|MARK FRANKEL - A PROFILE AND GALLERY|
Reading Room / Kindred: the Embraced Reviews
Kindred: The Embraced
A prince must keep the peace between five clans of vampires
Review by K.H.
man is chased across a roof by two mobsters who pull him down and shove a stake through his heart. As dawn approaches, Detective Frank Kohanek (Howell) and his partner arrive on the scene...just in time to see the mobsters leap off the building and vanish as the other man bursts into flames.
Frank knows something strange is happening, and it has to do with mob boss Julian Luna (Frankel). However, he has no idea that Julian is actually the ruler of five clans of vampires, collectively known as the Kindred. The Kindred hide themselves by masquerading as humans...if the masquerade were to be revealed, the humans would hunt down the Kindred and kill them. As prince of the Kindred, Julian must keep the peace between the clans and protect the masquerade, two things which often go hand in hand.
But Frank and Julian's ex-lover, Alexandra -- a powerful vampire in her own right -- have fallen in love. Frank discovers the truth, but Alexandra has made Julian swear not to kill him. Alexandra is hunted by the other Kindred for revealing the masquerade, leaving Julian to form an uneasy truce with Frank. More importantly, one of the clans is itching for war...
At its best, Kindred: The Embraced is a cross between The Godfather and Melrose Place with vampires. While it's way too serious, it is a promising new series for Fox.
As with all good vampire stories, Kindred creates its own rules for vampires. Stakes through the heart and nasty sun stroke are still good ways to kill a vampire, but they eat food, end up in bed (a lot) and don't usually kill their victims. Kindred may lose some vampire fans because there aren't a lot of throats being ripped out or other fun special effects, but others will enjoy this latest take on the undead.
While Kindred has a lot of possibilities, there are a couple of problems. The series deals with five clans of vampires, and it's all very confusing. The clan names are tossed about in the dialogue and it takes a while to figure out who's who. Viewers who stick with the series won't have any trouble keeping track, but the first episode is confusing.
The larger problem has to do with the character of Frank, who appears to be pulled straight out of a bad cop film. Since Frank is set to be mainstay, this is a significant problem. Luckily for Kindred, there's more at stake with the antagonist than the hero. Frankel's Julian is the kind of multifaceted character who's both good and evil. He walks a thin line as he tries to protect his race while living by special rules.
Kindred has the potential to be a fascinating series if it concentrates on its vampires and stays away from the silly cop stuff that's been done to death before. -- KH