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K-Ville's Voodoo Keeps Viewers Tuning In


Despite being sandwiched in between the season premieres of ABC's Dancing With the Stars and NBC's Heroes, Fox's K-Ville managed to keep viewers tuned in for a second episode.
Fox was smart: instead of making the week of September 24th their season premiere week, the broadcasting company got a head start on the competition by airing the first episode of their new crime drama series a week earlier. And while some viewers may have been less than impressed with K-Ville's introduction onto the primetime scene, those who were willing to return for the second episode would soon learn that K-Ville packs a powerful punch as far as television shows are concerned.

There were several marked differences between the premiere episode and the second. For one thing, the overused references to local cuisine and the thick accents seem to disappear by the second episode, which was a very wise decision for the powers that be to make. Secondly, characters who played very minimal roles during the season premiere were given a chance to shine, so that they didn't seem archetypal or plant-like. Thirdly, what I'm hoping will become a very important female character made her introduction...the first episode contained nothing but testosterone, so her appearance was a welcome sight.

But perhaps the most striking difference between the first and second episodes is that the latter contains something the former was only able to wear as a mask, and that is the city itself. It's one thing to talk about Mardi Gras and the French Quarter, to include pictures of the Mississippi River Bridge sprinkled throughout episodes with the sole intention of creating a setting, but New Orleans, to anyone who's ever lived or even visited there knows, is more than a setting. There is an ambiance about the city that is mysterious, exciting, and even kind of dangerous. Nothing in New Orleans is ever black and white, and the writers of K-Ville used that fact, not only to create plausible storylines, but also as a way to move the city out of the realm of setting and into that of character.

Episode two allows the grayness of New Orleans to occupy a primary role: viewers are confronted with a large degree of complexity on every plot level. We have to wrestle with the possible exposure of Trevor Cobb's possible career ending secret; we are reacquainted with the idea of corruption at all levels of the government; we are asked to justify the intentional escape of a prisoner; and we even get a laugh or two as the hour unfolds over some pretty heavy subject matter.

After finishing the second episode, I kept thinking about the great Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveaux. Legend has it that Marie Laveaux used Voodoo as a means of acquiring wealth and status among both the white and black communities of her time. In fact, her influence over the city was so strong that some people refused to believe she ever died- they would see her daughter, also named Marie, walking down the street and swear they had just seen a ghost. I've always wondered if that made Marie Laveaux an ingenious woman of her time, or a very wicked woman who used religion and superstition to prey on people's fears.

Fans of K-Ville may think the same thing as they walk away from the second episode, but my guess is that they will ultimately come to the same conclusion as I have regarding the Voodoo Queen: ultimately it doesn't matter what judgment we pass on the characters, it's our fascination with them (as with Marie Laveaux) that will keep us coming back to learn more.