The Gates: Vampires and Werewolves and Witches, Oh Dear!

It’s a trend I’ve seen more and more recently. It was fun at first, but now it’s overdone. While I like it in theory, the execution is too often strained, and because it’s been successful before, writers and producers assume it will be successful again. That’s right, I’m talking about large ensemble casts.

You thought I was going to say vampires. But no, I don’t mind that The Gates is yet another show steeped in the supernatural: There are vampires, werewolves, and witches (if that’s what Peg and Devon are), and that’s just what we’ve seen so far. Has the urban fantasy genre been done to death? Surely, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy it. Twilight hasn’t killed my love for a good vampire or werewolf story—I am always down for new ways of looking at the supernatural classics. That’s why I approached The Gates with a mixture of anticipation and dread: I want to like a new genre series, but I’ve been disappointed so often that I can’t get my hopes up too much.

Actually, the supernatural elements worked well in The Gates, which premiered Sunday night. Overall, it was a fun and absorbing hour of television, and I’ve already set up a season recording so I can catch next week’s episode. No, my issue is with that unwieldy cast of characters.

I’ve touched on this before, because I think it’s a problem many new series share. Look at Happy Town, another ABC genre show that petered out despite a fair share of buzz. There were several problems, but to me the biggest was simply that there was too much going on. That’s what happens when you introduce so many different faces, each with his or her own set of secrets, motivations, and baggage. It’s a lot to keep track of, which makes it difficult for the audience—and the show—to stay focused. Indeed, a savvy viewer can usually stay on top of a complex plot, especially if there’s note-taking involved; more often than not, the real issue is that the series collapses under its own weight.

I’m not going to say The Gates will suffer the same fate, but I’m already feeling overwhelmed. In the first episode, we met Nick (Frank Grillo), the new police chief; his wife and kids; vampire couple Claire (Rhona Mitra) and Dylan Radcliff (Luke Mably); their daughter Emily (Georgia Cole); Andie (Skyler Samuels), who befriended Nick’s son Charlie (Travis Caldwell); her werewolf boyfriend Brett (Colton Haynes); dueling witches Peg (Victoria Gabrielle Platt) and Devon (Chandra West); and—OK, I’ll stop there. Get the picture?

There’s something to be said for simplicity. Remember, less is more. But The Gates, like so many shows before it, has decided to cram as much as possible into one hour. I’ll go with it, because—like I said—I still get a kick out of bloodsuckers, but I’m not happy about all the players involved. Here’s my advice for the series: kill off a few characters. Really, go ahead. When you’ve got vampires and werewolves in the mix, we can expect some bloodshed. And I’m not attached to anyone yet, except perhaps the wonderfully seductive Claire, so feel free to go wild.

Otherwise, we’ll go weeks without a focus on our favorite characters. Plot lines will take too long to wrap up. And everyone will become connected in an inorganic and logic-straining way. Need I even mention FlashForward or Heroes? The Gates is supposed to be an exclusive community, right? I don’t see why they couldn’t have left a few of those characters out.

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You know what? Your just a hypocrite who's just jealous cause' you can't write anything worth shit. Who cares if a concept is overused. As long as the authors and directors create suspense and drama, it's worth watching. For example, that guy you chose as the cover for your article, he is one of my favorite characters in the series.
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it is great.i love the cast,I love the story.Everyone should watch it.Don't listen to this bullshit.The Gates is awesome.
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The show does have potential, but frankly there doesn't seem to be any chemistry betweer charlie and andie. they try but it just seem to fall flat. im liking the werewolves though grrr.
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i hope it gets cancelled we need more vampire shows like buffy or blade not wimpy romance
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I'm liking it so far, not loving it but liking it. It could become very good, but at the same time very horrible. I'll have to wait and see. And I agree about there being way to many characters.
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I liked it. It has great potential. The fact that the story lines were introduced so quickly makes the show more interesting in my opinion and gives viewers more questions that need to be answered.
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First of all anybody that is saying that it's been canceled already doesn't know what they are talking about. No credible website is reporting that.

