Recently I re-watched all three seasons of The Lair, blasting through 28 episodes, and a couple of things struck me. First off it’s sad the series was left with a cliffhanger that was never resolved. Second, it’s too bad the show didn’t stick to what made it good, vampires.
As with many television shows these days, as the show gets going, the writers ruin the program with needless werewolves, witches and various demons or killer plants. The amount of werewolf action in The Vampire Diaries tv series is far more than the original novels. I can’t speak for the Sookie Stackhouse books that lead to True Blood about its ‘other’ content, but I can’t fault Being Human as the premise has always been the vampire/werewolf/ghost combo. In The Lair’s first season, those six episodes set the tone really well and in the beginning it was all about the vampires. Then in the second season it all went down hill, introducing a werewolf and a killer plant. Finally in the last season we saw even less of the vampires even with 13 episodes.
I was re-reading an article in Unzipped quoting The Lair’s creator Fred Olen Ray where he talks about the shows formula and endings. When seasons were on, new episodes appeared sporadically on premium cable service HereTV (probably to keep subscribers paying longer). “We always leave each episode with a cliffhanger. That way people will come back for more,” Ray said. Of course I’d argue that a good story mixed with good acting that creates a compelling show worth watching is what brings people back. In many ways replaying scenes from previous episodes to catch viewers up made sense given the unknown time between episodes, but along with the long opening titles and next episode preview, each programme was well below 20 minutes. I keep wanting to cut them together to make one long movie without the repeating bits.
The cliffhangers were not only annoying for cutting into valuable storytelling time but left the show with two unanswered questions, one I really want answered. Spoiler: in the last episode Thom is shot and Damian becomes a vampire again, but as his painting was stabbed, he might have been dying. On the other side of town, Sheriff Trout finally discovers the person who’s been haunting him all season, his former roommate Dennis, missing for several years, now back and a vampire. Spoiler over. It’s that particular bombshell that I want answered, but considering the time that’s passed, we’re not likely to see The Lair return (even as a one-off movie) as the actors will have scattered by now.
The Lair had other problems, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect. Of course I expect more out of gay dramas, but there’s no reason to be mediocre. Some of the acting wasn’t perfect. But aside from the distracting sub-plots with werewolves, killer plants and a male medusa, we just never had much of the vampires. Damian was a bit boring, Colin was killed off then brought back which was a waste, and worst of all after Jonathan turned out to have become a vampire he was killed off. Jonathan’s slaying was totally stupid when he was the hottest vampire on the show and it seemed to come so unexpectedly in one episode and was unnecessary unless they were trying to cut the show’s budget. Argh.
Three years after it wrapped, The Lair still leaves me disappointed and unfulfilled. There was so much potential in the show, but in the end like so many shows it ended one season leaving viewers in suspense never to be resolved.