Red Right Hand: REVIEW: DEMONS on ITV
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

REVIEW: DEMONS on ITV

More British TV stuff, what say?

So...watched the new supernatural series from ITV, Demons, last night.



That's a mistake I won't be making again.

Rarely does a pilot come along that is just so monstrously stupid that I will immediately swear off any further efforts from the series. Usually, given a premise I find remotely interesting, at worst I'll just put off giving the show another chance by leaving the 2nd episode on the DVR, and then the 3rd, and then the 4th, until there are so many backed up it's clear I'm just not interested enough to care. In this case though, the impression was strong enough. No more.

Not entirely surprised, in retrospect. It comes from the producers behind Hex (which I very much disliked) and the NBC-bound Merlin (didn't care for it that much, but better). They've really set themselves up in the business of supernatural teen series. As such, Life on Mars' Philip Glenister is completely wasted in this show (in which he plays an American, who appears to be such for no other reason than maybe to facilitate selling the series stateside. An American named Rupert? There are no Americans named Rupert. There's a law. USC 24 § 3 § 226. Look it up).

The only good thing, I was going to say, would be the demon design. They did get on my good side in the opening minute by having this weird little gremliny guy with a crazy monocle or something. But that was it. In fact, supernatural character design was very much the nail in the coffin on this. That in a 'mo.

Glensiter's good. He's a good actor. He does a reasonable American accent. He's also exposition guy. He spends a good amount of time explaining the series twist on Stoker-based Dracula mythology, an oh-so original idea in and of itself. Basically, the Van Helsing's were real (Again?) and we're following the descendant, Luke (seems to be the hot TV teen name in UK). He is, unfortunately, the real central character. And he's got a Scooby gang. There's Mina Harker, who's been scrubbing her blood to fight off vampirism. And Ruby, some girl I don't give a shit about. And when she gets kidnapped by the bad guy and Luke goes running to save here, the inspired choice of music is..."Ruby" by the Kaiser Chiefs. How's that for on-the-nose? Together, they're going to fight the half-lives (because we need yet another word to group all monsters under).

Like Hex, it has shades of Buffy. Like Hex, it has none of the style or humor. Well, there's humor, but I don't think it was intended. See, young Luke gets dragged into this life when a vampire bounty hunter with a mad-on for the Van Helsing clan shows up to make trouble. This guy is the nail I spoke of.

First off, his name is Gladiolas Thwip. I'm not sure I would even buy that as the name of an eccentric Venus Flytrap trainer found dead in his own greenhouse on an (unfortunately never to be produced) episode of Pushing Daisies. Seriously? Gladiolas Thwip? Not terribly fearsome, is it?

That's not the worst part. The worst part is that he appears to be a vampire chicken.



Plotwise, it's a by-the-numbers pilot. Just a bad one. Filled with cliche. One of the tip offs should be when the series creators cant be arsed to write their own first episode. It was left to a Pete Tabern (who's, of course, written some Hex).

If this pops up on BBC America, perhaps as a companion piece to ITV's just-fine Primeval...run. Run away.
©2016 Michael Patrick Sullivan