I think the show has great potential but I agree that too many characters and too many story lines got introduced too fast. I'm certainly going to give it a chance because I liked the first episode and I'm intrigued enough to continue. It certainly faired better in my mind than its lead in SCOUNDRELS.

On a side note what with vampire craze being what it is now, does anybody else think CBS is kicking itself for canceling MOONLIGHT?
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I totally agree this show could have potential but with so many characters being introduced so early kinda ruin the thrill or suspense of it. If they had gradually brought them in later eps I would have the desire to see more. And clearly to me it seems like a vamp soap opera too much too soon and too little being offered
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best comedy of the year i laughed from beginning to end. the way the actors played their roles so serious only made it funnier
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abcborges and Mundoin:Where did you see that it was canceled? Or are just going ABC's (Already Been Canceled) reputation?
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I liked the first episode. But it seems that the show has been canceled already
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Well someone made the comment that True Blood came up because of Twilight. Yeah. I highly doubt it. See there was an author and she wrote a book and then someone wanted to make a show of it. And you can't really do a True Blood movie because this author can right complex character and develop storylines that can not be explained in two hours. Same for Vampire Diaries.

It's like people saying they are making cop shows because crime is what is in.
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this show looks really stupid
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I have to admit, I read the title to this artical and was totally ready to trash the author of it until I read the first paragraph. I agree entirely... TOO MANY CHARACTERS for an ensamble cast. Granted this is a "soap opera" in the prime-time TV but you can only do so much in one hour. Overall though, I enjoyed this first episode, and I look forward to next week. That said though, hopefully, the number will dwindle as time progresses. In doing so, the story might pick up a little and be so less confusing at times.
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So many shows are trying to have a multi-facted cast with lots of secrets and in depth backstories. No show can do Lost except for Lost.
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First episode looked very promising.
Although ABC already canceled the show.
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they should just call it Twilight the series i mean it looks almost like it the vampire look more winey than the ones in twilight
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On the one hand, I hate Twilight. I love vampires in general, but Twilight is so boring and I was never that teenage girl, so I can't even relate. The only thing that I'm glad for is that there are many vampire stuff springing up because of it. Some are okay, some are bad, and some are great, like True Blood. So we'll see which this one is going to be. I am going to wait until ep. 10 though, because this year had the most frustrating cancellations ever, so I'm just not going to get into it prematurely. They cancelled enough shows that I loved.
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I have to agree with a lot of people on here. I refuse to watch a new show anymore until I know for sure it's renewed. ABC has been a major pain-in-the a** in that regard, and so has FOX (although, credit where it's due, they gave Dollhouse a season 2). My question is: why bother producing a show that you're not going to stand behind? I was loving FlashForward, but when I heard it wasn't going to be renewed I just stopped watching. Period. I decided I wasn't going to waste my time. Why invest in a show only to get screwed by a cliffhanger at the end of the season... which in most cases these days means "end of a series"?!
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I figured as soon as I saw the promo, whether it was good or not, it wouldn't last, and I'm probably right. ABC tends to do that a lot. I watched about the first ten minutes and then I just went to bed. I thought it was pretty lame, but then again, I didn't see all of it. I think overall their aim was to make a vampire show for adults with children in the suburbs, because all of the other shows are about teens and twenty-somethings, so they wanted to give it Desperate-housewives-y feel.

