|Blade: The Series|
|Developed by||David S. Goyer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Camera setup||Single-camera setup|
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||June 28 –|
September 13, 2006
|Infobox instructions (only shown in preview)|
Blade: The Series is an American live-action superhero television series which ran from June to September 2006. It was based on the Marvel Comics character and film series, taking place after the events of Blade: Trinity. The show premiered on Spike on June 28, 2006. Kirk "Sticky" Jones starred in the title role, along with Jill Wagner as Krista Starr, Neil Jackson as Marcus van Sciver, Jessica Gower as Chase, and Nelson Lee as Shen. New Line Cinema (alongside Warner Bros.) is the distributor of this series as they had the rights for distribution prior to the Disney buyout of Marvel.
Krista Starr returns from military service in Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Her investigation reveals Zack had been a "familiar" – a kind of indentured servant of vampires, who agrees to do their bidding in the hopes his "master" will eventually reward him with eternal life. Krista's search for her brother's killer leads her to face Blade, as well as Marcus Van Sciver, Zack's killer. Marcus is a powerful vampire and high-ranking member of the House of Chthon. Smitten with Krista, Marcus decides to turn her into a vampire by injecting her with his blood. Krista is then approached by Blade, who injects her with the same serum he uses to control his own vampire instincts, and offers her a chance to help him avenge her brother's death and bring down Marcus and the House of Chthon, and revealed that Zack was trying to do a sting operation with Blade. The two form a reluctant partnership.
The remainder of the series follows Krista's attempts to maintain her cover in the House of Chthon, all the while struggling with her growing predatory nature, and Marcus's (supposed) efforts to develop a "vaccine" that will render vampires immune to all their traditional weaknesses (sunlight, silver, garlic, etc.). It is later revealed that Marcus's true purpose is to create a virus called the Aurora Project that will specifically target "purebloods", the ruling vampire class, and leave the turnbloods (normal vampires like Chase and Marcus, who were once human) unscathed. With Blade's help, he eventually unleashes his weapon in the series finale.
In February 2006, Spike TV had given the green light for a television series based on Marvel Comics superhero Blade as the network's first original scripted series. Spike TV executive Pancho Mansfield said "We're extremely pleased with the pilot for Blade, which delivers a thrilling action-adventure for its built-in fan base as well as a character-driven drama filled with heart-pounding tension and suspense. The series will be the first of our scripted fare as we embark on creating a greater mix of original programming for our viewers."
It was announced on November 7, 2005, that rapper Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones had signed to star as Blade, filling the role made popular in the films by Wesley Snipes. Sticky would go on to comment that he was not out to make people forget about the Blade films, but he also wanted to put his own spin on the character. "I think it's more my own direction, but I have to incorporate some of what [Snipes] did," he said. "That's what people are familiar with, and you don't want to change it up drastically. You might want to change the seasoning a little bit, but you want the same meat."
Spike TV ordered 11 one-hour episodes, in addition to the two-hour pilot episode, to be produced by New Line Television. The pilot was shot in 2005, and production of the series began in Vancouver in the spring of 2006. The show premièred on June 28, 2006 followed by the standard one-hour episodes on July 5, 2006.
David S. Goyer, who wrote the scripts for all three of the films and co-created the television series, commented that the open-ended nature of a TV series supported the kind of storytelling that will allow viewers to delve more into the inner workings of the vampire world. The series picked up where the last film, Blade: Trinity, left off and added several new characters, including Jill Wagner as Krista Starr, Neil Jackson as Marcus van Sciver, Jessica Gower as Chase and Nelson Lee as Shen.
Goyer later explained, "What the series is, in a weird way, is kind of like a Wiseguy with vampires, because Jill's character is kind of a double agent working for Blade, within the vampire community, and [we're] treating the vampires sort of like the ultimate crime family. Blade realizes at the beginning of the pilot that he's not making much headway, just sort of hacking and slashing, that he needs to know more about their inner workings."
Film to series chronology
The TV series takes place after Blade: Trinity, since certain events in the last film were mentioned in the pilot episode. At the end of Trinity, Blade used the Daystar, a biological weapon that targets and kills vampires specifically; however, the Daystar has not spread as fast or as far as originally designed, as there are still many vampire houses in operation (for example, Marcus, in the second episode, mentions 12 existing vampire Houses to Krista).
