I could not remember how I came upon this series last time, but it was one that I had been scheduling for some time to watch. More than a week ago when I was confused what to watch, I decided to give this series a try. I was intrigued because it was based on a horror movie that I quite enjoyed long time ago titled From Dusk Till Dawn directed by the famous Robert Rodriguez (director of movies such as Spy Kids series, Sin City and its sequel, Desperado and many more). So here goes my views of the series.
Brief Story Line
Season 1 started of with Seth Gecko (D. J. Cotrona - G.I.Joe: Retaliation etc) and his brother Richard "Richie" (Zane Holtz - 7 Minutes etc) who just robbed USD 30 million worth of bonds from a bank and were trying to escape from the police chase. While taking a break in a convenience store, they had an altercation with a Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzales (Jesse Garcia) and his mentor Earl McGraw (Don Johnson - Django Unchained, Miami Vice TV series etc). Gonzales made it his personal mission to capture the Gecko brothers who managed to run away. Meanwhile, Seth was looking for ways to meet with his buyer Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama - From Prada to Nada, That 70's Show TV series etc) who was working for a vampire (referred to as Culebra) named Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza González - Baby Driver etc).
At the same time, a priest who lost his faith named Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick - Flags of Our Fathers, Scorpion TV series etc) was riding in his R.V together with his teenage daughter Kate (Madison Davenport - Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, Noah etc) and adopted son Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo - Bedeviled, Incredible Crew TV series etc). Their fate would change forever when they later on meet with the Gecko brothers. Things also got complicated when Professor Tanner aka Sex Machine (Jake Busey - The Frighteners, Tomcats, etc) an expert in the Mayan culture was enlisted to help Gonzales in his pursuit of the Gecko brothers' crimes which seem related to cult killing.
Season 2 was mostly concentrating on the life after events from season 1 that had affected the Gecko brothers, the Fullers and also the Culebras. While Season 3 was focusing on the dark forces from hell that threatened to rule the world which would affect the livelihood of human and Culebras.
End of Brief Story Line
This series was pretty interesting. Season 1 was quite loyal to the original movie that I mentioned above. It felt like watching an extended version of the movie which truly did not disappoint in terms of the gruesome violent killing by and of the Culebras. Since the story was made into a 10 episode per season, I actually felt that the characters development were done quite thoroughly. Almost all the main cast were given sufficient screen time to let audience know a little bit more. Like Seth & Richie's family problem, or Gonzales' history with his mentor & family's relationship, the Fullers background story and of course Carlos' story of how he became so attached with Santanico.
The action sequence was done very nicely, with particularly D.J Cotrona's fight scenes pretty well done (I think he had the potential of becoming a good action star with his agility and good looks. Too bad he did not have more good action movies to his credit). I also felt that Cotrona reminded me of George Clooney's characterization in the original movie. Zane Holtz also very good in portraying the weirder & more violent Richie. Rest of the cast also portrayed their characters quite well, but most notably would be Wilmer Valderrama who was very cool in here and totally different from his persona as Fez in the hit comedy That 70's Show. Though I think the Santanico role was still better played by the original cast of Salma Hayek (no offence to Eiza González).
The special effects here (especially the Culebras) were pretty decent, and for fans of the original movie like I was, should definitely be satisfied with the "generous" scenes of Culebras fights that resulted to tons of blood spilled & pouring out of the bodies. I am sure this was due to the fact Robert Rodriguez served as executive producer and was on hand to develop the series to his vision. Which is why this series best suited for fans of this genre and adult audience, certainly not for people who do not enjoy too much bloody scenes (and brief nudity which was only in second season).
As the story progressed, I felt that the second season was still good and had the same tone of the first season. The plot felt believable and had logical continuity with the first season. And it was also interesting with the inclusion of Esai Morales (La Bamba, NYPD Blues TV series etc) and Danny Trejo (Con Air, Machete etc). Morales character of the lord Malvado was very convincing as a major villain, while Trejo's character suited him a lot (though I would have liked it better if his screen time was a lot more).
Unfortunately season 3 felt too far off from the season 1 and 2 story line. The characters development did not really excite me. And the Gecko brothers story felt like something coming from one of my personal favorite series, Supernatural (starring Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as two brothers fighting demons, ghosts and all supernatural things while trying to save the world). Problem is, I think that the Gecko brothers suited better as bad guys, but in here I personally felt it was like they tried too hard to become heroes. It's a good thing that the last 2 episodes were really fantastic. Action sequences in those episodes were probably the best from all 3 seasons.
Just so you know, the reason why I wrote 3 seasons in 1 post was because the series was discontinued after 3rd season, despite no official announcement of the cancellation. From what I read in internet, all the cast were no longer under the contract. It is a pity as I actually loved the series and I understand that it was also loved by many fans (but apparently not as many as the producers would have hoped for). Now question would be if it's worth to watch the series? I would say YES! Everything that you loved in the original movie was there and more. The series only consisted of 3 season of 10 episodes each which would not take too much time to finish. And best of it all, the ending of season 3 did not feel like cliffhanger and in fact, it was pretty satisfying that I think it suit as series finale.
So if you are looking for a bloody violent vampires series played mostly in Texas area with some nice cool action sequences & little bit drama here and there, then this would be very suitable for you. But if you prefer your vampires to be moody and having triangle love, then it's better if you opt something like Vampire Diaries TV series or Twilight series. The choice is yours.
Mike's movie moments rating: 4 out of 5 stars