And you know what? I really, really can't wait until this vampire/werewolf/witch trend dies off. Although Harry Potter and Vampire Diaries are exceptions, since they were around before everyone else.
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we dont need more winey sparkly vampires we need monsters like in buffy
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plaese let this show be cancelled twlight is bad enough do we need a clone of it.
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you don't like ensemble casts? So, I guess you didn't like Lost, Vampire Diaries, House, Fringe, Bones, Castle, Heroes, hell, just about any tv show in the modern era. Well, luckily, it's not going to matter. The show is on ABC, which means, if they follow their recent pattern, the show will run j-u-u-u-s-t long enough to get us interested and then they'll kill it, only to play the last few eps several months later when nobody can remember the storyline.
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The Gates is great!!! I can hardly wait to watch the next episodes!
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no happy town no the gates
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It is on ABC, that is as good as saying it'll be cancelled after a few episodes. If it hasn't already like several other websites are reporting...
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I really liked the pilot, with the exception of the teenagers. Leave that bit out, and it becomes a much better program.
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PS: I don't think there was too much going on in Happy Town, I personally just dropped the show after episode 2 because I didn't like the characters and the way the story was presented (writing) even though I really loved the cast they put together.
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I enjoyed the episode. I think it was a great pilot and I liked the ensemble cast: basically we have (for now) the Monohans (Sheriff & family), the Radcliffs (vampires), 2 witches, a couple of werewolves and the son's love interest Andie. I am definitely looking forward to episode 2. :D
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I'll take overwhelmed over underwhelmed anyday. Once that feeling goes and the characters start to sink in, the rewards are great. Viewers are too lazy these days, wanting everything now, patience is a virtue.
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I actually liked the pilot.
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I'm not a big fan of vampires, but I'll have to say I don't share your sentiment concerning large ensemble casts with "a lot going on." I've really enjoyed complexity of some such shows, like NBC's Parenthood, ABC's Modern Family, NBC's Heroes. In fact...I believe NBC's Parenthood was similarly criticized after the pilot episode, but I believe that was because they were trying to introduce all of the characters. It was setting the stage for the season, and as the season progressed various episodes highlighted different relationships, things balanced out quite a bit. West Wing was a fast-paced, quick-spoken show in its day which multiple characters and multiple storylines. And yet, that is what made it so attractive, entertaining, and fun to watch: it engaged the brain. The pilot episode of The Gates did not introduce too many characters, it did not have too many plot threads, and note-taking was not needed to keep on top of the plot. In fact, I thought it was little bit predictable.
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The first episode caught my attention...I just don't know, yet, whether or not the show will keep it. For instance, if the police chief is as good as they're making him out to be, he has to find out the truth sooner than later...the next step will be what he chooses to do w/ said truths. As far as the rest of the cast..I hope the show takes its time, so that we can get to know "everyone"...concentrating on one or two characters/families per episode.
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you know, happy town is actually a good show. ;)

this "the gates" with too much going on, indeed might be more closer to crap like heroes or lost
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i liked it for what it was. sort of seems like an adult version of The Vampire Diaries, and a non pay cable version of True Blood (plus witches). while i actually do like Twilight as well, i'm getting tired of the whole vampire/werewolf/witch trend. it's this generations cop/medical/law show.. so in that sense, i'd take supernatural stuff over cops and doctors anyday
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This show is Desperate Housewives and Vampire Diaries combination.
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Well, KOP, its a vampire, witches and werewolf show. With that alone you can expect all of the cliches and more. Sad I missed it. :( Any chance of a rerun???
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You may find that it becomes simplified with time. Pilot episodes can sometimes be overwhelming or underwhelming because they're trying to introduce you to everyone and get you hooked at the same time and sometimes that just doesn't work. All things considered I think they did well and that ending had me going "wait...what? Come back!"
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Are you kiddin' me? Large ensemble casts! I'm sorry as someone who grew up at her grandmother's knee watching soaps, IMO large ensemble casts are not the problem for this show. A large cast didn't hurt Lost or V for that matter.



Large ensemble casts is not the problem. ABC is the problem. The Gates debut got only 4.6 million viewers with a 1.5 share. Happy Town's debut got 5.2 million viewers with a 1.7 share, and you see how ABC treats them. If The Gates continues with those numbers it'll be lucky if it see a third episode, nevermind the end of the summer. And I'm saying this as someone who really likes this show.
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"Its simple... there are to many Vamp show shows" (Joker jajaja)



XO XO



:):):):):):):):):)
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I suspect that The Gates is going to be a bit of a supernatural Eureka, with a bit more soap opera elements.
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Agree somewhat with this review. The execution I do find to be strained at timesand then the overall themes presented I find them to be dull and a little cliche'd.
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