Series / Moonlight

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Moonlight_1262.jpg

A short-lived Vampire Detective Series that ran from 2007 to 2008 on CBS. Some saw it as a shameless ripoff of several other vampire shows. It started to develop its own mythology, but was cancelled before it could really find its footing. It's notable that while critics panned the acting and dialogue, almost everyone agreed that side character Josef Kostan was a real gem.

The show revolves around Mick St. John, an 85-year-old private investigator (though thanks to vampirism, he looks pretty good for his age). Despite being turned well over 50 years ago, Mick still has some angst about being a vampire, and refuses to kill for food. He has no qualms killing bad guys or other vampires, though. He also has some surprising hang-ups regarding a pretty young blonde...

Not to be confused with a different detective show with Bruce Willis or the Oscar-winning film about a black gay man.

This show provides examples of:

  • AO Negative: Beth.
  • Above the Influence: Mick is able to resist Beth's advances on him while she's high on vampire blood.
  • Alliterative Title: Beth toys with a couple for her story in the first episode.
  • Always Need What You Gave Up: Mick has to go through all kinds of hell to find the cure for vampirism, but ends up nearly getting killed by a vampire using his plastic surgery business to collect rare blood types, to sell at a premium. Since the phony surgeon captures Beth, Mick is forced to beg Josef to turn him back into a vampire.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The vampires descended from the French royal family. i.e. Coraline's family.
  • Back from the Dead: Coraline. No one was surprised by this.
  • Badass Longcoat: Mick possesses a very nice one.
  • Batman Gambit: Lee Jay kidnaps and threatens to murder Julia to get Mick to turn himself in.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Josef claims to have "mostly stayed in with" Jean Harlow.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: King Louis XIV of France was a vampire, along with his many descendants in the French aristocracy. Discovering this inspired the French Revolution and its method of execution, the guillotine, since vampires cannot be killed by hanging.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Evil definitely exists in the form of some brutal vampires and even humans. But our protagonists, even cute and innocent Beth, aren't afraid to kill...even humans.
  • Blessed with Suck: Coraline sees turning Mick as freeing him from death so they can be together forever. He's not as thrilled as she is.
  • Can't Stay Normal: Mick becomes human again and gives it up to save Beth.
  • The Charmer: Christian's wife describes him as charming. "Like a snake." They aren't on good terms, anymore.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Mick's tough on bad guys, but will go out of his way to save people, even if he hardly knows them or they expressly dislike him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Mick has no problem using his vampire powers to curb-stomp human opponents.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: A rare Aversion of the usual "car doors are bullet proof" trope. Josh is shot by someone aiming at the back of the trunk he's trapped in from the driver's seat.
  • Curse That Cures: Beth asks Mick to do this for her fatally wounded boyfriend. He refuses. He musta seen that ep of Forever Knight.
  • Daddy DNA Test: Mick finds out that he might have a son with a friend's wife he slept with while they had both thought his friend was dead. It seems likely at first, given that the baby was born seven months after his friend got back. Mick gets a sample of the guy's hair and some DNA of his own from his human days for a test. It shows that Mick isn't his father, and the son was just premature.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Mick calls Buzzwire "entertaining", and the complements stop there.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Vampires don't particularly like being out in the sun and they're very sensitive to it, but it doesn't make them burn up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Josef gets in quite a few zingers.
  • Decapitation Required: One of the only two ways to actually kill a vampire: all other wounds will heal themselves eventually.
  • Distressed Damsel: Beth is kidnapped twice in the first episode. Once in Flashback.
    • The next target is Julia in the second episode.
  • Double Standard: This exchange between Mick and Beth.
    "So how old are you?"
    "Not polite to ask people their age."
    "That's just women."
  • Dramatic Irony: In the first episode, someone explains "the truth" about vampires to Mick. The audience knows that Mick actually is one, but the humans in the story do not.
  • Dull Surprise: Also Delayed Reaction when Beth smashes a vase over Mick's head and he stares at her for a second and finally gives a very blank "ouch". Also-also Bad "Bad Acting", as Mick, being a vampire, wasn't hurt in the least.
