Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Lair – season 2 – review (TV Series)


Directed by: Fred Olen Ray

First aired: 2008

Contains spoilers

I have called season 1 of the Lair a guilty pleasure. A supernatural soap opera about vampires, made for Gay TV channel Here! It was camp and melodramatic, very soap but there was something fun about it. It wasn’t the best programming in the world – perhaps it liked to linger upon hard bodies for too long for my taste (though members of the target audience might well disagree) – but it was certainly better than many other Fred Olen Ray efforts.

It is sad to report, therefore, that rather than strengthening itself, the series actually lost focus in season 2. As we look at the main story threads you’ll see why, and it has a lot to do with too many supernatural creatures being thrown into the pot over its extended (from 6) 9 episode run.

bittenBy the end of season 1, hero of the show Thom (David Moretti) had led a raid on the Lair (a vampire run gay sex club) to rescue his boyfriend Jonathon (in season 2 played by Ethan Reynolds) – not realising it was a trap as Jonathon was now a vampire. Indeed through the first season each episode was a flashback detailing how Thom ended up trapped in a prison in the Lair, during the raid, until the final episode when he escaped and had his final showdown with the vampires.

Damian is appearing and disappearing in spirit formIn the ensuing showdown, the Lair’s human servant Frankie (Brian Nolan) is shot as is Sheriff Trout (Colton Ford). Cutting to season 2, Trout has survived but is temporarily blind and Frankie was still alive when buried by evil vampire Colin (Dylan Vox), subsequently died and returns in season 2 as a vengeful spirit. Colin had walled vampire leader Damian (Peter Stickles) alive/undead.

most vampires die by stakeWhy so? Damian is the first vampire, created by a curse on a portrait of him painted by his lover whom he killed (a lover who he believes has been reincarnated as Thom). He cannot die whilst the paining is intact but the other vampires will die if he does (other than that, standard vampire rules apply with reference to burning in sunlight, being staked, repelled by crosses etc). For someone to be turned they must be drained, die and be willed back by a more powerful vampire. I should add that Thom’s friend Laura (Beverly Lynne) is in jail awaiting trial for murdering her abusive husband (whilst she was under vampiric command).

mummified DamianSo that is where the show starts and the vampire storyline continues on through season 2. Damian wants to escape his prison – albeit that he is now desiccated – and so is appearing in spirit form and trying to persuade Thom to free him. The urging, and a little help from Frankie who wants Colin to die, gets Thom – eventually – to raid the Lair again and dig old Damian out. Of course the fact that he is carrying a mummified mess under his arm doesn’t stop Thom pausing, during his escape with Damian's body, to voyeuristically watch some sex play – but we are in the world of the Lair!

cutting my chest, rather than my hand, makes sense...Of course Damian now needs reviving and Thom has to do that. For some reason – having placed Damian in his bath – this involves lighting scented candles before getting in himself and cutting his own chest, collecting the blood in a goblet and pouring it onto Damian’s rotten lips. A cut on wrist/hand and hold it over said goblet wasn't an option then! But, weirdness aside, the vampire storyline is bobbing along nicely, albeit not particularly overflowing with originality, and the addition of a ghost doesn’t distract from it.

look Ma, a werewolfThe problem is there isn’t enough story to cover the 9 twenty minute (if you discount credits and plot reminders) slots. Even the Laura situation (almost forgot for most of the episodes) is resolved in about 2 minutes. So Ray threw in two additional storylines that served only to scattergun the plot all over the show. The first concerns Ian (Matty Ferraro) a nervous young man who just so happens to be… a werewolf! Yes, for the entire run of the series there is a full moon.

Ian wakes up after a hairy nightIan happens into the blind Sheriff Trout’s home who offers the intruder a place to stay! Luckily, as he is blind (and then later his eyesight improves to the point where he can see blurs) he doesn’t notice the blood that Ian has to wash off in the mornings, following his wolfy rampages. Indeed Ian awakens naked with blood on his hands several times through the season and is being hunted himself by someone who knows what he is.

triffid like orchids, oh myThe other story involves botanist Jake (Matthew King) – who I thought was dubbed – and his assistant Tim (Johnny Hazzard). Jake gets a rare orchid, attached to a cursed rock (which itself had a connection to Damian that wasn’t explored). The orchid responds to moonlight – though this does not relate it to the werewolf story, despite them converging towards the end. The orchid is rather triffid like though – spraying a killer fungus that was more like acid and also seems to be sentient, taking over Jake’s mind/will.

Werewolves and Triffids, they really did dilute the mix and they weren’t strong stories either. That’s not to say the vampire story was particularly strong or original but it was more so than these. They distracted from the vampire story and, subsequently, the show lost focus. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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