ABC jumps onto the vampire bandwagon with Sunday night’s premiere of ‘The Gates.’ After a public scandal, Nick Monohan (Frank Grillo,Prison Break)becomes the chief of police in a small, seemingly picturesque community, called The Gates. The town’s reputation is sterling. High-tech video surveillance and thick walls have ensured nothing unwanted can get in. Nick’s wife, Sarah (Marisol Nichols, 24), believes it to be the perfect place for her workaholic husband to relax and spend more time with her and their two children. Little do they know, it’s not what’s outside The Gates they should fear.
The episode opens by showing the audience the utopia within the gates of The Gates: Immaculate landscaping, people jogging through neatly trimmed parks, children selling lemonade with smiles on their faces. The homes are spectacular and the people are happy. It’s the ideal. Claire Redcliff (Rhona Mitra, Nip/Tuck) clips roses from her hedge while her daughter, Emily plays with a skateboard. Claire’s warnings to be careful do not good and Emily’s board rolls into the road. Of course the little girl chases after it and ends up in front of an on coming truck, the driver distracted by his evil evil cell phone. At the last-minute he swerves, hitting a post rather than the girl, and earning himself a nasty gash in his forehead. Claire is a vampire. It didn’t need any explanation and you knew it as soon as she was on screen. Something about Rhoda Mitra screams ‘I am an undead servant of the darkness.’ Sure she played vampire in on of the Underworld sequels, but there’s something else. I think it’s the shape of her mouth. She’s just supposed to have fangs…but I digress.
Emily heads off to school with her carpool and Claire helps the man who nearly killed her daughter into the house. After a little playful banter, Claire lures him into the kitchen for a get well kiss. To no surprise, she reveals her fangs and drains him in the kitchen sink. She hide’s the man’s truck, bottles his blood and cleans up the mess as her husband, Dylan, returns. But Dylan (Luke Mably, The Prince & Me) smells blood on her breath and is none too pleased. After pushing her to the wall with lightening speed, he warns claire that her indiscretions could ruin them and force them to leave The Gates. Of course, the new police chief finds the disappearance of the crash victim peculiar and starts an investigation, but his staff questions his intentions and ensures him the privacy of the community members is just as important as solving the crime.
There are other plots too. Witches vie for the top stop in the herbal market. Sarah sulks about her husband’s workaholic ways, Nick and Sarah’s son Charlie (Travis Caldwell) tries to adjust to his new school (but with werewolves!). The Gates is a Mecca for the supernatural who want their privacy. The Monohans seem to be on the verge of discovering their secrets.
The Gates isn’t a terrible show. It has some good ideas and the cast seems decent enough. My question is, Is it too late? With Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries, already popular with audiences, what kind of chance does The Gates have? ABC’s supernatural drama slides neatly between Vampire Diaries (Vampire/Witch) and True blood (Vampire/ Werewolf), on the vampire concept scale. It has the teen angle for the younger crowd but focusses on the adults just as much. I didn’t enjoy it as much as either of those shows, but first episodes can be deceiving. I’ll give it a second chance before casting it into the bowels of vampire pop-culture hell.
The only thing I truly hates about the show was the opening. It began with th equivalent of ‘Previously on The Gate’…but there was no previously. This was the first episode. Why show us clips of what was to come right before watching it? What tell us there were werewolves, and vampires, and witches? What not let us figure out the plot as we go along. Are we too stupid to catch all the blatant wolf references in the first half of the pilot? Did you really have to make sure we knew the Rhona Mitra was a vampire right before she killed someone as a vampire? Sure, trailers always tell us more than we need to know but they’re trying to get us to watch something. Is it necessary to summarize the show we’ve already tuned in to watch?
On That Note, here the trailer. The Gates air’s Sundays on ABC.