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Jumping in here, apropos of nothing but the invite over on moonlight_tv (which, I agree, can be a bit gushy). So far I've only lurked there, as I do on most LJs I'm a member of; I'm not online much anymore, not like I was back when I had a desk job with a T1 connected PC in front of me all day. Now I'm an RN and I just don't have that kind of time at work -- nor do I have a desk or a PC at work. *frowns* Then again, my tendinitis is much improved these days, so... good with the bad, etc.

Now before I launch into those aspects of Moonlight with which I get fairly annoyed, let me start out by saying first that I'm very smitten with Moonlight. I started watching it on CBS' web site because I was never home on Friday nights when it was on. I knew I wanted to check it out before it premiered because (1) it was a vampire show (I love the vampire genre), (2) because Jason Dohring was on it (terribly underutilized and typecast in Veronica Mars' last season -- I think Josef Konstantin will be a much meatier role for him to display and expand his acting chops and I'm looking forward to that); and (3) because it was a neo noir detective type show -- but combined with vampires!

But I was also afraid it was going to suck because of the bad press I'd read about the re-casting and re-shooting of the pilot, and I've been so disappointed by falling in love with shows that got so quickly canceled (Veronica Mars, Deadwood, Due South... all the way back to the original vampire detective, Nick Knight on Forever Knight). So I wasn't about to get all sucked in to yet another show that I would fall in love with, only to have it canceled or threatened with cancellation in three seasons or less, and end with many unresolved storylines, etc.

But against my better judgment, I got hooked on the webisodes of Moonlight. Drat the pesky good looks of Alex O'Loughlin. (Yeah, right!) By episode 6 (B.C.), I was making time to watch it on Friday night -- when possible. As I don't have cable, satellite or Tivo, I ended up getting suckered into Amazon Unbox downloads -- yep, a season subscription to Moonlight. I have never done that for any show before.

In addition to all that, there is the inherent angst of a vampire who doesn't want to be a vampire, who wants to be human again, and can't -- and who may love a human woman but can never really be with her. Oh the humanity! It drove the whole Nick/Nat relationship on Forever Knight, and then the Buffy/Angel (and later Buffy/Spike) relationships on BTVS (not to mention the angst of Anne Rice's Louis, the reluctant "monster"). What's not to love?! (I mean, if you love angst like I do.)

What follows is a rather long post behind the cut, which I had the luxury of composing because I have had the luxury of watching Moonlight episodes multiple times as they are on my computer and I can hook it up to my TV now (so geekified). But, honest, these were inconsistencies I had noticed while I was watching the episodes fresh -- I only had to go back and rewatch eps to verify inconsistencies and search for the original or first occurrences, so I could prove the inconsistencies that came later.



What sealed the deal and really hooked me was -- I admit it -- Alex O'Loughlin's angsty good looks as Mick St. John and the chemistry he had with Sophia Myles' portrayal of Beth. I admit, the show is very eye-candy-ish; everyone on Moonlight is pretty easy on the eyes. And it's nice to watch a show about people who are supposed to be about 10 years older than Buffy and her pals. I don't feel quite so old or silly watching it. Plus, when the dialogue works, it works -- it gets snappy and snarky and it's getting better all the time. So I'm hooked on Moonlight, despite the inconsistent and cliched writing of the first couple eps, and the continued inconsistences in the rest of the episodes.

Moonlight also has enough hallmarks of a neo noir detective show to please us old noir fans: (1) voice over narration (which harks back as far as "Double Indemnity," if not farther) (2) a PI who's seen too much but has a good heart (good enough to do the right thing, which can be painfully difficult and often seems like the wrong thing to do) (3) and a shiny, sexy, decadent SoCal noir look & feel, especially the way actors ("body image freaks" as Morgan/Coraline says in "Fleur De Lis"), film producers (in "12:04 AM") or Beth's editor at BuzzWire are portrayed. But it uses all these ingredients in what I would call an updated, 21st century SoCal noir way. It also has, so far, a plucky post-feminist "girl Friday" (Beth -- who is also a reporter! double score!) and a femme fatale (Morgan/Coraline). So: genre expectations met and exceeded for a PI/noir show: check! Genre expectations met and exceeded for a vampire show: check! All systems are go.