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|"Blade: House Of Chthon"||Peter O'Fallon||Geoff Johns & David S. Goyer||June 28, 2006|
|3||"Death Goes On"||Michael Robison||David Simkins||July 5, 2006|
|4||"Descent"||John Fawcett||Adam Targum||July 12, 2006|
|5||"Bloodlines"||Felix Enriquez Alcala||Geoff Johns||July 19, 2006|
|6||"The Evil Within"||Michael Robison||Daniel Truly||July 26, 2006|
|7||"Delivery"||Alex Chapple||Barbara Nance||August 2, 2006|
|8||"Sacrifice"||David Straiton||Chris Ruppenthal||August 9, 2006|
|9||"Turn of the Screw"||Norberto Barba||Barbara Nance||August 16, 2006|
|10||"Angels and Demons"||Felix Enriquez Alcala||Adam Targum||August 23, 2006|
|11||"Hunters"||Brad Turner||Geoff Johns||August 30, 2006|
|12||"Monsters"||Ken Girotti||Daniel Truly||September 6, 2006|
|13||"Conclave"||Alex Chapple||David S. Goyer & Daniel Truly & Geoff Johns||September 13, 2006|
Cast and characters
- Kirk "Sticky" Jones as Eric Brooks / Blade
- Jon Kent Ethridge as young Eric Brooks
- Jill Wagner as Krista Starr
- Nelson Lee as Shen
- Jessica Gower as Chase
- Neil Jackson as Marcus van Sciver
- Robert Brooks (Richard Roundtree, older; Colin Lawrence, young) is the father of Eric Brooks who becomes Blade. After his wife Vanessa was attacked by Deacon Frost and gave birth to their half human, half vampire son, Robert tried to take care of his son despite the hardship of his son's blood craving. Eventually, Eric runs away when he thinks that Robert betrays him. Years later, Blade encounters Robert who tries to make amends with his son for the past, but he coldly rejects him.
- Agent Collins (Larry Poindexter) was an FBI agent whose family was killed by a serial killer. He initially was tracking a series of killings linked to Detective Brian Boone when he became aware of the links to vampires. Collins was fired from the FBI by his boss, who was a familiar. After his firing, Collins found Blade and helped him track a downed airplane containing the pureblood Charlotte. Collins was bitten by Charlotte, who tricked him and then bled him. Collins begged Blade to kill him before he turned, which Blade did with a silver stake to the heart.
- Cain (Ryan Kennedy), a former familiar, is the single most powerful ash dealer in Detroit. His knowledge of the vampire world has allowed him to easily amass a drug empire through which he makes quite a bit of money. One hit of vampire ash can sell for thousands of dollars, even more if it is from a pureblood. Cain came to Blade's attention through Father Carlyle, who was treating ash addicts at the time. Cain also drew the attention of the House of Chthon by ashing Winston, a high-ranking official that had been sent to ensure that Aurora worked. After an attack on his warehouse by both Blade and the House of Chthon, Cain fled. He was last seen being beaten and questioned by Blade. Rather than kill him however, Blade encouraged him to keep ashing vampires.
- Professor Caylo (Randy Quaid) was a disgraced professor whom Krista Starr sought out while investigating her brother's death. She brought him a vial of vampire ash and a drawing of a glyph, he explained to her that her brother was a familiar from the House of Chthon. Professor Caylo also gave her information about the vampire hunter Blade. He was a very paranoid man and a drunk, he forced visitors to expose their arms and necks before entering his house (to check for glyphs) and also kept a large amount of garlic hanging by his door. When Krista asked if he needed a sample of ash for proof, he showed her his hand with missing digits. The name is a reference to Mel Caylo, an editor at Wizard Magazine, a publication that frequently covers series creator Geoff Johns. Quaid was uncredited for his role.
- Reverend Carlyle (William MacDonald) was an excommunicated priest who ran a small street ministry catering to drug addicts. Blade went to him for information about ashers, and "donated" money he took from an ash dealer. Carlyle did not approve of Blade's methods, and had him kidnapped by the Bad Bloods. The father tried to reason with Blade and talk him out of killing, but was himself killed by the Bloods after they got Blade and no longer needed the Father.
- Officer Donny Flannigan (Peter Hall, older; Elias Toufexis, young) was a local police officer in Blade's neighborhood when he was young. When Blade would run away, he would round up the young daywalker and return him to his father. Flannigan also hooked Blade's father up with Abraham Whistler, who tested the boy. Flannigan helped cover up what happened in Mr. Taka's store when Blade murdered some robbers. Flannigan was himself killed years later by Steppin' Razor, who was hunting down people from Blade's youth and killing them. The officer was killed in the same manner as one of the robbers.
- Shen (Nelson Lee) is Blade's wisecracking weaponsmith. He makes the weapons that Blade uses in his hunt for vampires. Shen is also an expert in electronics and uses his abilities to hack computer networks for information on vampires and their business. Not much of Shen's background is revealed other than his sister was killed by vampires, and that Blade is helping him track those vampires down so that Shen can kill them. Shen also makes Blade's serum for him, and can speak and read the vampire language.
