Blade: The Series
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|Blade: The Series|
|Created by||David S. Goyer
by Marv Wolfman
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Camera setup||Single camera setup|
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Marvel Entertainment
Phantom Four Films
New Line Television
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||June 28– September 13, 2006|
Blade: The Series is a 2006 American live-action television program based on the Marvel Comics character and film series. It premiered on Spike on June 28, 2006. Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" 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.
In the pilot, Krista Starr returns from military service in Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Her investigation reveals that Zack was a "familiar" - a kind of indentured servant who agrees to do a vampire's bidding in the hopes that his "master" will eventually reward him with eternal life. Krista's search for her brother's killer soon brings her face to face with Blade, as well as with the killer himself, Marcus Van Sciver. 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 season 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. He eventually unleashes his weapon in the series finale, surprisingly enough with Blade's help.
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 expressed to AllHipHop.com, "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. Production was said to begin in Vancouver in the spring of 2006 and the show later premièred on June 28, 2006 followed by the standard one-hour episodes on July 5, 2006.
David Goyer, who wrote all three 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 that 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 far or as fast as originally designed, as there are still many vampire houses in operation (for example, Marcus, in the second episode, mentions twelve existing vampire Houses to Krista).
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1-2||"Pilot"||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|
- Kirk Jones as Eric Brooks/Blade
- Jill Wagner as Krista Starr
- Nelson Lee as Shen
- Jessica Gower as Chase
- Neil Jackson as Marcus Van Sciver
Ratings and cancellation
Although the series premiere had 2.5 million viewers, was the most-watched original series premiere in Spike TV history, and was also the #1 show on cable for the evening with men 18–34 and 18–49, this occurred in a year where most cable premieres were outstanding, and the series has since failed to hold its numbers.
On September 28, 2006, Jill Wagner, star of Blade: The Series, announced that she was informed 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 gives a reason why he thinks the series was canceled: "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."
- Blade: The Series was the second TV show to premiere on iTunes before ever having aired on mainstream television. The short-lived Law & Order spin-off Conviction was the first.
On February 12, 2008, New Line Home Entertainment released Blade: The Series – The Complete Season on DVD. The complete Blade series covered all twelve episodes completely uncut over four discs. The DVDs were "unrated" and contained new content and alternate versions of scenes from the series filmed specially for the DVD, including examples of full-frontal nudity and harsher language. It was released with the same features in the UK on April 21, 2008. The 2-hour premiere episode was released on DVD, titled "Blade: House of Chthon!", on September 18, 2007 in "Unrated" format. The pilot episode is additionally available via the 4 Film Favorites: Blade set released by New Line on September 29, 2009.
References to other media
- In the pilot, after first hearing about vampires but before she finds out that they're actually real, Krista sarcastically asks if werewolves are real too and is told that werewolves are "my colleague Marc Spector's realm of expertise." Spector is the alter ego of the Marvel superhero Moon Knight, who first appeared in the 1970s comic book series Werewolf by Night.
- Marcus Van Sciver's last name is an homage to comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver, who worked with series writer and executive producer Geoff Johns.
- The series contains numerous references to both the comics and the film series. Recurring villains Steppin' Razor, Thorne, and Damek are based on characters from the comics, footage from the first film is used briefly in the pilot, and Abraham Whistler (Blade's human mentor in the films) is mentioned in the pilot and later appears (in flashback) in the episode Sacrifice.
- In the flashback episode where we see Blade as a child, a friend gives him a copy of an Avengers comic book. Series writer Geoff Johns had a stint as a writer for the Avengers.
- The series' take on Blade makes an appearance in the video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and other consoles. An unlockable costume change called "Daywalker" gives Blade the look he had in the television series. In Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, he is seen in a costume similar to that in the live-action Blade TV series.
- UFC commentator Mike Goldberg made a humorous promo for the series during a UFC fight on Spike.