The latest entry into the suburban fantasy market features a new cop who moves with his family into the ultimate gated community, unaware that his neighbours include a vampire family (of the non-sparkly, killing variety), an indefinite number of teenage werewolves, and a couple of feuding witches.

I’m hoping for a mad doctor and Cousin Itt before they shut the gates on this thing.

Title: “Pilot”

Cast and Crew

Frank Grillo as Nick Monohan
Marisol Nichols as Sarah Monohan
Travis Caldwell as Charlie Monohan
Luke Mably as Dylan Radcliff
Rhona Mitra as Claire Radcliff
Skyler Samuels as Andie Bates
Colton Haynes as Brett Crezski
Victoria Platt as Peg Mueller
Chandra West as Devon
Justin Miles as Marcus Jordan
Janina Gavankar as Leigh Turner
James Preston as Luke Ford

Additional cast and crew information may be found at the imdb.

Premise

A disgraced cop and his family move to a gated community, where he feels pressure to turn a blind eye, lest he learn his neighbours’ monstrous secrets. As of the first episode, those secrets include the killing of a careless contractor by a local vampire, unwelcome attention drawn by the cop’s teenage son from the local werewolf pack, and a rivalry between witches.

High Point

The premise holds enough potential to make this the next Buffy: supernatural characters as commentary on suburbia.

Low Points

I would like to think the underwear model cast, cliché dialogue, unsubtle script, and too-often wooden execution is itself a commentary on the artificiality of the gated community. Alas, it clearly represents the television business as usual.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 We have a good premise being used to recycle soap opera and crime drama tropes, while cashing in on the current supernatural craze.

Effects: 5/6. Simple but effective.

Story: 3/6 Television writing baffles me. Lost began with great mystery, but had no idea where it was going. The Gates has great solutions to mysteries, and it force-feeds us the key revelations in the first hour. I understand revealing Claire as a vampire in the opening (which closely parallels the opening scene of the first Buffy ep), in order to establish the supernatural setting. Why, however, give away so much of the backstory so soon, in a story with a main character who investigates mysteries?

And why would a cop who needs to tread softly play Man Against the System on his first day?

Acting: 3/6 The teen drama has been given to passable actors, while Rhona Mitra is forced, but menacing, as Claire. Overall, however, we have soap acting. The confrontations between the local witches was laughable.

Why is everyone so chiseled and beautiful, in a show that screams for character actors?

Emotional Response: 3/6. I like the premise. The show needs to go a long way to keep me watching.

Production: 6/6 The show boasts high production values, and they’re trying hard to get the Modern Suburban Gothic look that Ginger Snaps accomplished on, one imagines, a considerably smaller budget.

Overall: 4/6. I’ll give this a few episodes to get going, but I’m not hopeful.

My wife is cheering for the monsters to kill the rest of the cast.

In total the Gates pilot receives 27/42.