- Mr. Taka (Hiro Kanagawa) was a local grocery store owner in Blade's neighborhood when he was young. Blade would sneak out of his locked bedroom to play chess with Mr. Taka in the park. When young Blade ran away from home for good, he first went to Mr. Taka's store but interrupted a robbery. Mr. Taka was wounded by the robbers, and Blade's father shot. Enraged, Blade attacked and killed the robbers before running away for good. Mr. Taka was killed by Steppin' Razor after Officer Flannigan.
- Tucker Moffet (Tom Butler) is an architect and vampire familiar. He was hired by Marcus Van Sciver to remodel the site of the pureblood conclave to make it ready for dispersal of the Aurora Virus. Tucker at one point came to Marcus with a list of demands, Marcus killed Tucker's assistant and threatened him. When Tucker finally got the job finished, Marcus rewarded him with a hooker. Blade tracked Tucker down and plucked one of his eyeballs out to use to access the conclave site.
- Uncle Pat (Don Thompson) was Krista Starr's Uncle. When Krista returned from the army and was turned by Marcus Van Sciver, Uncle Pat took it upon himself to track her down and tell her that her mom was dying. Uncle Pat also caused a scene with Marcus, as he believed Marcus was giving Krista drugs to keep her hooked. Uncle Pat was killed by Krista's mom after she was turned into a vampire by Krista. Blade beheaded Uncle Pat to keep him from becoming a vampire also.
- Vanessa (Sonja Bennett) was a young woman who was approached by Dr. Vonner to serve as a surrogate mother. She thought she was carrying a baby for someone who couldn't have children, in actuality she was incubating the Aurora Virus in her womb. Blade kidnapped Vanessa and took her to a doctor in Paris who determined she was not pregnant and removed the virus, rendering her infertile. Vanessa was smuggled underground and presumably disappeared. Vanessa was also the first name of Blade's human mother.
- Doctor Vonner (Andrew McIlroy) was the doctor hired by Marcus Van Sciver to help engineer the Aurora Virus. Dr. Vonner was an obstetrician that took selected young women and implanted their wombs with a virus incubator instead of a baby. Dr. Vonner also ran an early test lab for Marcus where Armayan vampires were tortured and experimented on. Dr. Vonner committed suicide with a gun to avoid being captured by Blade.
- Zach Starr (David Kopp) was Krista Starr's brother. He was a familiar to Marcus Van Sciver and also worked as a double agent for Blade. Marcus became aware of Zach's betrayal and tricked him into a meeting at the docks. Zach thought he was finally going to be turned into a vampire, instead Marcus shot him in the head and dumped his body. Zach has appeared since then in visions to his sister where he encourages her to continue his work with Blade.
- Viola Watkins (BJ Harrison, older; Robinne Fanfair, young) was a nurse who was dating Blade's father when Blade was young. She helped his father obtain blood to feed Blade's thirst. She also used to tap Blade's father for blood. She was hunted down years later by Steppin' Razor, who was killing everyone from Blade's past in order to flush Blade out of hiding. Blade and Shen barely saved her from being drowned. She revealed to Blade that his father wasn't dead, but actually was looking for him.
- Detective Brian Boone (Bill Mondy) was a familiar to Marcus van Sciver. He used his influence as a police officer to help the vampires cover up their crimes, and also secure fresh humans for feeding. Boone was double crossed by Marcus, who fed him to Krista Starr. Boone woke up in a testing facility for the Aurora Project and escaped, going on a cross country killing spree that ended when a group from Chthon cornered him at a meeting with the House of Armaya. Chase thought she killed Boone through a door, in fact he was hiding behind another vampire who was killed. Boone escaped and has not been seen since.
- Alex (Kavan Smith) was a pureblood from the House of Erebus. Alex had once, 63 years earlier, been stood up by Chase. Alex and Chase spent a night together in Las Vegas, which was a lure to draw Alex to Detroit. He followed her to Detroit and attempted to buy Chase from Marcus for $4 million. It turned out to be a doublecross, and they used Alex as the pureblood test for the Aurora Project. He was killed by the successful virus test.
- Fritz (David Palffy) was an associate of Marcus van Sciver's who did Marcus' muscle work. A physically imposing and strong vampire, he begged Marcus to be the test subject for Aurora, and was injected with the vaccine. Fritz gained immunity to garlic, silver, and sunlight as a result of the vaccine. Desperate to test his new power, he engaged Blade in a fight that ended in a draw. Fritz was then ordered to Prague to display his new talents for the Chthon board of directors. On his way, Fritz heard Blade attacking a Chthon assault team and defied Marcus by going there to fight Blade. This time, Blade took the upper hand and was about to capture Fritz when Krista Starr stepped in and beheaded Fritz.
