Many elements of NBC’s new supernatural thriller series Midnight, Texas will be familiar to fans of HBO’s True Blood. The vampy, southern gothic mood, the misfit characters, the camp, and the usual complement of supernatural characters including werewolves, vampires, psychics, angels, ghosts and witches.
That’s because both series are based on novels by New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. HBO adapted her Southern Vampire Mysteries series for the massively successful True Blood and now NBC is doing the same with her Midnight, Texas trilogy.
The series follows the strange happenings in the remote town of Midnight, Texas, a mysterious safe haven that attracts an unusual element of strange characters and mythic creatures.
“One of the great things about her books is that she’s got these characters that are endlessly fascinating,” said executive producer Monica Owusu-Breen at New York Comic-Con on Saturday. Owusu-Breen, the producer behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Alias and Brothers & Sisters, said one of the attractions of Harris’ work is that she turns a lot of the traditional tropes of the supernatural universe on its head.
“In Charliene’s world she doesn’t give you anything as simple as a werewolf,” Owusu-Breen said, revealing that one character, rather than a werewolf, turns out to be a “were-tiger.”
Peter Mensah, who played a vampire in True Blood, reprises the role this time as Lemuel, whom the actor described as a different breed of vampire.
“It’s a vampire, but it’s not like a vampire I’ve ever played. This is an odd man, who’s seen a lot of odd things happen and has found a community who cares for him,” Mensah shared with the Comic-Con audience.
But despite the show’s fantastical elements, Owusu-Breen said that, at heart, Midnight, Texas is a small-town story.
“The books have a lovely sort of small town pace which I love,” she told the NYCC audience. “The characters of Midnight, Texas are diverse…it was a metaphor for a community of people who feel out of place in the outside world but they nonetheless care about each other and have each other’s backs.”
The protagonist, Manfred Bernardo (The Borgias’ Francois Arnaud), is a psychic who arrives in Midnight running from a troubled past.
“I think he moves to Midnight, it’s sort of a desperate move, he doesn’t see any other way,” Arnaud shared with the Comic-Con audience. “At first I don’t think he really understands what he’s doing there, and then over time he realizes it’s not just a coincidence,” Arnaud added.
For the actors, the challenge was to keep their supernatural characters grounded and relatable.
“Our job is to find the humanity in whoever we’re playing,” said Mensah. “Hopefully you’ll fall in love with them the way we have.”
Midnight, Texas is scheduled for a mid-season premiere on NBC.