HBO's sultry, silly, sanguine hit show routinely pushes everything to 11 — leaving little room for other bloodsucking fare to make a mark. Which is a shame, because there's one vamp project that should see the light of, er, day.
Alan Ball's televised take on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels is many things — funny, sexy, punchy, twisty — but you'd be hard-pressed to find a show on television with as many bat-shit insane things happening week after week. And it's hard to compete with crazy.
Just ask ABC's desperate-vampires show The Gates, which premiered to about the same number of viewers as True Blood (which is a bad thing, given that ABC is a broadcast network, with a much larger potential audience than HBO's paying customers). Or The Vampire Diaries — the CW's highest rated show, but it still pulls down about the same numbers as True Blood — which seems to exist to help vampophiles cope in between Twilight movies and seasons of, yes, True Blood.
So which network — broadcast or otherwise — is going to hatch a new bloodsucker series given such an overwhelming argument not to? Exactly. And that's too bad, because Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt novels are perfectly suited for a long-form serial treatment.
Imagine the street-level charge of Richard Stark's Parker novels mated with Elmore Leonard's sardonic wit and set in a noir New York City populated by all manner of vampires, and following a sort of freelance problem solver named Joe Pitt — who is also infected with the Vyrus that makes humans burn for fresh blood. And Joe has to navigate a New York that's been divvied up among a series of vampire clans — The Coalition, which runs midtown; The Hood, which rules over Harlem; The Society, which set up in the East Village; the monastic Enclave of the West Village; The Dusters, a biker-vamp gang that roams downtown; and the Bulls and Bears, who lord over the Financial District — while remaining his own man, and securing a steady supply.
The Joe Pitt Casebook series — which includes Already Dead, No Dominion, Half the Blood of Brooklyn, Every Last Drop, and My Dead Body — would offer an actor room to stretch, in the same way that Timothy Olyphant has found the role of his life in Justified. And there's enough juice in Joe Pitt's character, and his world, to last for years.
If only there was a network willing to step up.