NBC Summer Preview: Welcome to ‘Midnight, Texas’

Will Midnight, Texas – NBC’s summer supernatural thriller offering – strike True Blood gold twice? Journey to a small Texas town, where the line between the living and dead is thin, vampires aren’t the most dangerous thing on the block and being different makes you one of the family. “Only outsiders fit in” is more than a tagline – it’s the heart of the show.

Charlaine Harris’ bestselling series comes to your television July 25th, taking the 10 pm to 11 pm (EST) slot. The cast includes François Arnaud (The Borgias) as Manfred, Dylan Bruce (Orphan Black) as Bobo, Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries) as Olivia, Sarah Ramos (Parenthood) as Creek, Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage/Jessica Jones) as Fiji, Yul Vazquez (Treme) as Reverend Emilio, Jason Lewis (Charmed) as Joe, and Peter Mensah (Spartacus) as Lemuel. Midnight, Texas promises thrills, chills, romance and a delightful tongue-in-cheek charm all its own.

Executive producers David Janollari and Monica Owusu‑Breen joined the cast at NBC/Universal’s Summer Press Day to share tidbits about the supernatural thriller, and what to expect from the unique world of Midnight, Texas.

The “wild creativity” of Charlaine Harris is on full display – something fans of True Blood will attest do. “Her characters are very three‑dimensional,” offered executive producer Monica Owusu-Breen.  “So they are funny, and they fall in love, and there’s passion…I do like to describe this show as all my favorite things in a blender.  So I think we ride the tones of horror and action and romance and humor, and we don’t shy away from any of them.”

Owusu-Breen and Janollari read the Midnight, Texas trilogy and “fell in love” with the characters. “I wanted to live in Midnight because I loved them all so much. So, for me, there was a desire to make them that charming and witty and funny and engaging.”

A diverse cast strengthens the familiar plot – something sinister exists under the surface of a tiny, sleepy town – as does the dry sense of humor that all the characters seem to possess. Manfred is a congenial con man whose late grandmother gives him advice and directions. Reverend Emilio is all kinds of disturbing at first glance. And that’s before he turns into a weretiger. Town welcome wagon Fiji is a good witch, and a tender spot for the Bobo, who doesn’t seem to see his pining neighbor’s heart eyes.

The show’s secret weapon, though, is a charming CGI cat. “Mr. Snuggly” is a scene-stealer, the “Don Cheadle” of the show, says Dylan Bruce. He’s not wrong. Fiji’s feline companion conjures up some of the biggest laughs of the pilot and you can’t help but hope for more. Much more.

“Only outsiders fit in” hit one of the stars in a deeply personal way. Parisa Fitz-Henley who plays Fiji commented, “I am biracial.  I have one parent from the States, one parent from Jamaica.  I grew up in a town where, if people knew that you were from that town, you got made fun of and called names.  Growing up dealing with issues of race…I always felt not quite right.  I also felt like, as a woman, you know, sometimes our gifts are not welcome in the world.  And reading about Fiji, I was like, “Oh, my God.  I so completely relate to her.”

It wouldn’t be a Charlaine Harris-based project without vampires, and while Lemuel (played by Peter Mensah) is one of the coolest “Undead” residents you’ll meet, there’s so much more going on in this middle-of-nowhere little town. As star François Arnaud – who plays Manfred, the ghost-whisperer – remarked, “Every character brings something different to the table.  We are all wrestling with our inner demons, and it’s about controlling and taming them.”

Literally and figuratively.

Many of the residents have arrived in Midnight, Texas with someone – or something – on their heels. Manfred is the bridge between life and death. And he arrives just in time to help the town handle a murder mystery that threatens to shine unwelcome light on everyone.

Check out the trailer below and put a pin on July 25th when NBC premieres Midnight, Texas. You’ll be drawn into this entertaining and unique show.