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The Gates: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on June 21, 2010

Rona Mitra as Claire Radcliffe, the vamp

What happens when you mix every TV show gimmick together into one show? You get ABC’s new summer series The Gates.  So, what have these writers filched to use?  Vampires (think True Blood), rich people (think Real Housewives, Gossip Girl), detective cop shows (think CSI), and bored housewives (think Desperate Housewives).  So yah.  There’s a lot going on here, and none of it is too exciting.

Here’s what happened in the pilot.

A new family moves into The Gates community.  Dad is a good looking detective.  Mom is a pretty housewife and in tow they have their two all-American kids.  Their neighbors, the Radcliffes, are suspicious AND… totally vampires.  They’re setting up deaths and crime scenes so these vampires can feed.  Then, as Dad starts to investigate, we meet the suspicious guy who built the gated community talking about “the code” and people who “needed protection.”  As Dad starts poking around in the Radcliffe’s business, they get angsty.  Mrs. Radcliffe breaks down crying to her husband late one night saying she’s so pissed about having to join the PTA, the book club, and make nice with the other housewives.  GASP!  Pissed about rich people lifestyles!  The Feminine Mystique.  But with vampires.  This vampire stuff is mixed in with Son at high school flirting with a girl on the mock trial team and workaholic Dad leading to marriage stress.

Oh, and later this season I think there are going to be werewolves.

So, there’s a lot going on.  Trying to work out how the vampires are going to fit into the larger society is very True

Marisol Nichols as do-good wife Sarah Monahan

Blood, and the illusions to “the code” of how things work resonates with the VRA and giving vamps rights on that show.  Except instead of Deep South culture, we get rich people.  I don’t feel particularly compelled by any of the characters, and the acting and dialogue are flat and overwrought.

The show’s not as bad as Pretty Little Liars, but there is nothing here that I’m interested in.  If you’re going to take overdone storylines, you need to make them new and interesting, but ABC went one step too far here.  Putting everything cliche and faddish together to try to draw viewers in doesn’t interest me absent compelling, likeable characters and solid plotlines and writing.

If you’re going to do vamps, do it like Joss Whedon on Buffy.  Or don’t do it at all.


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