  • Emergency Transformation: Mick refuses to do this for Beth's boyfriend, saying "It's not life." She calls him on this at the end of the episode, pointing out that, obviously, he seems to find it preferable to being dead. (Note that we'll never really know for sure whether he does or not, as he was never offered a choice.)
  • Establishing Character Moment: Josef is introduced arguing with a business partner in his big fancy house, with some beautiful girls hanging out in his pool in the background.
  • Eternal Love: Coraline makes Mick a vampire so they can be together forever.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Mick, shot with silver buckshot, writhing in pain, with his shooter leaning over him with a running flamethrower, snarling "The last thing the world needs is an eternal you".
  • Flashback: To Mick's past, all the time.
  • Fleur de Lis: A plot point in one episode as well as the title of said episode.
  • Friend on the Force: Beth is on a First-Name Basis with an officer called Carl, who frequently gives her little bits of info on new cases, partly because he wants to shut her up, and partly because, "It's me, Carl!"
    • Mick also has one, from way back before he was a vampire. They can even keep in touch, since his friend is blind and can't see that Mick hasn't aged.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We see a masked man pull a knife on Chloe. Next we an outside shot of the building and hear her scream.
  • Goth: Beth refers to the murder victim as surrounding herself with "goth-o-rama", and many of her funeral-going friends also match the stereotype. However, she calls them "Emo", and seems to be using the terms interchangeably.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Mick drives a car that appears to be a mid-60s Mercedes 250. In contrast, Josef a 400-year-old vampire, drives a modern sports car.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lola falls into a basin of the same silver liquid she used to paralyze the vampires she used for their blood. She is therefore unable to escape when Mick sets fire to the building.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Coraline experiments on rogue vampires to see if a cure can be made permanent, referring to it as "killing two bats with one stone."
  • Hot for Teacher: Christian catches his students' interest with the vampire angle and then works to physically seduce them.
  • Hot Scoop: Beth, of course, and most of her reporter buddies.
  • Hunter Of Their Own Kind: A villainous version in "B.C." Lola harvests and sells vampire blood to unsuspecting humans as the hot new party drug, trapping fellow vampires in pools of silver-infused liquid so they are completely immobilized as she drains them dry.
  • Identical Grandson: Mick passes off an old picture of himself as his father.
  • I Hate You Vampire Wife: Mick hates Coraline for turning him. Partly because She apparently did it without giving him any real choice in the matter and as such he never had a chance to say yes or no to the idea. We have no idea if he might have accepted the change if she'd been upfront about it with him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Mick has this attitude towards his vampirism. Though it seems to stem from the fact that he was never given an actual choice about becoming a vampire to begin with, and this has left him bitter about what he now is, despite being more than willing to use the powers he has to get the jobs he takes done.
  • In a Single Bound: Part of the vampire-powers package.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "Being a vampire sucks: It's a bad joke, I know, but it's the truth."
  • In Medias Res: Multiple episodes
  • Immortal Immaturity: A teenage vampire was featured in one episode.
  • I Work Alone: Mick tells this to Beth. She dismisses him immediately.
  • Killed Off for Real: Josh.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of the only ways to properly kill a vampire.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Josef's girls enjoy being snacked on.
  • The Lost Lenore: Josef's long-lost love Sarah, who is in a coma from a failed vampiric transformation.
  • Masquerade: Vampires work to keep their existence secret from the rest of the world, although exceptions are made for some humans. Heck, Josef pretty much has a harem of sexy girls he drinks from, who seem quite fond of the arrangement themselves.
  • Mayfly-December Friendship: Played With by Mick and his dog. Every time his dog dies, he gets a new dog of the same breed and gives them the same name and a number. He's up to the 30s by the time of the series.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Mick and Beth.
  • Moral Dissonance: Mick murders people throughout the course of the show.
    • Beth also let vampires kill a paparazzo because he threatened Mick.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Life as a human. The first thing Mick does as a newly-turned human is eat a lot of takeout, then sleep in a bed, then wake up to orange juice and coffee.
  • Murder by Cremation: In the episode "Doctor Feelgood", a newly-turned vampire goes rabid and kills a lot of random people (including his wife). Being a doctor, he goes back to his hospital, where Mick tracks him down and stakes him (which only paralyses vampires). He then feeds him to the cremation oven at the morgue downstairs.
