FOX (ended 1996)
I entirely missed this show when it premiered in '96 as I was totally wound up in real-life stuff and not necessarily bothering with television at the time. There seems to be a lot of controversy regarding the show it's flawed marketing – apparently it was marketed as "From the Creator of 'Dynasty'" -- and Aaron Spelling's tampering, as he might not have wanted any shows competing with his 'Beverly Hills 90210'. Fox apparently lost an audience just by mis-marketing the thing as something it was not.
And 'Bad dialogue' is just hitting one the nail on the head. Sometimes it was just painful to listen to. There seemed to be an emphasis on giving the actors Soap-Opera style 'zingers' instead of natural dialogue – every other conversation was a dramatic confrontation, instead of an effort to communicate.
Additionally, C. Thomas Howell was a bad headliner though his role seemed to diminish as the 8-episodes went on and he was quickly eclipsed by Mark Frankel, though.
It also seems that the producers were uncertain of how much the show was meant to be 'genre' and how huch it was meant to be 'analogy'. It was almost embarrasing to watch the Brujos take up their Mafia poses during the first couple of episodes. But this show aired a full year before 'Buffy' cam to fruition and 3 years before 'The Sopanos', so it is inevtable that mistakes would be made.
Short of the large cast, this seems to be the exact kind of show that the SciFi Channel might put together -- talky, minimal SFX, with the pretense of some high-concept genre programming -- I suppose it's no surprise that the show is turning up on that network for a short summer run.
I suppose I should also add that I know nothing about the role-playing game, VtM.
I never saw this series on Fox, during its original run. And, I missed the first half-hour of the pilot's telecast on SCIFI Channel. However, I thought the actors performed quite well with the material they were given. Especially, the ill-fated portrayer of Julian Luna!
If not for his tragic motorcycle accident, the show might have been renewed for, at least, one more season. But, the show was apparently mishandled by Aaron Spelling, who was not used to Gothic-style soap operas in 1996. Maybe if he had collaborated with someone like Dan Curtis (of "Dark Shadows" fame), it would have been a different story. Alas! It wouldn't be until "Charmed" (to which he evidently applied the knowledge gained from his mistakes with KTE) that he would have any luck with angsty fantasy dramas.
Now, as of last night (07/13/07), it appears SCIFI channel will be alternating reruns of the remaining episodes with reruns of "Wolf Lake." That, I wouldn't mind, at all. It would renew my hope that they might also eventually show reruns of "Vampire High," and Quinn Martin's original version of "Invaders."
This series major weakness was that it was ired on FOX. Fox never had patience of under-performing series.
The strength was the cast. I have only seen three episodes so I can't judge the writing which is a key to any successful series.
I thought that it was awesome the first time that I saw it. The weakness was when they were going to go into production of a full series and the main actor, Mark Frankel passed away in a mototcycle accident. I wish that they would try again. There has to be another person in the world that could fill Mark Frankel's shoes. You can see all the episodes on tvshack.net. They have all of the episodes there. But the question remains are the actors that played the parts too old for a series now?