BLOOD TIES ?rating 2 out of 5

Welcome to the world of vampires roaming the nights (and days, too, actually) ?Blood Ties. The show, which seems to be a cross between Forever Knight (an old Canadian vampire show, for those of you who might be unaware) and a detective type for some reason bringing me back to Dempsey and Makepeace, stars Christina Cox as Vicki Nelson, the main investigator and character, with Kyle Schmid as the chief vampire Henry Fitzroy (what a vampirish name there, huh?) and Dylan Neal as Mike Celluci, Vicki? old flame.

Given that vampires and all their incarnations have been done ?o death? forgive me the pun, on both a big screen and on TV, I was truly hoping for something inventive and imaginative, and unlike Forever Knight ?even though I knew beforehand it would be a cross between fantasy and detective genre.

Sadly, I wasn? impressed.

For starters, the storyline. We have the main vampire who seems to enjoy the 80s type of hairstyle, one that would fit the MacGyver or The A-Team era more than the beginning of the 21st century, and we have the main female character inevitably fall in love with him and are almost instantly presented with her old flame, Mike Celluci, develop jealousy there. On top of this we are met with Mike? and Vicky? ongoing arguments about whether or not she should be believed when claiming there are vampires going around. That, on the other hand, feels very X-Filesish (Mulder/Vicki ?yes; Scully/Mike ?no). There is an obligatory strong female bonding and sisters-in-arms kind of thing as Vicky gets in the show? pilot a girl to help her out with her future investigations.

The problem with these is that this mix of different ideas from different shows is all too obvious. It feels like throwing loads of spices into a soup and just hoping it? going to turn out alright. It doesn? work here.

This was clearly an attempt to create a lower budget television entertainment. You will not find amazing special effects or great number of explosions here; this is more about investigating murders, disappearances and crimes baffling the regular police forces in the traditional style. I do believe, however, that the editing here lacks imagination. A great number of scenes are separated (each episode) with short series of shots of the big city. While I do realize this is commonly done because of commercial breaks on TV (in this case Canada? CityTV), this looks very uninviting on DVDs, and it doesn? fit the style of the show itself and takes away from any tension, action or suspense that might have been intended by the show? creators. Not to mention the fact that such sequence of city snapshots seems to fit shows like Boston Legal far more than a fantasy/detective/adventure stories like Blood Ties.

In defence of the show, though, I have to praise Christina Cox for her believable and convincing acting. She is able to portray both a strong policewoman and a woman falling in love with a vampire in a quite realistic way ?both strong, feisty and human. If you like watching strong female characters in sci-fi / fantasy setting, you should enjoy Cox? performance. It? good decent performance of an actress who knows how to keep her character real.

Of the initial episodes, it is Gifted (episode no.4) that struck me as one of the best ?as it feels more emotional. Guest starring Jay Brazeau, it is a story of a young girl with inexplicable anger-controlled powers that had driven her own father away and out of her own home.

All in all, if you are looking for a detective stories show with lots of vampires, lots of romance (as in triangles and such), lots of investigation and a regular detective-story pace to it, put Blood Ties into your DVD player. I remain generally unimpressed.

DISCS: The entire season one is on 5 discs ?22 episodes in total.


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