  • My Grandson Myself: Mick tells Beth that the Mick St. John who investigated a murder decades ago was his father.
  • Neck Snap: Mick knows how it's done.
  • Never Found the Body: Coraline. Ironically, one of the main ways to kill a vampire in this series is by fire, which reduces them to dust. Mick last saw her in a building which was turned in a small inferno. As such, he felt pretty justified in thinking she was dead since she'd been staked right before then.
  • Never Suicide: Not in the first episode, at least.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A doctor jumps out of his car to give aid to a hit-and-run victim, who is actually a vampire and promptly (albeit accidentally) turns him.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Mick doesn't even glance at Beth's chest when she's unconscious with her shirt unbuttoned, and the next time we see her, he's covered her up.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Discussed in the fifth episode, with a teenage vampire whose voice will never drop and whose acne will never get better. He murders sex workers out of frustration from being a 200-year-old virgin].
  • Not So Different: Lee Jay pulls this on Mick.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After discovering Morgan is Coraline, Beth rushes to Mick's apartment to tell him. There she finds Coraline walking down the stairs in Mick's shirt. Mick protests that nothing happened, although it's undermined in that they were about to have sex in the shower before Beth interrupted them with her arrival.
  • Odd Friendship: Josef is a man who revels in all the pleasures of being a vampire while Mick hates them above everything else. They're best buds with plenty of Ho Yay.
  • Older Than They Look: Most of the vampires appear to be in their 20s and 30s. Their actual ages are occasionally measured in centuries.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Moonlight's vampires are similar to original vampire lore with their own unique twist.
    • Decapitation Required and Kill It with Fire: The only ways to kill a vampire for good are by fire or beheading. All other common methods either only hurt but do not kill (sunlight, silver, staking) or don't bother them at all (crosses, garlic, holy water). And even fire doesn't work, if the vampire is of a certain bloodline.
    • Game Face: When vampires are about to kill, their eyes turn pale blue or white with tiny pupils and their fangs pop out.
    • In a Single Bound: Vampires can't fly, but they can jump fifty feet in the air with ease.
    • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Silver burns vampires, which is actually a neat way of reconciling the whole silver bullet thing with the vampires' lack of reflections in mirrors (which are, or at least used to be, backed with silver) and that you can't take a photograph of them (silver salts in film emulsion). However, modern-day mirrors (which use aluminum) and digital photography are both fine.
    • Super Senses: Vampires have supernaturally good senses of hearing and smell. They can even smell actions (e.g. "someone stepped back in fear"), though how exactly is not explained.
    • Weakened by the Light: Sunlight hurts vampires, but it does not kill them instantly, and the effects can be mitigated by limiting exposure, wearing protective clothing (like long sleeves and sunglasses), and cooling in an ice bath or freezer.
    • Wooden Stake: They only paralyze; they do not kill. Ironically , the sunlight and the paralyzing stake are actually more "true" to the vampires of the original Dracula story than any other of the modern vampires.
    • They can become human again with a specific drug, though the effects don't last, and the compound itself is extremely rare, made from an extinct plant.
  • Parental Abandonment: Well, sire-al abandonment. It leads to some extremely dangerous vampires.
  • Pirate Girl: In "B.C.", Josef mentions that he first met his on-and-off girlfriend Lola in the 17th century when she was trying to put together a pirate army. Apparently, one could do that in those days. Being a vampire helps too.
  • Private Eye Monologue: As Mick is a private investigator. In one episode, Beth takes over as the narrator, as she's the one investigating while Mick is... occupied.
  • Protectorate: Mick took it upon himself to protect Beth when she was young.
    • He also tried to protect a woman named Ilene from her abusive spouse. That one didn't go so well.
  • Reality Ensues: When Josh is shot, Mick and Beth attempt to resuscitate him with CPR as a last resort. Clean Pretty Reliable is averted, and he dies anyway - as most people do when administered CPR in real life.
  • Really 700 Years Old: All vampires are Older Than They Look, but Josef is specified to be "four hundred going on thirty."
  • Recycled In Space: Forever Knight... in the United States.