Most of the time I also like the music used on Moonlight. How can you not love a show that uses Front Line Assembly -- as well other Leeb & Fulber (of Front Line Assembly/Intermix/Delerium fame) music, including Fauxliage's song Let It Go at the end of the ep Dr. Feelgood, when Mick tells Beth how he became a vampire? Not to mention the well-placed use of Dave Gahan's (of Depeche Mode) solo song "Kingdom" over the scenes of "Morgan" wiping the coverup off her fleur de lis tattoo at the end of The Ringer. Sometimes the music is overmixed louder than the dialogue, but mostly it isn't, and mostly it's well done and I like it.

But, as the mod here pointed out in the invitation, it doesn't have to be good to be entertaining... And despite being smitten with Moonlight, the writing, even much-improved on later episodes, is just loaded with logical inconsistencies -- within episodes and from episode to episode.

Now, unlike many people, I don't mind the way Moonlight plays with vampire mythology. Many new vamp universes reinvent the mythology, from Anne Rice to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro to Joss Whedon/Angel&BTVS. I remember being really put off by the way the vamps on BTVS turned "lumpy" and ugly when they vamped out, instead of becoming sexier ala Anne Rice and the original Dracula (Bram Stoker). Another example of changing the mythology was that Stoker's Dracula couldn't cross water unless he had earth from his own native land (hence the boxes of earth he brought with him on the ship when he came to England). Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's vampire Saint-Germain got around that by putting the earth in layers within the soles of his shoes -- so he could go anywhere, cross any river, stream, etc. Clever, eh?

So I'm okay with Moonlight's "stakes don't kill vampires, they only paralyze them" twist on the mythology, and the sun severely weakening them rather than causing them to burst into flames. They still die from beheading and being set on fire, which are pretty final ways of killing anyone, vampire or not. And I like how they've incorporated the gangster/organized crime concept of "the cleaner" (from movies like Pulp Fiction and La Femme Nikita/Point of No Return) into modern, 21st century vampirism (in the ep Dr. Feelgood).

What I'm not okay with are the inconsistencies they've created within the use of their new mythology. Stakes paralyze -- except in Dr. Feelgood, when Mick's muscles move well enough, despite the stake in his heart, to speak and tell Beth to take out the stake. And stakes paralyze vampires -- except when Mick staked Coraline (in flashbacks, when she took Beth as a child) and left her on her back on the floor in a burning room -- yet somehow, Coraline magically stands at the security door as Mick takes off with little Beth. But, okay, fine: Anne Rice had Lestat survive his throat being cut and a fiery inferno. So I'll cut Moonlight some slack there, and we still haven't had the full explanation of Coraline's death and reappearance as human. So maybe that will be explained in future eps.

Another inconsistency: we get various ages for Mick in various episodes. In the first ep NSTAV ("No Such Thing As Vampires"), Josef says to Mick "You're only 90, you've never been chased by a torch-bearing mob." Then in "Dr. Feelgood" Mick tells Beth "I'm gonna be eighty-five this November."

Mick also says in "NSTAV," "Sixty years is a long time to deny yourself the touch of another. But you do it because you just can't bear the thought of seeing yourself as a monster in someone else's eyes." Okay -- what exactly does Mick mean by "the touch of another"? Another vampire? Another human? Because certainly, he wasn't denied the touch of a vampire for sixty years. He was with Coraline off and on from their wedding in 1952 (we learn in NSTAV and various other eps) until she took Beth in 1985. That's 33 years of off and on. Even if he was "denied the touch of another" after he killed Coraline in 1985, that still means he has only been denied the touch of someone for 22 years since Coraline died (2007-1985=22).

So if it's 2007 now, and he was denied the touch of another for 60 years (as he says in NSTAV) and by "the touch of another" he means a human that would still mean 2007-60years=1947. So is he saying that no one's touched him since 1947? Because that's not true. Even if no one human had touched him in 60 years, the flashbacks of his meeting with Coraline show that he met her in 1952 -- 5 years after 1947. So, was he celibate for those five years before he met Coraline? I doubt it very much. (And why would he have been, since he wasn't yet a vampire and therefore would not have been seen as "a monster" in someone else's eyes?)

Maybe this is just really bad math. If he's 85 this past November (which just ended) as he told Beth in Dr. Feelgood, that means he was born in 1922. So let's say he hit puberty in 1936 (he would have been 14 then). He told Beth he was 30 when Coraline turned him in 1952. Even if he had remained a virgin until he was twenty, that still gives him ten years of playing the field (from 1942 to 1952) before he met Coraline, proposed, got married, and she turned him into a vampire. That's still not 60 years from now to be "denied the touch of another."