- Glynnis (Jody Thompson) was Charlotte's assistant and led the investigation into Marcus Van Sciver and the Aurora Project. Glynnis discovered that Marcus was misappropriating money and reported this to Charlotte. She also tracked down Krista Starr and discovered that Krista was working for Blade. Glynnis interrupted Krista as Krista turned her own mother, in the fight that erupted Glynnis was ashed by Krista who used a silver backed mirror to pierce her heart.
- Sands (Ryan Robbins) was a vampire from the House of Erebus who was captured by Marcus Van Sciver and used in the Aurora experiments. He ended up disfigured by the experiments, and for unexplained reasons never regenerated. Sands led Blade to the experiment site, and Blade let him go in return. Eventually Sands found his way to Damek, and let him know what Marcus was doing to the Armayan vampires. He was last shown getting back into Damek's limo.
- Steppin' Razor (Bokeem Woodbine) was the leader of the Bad Bloods street gang. A hardcore killer, SR took in young Blade after he ran away from his father. SR is the one who gave Blade the tattoos on his body. SR used Father Carlyle to track down Blade and take revenge for Blade biting and turning him into a vampire. SR was tattooing gang members one night when the thirst took hold of Blade, he bit several members of the gang and turned them. They were not accepted by any of the houses since they were turned by the Daywalker. SR made a deal with Marcus Van Sciver to turn Blade over to Marcus in exchange for acceptance into the House of Cththon. When the plan fell through, SR escaped and reappeared later, when he tracked down people from Blade's past and began killing them to draw Blade out. He found Blade's father and drew Blade to his childhood home for a final confrontation, which ended when Blade's human father ashed SR with Blade's sword.
- Thorne (John DeSantis) was the Lurch-like servant of the pureblood Charlotte. Thorne carried Charlotte around and attended to her every need. He also captured Chase and brought her to Charlotte, who mentioned that Thorne only liked human women and had "quite an impressive collection". After Charlotte's plane was downed, Thorne and Charlotte ended up in a local high school, where they encountered Blade. The only line Thorne spoke in the series was "I want to hear you scream" as he beat on Blade. Blade ashed Thorne with two silver spikes to the head.
- The White Prince (Scott Heindl) was a rogue vampire, unaffiliated with any house. He was a serial killer who operated every 19 years. He also permanently scarred his face with silver. He appeared to have a familiar working out of a local night club. They kidnapped a few girls to torture and kill when Shen and Blade got wind of his actions. They tracked the White Prince to the club, where he fought Blade before Blade ripped his entire jaw off and threw him outside into the sunlight. What was odd about the White Prince was that, rather than considering himself a vampire, he believed himself to be an angel, even going as far as to claim that Blade was sent by the devil to test his (the White Prince's) faith.
On Rotten Tomatoes the series had an approval rating of 50% based on reviews from 18 critics. The site's consensus was "Blade: The Series emphasizes gore and techno music over dramatic development, making for a bland action series." On Metacritic the series has a score of 49% based on reviews from 15 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Gillian Flynn of Entertainment Weekly gave it a positive review and wrote: "When gunplay, kickboxing, and throat slitting actually feel like breaks in the action, you've got a series with brains as well as teeth." The Guardian wrote: "Like most genre shows, it fumbles a lot in setting up the world and characters, but stick with it: after a few weeks it hits its stride and is a good antidote to the rather soppy bloodsuckers of True Blood and Twilight."
Brian Lowry of Variety wrote: "Feels more like a bland swig of plasma than the bloody romp that it ought to be." Reviewing the series in 2017, Liz Shannon Miller of IndieWire was critical of the show, "Despite some interesting twists at the end, the cliches did pile up" and the absence of Wesley Snipes.
The series premiere had 2.5 million viewers and was the most-watched original series premiere in Spike TV history. It was also the #1 show on evening cable TV for men 18–34 and 18–49. This occurred in a year where most cable premieres were outstanding, and the series failed to hold its numbers.
On September 28, 2006, Jill Wagner announced that there would be no second season of the show. The next day, Spike announced in a press release that the show would not be picked up. As a response to a letter in Wizard Magazine, series writer/producer Geoff Johns stated that: "The network didn't want to cancel it, I just think Spike TV is still a young network, and the price it was costing to make...they just weren't able to do it."
The complete series was released in 2006 on a 4-disc DVD set by New Line Home Entertainment / Warner Bros., featuring the episodes revamped and alternated, with uncensored scenes considered "Too Graphic for TV".
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