Normally I'm a sucker for a good bloodsucker, but I've seen paper cuts go deeper than Blade
(Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET on Spike TV), the toothless new TV version of the comic-book-turned-film franchise about a hip-hop, Harley-riding, half-breed vampire who's bad news for his more evil brethren.
Where Buffy the Vampire Slayer took a mediocre film and elevated it to TV art, Blade doesn't even try to improve on the loud, flashily hollow movies. It's just more of the same martial artlessness. I kept expecting to see Batman-style OOF! BAM! graphics on screen.
"Sun's down. Time to make some friends," mutters Blade (Over There's Kirk "Sticky" Jones) in one of his many monotonal, guttural quips that pass for dialogue, as he trudges about his business. Tricked out in a leather duster equipped with an arsenal that includes, naturally, a big bad blade, he leaps, shoots and kicks through some clumsy fight sequences as he reduces his demonic foes to ash (which, in an interesting twist, is sold on the street as a new designer drug).
Vampirism as addiction — there's an entire human subculture of wannabes and groupies — could be a compelling pretext for a dark allegory. But Blade too quickly settles in as a standard revenge thriller. It pits Blade against the suave head of the sinister House of Chthon (whatever that is, besides ripping off H.P. Lovecraft), with the help of tough-gal sidekick Krista Starr (Jill Wagner), a former Army sergeant who gets more than she bargained for as she dabbles in the underworld.
Fangs, but no thanks.
Silly in Philly
There are no grown-ups in the politically incorrect world of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Thursdays at 10 pm/ET, FX), a brazenly funny, mean-spirited romp about four young, selfish hedonists who'll scam and insult anyone who gets in the way of their pursuit of pleasure. As the second season begins, enter Danny DeVito as the dad of siblings Dennis and Dee. Admiring their grungy moral squalor as he divorces his shrewish wife (Anne Archer), he declares, "I want to be pathetic and desperate and ugly and hopeless." Darned if he doesn't fit right in.