‘Kindred: The Embraced'
Crime families meet supernatural mystery in “Kindred: The Embraced,” a 1996 TV series that has been released in a new edition on DVD.
The eight-episode series was a short-lived vampire series on Fox, where it was produced by Spelling Television. The show has a hint of “Melrose Place” with vampires while also recalling Mafia-influenced dramas.
In “Kindred,” Julian Luna (Mark Frankel) is the prince — think “Godfather” — of five clans of vampires that operate out of San Francisco and control several criminal organizations and rackets. C. Thomas Howell (“The Outsiders”) starred as Frank Kohanek, a police detective who learns of the existence of vampires.
The vampires survive via “The Masquerade,” a set of laws and customs that govern their life among humanity, keeping their true natures a secret. Political infighting and disputes among the clan make for compelling storylines in “Kindred.”
The Kindred don't necessarily need to kill humans, but in order to maintain their strength and ability to walk about in the day, the vampires must periodically feed on small amounts of human blood.
The show also starred Stacy Haiduk (“Superboy”), Erik King, Patrick Bauchau, Brigid Brannagh (as Brigid Walsh), Channon Roe and Jeff Kober.
The show was based on the White Wolf role-playing game “Vampire: The Masquerade,” though the show took several liberties from the source material.
The series aimed for a mix of sex and danger that might have had a better chance on a cable network. Internet reports say Showtime was interested in the show after its cancellation, but the untimely death of star Frankel in a motorcycle accident ended that possibility. The show was ahead of its time, as shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “True Blood” have since mined similar modern vampire territory.
The new DVD set includes several extras, including a letter from the show's creator, John Leekley; audio commentaries; deleted scenes; and a copy of the Book of Nod, a the guide to the founding myths of the Great Clans of the game Vampire: The Masquerade.
— Matthew Price