Lost was the series that made me a TV buff when it premiered in 2004 but one of the other shows that firmed up my love of long-form content (especially serialized shows) was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After the first season of Lost ended, I spent the summer consuming a lot of fan favorite shows from the late ’90s and early ’00s and Buffy was one of the first ones I binged. Even with the extremely high-quality shows made today, it would still easily make it onto the list of my top ten TV series of all-time. Forever Knight is about five years older than Buffy (it even predates the movie by a few months) but I’m always on the lookout for some cheesy vampire fun. It was actually a show I had been planning on watching for some time but until this month, I only owned the first two seasons on DVD (the last season is quite rare and pretty pricey on Amazon). I usually like to wait to a watch a show until I own all of the seasons on DVD or Blu-ray so when Mill Creek announced it was releasing the show in a complete series set for the first time ever, I jumped at the chance. The show’s concept reminded me quite a bit of Buffy and Angel, just with a police drama component attached to it. In some ways, I was right (mostly about the campiness of it) but in other ways, Forever Knight is completely different (it’s mainly a cop drama instead of a vampire series). Ultimately, it isn’t a classic like Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it’s a solid enough vampire cop drama.
Forever Knight stars Geraint Wyn Davies as Detective Nick Knight, a Toronto detective who also happens to be an 800-year-old vampire. He has most of the vampire powers you would expect and also almost all of the drawbacks. Like most protagonist vampires in media (Knight is actually one of the first examples of this trope), he regrets his actions in his early life as a bloodsucker and aims to solve crimes to make up for some of his mistakes. He also refuses to drink blood from humans and throughout the series, is attempting to wean himself off vampirism to hopefully become human again. In order to work as a detective, he claims to have a skin disorder that requires him to stay out of the sun. Thus, he works the night shift with his partner Don Schanke and the only person who knows of his condition, medical examiner Natalie Lambert. As a cop drama, episodes involve Knight and Schanke piecing together the crime and ultimately bringing the criminal(s) to justice. Surprisingly, these crimes and criminals are rarely vampire-related (at least early on in the series). Most episodes do involve flashbacks to Nick’s earlier life (dating all the way back to 1228 when he was turned), which usually relate in some way to the case he’s working on in the present day (sometimes these characters even show up in present time). Forever Knight aired for three seasons and seventy episodes across three different networks. Despite being a Canadian show, it aired on CBS for its premiere season before moving to syndication for season two and eventually USA Network for its third and final year.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a lot to talk about in regards to Forever Knight: The Complete Series. It’s a cop show with a vampire who can “fly” (via some of the most hilariously awful effects I’ve seen), has increased speed and strength, immunity to gunshots and other wounds, and so on. However, I wish the supernatural elements of the show other than Nick’s vampire powers were much more prominent. There are other vampires in the show and the cases occasionally involve vampire suspects but this isn’t as big of a deal as I wish it was. I wouldn’t want every case to involve vampires but a few more that do would have been nice. Ultimately, Forever Knight is mostly a cop drama with a very slight vampire aspect to it. Cop shows tend to be very hard to write about, since they are mostly procedural in nature you don’t get over-arching plots or anything like that to be excited for. The quality almost completely depends on each week’s case and I don’t exactly have time to watch or write about all seventy episodes of the series in a few weeks. I will say that most of the cases I watched trend towards the 3/5 range, making them almost completely average. While I haven’t watched all of the episodes, very few would receive less than a 2.5/5 but on the other hand, almost none are better than a 3.5/5 as well. That makes Forever Knight a pretty consistent series, though one that is also mostly unremarkable.
One of the thing that keeps Forever Knight from shining is its rather dull lead character. Nick Knight certainly isn’t a Spike, he isn’t even an Angel when it comes to the entertainment department. He’s just a boring, stereotypical brooding vampire who wants to become human (though to be fair, he does predate most of the other characters that fit that archetype). Thankfully, his police partner Don Schanke (played by John Kapelos) is much more entertaining and provides most of the show’s humor and entertainment (Davies and Kapelos do play off each other quite well). One thing I’m dreading about season three (when I get there) is that Schanke is replaced by a new character who I doubt is as funny or interesting. The show does have its Spike in Knight’s vampire sire LaCroix, unfortunately he isn’t used very often or well early in the series. He mostly shows up in short flashbacks in the beginning before getting a bigger role in seasons two and three.
While all three seasons of Forever Knight have been available on DVD since 2006, this is actually the first time the show has been made available in a complete series set. Unfortunately, while this set is superior in one major and one minor way (it’s a much cheaper way of getting all three seasons and the packaging will take up a smaller footprint in your collection) it’s also inferior in others. The most notable inferiority is the packaging, as once again Mill Creek has gone back to the sleeve-based packaging with their DVD complete series sets. Thankfully the outer box is much sturdier than their older packaging and should help protect the discs much more. However, sleeves do have the tendency to add scratches to at least some of the discs. None of the episodes on my copy have skipped so far but there’s certainly a chance that later discs will have some issues. The video quality is also slightly worse on this release due to compression reasons (though even the original DVDs don’t look very good). It isn’t as compressed as some Mill Creek Entertainment releases, but all seventy episodes fit onto twelve discs in this release (versus sixteen for the original releases). Also of note, the extras included on the season two DVD release (and the much less noteworthy additions on seasons one and three) aren’t included here. Thus, if you already own the three season set releases there’s really no reason to upgrade to the complete series set unless you are very space conscious. While the first two seasons are pretty inexpensive for used copies, the third season is a tricky set to track down and is currently being sold for more than Forever Knight: The Complete Series at the moment of this post’s publication. For those who don’t have all of the seasons and don’t care about the packaging, lack of extras, or slightly worse video quality, Forever Knight: The Complete Series is a much better deal.
Unless you watched it when it aired (I know there are a lot of diehard fans of this series and if I watched it when it aired, I likely would love it just as much as I do Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Forever Knight is one of those solid but completely unremarkable and mostly forgettable ’90s cop dramas. Outside of the boring main character, there isn’t really anything wrong with it but there also isn’t much that stands out. It earns some points for being one of the earlier vampire working for good rather than evil series but that kind of show has been done much better nowadays (with Angel in particular being a very similar and much better show). It also predated all of the unusual profession/creature solves crimes series that are currently populating the broadcast TV schedules. I wish the show would have leaned on its supernatural elements a bit more in the early parts of the series as when it starts focusing on them more in seasons two (and I’m assuming three), the show does get better. Forever Knight is worth watching (especially if you like vampire shows and police dramas) but it isn’t a must-watch. Almost every episode is in the 2.5-3.5/5 range, which is why I am giving it a very average 3/5.
Forever Knight: The Complete Series was released on DVD on July 9, 2019.
Buy Forever Knight: The Complete Series on Amazon: DVD
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Forever Knight: The Complete Series used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.