A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Midnight, Texas is a drama about a small town with a lot of supernatural residents and strange goings-on. Violence is within scary-network-show norms, but may be particularly intense for young/sensitive viewers. Main character Manfred sees and communicates with dead people -- he sees them with the injuries they had at the moment of death; they may be ghostly white or gray with dark, unnatural eyes. Sometimes dead bodies do things like suddenly turning their heads and opening their eyes. Manfred also hears ghostly memories: gunshots, people threatening each other. Another character is a vampire and sucks blood from humans and kills them; still another is a werewolf, and another a witch -- expect supernatural deaths and attacks. Oh, and still another character is a hired killer. Expect sexy stuff, too, including flirting, dating, kissing, jokes about and references to sex. Cursing is mild: the occasional "hell" or "damn," and a couple of women call another woman a "bitch."
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What's the story?
Ghosts aren't real, vampires don't exist, and psychics don't really have powers. That's what everybody who lives near -- but not in -- MIDNIGHT, TEXAS keeps telling themselves. But as evidence mounts that there's something very strange going on in this backwater town, it's getting harder to believe. New "Midnighter" Manfred (François Arnaud) is a man on the run, hiding from a powerful enemy who wants something from him, even while he can't hide from his own visions of living dead people. His new landlord, Bobo (Dylan Bruce), has a problem of his own -- his fiancé, Aubrey (Shannon Lorance), walked out on him recently and hasn't been seen since. Before he knows it, Manfred's embroiled in local politics. And since Midnight's most prominent citizens include vampire Lemuel Bridger (Peter Mensah), practicing Wiccan Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley), and human with a dark past Olivia (Arielle Kebbel), it's safe to say that Midnight's goings-on are a little more exciting than in your average small town.
Is it any good?
Zippy, silly, and fun, this drama operates in the unhinged True Blood mode -- which makes sense, since Charlaine Harris authored both of these book series turned TV shows. NBC is clearly hoping lightning will strike twice with Harris's creations, and for the most part, it has. Like True Blood, Midnight, Texas deftly weaves realistic conflicts -- fitting in, romance, finding suitable work -- into far-out fantasy plots. Just how did a vampire, a psychic, a witch, a werewolf, some kind of winged angel, and a bunch of other assorted creatures of the night find their way to this tiny Texas burg where the veil is thin between the living and the dead? Is the town drawing them to itself? For what purpose? What's the end game here?
While that big question hangs in the air, viewers will be pleasantly entertained by a multitude of side stories: romances and dark power-hungry plots and mysterious pasts -- that sort of thing -- all enlivened by spooky gardens, terrified local teenagers who dare each other to walk up Midnight's country roads after dark, Ouija boards, pentagrams, cats who talk, and ghosts who turn into pillars of smoke. The show seldom stops to explain how any of this could be, and you won't care anyway. Just sit back, take in the high horror-gothic drama, and enjoy this fresh guilty pleasure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why supernatural storylines are a staple of TV shows like Midnight, Texas. Why do networks like making these shows, and why do viewers like watching them? What are some of the most popular you know? What about them interests or reaches so many people?
Ensemble dramas, with multiple characters and storylines, offer a lot of dramatic possibilities for TV shows, which, after all, must spin out stories for weeks, months, even years. How can you tell which character on a show is a main character? How can you tell what character to pay attention to at any given time? How do TV shows communicate what's important in a storyline?
Midnight, Texas is a show with a lot of violence: deaths, characters appearing after death, mortal threats. What's the impact of media violence on kids? Is it OK to allow children to watch violent shows if they enjoy them?
For kids who love mystery TV
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