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Review the Blade TV Pilot (Post critic reviews too!)

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Nov 17, 2005
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TV Review: TV version of 'Blade' will please fans!

Sunday, June 25, 2006
By Philip A. Stephenson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



'Blade: The Series'
When: 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Starring: Kirk "Sticky" Jones.


The leap from big screen movie franchise to small screen hopeful is a successful one for Spike TV's "Blade: The Series" (10 p.m. Wednesday), although it is perhaps more of a "hop" given how small the changes are from the films' spirit.
The movies all featured Wesley Snipes as Blade, the part-vampire, part-man of Marvel Comics fame who dedicates his life (and his super-vampire powers) to the preservation of humankind and the eradication of vampires -- although he is cursed by their thirst for human blood.
But because the "Blade" trilogy -- "Blade," "Blade II" and "Blade Trinity" -- was so much about special effects, franchise fans might reasonably be concerned about the transition to television, where budgets are much tighter all around.
Thankfully, many of the effects are just as well-done in the series, whether it's the "ashing" or flaming disintegration that marks the death of each vampire slain, the razzle-dazzle weapons of artificial sunlight Blade deploys, or the superhuman leaps from 20th floor to street level, which the vampires routinely perform. Although most viewers will notice a scale-down in the scope of effects and stunts, the style, the look and the impact are much the same as in the films.
The pilot picks up after the conclusion of "Trinity," and the plot nicely expands on the movies, rather than repeating them. The vampires continue to plot man's overthrow, gradually, aggressively, through death, enslavement -- any means possible, really. Blade continues to move from city to city and country to country, building an occasional alliance (and speaking the very occasional line).
But with the replacement of Wesley Snipes with Kirk "Sticky" Jones as Blade, the vamps have picked up a few new tricks. Blade's best change is his bike, now a Harley instead of an import, and it's nice eye candy to tide fanboys over until Jones' sword work catches up to Snipes' (if such a thing is possible). Blade's night-black muscle car is back and all the more suited to the Motor City, where the series is set but not shot. It's filmed in Vancouver.
The vampire's new tactics include their traditional involvement in business, real estate and, of course, blood banks with the addition of the narcotics trade, selling ash from dead vampires to vampire wannabes (snorting the stuff gets junkies high and gives temporary vampire powers).
Whereas the second sequel saw director David S. Goyer, who wrote each of the movies (and is a producer on "Blade: The Series"), go a bit overboard on bells, whistles, gore and explosions, his delegation of both writing and directing (to Geoff Johns and Peter O'Fallon, respectively) pays off here.
The setting of Detroit marks a return to the darker rather than flashier aspects of "Blade," more like the original movie than either sequel. (Watch out for "Ultimate Fighting" star Chuck Liddell in an appearance as a tattoo artist in the pilot.)
Most importantly, the new characters filling deceased mentor Abraham Whistler's shoes as Blade's allies are capably, in the form of war hero Krista Star (Jill Wagner), and amusingly, in the case of tech-specialist Shen (Nelson Lee), balanced.
Star's ne'er do well little brother is the catalyst for the pilot, and after she returns from a tour in Iraq, where she served as a sergeant (and, it seems, developed the habit of carrying her sidearm everywhere), her investigation of his underworld connections sets her on a collision course with Blade and Shen. Lee's Shen is a sort of hybrid character. He's part wisecracking Hannibal from the third film and part-weapons fabricator. It is Lee's and Wagner's portrayals which smooth out Jones, whose stoicism and silent anger is understandably not quite as evolved as Snipes'.
Type A Personality
The punk-vampire splatterfest Blade comes to the small screen, retaining everything but its wayward star.

Illustration by Wes Duvall (Photo: Ivory Serra/Courtesy of Spike TV)

Some of us had higher hopes for Wesley Snipes than the Action Jackson he’s turned into. Some of us actually remember his appearing in a terrific episode of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd back in 1989. You just can’t get from Molly Dodd to Blade without passing through some alien distortion, some parallel vulgarity, from which your soul emerges bent entirely out of shape—which warping I call Michael Crichton.

Sure enough, after Rising Sun (1993), Snipes chose never again to be taken seriously, unless you count To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). But if you do, you need help. None of which means I want to see anybody else play Blade—half-human, half-vampire, and all Marvel Comics, at permanent war with the sort of megalomaniacal bloodsuckers usually found at discothèques—even if, by the third time around in Blade: Trinity (2004), the franchise was trying to get by on adrenaline after it ran out of breathing room.