But okay -- let's toss aside complaints about inconsistencies in the first episode, since that was apparently written and re-written and cast and re-cast and who knows what else while they were getting their sh-t together this past summer. Okay, fine. Moving right along...

There are multiple episodes (Out of the Past, for example, but pick any episode with Mick driving around in his convertible Benz with the top down) where Mick and Beth drive around with the top down in his convertible and their hair never moves. Come on, continuity people! You should at least be blowing a big fan on them so their hair moves and gets tousled! I mean, I know they are really in a car in a studio against a blue (or green) screen -- but try to make it at least a little more realistic! Even Forever Knight put a little breeze in their hair sometimes!

Now let's talk about the episodes "The Ringer" and "Fleur de Lis" and the logical inconsistencies in them.

Early on in "The Ringer", Mick says to Josef (about Morgan), "She's not a vampire. I was close enough to tell."

Josef replies, "Well, Mick, if she's not a vampire, then she can't be Coraline."

Much later in the same ep, Mick brings Josef in on the action -- and Josef verifies for Mick that Morgan is, in fact, human and not vampire. Josef says,
"But Mick, it isn't Coraline. I could smell Morgan in there. She wasn't a vampire. She's a human. And there's no way to assimilate that fact into any conspiracy theory about Coraline coming back."

So then why, near the end of The Ringer, in the cemetery, why does Mick sniff at Morgan and say "You're bleeding -- how are you bleeding? You should have healed by now. How are you bleeding?"

Um, because she's human? Mick, you already told Josef she's human. And Josef already verified this. So of course she's bleeding! She could not have healed by now -- because she is not a vampire as you and Josef have already verified!

Then, in the episode Fleur de Lis, Beth goes to see Josef. She says, "I need to talk to you about Mick. I know you're his friend. It's his ex-wife, Coraline."

"Coraline died a long time ago," Josef tells Beth.

"I don't think she did," Beth replies. "I think she survived and became human and is masquerading as Morgan Vincent."

Josef says, "I met Morgan. And sure she looks like Coraline -- a lot like Coraline. But it's not her. Morgan is not a vampire." [my emphasis]

Okay, great, good: Morgan is not a vampire. However -- given that Mick (in The Ringer) and Josef (in The Ringer and in Fleur de Lis) both say that Morgan is human, why does Beth stake Morgan?? She's already been told by two vampires who knew Coraline when she was a vampire that Morgan isn't a vampire, she's a human.

Okay, maybe Beth staking Morgan/Coraline is supposed to be poetic justice. But when Beth stakes Morgan/Coraline, Mick says,

"No, no, no! What are you doing?! What have you done?"
Beth says, "Stakes don't kill vampires, they just paralyze them."
Mick: "She's not a vampire."
Beth: "She's Coraline! You just said so yourself!"
Mick: "She's Coraline but she's not a vampire! Not anymore! She's human. There's a cure. She has a cure!"

But Beth already knew from both Mick and Josef that Morgan was human, even if she was really Coraline returned and masquerading as Morgan Vincent. And Beth is the one who suggested to Josef that Morgan is Coraline returned as a human!. So why stake her? And why say "Stakes don't kill vampires, they just paralyze them?" if she already knew Morgan/Coraline wasn't a vampire, she was human?? Major inconsistency, writers! Major!

Those are the most glaring inconsistencies in Moonlight. They are such a bummer. Because when they leap out at me (and they do; I can't help it, I pay attention to continuity and things like that!) -- when they leap out at me, they take me right out of the story and the show and that kind of ruins it for me, which is very disappointing and quite a bummer.

However, I would like to give props to some of the dialog which has improved with each episode. In Fleur De Lis, in Beth's conversation with Josef, there's some dialog worthy of an old Bogie noir flick like The Big Sleep:

Beth: "What if Coraline found a way to become human again?"

Josef: "Boy, first Mick, now you. There is no cure for vampirism. There's no magic pill, no click your ruby slippers together and rejoin the mortal coil. Becoming a vampire is a one way street."

Beth: "There has to be a way. I think Mick--"

Josef: "Look, when it comes to Coraline, Mick doesn't think with his big head."

[That exchange reminded me of the line from The Big Sleep, where the old man says, "You've met my daughter?" and Bogie replies, "Yeah, she tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up."

Another choice exchange between Beth and Josef in Fleur De Lis:

Josef: " 'Kay, you have to understand. Mick and Coraline's relationship was one of those terrifying, completely self-destructive freak shows that you spend your whole life searching for, knowing it can only end in one or both of you dead."

