Television: Requiem for a Daywalker

The interesting thing about Blade: The Series is that—apart from two episodes—the show wasn’t really about the main character. If you’ve not seen the series and spoilers are the holy symbol that burns your flesh, you may wish to retreat to your coffin at this time.

For those unfamiliar with the Blade franchise, the basic conceit is that vampires live among us in secret, fighting amongst themselves and infiltrating every aspect of the human world. Though humanity remains largely ignorant of the existence of these nocturnal predators, those few who are aware are separated into two groups: hunters, who seek to destroy all vampires, and familiars, who have allied themselves with the bloodsuckers in the hopes of one day earning eternal life.

Blade was born into this world shortly after his mother was bitten by a vampire. As a result, he is half-human and half-vampire, possessing “all of their powers and none of their weaknesses.” Blade has super-human strength and reflexes and is able to move around in daylight because the sun’s rays are not harmful to him; this has led to vampires giving him the name Daywalker. Blade’s powers come with a price, however: like his vampire half-brethren, Blade is compelled to feed on blood, an urge he quashes by regularly injecting himself with a special serum.

Blade: The Series is a spin-off of the popular movie trilogy starring Wesley Snipes. Rapper Kirk “Sticky” Jones had a mighty big trench coat to fill when he took up the title role for the small screen, but as I mentioned earlier, Blade: The Series wasn’t really about Blade at all.

The cast of Blade: Jessica Gower, Neil Jackson, Kirk Jones, Jill Wagner and Nelson Lee
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The series’ major protagonist is actually Krista Starr (Jill Wagner), who returns home to Detroit after a tour in Iraq to find that her brother, Zack, has been killed. The police seem convinced that Zack was involved in some sort of gang, but Krista learns the hard way that the true culprits were vampires. Shortly after discovering that her brother was a familiar, Krista is turned by Marcus Van Sciver (Neil Jackson), perhaps the most powerful and influential vampire in the city and one major horndog. All seems lost for Krista until she is approached by Blade, who offers her an alternative to the bloodsucking lifestyle to which Van Sciver and his associates have become very accustomed.

Krista begins to inject herself with Blade’s serum to stave off the bloodthirst and becomes Blade’s agent within the House of Chthon, one of the twelve vampire factions that are constantly at war with one another. The information Krista feeds Blade ultimately leads to a major confrontation between the Daywalker and Van Sciver, who engineers a major coup at a secret vampire conclave in Toronto.

Much of Blade: The Series revolves around Krista, her difficulty in fighting off the ever more intense vampiric urges, her struggle to hide her true nature and intentions from Van Sciver (who has the major hots for her), and the cat-fighting with Chase (Jessica Gower), another shapely vampire who is none too thrilled with Marcus’ new obsession.

The first season of Blade: The Series—which wrapped up a few weeks ago—will apparently be the only season. A few days ago, Jill Wagner announced that SpikeTV would not be picking the series up for another season. A day after Wagner’s announcement, SpikeTV issued a press release confirming that Blade would not be returning to the small screen in the foreseeable future.

I’m not surprised that Blade: The Series has been canceled, but I am a little disappointed; the show was actually pretty good. I’m a fan of the basic premise of vampires living in secret among us, exerting political influence through a network of human pawns and aligning themselves in factions that constantly jockey for positions of power. Also fascinating is the caste system among the legions of undead: purebloods (those who were born vampires) look down on their half-blood brethren (who were once human, but have been turned), and at least one house has been exiled by the others for inciting a civil war.

Political intrigue and infighting aside, Blade: The Series had a pretty solid storyarc through the first season. Krista played a pivotal part in nearly every event that occurred from the pilot to the finale, but the focus on her storyline (not to mention Marcus’ machinations) may have prevented Blade himself from developing as much as he should have. As a result, Blade doesn’t seem to change much throughout the course of the story.

The most frustrating aspect of the series’ cancellation is that the final episode apparently ran a few minutes longer than an hours. I say “apparently” based on the fact that the TiVo recording abruptly ended during a conversation between Krista and Marcus, just as Marcus was about to reveal how he had located Blade’s secret base. Dammit!