Midnight, Texas premieres July 24, 10pm on NBC.
Midnight, Texas is a show that wants to be something strange and unique, but plays it too safely to be anything other than just another show that deals with the supernatural to really stand out as something truly special on TV.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m still salty from NBC’s previous venture into the realm of the supernatural and weird with Constantine. (R.I.P.) They were not patient enough with that story and I have little reason to doubt they will not treat Midnight, TX the same. The difference being Constantine was a way better show.
Midnight, Texas follows the character of Manfred, a psychic who comes from a long line of gypsies, who relocates to the small Texas town at the behest of his dead grandmother with whom he still communicates. Once in town, Manfred encounters all sorts of strange people and creatures that have made it their quest to protect it from any evil that may come. Add to that plot; a vampire, fallen angel, witch, animal shapeshifter and several other beings of the supernatural including my personal favorite; a talking cat with a thick Southern accent that sounds as if he were a prospector in a former life who I’m really hoping gets his own dedicated episode. Wait, don’t forget the ever-looming apocalypse that is slowly creeping up on the residents and it’s up to Manfred and band of weirdos to prevent it. What would a show like this be without a looming apocalypse?
There doesn’t seem to be much beyond that concept and that is exactly where the issues begin. There’s not enough substance and depth to separate it from the multitude of other shows clammering for attention during the summer season. The best example of this is the actor’s delivery of very paper-thin writing mixed with predictable drama that I pray develops and evolves to something more complex over time. It’s also shown through the show’s tone and direction which is adapted from Charlaine Harris’ novel series. Harris is most notable for her series Trueblood from which Midnight shares a lot of similarities, most of which I would say are bad. In truth, Midnight can be seen as a watered-down safe version of Trueblood.
After viewing several episodes, Midnight, Texas can be summed up as being bland and uninteresting, and yet, there’s a strange need within me to keep going to see how it might end. To be fair, I’m always rooting for shows that start off poorly to find their way and self-correct. Most don’t. Some do. As of now, Midnight, Texas doesn’t look like it will be the latter. For now, it remains a formulaic show with a larger overarching storyline that will more than likely reach some heightened conclusion during its season finale, which coincidentally might be its series finale. It plays it too safely to really make a dent in the genre it aims towards. I wanted to like this show because I need a little “weird” in my TV repertoire, but ultimately it’s too shallow and slightly more overproduced than I can fathom. I’m left wondering, given the chance on another network that might encourage stories to be grittier, would Texas be allowed to take more risks and thrive in that type of environment. I can confidently say that if this were on FX or AMC this would be a completely different show and thus a very different review. Instead, we’re left with a show that NBC hopes to “hit” on but will most likely cancel after several episodes of low viewership and poor reviews.
I give Midnight, Texas a C-.