  • Red Right Hand: Lance has an eye that's entirely black. Other than looking really creepy when he has his Game Face on, it telegraphs that he's a bad guy.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Josh, who's killed off in the eleventh episode.
  • Serial Killer: One kills two college students and tries to kill Beth in a Mission-Based example.
    • There's another in the second episode. He's either a Visionary-type (it's stated he can't help himself) or a Power/Control-motivated killer (he's an abusive spouse that threatened to kill his wife if she left him), and likely a combination of the two.
    • And in the third episode, there's a vampiric one who's driven to kill by his intense hunger.
    • And in the 'fifth'' episode, a vampiric serial killer who targets escorts and prostitutes is mistaken for a human one. Humorously, the FBI profiles him as a man in his late thirties to early fifties, when in reality he's a two-hundred-something-year-old vampire eternally in the body of a sixteen-year-old, making them doubly wrong.
  • Serious Business: Beth is very quick to defend Buzzwire when Mick dismisses it as "entertaining".
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: After having his girlfriend threatened and stalked by a gang, being kidnapped, and finally rescued, Josh is shot through a car door and dies despite medical attention.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Film and mirrors made with it can't picture vampires. Anything made with silver burns a vampire; a lot will paralyze one.
  • Shout-Out: Leeeeeerooooooy Jeeeeeenkiiiiiins!
    • One cult leader/serial killer is described as having the grunge appeal of Kurt Cobain and the media savvy of Donald Trump.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Mick tries to keep Beth away from actually fighting, which she finds somewhat irritating.
    "Why does the girl always have to stay in the car?"
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Mick disappears on Beth within the first five minutes of the show. It also doubles as an Offscreen Teleportation.
  • Super Speed: Responsible for the aforementioned Stealth Hi/Bye. Vampires are fast little guys.
  • Suspiciously Specific Sermon: The pastor at Josh's funeral gives one about the nature of mortality, and it is only with the looming possibility of death that we can truly enjoy and make the most of life. Interesting that a vampire who just became human is in attendance.
  • To Become Human: Mick and Coraline take the steps towards this.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: Beth is stabbed with some sort of syringe to put her under. Instant Sedation is actually averted, though. She gets groggy almost immediately and looks like she's out, but she's still just-barely-conscious for the next several minutes.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Or at least torches, according to Josef.
  • Tragic Monster: Coraline turns out to be one as she comes from a horrifically abusive family and her actions are all motivated by a desire to be loved.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: It's not a pleasant experience in this universe.
  • Vampire Detective Series: Obviously.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Mick casually refers to Josef losing a million dollars betting on a sports game.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: At least Josef is...
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Mick drinks blood taken from corpses or blood banks. It apparently doesn't taste as good as fresh blood. Averted in "Love Lasts Forever," where Mick feeds from the leader of a local gang as revenge.
  • Vein-O-Vision: Shown a couple of times when a vampire is hungry and so is more aware of all the fresh blood juuust out of reach.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Josef and Mick rag on each other quite a bit.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Mick tries this, and Josef doesn't think he can keep it up.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Josef and Mick's two vampire pals, Tim and Dan, who are introduced and killed in the same opening scene.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Josh accuses Mick of this.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted, as humans are killed too.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Josef snaps at Mick for not killing Lee Jay when he had the chance, because Josef thinks he only let the guy go so Beth wouldn't think badly of him.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Not Mick! A lot of other vampires have no problem at all with their eternal lives however.
  • Woman in White: Coraline in Mick's flashbacks in the first episode.
  • Working with the Ex: The episode "Fleur de Lis" features Mick working with Morgan, a human woman who is in every way exactly like his ex-wife Coraline. Because she is Coraline.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Lee Jay smashes his own head into a mirror and blames Mick. Then later, he shoots himself.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Julia in the second episode.
  • Your Vampires Suck: One of the first things mentioned in the first episode is that many of the stereotypical ways of killing vampires don't work. Crosses don't kill them and, in Mick's own words, if you were to spray Holy Water on him, the only thing that would happen is that he'd get wet.
    • Christian also sneers at "dime store" representations of vampires and lectures Mick on what a ''real vampire" is.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Moonlight?from=Main.Moonlight