Episode 1: “Night Zero”
Written by Dan Tomasik
A plane of dead passengers, an ominous coffin, a mysterious group of non-human gentlemen, and an outbreak like nothing ever seen before.
Summary (Warning: Spoilers Ahead):
A plane filled with passengers prepares to land at JFK airport, when one of the stewards hears a sound coming from the cargo bay. A fellow stewardess opens the door and finds nothing, only for a truly monstrous creature to force its way through the locked door moments later. Points for avoiding the cliché of attacking the doubter as they stood over the open door saying “See? Told you it was nothing”. Points also for an alpha vampire that is not small, skinny, sparkly, or sapien (Homo or otherwise). Whatever this thing is, it was never human.
The plane lands but goes dead. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) investigation by epidemiologist (yes, I had to look that word up) Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather reveals every passenger to be dead. No struggle. No signs of contagion. No explanation. UV lights reveal mysterious marks all over the cabin, but what it means is a mystery. Four survivors appear among the passengers, but once again the easy route for getting to scares and bloody murders is avoided. Worry not, squeamish viewers, they will come in due time.
Elsewhere, a group of mysterious Gentlemen Who Blink Wrong vaguely discuss their diabolical plan. Only one among them is clearly a monster, as evidenced by his lack of visible breath, which leads to questions regarding the motives for the others. There is definitely a lot of explaining that needs to be done regarding the Stonewell group.
A lowly pawn broker known for taking silver, no matter where it comes from, deals with a pair of hoodlums before recognizing the impending threat. He retreats into an epic laboratory filled with weapons, memories, and a vintage Del Toro display box featuring a heart. A heart that pumps on its own and feeds on blood. If this guy is going to be our Gabriel Van Helsing, we are in good hands. The guy carries a silver cane with a sword inside and can kill you just by stabbing you in the wrist; that’s wicked. He warns Eph that the dead must be destroyed, but as insightful as he is to this strange case, the CDC can’t just take orders from strange old men who walk in off the streets with swords in their canes. If only, if only.
Eph and the CDC try to figure out more as the Stonewall group put the next part of their plan into action, using several individuals in deep with them to get the coffin of the Beast over the bridge to New York City. Elsewhere, the dead passengers begin to rise in one of the most disturbing displays of any vampire story, anywhere. Two dozen bodies, partially autopsied; skin cut open, guts hanging out, wrong in so many ways. All gathered around a poor coroner who just wanted to listen to his Neil Diamond while cutting up people in peace.
Ending the pilot is a disturbing promise of what is to come. Centralized around the theme of man’s endless thirst to love and be loved, the deadly beloved seek out those they cared for in life. The coffin and Beast are across the bridge, and all Hell will soon break loose in New York City.
Yes. Very. Old man with knife pressed against wrist telling him the way he will bleed to death before his buddy can pull a trigger. Bloody puddles surrounding the Beast, who bites, drains, kills, then smashes in the head of his victim. The half-autopsied inhabitants of a mortuary devour the mortician.
A few shocks here and there, lot of content that will upset stomaches. The most obvious outcomes are avoided, but there are still a fair number that can be predicted. The Beast is 9ft tall, cloaked, nasty, has a 2ft long tongue/stinger, monster hands meant for smashing bone, and can move faster than you could ever hope to react. If you see it, you are already dead. The aggressive worms featured in the promos appear a few times, in one case being pulled out of someone’s wrists with pliers, but it’s expected more of them will be seen next episode. Anyone uncomfortable seeing guts, stitches, and exposed entrails should avoid the mortuary scene. Last but not least, a grieving father is visited by his dead little girl, who is “very cold”.
The Beast appears, attacks, drains, kills, and then smashes in the skull of a victim before flying away.
WIBTOVE (Why It’s Better Than Other Vampire Entertainment):
The Beast makes every other vampire of the last decade look like a cheap Halloween costume.
Overall Score: 7.5/10