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THE GATES Series Premiere Preview

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THE GATES Series Premiere Preview

THE GATES CAST : MCKALEY MILLER, MARISOL NICHOLS, FRANK GRILLO, TRAVIS CALDWELL PHOTO : ABC/STEVE DIETL

Somewhere between the violent and sexy excesses of “True Blood” and the chaste and emotional teen drama of the “Twilight” series, there’s a middle ground.  “The Gates” seeks out that middle ground, and hopes to strike the right balance between horror and soap opera.  Imagine if you dropped “Desperate Housewives” into “Dark Shadows” and you’d have an inkling of what the show seeks to be.

By : SHAWNA BENSON

Somewhere between the violent and sexy excesses of “True Blood” and the chaste and emotional teen drama of the “Twilight” series, there’s a middle ground.  “The Gates” seeks out that middle ground, and hopes to strike the right balance between horror and soap opera.  Imagine if you dropped “Desperate Housewives” into “Dark Shadows” and you’d have an inkling of what the show seeks to be.

THE GATES CAST : MCKALEY MILLER, MARISOL NICHOLS, FRANK GRILLO, TRAVIS CALDWELL PHOTO : ABC/STEVE DIETL

The Gates is a very secure community with high walls and top of the line surveillance systems.  Nick Monahan, new police chief of The Gates arrives with his family, wife Sarah and two children, Charlie and Dana, just as a contractor disappears under mysterious circumstances.  Of course, the circumstances aren’t too mysterious to the audience, as we see Claire Radcliff, model housewife of The Gates seduce and kill the missing contractor.  Claire’s a vampire, and appears to have some challenges curbing her biting behavior.  The new chief Nick has a nose for trouble, and soon suspects that Claire and her husband Dylan are hiding something.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Monahans must adjust to life in their gorgeous oversized house (complete with pool and hot tub) and as the new family in town.  Nick and Sarah’s kids find a few friends at school, but they recognize quickly that something isn’t quite right.  Things get even more suspicious when Sarah accidentally walks into a Day Spa instead of the herb and tea shop she intended to visit, and discovers that not only are the two businesses direct competitors but that Devon, owner of the Spa is a former apprentice to Peg Mueller, who runs the small pharmacy.

The series isn’t going to win any awards any time soon, but as a summer diversion, it may be entertaining for fans of other shows which deal with supernatural themes.  I’m just not sure I find any of the characters interesting enough to want to see what unfolds in future episodes.  One exception is Rhona Mitra’s Claire Radcliff, who struggles with her vampire tendencies and seems genuinely upset that she has “relapsed.”  Mitra brings an energy to the screen that lacks when she isn’t around, and Claire is the most interesting character introduced thus far.  While there are hints at other characters who possess supernatural abilities, including a pack of werewolves in the community, it remains to be seen how many people in the Gates have special circumstances, and whether the new sheriff and his family are immune to it all or have secrets of their own.

Based on the premiere, I doubt that “The Gates” will create the kind of fan loyalty that “True Blood” and “Twilight” have already captured.  The audience that is interested in vampires and werewolves are getting plenty of that entertainment from other sources, so what audience is really going to be attracted to “The Gates” is, like the show itself, a bit of a mystery.

The Gates premieres Sunday June 20th at 10 PM.

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