In lieu of Snipes, Kirk “Sticky” Jones plays Blade in Spike’s very first action-adventure series, wearing the same slick leather, fierce scowl, piercings and tattoos, with the same sword on his back and hiss on his lips (a sort of wolverine sucking in reverse), not to mention the same screenwriters and creation myth. He will be assisted in his campaign against the vampire House of Chthon by Jill Wagner as Krista Starr, a pistol-packing former Army sergeant turned woman warrior and avenging angel, whose twin brother was wasted by the raptors. Krista, though smart enough to track down a designer tattoo by Googling for glyphs, nevertheless falls into the clutches of superbaddy Marcus Van Sciver (Neil Jackson) and his fanged squeeze Chase (Jessica Gower). Only Blade can save Krista from The Thirst.

I don’t know why the pilot begins in Moscow before settling on Detroit and see no reason to detain you with details on the death-metal music, the cartridges of killer garlic, the mysterious beasts to whom a crooked cop feeds prostitutes at night in a horror-show warehouse, nor the medical experiments that go so messily awry. But what counts in any vampire production, besides oral sex and the allegory about steroids, is the smorgasbord of fetishisms. And here Blade scores early and often: The samurai–leatherboy–gangbanger– Nazi–Batman–urban guerrilla–cyberpunk is a Christmas tree of kinkys.

Spike TV. Wednesdays, 10 P.M. Premieres June 28.
Good so far!
The reviews are a good sign. I'll eat crow if the series ends up being good, but for now, I'll stay pessimistic.
Got Garlic?
Some kick, but no bite, in vampire drama

Normally I'm a sucker for a good bloodsucker, but I've seen paper cuts go deeper than Blade (Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET on Spike TV), the toothless new TV version of the comic-book-turned-film franchise about a hip-hop, Harley-riding, half-breed vampire who's bad news for his more evil brethren.
Where Buffy the Vampire Slayer took a mediocre film and elevated it to TV art, Blade doesn't even try to improve on the loud, flashily hollow movies. It's just more of the same martial artlessness. I kept expecting to see Batman-style OOF! BAM! graphics on screen.
"Sun's down. Time to make some friends," mutters Blade (Over There's Kirk "Sticky" Jones) in one of his many monotonal, guttural quips that pass for dialogue, as he trudges about his business. Tricked out in a leather duster equipped with an arsenal that includes, naturally, a big bad blade, he leaps, shoots and kicks through some clumsy fight sequences as he reduces his demonic foes to ash (which, in an interesting twist, is sold on the street as a new designer drug).
Vampirism as addiction — there's an entire human subculture of wannabes and groupies — could be a compelling pretext for a dark allegory. But Blade too quickly settles in as a standard revenge thriller. It pits Blade against the suave head of the sinister House of Chthon (whatever that is, besides ripping off H.P. Lovecraft), with the help of tough-gal sidekick Krista Starr (Jill Wagner), a former Army sergeant who gets more than she bargained for as she dabbles in the underworld.
Fangs, but no thanks.

Looks like my my expectations will become a reality. :D I just hope it doesn't get cancelled after 3 episodes. I can't take another cancellation. :(
I really want this series to work. Now that the Sheild and 24 are on their season hiatus, i need a kinck ass series to get me through the summer....hope this will be it.
ThatOneGuy said:
Got Garlic?
Some kick, but no bite, in vampire drama

Normally I'm a sucker for a good bloodsucker, but I've seen paper cuts go deeper than Blade (Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET on Spike TV), the toothless new TV version of the comic-book-turned-film franchise about a hip-hop, Harley-riding, half-breed vampire who's bad news for his more evil brethren.
Where Buffy the Vampire Slayer took a mediocre film and elevated it to TV art, Blade doesn't even try to improve on the loud, flashily hollow movies.
Fangs, but no thanks.


That review was depressing. But on a good note, Battlestar Gactica (new series) got a horrible review from IGN back when it debuted, yet BG is now critically acclaimed and my second favorite show on TV right now (behind 24).

