Gone But Not Forgotten
Kindred The Embraced
By Jessica Dwyer
Before TrueBlood, before Twilight and The Vampire Diaries hit screens there was Kindred The Embraced. Kindred was way before its time when it joined the Fox line up back in 1996. It was entertaining, sexy, filled with intrigue and plots and was awesome show that dealt with vampires in a series way.
Kindred was based off the White Wolf games Vampire The Masquerade for the most part, but owed a lot to a pilot/made for TV movie released five years before called Blood Ties…it would even star one of the actors from that film, Patrick Bauchau.
Kindred first aired in April of 1996 and would only last a couple of months before it was cancelled. It wasn’t that the show was getting bad reviews…it was that Fox didn’t know how to market it…and well…we know how Fox was with some beloved genre shows right? And much like it did with Firefly, Fox had episodes of Kindred it didn’t even air so things were out of sequence.
Sadly though it wasn’t just Fox to blame for the series not continuing. There were rumors of a cable network picking it up…but the tragic death of star Mark Frankel at the age of 34 would end the desire to continue.
Kindred followed the Vampire game set-up for the most part…changing some of the attributes of the factions the game introduced to players. The series followed the Prince of San Francisco, Julian Luna (Mark Frankel, returning to Fox after the failed series Fortune Hunter.) Luna is trying to keep the peace between the various clans of vampires in his city…and it’s a constant struggle.
He is aided in this by his right hand Nosferatu, Daedalus (Jeff Kober, who would be cast as various creatures in Buffy as well as joining Sons of Anarchy.) The Brujah in this universe are very mafiaesque and power hungry. They are led by Eddie Fiori (Brian Thompson…another Buffy creature go to actor as well as the alien bounty hunter from The X-Files.)
Things go really wrong for Luna when his niece Sasha (Brigid Walsh) comes to live with him and falls in love with a Gangrel clan member named Cash (Channon Roe, who was also in Buffy.) Things got worse when Sasha is turned by a Brujah without consent.
Lilly (Stacy Haiduk, who actually wound up on TrueBlood) is a Toreador that’s in love with Luna. She’s beautiful of course and a lover of the arts.
The series has its share of humans too. C Thomas Howell plays a cop named Frank who is in love with Julian’s ex Alexandra (Kate Vernon from Battlestar Galactica.) When she outs herself to him as a vampire she signs her own death warrant with the act. This leaves Frank obsessed with the vampires…not knowing his own partner (Erik King…Doakes from Dexter) is one of them.
Luna also falls in love with a human by the name of Caitlin Byrne (Kelly Rutherford from Bricso County Jr.) which is probably the riskiest thing he could do as she’s a reporter. This doesn’t set well with Lilly as you can imagine.
The show had a lot of drama in terms of romance but it also didn’t skimp on the meaty parts of the mythos. It balanced the romance with the bloodthirsty and looked great doing it. I firmly believe that if Kindred had come together on a cable network it would been more popular than TrueBlood and a lot less…whatever TrueBlood became.
It had a great cast and great characters and a solid mythology that it didn’t deviate too far away from (other than that Brujah thing.) The story was intriguing and it was interesting to see Frank and Julian have to help each other with their shared loss of the same woman each of them loved. If the series had been allowed to continue we might have even seen Alexandra return to really make things interesting between them.
Kindred The Embraced has been released on DVD in its entirety twice and even on VHS. You can still get the second release in a special edition on Amazon. The interesting thing is the original DVD release that I own has music taken from Bram Stoker’s Dracula as some of the instrumental pieces.
If you were a fan of TrueBlood or any of the slew of vampire series that have come into being since then, you owe Kindred some love and gratitude. It was one of the first ones to bring vampires to prime time TV on a weekly basis (granted it only lasted eight episodes…but they were great episodes) and it actually starred a bunch of actors would appear in various roles on a little show called Buffy The Vampire Slayer the following year. Give Kindred some thanks, it helped clear the bloody way for the Slayer.
You can follow Jessica at Fan Girl Mag