Come October 22, the short-lived by well-remembered attempt to turn White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade into a television series arrives in stores. But not simply a collection of DVDs containing all the episodes. No, this comprises something more special!
Kindred: The Embraced ran for eight episodes in 1996. Based on the gothic-punk game of “personal horror” the series turned out a lot less horrific than its source material (little surprise given Aaron Spelling produced). It even began with a fight between vampires atop a rooftop in San Francisco, in broad daylight. Many essential concepts from the role playing game simply vanished, although given time lots of the more disturbing ones (the Jyhad, Gehenna, Methuselahs, the Sabbat) might have made their way onscreen. As it was, we only initially met five of the so-called “core seven” Clans of the undead–Ventrue (politicians), Toreador (artists), Brujah (rebels), Gangrel (natural fighters) and Nosferatu (deformed loners).
The program followed an ensemble of characters, at least initially focusing on a police detective Frank Kohanek (C.Thomas Howell) who learned vampires were real after falling in love with one, who was soon destroyed by the other Kindred (as they called themselves). Yet she extracted a promise from her former paramour, the city’s vampire Prince Julian Luna (the late Mark Frankell) to protect Kohanek. At the same time Luna himself began falling for a human journalist (Kelly Rutherford), inspiring jealousy from Lily Langtry (Stacy Haiduk) leader of the city’s Toreador.
The show had a very large cast, which led to fans focusing on favorite characters. My own fave was Sasha (Brigit Walsh, who later appeared on Angel), a human girl who fell for Julian’s enforcer, the Gangrel Cash (Channon Roe). But then the rival Brujah embraced her, forcing her membership into their ‘clan.’ It had the makings of a genuine Romeo-and-Juliet kind of plot, especially if the series had gotten around to dealing more with the inherent differences between clans. The source material noted how Brujah had the least self-control of all vampires, too easily losing control of their tempers or hunger. Gangrel, on the other hand, possessed the power of shape-shifting, but at a price. Over time they become gradually more animalistic in appearance.
For whatever reason, Kindred: The Embraced lasted a mere eight episodes. Yet, like other vampire series with genuine attempts at story and character (such as Forever Knight and Moonlight) it continues to gather fans.
The new DVD set contains over an hour of special features, including “Daedalus – Last Will and Testament,” featuring Jeff Kober (who played Nosferatu leader Daedalus) and the original series special effects make-up designer, Todd Masters, once again applying the character’s makeup. He then gives a special video message as his character revealing new details on the Kindred mythology and closing the story of the original Vampire saga.
Additionally, the collection includes an exclusive edition of THE BOOK OF NOD, the sacred vampire text in the original game (according to it, the very first vampire was Caine cast out by God and whose “offspring” ultimately founded the thirteen clans before the Flood).
There’ll also be a two-part 15th anniversary retrospective, “The Kindred Chronicles,” featuring series creator John Leekley, an audio commentary, some deleted scenes and more. CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution announced the new package of episodes and special features becomes available October 22, 2013, just in time for Halloween.