I'm hoping Blade finds it's way to #3 on my list.
Blade: The Series -- An early look
Posted Jun 26th 2006 10:36AM by Keith McDuffee
Filed under: Drama, Cable, OpEd, Horror, Spike

While I'm not a huge comic book reader, I've been a big fan of the Blade character since the first movie with Wesley Snipes. The detail behind the vampire's history and lore almost puts to shame even what Anne Rice has written (yeah, I know I'll be attacked viciously in my sleep for that comment). Blade brought vampires to the 20th/21st century way of thinking.

When I heard a Blade series was in the works, I was both skeptical and excited. Excited because there would be a real chance to tell more of the story of Blade, but skeptical because, well, Spike TV was going to air it. Luckily, and thankfully, they've pleasantly surprised me.
Some of you may recognize the character of Krista Starr being played by Jill Wagner, the incredible hotness featured in many Mercury commercials, who has also taken part as a "field agent" on Punk'd. Blade is played by Sticky Fingas (I know!), who's been seen in The Shield and Over There. Sticky (do people really call him Sticky? "Hey, Sticky!" Does that work?) sometimes feels like he might be over-acting the part, but I agree with what Ryan said to me -- who else would you use to fill Snipes's shoes?

The pilot episode starts out rather weak, and until about an hour in (of the two-hour premiere), I was getting pretty disappointed. I'm a bit afraid that people coming to check this show out may give up before an hour into it, as this series airs at 10PM ET. That means you need to stick it out through 11PM or else risk calling it a failure and heading to bed. Trust me, it starts out bland, but the second half makes up for it. At least I was thrown for a loop, one I just did not see coming at all (NOTE: I noticed there's a very slight spoiler on Spike's page for the series, one that gives this loop away, but you'll have to hunt for it to find it and it's very subtle).

The episode caps off very nicely, and it definitely has me wanting to stick with the show. The copy I saw was unpolished, missing some visual and sound effects here and there. With that in mind, I'm pleasantly surprised that Spike was able to land this series and see that it was done right. I'm hoping they can continue surprising me every week.

Oh, and speaking of surprises, Randy Quaid makes a cameo in this episode, strange since he's not trying to provide comic relief this time. Whether or not his appearance makes a positive impression on everyone remains to be seen.

Blade: The Series premieres this Wednesday at 10PM ET on Spike.

I can't wait for Wednesday after reading some of these reviews. I've been a big fan of sticky's acting after watching "Over There". (BTW that was a good show) I hope the board gets some activity after the debut.
Well dang, it looks like I wont be able to see it. I was gonna auto-record it, but the VCR just broke, I mean it JUST broke on Saturday.

It's possible someone might be trying to tell me something...
PurpleEyez said:
Well dang, it looks like I wont be able to see it. I was gonna auto-record it, but the VCR just broke, I mean it JUST broke on Saturday.

It's possible someone might be trying to tell me something...

They will replay it alot, you'll be able to catch it at a later time. I think someone might be telling you to buy a DVD player.....:p
A dull 'Blade'

Sticky the Vampire Slayer. Doesn't exactly crackle, does it?
But it suits the television adaptation of "Blade: The Series," Spike TV's first scripted series, which premieres at 10 p.m. tomorrow.
"Blade" is a spinoff of Wesley Snipes' three movie franchise, which went from OK to "Whoa, that's bad!" to an unintentional comedy.
So inspired, the television series is about as good as you would expect it to be. Which is to say, it's agonizing. Randy Quaid is in it. Need I say more?
The main star is Kirk "Sticky" Jones, who plays Marvel Comics' half-human, half-vampire hero. Blade has all the undead's strengths but can strut around in daylight, wearing a remarkably badass leather trench coat.
Alas, Blade is not invulnerable to creative impalement. Jones isn't exactly up to the challenge of martial-arts choreography or, for that matter, acting.
You'd be better served by the comic books.

