Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vampire Series: The Worst

After compiling a list of my top 10 vampire series, I thought it would be amiss if I didn't also come up with a list of the worst. I'm usually happy when I see a new vampire series go to air, because if it's successful, then there's a good chance that even more opportunities will arise for undead storytelling. That said, when a series comes along that is absolutely horrible, it doesn't help the cause. Thankfully, I could only come up with three such examples.

Mina Harker
3.Demons (2009)
Teenager Luke Rutherford discovers he's the last descendant of a long line of demon slayers. He reluctantly teams up with his godfather from America, Rupert Galvin, and Mina Harker, a mysterious blind woman who's hiding a dark secret. Luke tries to maintain the normal life of a teenager, despite having to protect London from evil "half lives." Originally announced as The Last Van Helsing, this tepid series borrows shamelessly from Buffy the Vampire Slayer--minus the good storytelling, witty dialogue, and talented actors. Mixing in a bit of mythology from Bram Stoker's Dracula, this series was an utter failure, and paled in comparison to everything that it copied. If you're looking for a Buffy/Dracula hybrid, just watch the excellent "Buffy vs. Dracula" episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season five). There's a promo for Demons on Youtube, but it doesn't really help sell the series.

2.Van-Pires (1997)
As a meteor hurtles towards them, four teenagers seek shelter in derelict vehicles at a junk yard. The radiation from the impact infuses them with the ability to transform into human/automobile hybrids--but this also creates an evil horde of sentient vehicles: the "Van-Pires." Led by Tracula, their primary goal is to suck the gas from unsuspecting cars, ultimately hoping to drain the planet of all its fuel. The teen heroes, nicknamed the "Moto-Vators," vow to protect the night from these voracious, vampiric vehicles, with the help of their mentor, Van He'llsing. This short-lived series was live action combined with computer-animated segments, which look surprisingly good considering the technology at the time. But everything else about this show was absolutely abysmal, from the overacting teens to the groan-worthy dialogue. For your viewing displeasure, here's a clip from the first episode.

Grandpa Munster c. 1988
1.The Munsters Today (1988-91)
One of Grandpa's experiments goes horribly wrong, and the Munster clan ends up in suspended animation. Twenty-two years later, the family is inadvertently woken up by a developer, who had believed their house was abandoned, and planned to tear it down. The Munsters continue on with their lives, but have a hard time adjusting to the image-conscious, technology-driven self-help society of 1988. This modern take on the iconic family of friendly monsters most likely offended fans of the original series, especially by the second season, when it barely resembled the premise of its predecessor. To be frank, this show was a vapid, generic, and horribly-written sitcom--yet it managed to stay on air for three years! Apparently, this revamp was created because the 1981 TV movie, The Munsters' Revenge, failed to generate enough positive response to warrant a series--despite featuring three of the original cast members (Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, and Al Lewis). In my opinion, producers finally did the original series justice with the 1995 telefilm Here Come the Munsters, but unfortunately this attempt never led to a series. Once again, for your viewing displeasure, here's a link to the opening credits from The Munsters Today--complete with lyrics! Yes...lyrics!


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