "Kindred: the Embraced," Spelling Television's newest series of the season and Fox's latest foray into the fantasy genre.

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