For some reason, ABC thought it would be a good idea to put its mediocre vampire show on the same night that HBO premiers new episodes of its excellent vampire show. This invites comparisons and I am never one to turn down an invitation which isn't at all true but let's move on anyway.
The Gates isn't actually a vampire show. Oh sure, there are vampires but there are also werewolves and witches. Maybe they thought, "True Blood is about vampires. If we toss in werewolves and witches, that means we'll be three times as good as they are." Even if I wasn't being facetious and they'd actually said that, True Blood had a witch last season and werewolves this season and their werewolves are already far more interesting than the boy band wolf pack in The Gates.
The pilot episode opens in a large gated community called, of course, the Gates. Rhona Mitra (the only actor in this show I recognize) plays Claire Radcliff, a housewife who sees her daughter almost get mowed down when she runs out in front of a contractor's pickup truck. The driver has the poor judgment to allow Claire to nurse the cuts he received in the accident as it turns out she's a vampire who kills the guy in a fit of bloodlust. We find out later that Claire is a stereotypical suburban housewife who is bored with her life but she deals with that by brutally murdering people instead of seducing 18 year old pool boys named Arturo. Oddly, she seems to have a conscience and contempt for her unnatural existence whereas her vampire husband, who murders no one, does not.
We also meet the Monohan family, people who pulled up stakes and moved to the Gates without ever visiting it when Daddy Monohan, a guy named Nick, took a job as police chief. Mom gets to know their new neighbor Claire when she brings over a lasagna. Nick gets to know Claire when he investigates her for the disappearance of the contractor. Nick shows us all he's completely unqualified for the job when, after his request for a search warrant is rejected, he breaks into the Radcliff home anyway and manages to get caught.
Meanwhile, the Monahan's eldest child, Charlie, enters the local high school and immediately shows us that he's one of those guys who is good looking enough to get any girl he wants but also sensitive and intelligent enough to immediately join in his literature class's discussion on the works of Flannery O'Connor. In a show about vampires and werewolves, Charlie is the least likely of any of these characters to actually exist.
Speaking of werewolves, it turns out every jocky douchenozzle boy in school is part of a werewolf pack. The Gates also has not one but two witches living in it, one of whom sells tea...BUT IT'S EVIL TEA and no, I didn't make that up. It seems that the philosophy behind establishing the Gates was, "Let's get all the dangerous supernatural creatures together in one spot. What could possibly go wrong?"
The Gates, sadly, was as dull in real life as its characters perceived it to be in the show. It wasn't all that bad but why would I watch this when I can watch True Blood? "But Mike," you say, "you have DVR now. You can watch both." Okay then, why would I watch The Gates when I could stare at a wall and be more entertained? No snappy comeback for that, eh Mr. Strawman?