Beth: "That's your idea of love?"

Josef: "What can I tell you? I'm a romantic."

Love it. Love it, love it, love it. Writers: more like this!! Less inconsistencies!!

* * *

Now, I don't read spoilers for the episodes. So I don't actually know what is going to happen.

But based on the setup in The Ringer and Fleur De Lis (POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!) I can see this one coming a mile away: Morgan/Coraline, being human, and having had a large spike of wood shoved into her abdomen by Beth, will hover near death until Mick does the only thing he can do to save her -- turns her back into a vampire. And that will just complicate and make things more interesting -- and worse for Mick.

And, undoubtedly, Coraline will dangle the secret of becoming human over Mick's head to mess with him for the rest of the season -- and to keep him coming back for more because, well, it's the terrifying, completely self-destructive freak show he spent his whole life searching for and ended in her death -- and resurrection, somehow, and return as a human, and severe, possible fatal injury as said human; and likely Mick will turn her, again, into a vampire. So he can feel twice as guilty: once for killing her as a vamp, and then for condemning her to a life of eternal darkness as a vampire again, after she made it back to being human. Oh the dreamy angst!! (END POSSIBLE SPOILERS)

I wish there were some way I could communicate my annoyance with the writing inconsistencies while at the still time communicating how much I love this show for what it already has and for it's obvious potential. So far, I haven't been able to think of any... but if anyone else does, feel free to comment and let me know.

As with superhero stories and other sci-fi/fantasy stories/shows, what makes dramas involving vampires or (insert your favorite superhero here) so affecting is that their special circumstances and powers only provide a more extreme spectrum of behavior and backdrop for the drama of the human condition -- all those decisions and coincidences and things we do, and wish we hadn't or could undo -- or things we didn't do, and wish we had done, or could re-do.

These shows are really about us humans -- about unrequited love, about obstacles to love, obstacles to honesty, about hiding one's true self, about fear of intimacy, about how it is safer but far less fulfilling to keep one's distance and lurk on the edges of intimacy than it is to risk the dangers of self-disclosure and exposure and the possibility of rejection -- ultimately, about how individuals fear being truly known because they fear they're not worthy of being loved, or that if their powers or flaws or monstrousness were truly known and seen by another, they would lose that love.

In addition to all that, there is also the possibility of redemption that these characters long for -- as we all do (at least, those of us well-adjusted enough to know we're not perfect, we've made mistakes, we've done things wrongly or badly and wish we could do it again and get it right). So I really hate it when people who never watch vampire or scifi/fantasy/superhero shows or movies talk about how juvenile they are, when in fact, these stories are about as universal as the myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans were. I'm not saying it's Shakespeare, but there's a reason they're so affecting. Which is why it's so annoying when they're done half-a--ed as some eps of Moonlight seem to have been written! It takes you right out of the story.

I'm done now... and I thank you for your time and attention to my, er, ranty gush. Or gushy rant. Or... I don't know quite what it is.

Comments

juanitadark
Dec. 4th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
Stakes paralyze -- except in Dr. Feelgood, when Mick's muscles move well enough, despite the stake in his heart, to speak and tell Beth to take out the stake.

See, for me there's what the show has a character state as truth and what the show itself represents as truth, and to me this extends beyond the obvious "I didn't murder her", when we can see in flashback that that's not true.

Mick states that stakes paralyse and generally that seems to be true - the new vamp is totally taken out with a stake in his chest so that he can't save himself.

Mick, at 85 can actually move enough to vaguely speak.

Coraline is older than both, so it makes sense that she might be able to move enough to pull her stake out - none of this can be confirmed until we understand how Coraline's come back. Though with that set up I'd suspect that somehow she had some really old blood in her contrary to her actual (vampire) age.

When Lola is paralysed it's because she falls into a tank of suspended silver and EVEN THEN she has a window of very slight movment before being completely paralysed. Again this can be potentially be explained by her age.

So the show itself is already showing you that when a character says "x", "x" isn't necessarily the gospel. Which just means that they're saying what they experience - which is closer to real life.

But Beth already knew from both Mick and Josef that Morgan was human, even if she was really Coraline returned and masquerading as Morgan Vincent.

This isn't necessarily inconsistent either because it's pretty clear from the post-intro beginning that Beth has been stewing in her own juices of sexual discontent even before the episode's timeline, and it's then underlined from the minute she presses Mick on whether sex with Coraline was "that good" that he had to keep coming back.

