Kindred

Network: CBS

Broadcast Dates: Season 1 Thursdays 9-10, 8-7-08 to 2-26-09, Season 2 various airtimes, 5-5-09 to 10-23-09

Ratings: High – S1E21 est. 4.4 million viewers, Low – S2E11 est. 1.9 million viewers

Awards Nominated: Emmy – Achievement in Direction (Drama Program, Episode), Achievement in Visual Effects (Drama Series), Best Dramatic Series, Best Actor (Dramatic Series), Achievement in Writing (Drama Program, Episode). Golden Globe Awards – Best New Dramatic Series

Awards Won: Wizard Awards – Best Writing (TV), Best Directing (TV), Favorite Actor (TV), Best New Television Program, Best Television Program. Emmy – Best New Dramatic Series.

History: Airing on CBS through one and a half seasons with enough consistency problems and bad luck to generate rumors of the production being cursed, Kindred: The Embraced nonetheless amassed respectable ratings, moderate critical acclaim, and a rabid cult status amongst fans. The brainchild of first time showrunner Dylan Kent, the show bounced between networks before finding an enthusiastic home on CBS. The first episode debuted with a heavy marketing campaign and a strong time slot that normally is reserved for police procedurals or high profile reality shows, exposing it to a larger audience than science fiction or fantasy genre shows normally enjoy. Thus, even in its first season, its demographic combination of nerds, horror fans, and mainstream audiences lured in by the relatively risque and sexualized content for the timeslot made it a success story. However, unfortunate events plagued the show, including bank errors, the death of a main writer, several on-set accidents, and the sudden, unexplained departure of the high profile season director. After a corporate reorganization at CBS, new limits were placed on the show’s content, its timezone was shifted or sometimes preempted, and the cast and crew continued to be stalked by mishap and tragedy. Eventually Kindred was cancelled without finishing its second season, officially due to failing ratings and a high budget, but CBS’ refusal to release the rights for a DVD distribution of either the aired or unaired second season episodes have led many fans to believe that it was a case of personal malice by the network against either the show or its creator. The subsequent disappearance of Dylan Kent and the almost immediate posting of comics continuing the series bearing his signature and a note supposedly written by him assuring fans that they are canon to the series lend credence to this viewpoint. Plot: In the pilot, an unnamed young man lays in bed, naked, beside the equally naked Amy Acker, whom is quickly revealed to be a several hundred year old vampire named Lilith. She tells him that he needs to be sure, and he timidly asks her what it would be like. Through her explanation, we see the potential future of our unnamed hero: rising through the vampire hierarchy, becoming more powerful than he ever thought possible, developing amazing supernatural talents; but also hunting humans for nourishment or sport, being immediately separated from everyone in his life and then watching them age and die, and the pitfalls of the Byzantine politics of the Kindred. After seeing all the options before him, he finally agrees, and the episode ends as her fangs sink into his neck. From there, the series could best be described as Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets The West Wing meets the sexuality of True Blood. After he is turned, Lilith refers to the male protagonist by the derogatory name ‘Spawn,’ and others mostly call him boy, neonate, or follow his Sire’s lead. Established characters include the ruthless female Prince of Los Angeles, the brutish gangrel after her power, his out of town usurper, the leader of the city’s werewolf packs, and a Mehket vampire that becomes an ally and sometimes friend of Lilith and Spawn. The events of the season reach their climax in the 21st episode, where the new leader of the Gangrel Clan has made an alliance with the leader of the Wolves in order to give Wolfkind the city if the Gangrel are giving dominance over vampires. The Prince finds herself surprised, outnumbered, and without the support of many she considered close allies, and all but certainly about to face her final death. However, Lilith and Spawn finally pick their side, arriving just in time to help defend court and defeat the coup. The final episode of the first season focused on the aftermath of the battle; consequences faced by supporting characters for their lack of support, reorganization of the politics of the Kindred, the new powers and privileges accorded to Lilith and her brood, and the introduction of a new player on the supernatural scene. However, the main element of the episode was Lilith and Spawn’s midnight trip to th beach, in which the unresolved sexual tension between the characters is cranked to almost unbearable levels before a relatively sudden end to the series. Due to Acker’s mysterious death, this was never resolved, to the torment of many fans.

Kindred

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