Roush Review: A Supernatural Oasis in ‘Midnight, Texas’

Midnight Texas - Peter Mensah

A ghost town that’s also a hellmouth: Midnight, Texas is my kind of place—by which I mean a spooky but fun destination.

Populated by the sort of sexy supernaturals who’d be right at home in Bon Temps, Louisiana (home of True Blood, which, like this not-quite-as-addictive series, is based on books by Charlaine Harris), Midnight is an oasis of the occult that thankfully keeps its fangs firmly in cheek, not taking its bizarre self too seriously. Just saying that if you’ve a taste for this sort of thing, you probably wouldn’t mind being touched by the town’s angel, a winged gay hottie played by Sex and the City‘s Jason Lewis.

We’re introduced to Midnight through on-the-run Manfred (Francois Arnaud), who, like True Blood’s Sookie, is a psychic, albeit of gypsy lineage, and says of his gift, “Sometimes it’s real. A lot of times, it’s theater.” We know that he sees dead people, which comes in handy when a local is murdered, and her watery ghost reaches out to him for help. But the downside of his gift is that he also somehow conjures demons too easily from the other side, which is why his new home might require a fiery exorcism.

It’s not clear from the first two chapters whether Manfred’s got what it takes to carry the show, and in a very uneven cast, only a few initially stand out: Dylan Bruce (Orphan Black) showing surprising range of exuberant emotion as Bobo, good-natured proprietor of Midnight’s relic-laden pawn shop; and especially Peter Mensah (Spartacus) as the fierce avenger Lemuel, an ageless vampire who works (naturally) the night shift, leeching energy when blood isn’t an option.

He’s seen it all—and by now, most horror fans have, too. Midnight isn’t yet on the level of True Blood or, needless to say, Buffy, and has a way to go to become TV’s most bewitching hour, but as a tonic for those who are still mourning the demise of Grimm, it shows enough strange promise to merit a visit.

Midnight, Texas, Series Premiere, Monday, July 24, 10/9c, NBC