Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Sublime and the Ridiculous

The small screen currently has two offerings in the 'urban fantasy' slot for me to watch and obsess over and wow, they couldn't be more different. Well, thinking of their heritage, yes they could. ITV has the Saturday early evening offering of 'Demons' and BBC3 has the Sunday night offering of 'Being Human'.

Demons is a sort of British version of Buffy but far less coherent. You have Luke Van Helsing (in all of this, no I am not making it up), the last of the Van Helsing line and a fit young lad to boot. He is destined to fight 'half lives' (ie. demons) alongside Galvin, played by that Glennister guy from Life on Mars and assisted by his possible love piece, Ruby (cocky, arrogant young student, good for getting into scrapes) and Mina Harker. Yes, THAT Mina Harker. They have a massive library under London, guns which shoot mojo which 'smites' (ie. dusts) these half-lives (who come in teeth-grating 'Type 4' and 'Type 12' varieties. Glennister's American accent as Galvin is awful, the action is meh, the special effects are ... meh, the story is ... meh. It is a massive pile of meh actually. I'm waiting to see whether it comes to anything but I doubt it. It also suffers from the need to slip in modern music on occassion as a backdrop to some action - which made the adding of 'Ruby' by the Kaiser Chiefs alongside the first appearance of ... you've guessed it, Ruby, mind-slappingly bad. Somewhere, deep down under all of the unnecessary dross, there is a show struggling to get out. Unfortunately, that show has already been made. Luke=Buffy, Galvin=Giles, Mina=Willow, Ruby=Xander. Hell, Luke even has a mother who is totally oblivious as to what is going on. I bet she dies of a brain-whatsit!

On the other hand, Being Human was wonderful. This show started as one of a slew of try-out shows ran on BBC3 and it got such a following that it was commissioned. The basic concept is that a recovering Vampire, a reluctant Werewolf and an agrophobic ghost all share the same house in Bristol, trying to 'be human' despite their supernatural realities.

The first episode was packed with story. Just brimming with it. Sometimes it was even a little hard to keep up. The Vampires want to take over the world, people are dying and coming back to life, werewolves are changing, ghosts are having moments and relapses and ... it was great. What made it special was that it mixed horror, action, thriller and humour together in a well blended mix. Take the scene where the werewolf is trying to find somewhere to hide in the woods to change but discovers all manner of woodland activity (camping, snogging, dogging etc) getting in his way, so much so that it frightens HIM. Brilliant. And - take a note, ITV - even though they slipped in the modern music accompaniment, a bit of the Arctic Monkeys actually worked. This is quality stuff and had me and Christine glued to the TV for an hour with barely a word passing between us. Its on BBC iplayer and I highly recommend it.

Leave watching Demons to me. If it gets good, I'll let you know!


Fandomlife said...

Damn a comparison of those two shows is a good blog entry, surprised I missed that one.

Though it could be because I totally wiped demons from my memory!

Anonymous said...

Being Human sems ok, not blown away, but certainly seems to have the possiblity of having legs, and I'll be keeping track of the next few weeks episodes to seem if it engages me more.

Demons? It's an ITV attempt at sci-fi. I gave up a long time ago on that horse.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and just to make me a liar, I caught the tail end of "No Heroics" last night on ITV and it was very funny in parts.