Rarely does a canceled television program comprised of only 8 episodes receive a deluxe box set. However, such is the case with Kindred: The Embraced. The 1996 television program, loosely based on the roleplaying game ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’, ran on Fox before its quick and ultimate demise. After its cancellation, Showtime was ready to pick up the series and revive it, however, star Mark Frankel passed away in a motorcycle accident, thus stopping further production.
The series followed a detective Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell) who is after Julian Luna (Mark Frankel), a stereotypical 90s mob boss type. Little does Kohanek know, San Francisco is actually home to tons of vampire, which reside in five groups, all combined are called “The Kindred”. Of course, Julian is the prince of the city and the vampires that reside in it. Soon, he and Kohanek have to join forces to keep the city save from a vampire war. It is more or less what you would figure from such a premise, with the struggles of a vampire/human romance, and, for as lacking the time was of such subject matter, it is actually pretty good!
For fans of the show, the new Kindred: The Embraced – The Complete Series box set is going to be thrilling. The 3 disc box set comes packaged in a hard box mimicking a leather bound book, with the inside contents wrapped in parchment complete with a faux stamped wax seal. Inside, there is a replica of the Book of Nod – which is basically the vampire bible. It contains stories and drawings pertaining to the history of the vampires according to their creator, Caine. The Book of Nod has been printed before for use in the role-playing games centered around ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’, but for this set is is the “Special Kindred: The Embraced Edition”. For the detail that has gone into creating this book, applause needs to be given to the creative team that designed it. It, alone, is pretty impressive. Also included is a Kindred Requiem, a letter written by creator John Leekley. The letter is written to fans, though the narrative almost makes it seem as if everything in the series – and Book of Nod – is fact, and again, this is a fun detail that fans will love. The discs themselves are held in a printed cardboard sleeve, with description of each episode included, plus bonus features listed.
The bonus features include various episodes with audio commentaries by creator John Leekley and directors Peter Medak, Ralph Hemecker and James L. Conway. There are recaps, as well, which are helpful if one doesn’t do a marathon viewing. A few episodes also include deleted scenes. The best features are the mini documentaries about the origins and influences of the series. “Vampire the Masquerade: Origins of the Kindred” runs 8 minutes, yet gives a complete history of the basis of the role-playing game. Think of it as cliff notes not only for the game, but for understanding the politics of the series. There is also a two part documentary type feature titled “The Kindred Chronicles”. Running an hour total, the two features are basically a retrospective with interviews of the creators, directors and actors. Crafting the idea for the series, transferring characters to the screen, casting, effects, you name it – it is discussed. Definitely worth watching.
“Daedalus: The Last Will And Testament, The Saga Continues…” is a 13 minute videotape of the character Daedalus basically giving a long speech as the title suggests. If you are into this series on a level of complete immersion, wow! This is going to do it for you. For as cheesy as it is, it is also really cool and believable – and it was produced specifically for the set. Actor Jeff Kober, personally, has never failed to convince me as the character he is playing – and he nails this piece. The quality of the episodes leave a bit to be desired. It was the 90’s and the majority of everything was video quality and full screen, so complaining about the series not looking like a Blu-ray disc is pretty much ridiculous. Remember, it could look like a dub of an EP VHS.
With fancy packaging and satisfying bonus features, Kindred: The Embraced – The Complete Series is a must have for fans.