Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Forever Knight – season 2 – review (TV series)

Directed by: Various

First aired: 1994

Contains spoilers

For reference, Season 1 of this series is reviewed here and the original pilot, Nick Knight, is reviewed here. So with linkage out of the way let us delve into Season 2 of Forever knight.

There are a couple of things to note about season 2 of Forever Knight, firstly that the season ran for 26 episodes as opposed to the standard 22 episodes. For what reason I’m not really sure. Also, if you watch the episodes in order – via the DVD – they actually run in a different order to that used when they were aired. This is generally not a problem as the episodes tend to return to a status quo situation. However, one of the DVD episodes “Close Call” is episode 22 but aired, sensibly, as episode 25 as it has a flashback to another episode that appears later in the DVD run.

"Close Call" is a good place to begin as we look at some of the character issues I picked up on in the first season. I mentioned that vampire cop Nick Knight’s (Geraint Wyn Davies) partner Don Schanke (John Kapelos) was a bit of a crap cop as he hadn’t noticed anything too out of the usual about his partner. In this episode he actually begins to put two and two together and get four. Ok, status quo is achieved in the episode but it was nice that the programme makers actually looked at this. Other than that his role remained fairly much constant, though his character seemed to get a little darker and less jocular as the season ran – much in the same way as the season seemed to.

The captain from season 1 was gone and replaced by Captain Cohen (Natsuko Ohama). A brief mention of a precinct change is given but other than that we do not know why. To be honest it was no big deal as I felt the Captain was a weaker character in season 1. Cohen had, perhaps, a larger role in the series than her predecessor but still ends up a minor character.

Amongst the characters remaining were Janette (Deborah Duchene), a vampire confidante of Nick’s, whom we learn a lot more about in this. We discover about her mortal life and see a lot more of the relationship she and Nick have. Despite the status quo issues we discover that the series makers wanted to make the characters perhaps more three dimensional than was the norm in such series at the time.

The same goes for LaCroix (Nigel Bennett), the vampire who turned Nick and who is, allegedly, the big bad of the series. LaCroix’s character developed greatly through the series and I began to appreciate Bennett in the role more and more. Perhaps this had much to do with him being in the present as well as in flashbacks, however the way he was handled was perhaps poor.

Nick, you may recall, killed LaCroix at the beginning of season 1. The reason for his return is not so much badly handled and more totally fudged. “I’ve been delivered from death to a more permanent Hell,” does not cut it by a long shot. His relationship with Nick was interesting but he was hardly a big bad. In order to maintain status quo (that phrase again) he transformed almost into a negative Jiminy Cricket.

The underlying attraction between human pathologist, trying to cure the vampire, Nat (Catherine Disher) and Nick was also briefly addressed in the season but was transformed into nothing, though it was given the potential of an unrequited love story it was not really carried forward in any great measure. Again it was to maintain status Quo at the end of each episode.

That is the biggest fault with this series, the fact that there were no real on-running storylines. This season did get rid of the ridiculous orange light over the vampire eyes effect and killed off the moments, which I mentioned in the last review, that had Nick looking moody with voiceovers because the episode was under-running. The storylines were mainly standard cop show plots, though occasionally an occult issue was thrown in and occasionally the stories became very bizarre, such as the episode where there is allegedly an asteroid going to wipe out the world. Even that episode had its moments, however, by flashing back to how LaCroix was turned – however, on that, is LaCroix really his name? After all it doesn’t sound very Roman general.

There were some inconsistencies within the flashbacks on occasion, to the point that one might seem to contradict another in respect of Nick, LaCroix and Janette’s history together, but they normally served their purpose. Even so I couldn’t help but balk when the show suggested (in dialogue, not flashback) that Nick, who was brought over in 1228, was at the Battle of Hastings. Perhaps the battle is better known in the UK but every school kid could tell the writers it was in 1066. That aside, the looks to the past really helped build character and were, in the main, worthwhile.

The show did do odd things with vampire mythology. Again we are unsure as to whether blood transfer or just draining but not killing will create a vampire – perhaps there is a hint that it can be either. However we do see a young boy bitten and his wounds washed in holy water. Through this he picks up some vampiric traits and becomes a vampire hunter. This episode featured a psychotic vampire who the show says was Jack the Ripper – hardly original but it was a great episode and the Ripper reference was not dwelt upon.

We discover that vampires have their own old wives tales with the legend that a female vampire, on a certain night, can become pregnant by a special man (who has XYY chromosomes) and thus become human herself – that proves to be false. We also discover that curare poison intoxicates vampires. There is a suggestion that vampirism might be like a virus the effects RNA, but it is only mentioned in one episode when Nat thinks she finds a cure, leading Nick to be able to go out in the sun for a little while, eat and act odd. The cure, of course, fails.

One thing that always seems odd in the general vampire genre is the fact that the vampire is both victim and monster. By this I mean that the vampire seems to embody evil and yet had no choice but be turned. Indeed often the slaying of a vampire refers to freeing the soul. The series actually tackled this head on. We see Nick in a near-death landscape when he is brought over, the bright light (in a form of a door) and a guardian who gives him the choice. Embrace the evil gift or step into the light. The vampire chooses to become a vampire.

The episode went further with Nick being given an induced flatline state to enter that landscape again, in which he is shown his victims, trapped between life and death and represented by grave markers, and his own soul, corrupted by his evil. He then has the potential choice of stepping through into damnation or continuing to repent for his sins in the mortal world. I really liked this episode, the cop aspect was a bit woolly but the metaphysics was excellent – worth the admission price on its own.

The season, like the first, was flawed but interesting and deserves much the same score as season 1. 6 out of 10.

The series’ imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

You've pretty much said everything that I think about this series.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

cheers Derek

Anonymous said...

Bizzare as it seems, that next to last screenshot looks like a still from a Mormon movie on the life of christ!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I see what you mean, howeve on the astral realm (for want of a better description) they wear the clothes they were wearing in our realm - in this case a night smock. Unfortunate look, however!

Anonymous said...

You're the most idiotic reviewer ever! Dumb broad is all you got from this show? Don't quit your day job and "whilst" you're at it, learn how to spell LMAO! Now go back to watching Angel for that's all your pin sized brain can grasp! Too much depth & you clearly zoned out, dumb bitch!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Firstly, I'm male - you obviously haven't learnt to click the about me.

2 - I can spell... I assume you are American, this is real English

3. "Dumb broad is all you got from this show?" - doesn't even make sense.

Please go away - if you don't like the blog, don't read it.

Simon Dyda said...

I noticed one historical gaffe on the episode Forward Into The Past: Nick tells Aristotle that he still owes him one from the Battle of Hastings which, as we all know, took place in 1066 - roughly 140 years before Knight was born!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I picked up on that one too Simon ;)