Midnight Chronicles (TV, 2009)


This TV pilot for a show that was never made (or was it? I didn’t want to check in case it had), has the dishonourable distinction of being among the worst things I have ever had to review for anyone, anywhere. From Death Ray #20.

2009/12/100mins

FILM: ONE STAR

Director: Christian T. Petersen

Writers: Christian T. Petersen, Greg Benage

Starring: Bonni Allen, Matt Amendt, Chars Bonin, Dawn Brodey, Sha Cage

The TV pilot of the roleplaying game! We are almost asleep with excitement…

Midnight Chronicles is based on the roleplaying game Midnight, standard D&D knock-off (using, like many games these days, D&D’s license-free D20 gaming system) with one big difference to the usual setting – in the fantasy world of Aryth, the local Dark Lord has actually won. Both game and film depict a land in the thrall of evil.

There is absolutely nothing else notable about this straight-to-disc exercise, other than the question, how on earth did they manage to make something so amateurish with such a massive crew? The script is an endless procession of conversations conducted in faux Olde Worlde English, delivered by a collection of miserable looking thesps who look like they all went to the same class, entitled “To sneer, it to ACT!”. Not only does everyone thus sound alike, it’s all quite annoyingly arch.

And by whatever the dark lord is called, it is tedious. Two sloppy fight sequences are our meagre ration of action. There’s no humour, drive, no pizzazz of any kind at all. There’s more incident in a Mister Man book.

If only all involved weren’t taking it so terribly seriously, because it looks good (for a TV pilot – I doubt we’ll ever see a series). Good costumes, nice sets and locations show the real effort put in to conjure up a fantasy world, one with far more weight to it than that in, say, the recent Legend of the Seeker.

But the story drags like a millstone round a swimmer’s neck, a not particularly strong swimmer at that. Frankly, I’d rather stab needles into my feet than watch this again. A squandered chance to make a fantasy show, one to be endured on fast-forward only.

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