You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Midnight, Texas’ on NBC


François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Peter Mensah, Sarah Ramos, Yul Vazquez.

The best thing that can be said about “Midnight, Texas” is that its badness is at least amiable.

This is not a case of an ambitious show going awry and causing frustration as it falls well short of its lofty goals. All “Midnight, Texas” clearly wants to do is be a bargain-basement copy of “True Blood,” but it has trouble being consistently mediocre, let alone good.

It at least comes by its “True Blood” connection honestly: Like that series, it is based on a string of books by Charlaine Harris. And like the very first episodes of the HBO show, “Midnight” has trouble settling on a tone early on, veering ineptly between suspense, campy coyness and spattery horror.

Unlike the HBO show, which settled into a bats–t groove of sorts within a reasonable amount of time, “Midnight, Texas” is saddled with preposterously low-rent production values and a cast that is uneven, to use the most tactful adjective available. It’s an era of belt-tightening for many one-hour shows, and “Midnight” is a summer filler series, but even so, the lack of money spent on this effort is frankly embarrassing at times — or should be.

Then again, as we endure this ever-growing flood of TV — some fantastic, some blah, some terrible — at least we know this: Peak TV has finally produced a vampire drama with a talking cat. This was bound to happen eventually, right?

As with “True Blood,” there’s a core romance that is occasionally sweet, though there are complications due supernatural shenanigans, of course. As a group, the residents of Midnight, a small Texas town, tend to be frequently menaced by a biker group called the Sons of Lucifer, as well as other less burly antagonists. As things progress in the opening installments, there’s obviously a strong “Buffy” resemblance as well, given that Midnight might as well be sitting on a Hellmouth. But most of the characters in the NBC show are either stilted, bland or both.

To be clear, there’s a place on the TV scene for gonzo horror fare, and for talking-animal shows too, if frisky energy or fresh ideas are threaded through those kinds of programs. Genre fans seriously starving for a forgettable but somewhat fast-paced summer serial might be willing to tolerate “Midnight’s” flaws: There’s at least a guileless quality to the show, which appears to be aware that it is a jury-rigged, undistinguished mashup of a dozen superior programs. And the core of “Midnight’s” premise — that people who are persecuted have found something of a safe harbor in this eccentric town — contains a laudable message about tolerance and the resilience of found families.

But much of the time, the execution of those ideas is on the level of the most threadbare daytime soap or the creakiest Syfy monster movie. Viewers casting about for something with vampires, werewolves and spellcasting should set their expectations low — perhaps under the floorboards. In Midnight, that’s where unpleasant critters dwell, but part of me wonders if, at some point, the talking cat will insult them into an approximation of obedience.

TV Review: 'Midnight, Texas' on NBC

Drama; 10 episodes (2 reviewed); 10 p.m. Mon., July 24, NBC. 60 min.


François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Peter Mensah, Sarah Ramos, Yul Vazquez.

More TV

  • Liz Meriwether Lake Bell

    Lake Bell, Liz Meriwether Comedy 'Bless This Mess' Moves From Fox to ABC With Series Order

    “Bless This Mess,” the single-camera comedy co-created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, has been ordered to series at ABC, Variety has learned. The series had previously been in contention at Fox and is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Bell also stars in the series alongside Dax Shepard. In the series, a [...]

  • 'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3

    'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3 at Epix

    Epix has renewed “Get Shorty” for Season 3. The loose adaptation of the 1990 Elmore Leonard novel and subsequent film stars Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Lidio Porto, Megan Stevenson, Sean Bridgers, and Carolyn Dodd. In the series, O’Dowd plays a hitman from Nevada who struggles to shed his criminal past after he moves to Hollywood to [...]

  • Goliath Season 2 Amazon

    Amazon Renews 'Goliath' for Season 3

    Amazon has renewed legal drama “Goliath” for a third season. “Goliath” centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who has one shot at redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. “Our [...]

  • Selena Quintanilla

    Selena Quintanilla Scripted Series Gets Greenlight at Netflix

    Netflix has ordered a scripted drama series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla. The series is described as a coming of age story following Selena as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family, and music. “Selena [...]

  • Detroiters Renewed Season 2 Comedy Central

    'Detroiters' Canceled at Comedy Central After Two Seasons

    Comedy Central has canceled its Motor City series “Detroiters” after two seasons. The scripted half-hour from Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Comedy Central Productions bowed in early 2017. Season two premiered in June. The buddy comedy was created by stars Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson along with “Saturday Night Live” veterans Zach Kanin and Joe [...]

  • Channing DungeyVariety's Power of Women, Los

    Netflix Talk Heats Up as Channing Dungey Plots Post-ABC Move

    When Channing Dungey closes a door, a bunch of other doors open. Dungey’s next move has become a subject of speculation in Hollywood’s creative community. Sources tell Variety that the departing ABC Entertainment president is already being pursued by a number of potential suitors for what could be her next big job — Netflix among [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content