Midnight, Texas: Pilot
Original air date: July 24th, 2017
The Pilot episode of Midnight, Texas aired July 24th on NBC, introducing audiences to the town of Midnight and its inhabitants, first created by Charlaine Harris. I first saw the pilot back in March at WonderCon. On first viewing, I was in love. Re-watching the pilot—well, I love it even more. There are some series, I watch the pilot and feel less than thrilled– this wasn’t like that. It is masterfully executed—the acting was on point, the timing and rhythm that sometimes takes a while to establish, were there from the get-go, thanks in part to a well-rounded ensemble of actors and a well written first episode.
Las Vegas, New Mexico (for the pilot), then Albuquerque, New Mexico served as the filming location for the show and is a perfect substitute for Texas. The desert and isolation that make Midnight a refuge for the strange and unusual is clearly defined, so kudos to Guy Barnes (Production Designer) and to all those that brought Midnight to life.
Midnight is a safe-haven for supernaturals and those running from the secrets of their past. Fitting into both categories is Manfred Bernardo (François Arnaud), the newest resident of Midnight. Manfred is a psychic-for-hire, that sees dead people, including his grandma Xylda (Joanne Camp). He’s on the run from a shady character from his past and has a pain-pill dependency he needs to work on. But with ghosts trying to “jump” him and use his body, we can forgive the drug dependency. Though Fiji probably has an herbal remedy for that.
Fiji Cavanaugh (Parisa Fitz-Henley) is a witch that lives with her talking cat Mr. Snuggly. Reverend Emilio Sheehan (Yul Vazquez) is a were-tiger, Joe Strong (Jason Lewis) is an angel, and he runs the town salon/tattoo parlor with his husband Chuy Strong (Bernardo Saracino). Then there is the Lowell family—Shawn Lowell (Bob Jesser) runs the one gas station with the help of his daughter Creek (Sarah Ramos) and his son Connor (John-Paul Howard). Bobo Winthrop (Dylan Bruce) is Manfred’s landlord and runs the local pawn shop. Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) is another tenant of Bobo’s and a hit-woman. Part-time employee and vampire Lemuel Bridger (Peter Mensah) rounds out the main group of Midnight denizens.
I am a huge fan of the books this series is based on. The books are the guideline to create the television world of Midnight, Texas and in the very capable hands of Monica Breen (Creator, Writer), the characters I fell in love with on page are beautifully portrayed on screen. I understand, television is a different vehicle than written word, and things need to be reworked— in the pilot we learn things, like Joe is an Angel, that aren’t even touched on until the second book. I am cool with it. The reveal of Joe’s wings was stunning. Creek providing a narrative, of how she sees the people she grew up with, versus what the audience glimpses them doing in private, proves that even in a small town there are secrets to be discovered. The pilot successfully left me intrigued and ready for more.
Midnight, Texas has the potential to be something truly special. Not only will we be learning about the residents of Midnight as the season progresses, but we get a murder mystery to solve as well. Near the end of this first episode we see them already banded together when Bobo is arrested. As the story progresses as bigger bads threaten the town, we are going to see them evolve from a small town to a large family. I can’t wait!