It's pretty clear right there that righting the wrongs she feels Coraline committed agaisnt her aren't so much up there as the effect Coraline has on Mick. It's on the tail end of The Ringer when she asks Mick if he was disappointed once he discovered Morgan might not be Coraline. The lack of answer from Mick and her disappointment pretty much seal it.

Sure, there's the rush of repressed memories coming back near the end of this ep but she not only had to go upstairs and collect the evidence, she also had to leave Coraline's home and drive all the way over to Mick's giving her enough time to simmer down somewhat and wonder what the hell she was doing. (I actually question how she got onto both Coraline's and Josef's premises more as a continuity problem.) The critical inflaming of her non-logical faculties (and jealousy) is when she comes in Mick has his shirt open and hair wet, and she says Morgan is Coraline and he says he knows THEN Coraline comes downstairs half dressed in Mick's shirt, hair also wet.

Beth then goes postal and stabs her.

This is *despite* Coraline not making a single aggressive overture towards Beth since her return outside of a hard, nondescript glance.

She's told earlier in the ep by Josef that Coraline is back for Mick - *Mick* NOT Beth. It's pretty clear why she stabs Coraline and it's got nothing to do with bad continuity. It's got everything to do with a central character doing something questionable because they feel emotionally (not physically) threatened.


Edited at 2007-12-04 03:36 pm (UTC)
verushka70
Dec. 5th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
there's what the show has a character state as truth and what the show itself represents as truth


So the characters state their subjective truth, vs. the truth presented as objective on the show. Sounds reasonable.

none of this can be confirmed until we understand how Coraline's come back.


True. Really want to know how she came back!

Beth has been stewing in her own juices of sexual discontent even before the episode's timeline, and it's then underlined from the minute she presses Mick on whether sex with Coraline was "that good" that he had to keep coming back.


True. But Beth's narration/VO has little to do with Coraline as sexual rival & everything to do with Coraline as abductor. (Granted, what people say they think vs. what really motivates them can be different things. But I can't dismiss Beth's VO narration.)

It's pretty clear right there that righting the wrongs she feels Coraline committed agaisnt her aren't so much up there as the effect Coraline has on Mick.


But Beth also said other things at the beginning of Fleur De Lis after "Was it the sex that kept you coming back?" -- such as, "She kidnapped me when I was four, took me from my bed, terrorized me, almost killed me."

Later in the same conversation she says, "If that's the same woman who destroyed my childhood, I gotta know." At the beginning her VO is: "Memories can be fragile. Fleeting as a whisper one moment, powerful as a scream the next. I spent so long hiding from the past, ignoring the whispers. But I remember everything now. And the screams are the only thing I can hear."

After Beth sees Josef, Beth VOs, "I made up my mind to see Coraline's party house... It's one thing to want to know the truth; it's another to confront the truth head on. My mind has spent so long trying to protect me, shielding me from what happened. It was the only way I could feel safe. Even now, something inside me is screaming STOP! But I can't. And I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever feel safe again."

She finds Morgan's photos of her and Mick, the room where she was kept, and says in VO, "This is where she kept me. Alone, locked in this room, waiting for her to bring me to meet Mick, to lure him back, to make us a family in her deranged mind." It's AFTER these last few sentences that she breaks the chair and takes the stake.

The critical inflaming of her non-logical faculties (and jealousy) is when she comes in Mick has his shirt open and hair wet, and she says Morgan is Coraline and he says he knows THEN Coraline comes downstairs half dressed in Mick's shirt, hair also wet.
Beth then goes postal and stabs her.


I can't argue with this. But isn't taking the stake from the chair premeditated? Otherwise, why else would she have taken it?

Nevertheless, I agree that the tipping point was when she sees Mick (wet) and Morgan (wet, and in Mick's shirt), then goes postal.

She's told earlier in the ep by Josef that Coraline is back for Mick - *Mick* NOT Beth. It's pretty clear why she stabs Coraline and it's got nothing to do with bad continuity. It's got everything to do with a central character doing something questionable because they feel emotionally (not physically) threatened.


Well, I agree that explains why she stakes Morgan/Coraline at Mick's. But smashing the chair & taking the stake don't seem motivated by Mick as much as Beth's memories; probably a combination of both -- either way, she strikes out in defense of (pick all that apply) herself, Mick, her past, her "destroyed" childhood.

(But as airawyn points out, we just found out in the episode 12:04AM that Beth always felt safe after she was rescued from her kidnapper, and like she had a guardian angel -- so, again, we come up against a continuity issue.)

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