Spike TV gets into the original drama business with “Blade: The Series,” based on the vampire-hunter movies starring Wesley Snipes (which are based on a character from Marvel Comics). Rapper-actor Kirk “Sticky” Jones puts on Snipes’ dark glasses here; he is wider and less lithe than his predecessor, but quite as adept at deleting the undead.
Blade doesn’t say much, or seem to be having any fun at all. But he does have a certain sort of retro glamour, probably not out of line with the Spike demographic. (With his leathers, and big motorcycle and tattoo, he would not be out of place on something like “American Chopper” or one of those bounty-hunter reality shows.) He’s a vampire with principles — only half a vampire, actually — and has set himself against his amoral brethren.
“Blade: The Series” is pretty good as these things go. David Goyer, who wrote the “Blade” movies, as well as “Batman Begins,” is the series’ executive producer, so there’s some quality control; held over from the movies are the vampire-wannabes, the crooked cops, the scientific search for an improved vampire — in this case, a cure for garlic.
The action is active and the suspense fairly suspenseful. It generally plays by the rules of the form — including the Spike-friendly lesbian overtones and Frederick’s of Transylvania nightwear for the women — and there are obvious setups and scenes whose end is clearly written in their beginning. But it is not without surprises, or at least questions that remain open for quite a while.
The rest of the regular cast includes Neil Jackson as not-quite-head vampire Marcus — he reports to an unseen board of directors — who, as if he didn’t have enough on his pale dead hands already, is campaigning to save the architectural landmarks of Detroit, where the series is set.
Marcus has his eyes set on Krista (Jill Wagner), a beautiful Iraq war vet who falls afoul of him while trying to find the dirty rat who killed her brother, but I think Blade likes her, too. Vampiress Chase (Jessica Gower) is in there as well. (I smell trouble.) And Nelson Lee as Shen, Blade’s techie assistant, doesn’t get a girlfriend, just gadgets.
“Blade: The Series” airs 10 p.m. today on Spike TV.