'Blade' may suck you in

By Victor Balta
Herald TV columnist

Superman isn't the only comic book hero making a big return this week.
"Blade," the half-man, half-vampire, all-butt-kicker popularized by Wesley Snipes in the big-screen trilogy, comes to television as Spike TV's first attempt at original programming.
"Blade: The Series" premieres with a two-hour special at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Spike TV.
"I think fans are understandably a little nervous about 'Blade' being transported into television," executive producer David Goyer said in press materials.
The good news is that if you haven't seen the movies, don't fret. You can jump aboard the vampire bandwagon without having seen the three films, although the series picks up after the trilogy.
Blade, whose mother was bitten by a vampire just before he was born, is still trying to save the world from the demons who stalk the night. This time, he's allying with Krista Starr, a human who gets sucked into the vampire world while investigating the death of her brother.
Blade and Starr together will try to bring down the House of Chthon and its leader Marcus Van Sciver.
If all this sounds like a bunch of comic-book gobbledygook, here's the translation: Blade and Starr are the good guys; Marcus and Co. are the bad guys. Count on lots of punching, shooting, blood and guts.
If you're into this sort of thing, it's an admirable effort.
Rapper-turned-actor Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones takes over the lead from Snipes, taking a better-than-expected handoff. The man speaks few words, so style is more important than substance, and Jones shows a good enough foundation to grow into the character over the course of a 13-episode season.
His sidekicks are the key to, pardon the pun, humanizing the story.
"In an episodic world, we can't pull off the extreme fights that we did in the movie every week," Goyer said. "But we can delve much deeper into the characters, delve more into the vampire world."
Jill Wagner plays Starr and makes the most of a chance to shine in a co-lead role. Her character is a weapons specialist who knows her way around guns but is just desperate enough to be believable in search for clues about her dead brother.
Nelson Lee plays Shen, Blade's wise-cracking assistant who helps create some good, old-fashioned, funny TV sidekick moments.
Shen's job is to create weapons that Blade can use to take out vampires. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
Neil Jackson, who plays lead vampire Van Sciver, plays the part with the look, style and tone that makes you believe he's a vampire even when he isn't baring his fangs. The solid cast and on-the-mark writing by Goyer, who worked on the "Blade" films and others, including "Batman Begins," make for a show that will be able to overcome the limitations of television vs. the big screen.

Spike's ``Blade: The Series'' (10 p.m. Wednesday) tries to emulate the success of a Marvel comic and the three films based on it, but comes up more than a bit short. ABC Family's ``Kyle XY'' (8 tonight) initially seems derivative of both ``Starman,'' director John Carpenter's lovely 1984 film, and TV's ``John Doe,'' a 2002 series that lasted less than a season on Fox. Yet, toward the end, it finds something of its own rhythm and holds out the possibility it could be a keeper.
In the world of comics, Blade occupies a place even darker than the one inhabited by Batman. Half-man, half-vampire, Blade wages a bloody and never-ending battle against the creatures of the night. As played by Wesley Snipes on film, he was all edge and cool with a hard-boiled bit of wit for every occasion.
The idea of transferring the character to television certainly has its merits. The show was co-created by David Goyer, a writer with serious fantasy cred including the ``Blade'' films, ``Batman Begins'' and ``Threshold.'' But somewhere along the line, something got lost, and while parts of Wednesday's two-hour opener work well, it is also seriously flawed.
The biggest problem is that hip-hop-artist-turned-actor Kirk ``Sticky'' Jones -- who was very good in last summer's ``Over There'' series on FX -- is relentlessly grim as Blade. It appears someone told him to play the character in a dead monotone, which drains Blade of his human side. Of course, it would help if Jones were given some lines to work with, but the writing is horribly flat and uninvolving.
Next issue: The series is supposedly set in Detroit, with Vancouver standing in for the Midwestern industrial city. But the Detroit of ``Blade'' looks nothing like the real-life one (which may actually be scarier) and, even more noticeably, a city with a large African-American population seems to be inhabited almost entirely by white folks.
Where ``Blade'' does have some bite (I promise, no more vampire puns) is on the fringes of the story, where it gets some decent performances from Jill Wagner as an Army sergeant who becomes Blade's sidekick, Nelson Lee as his tech expert and Neil Jackson as Marcus Van Sciver, the suave head honcho of the bloodsuckers. But it's not enough for me to make a second visit to this underworld.

Randy Quaid?..........NNNNOOOO!!!!
Blade_fan1911 said:
They will replay it alot, you'll be able to catch it at a later time. I think someone might be telling you to buy a DVD player.....:p

already got one, thanks... though I really cant wait to see Vancouver's version of Detroit... <img>
Even with all the millions of ads, I almost forgot all about this! :(

I'll probably set my old dusty VCR to record it if I don't get a chance to watch it tonight. Jill Wagner is hotness. :)

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