Four episodes in, and ITV’s [[Demons (TV Series)|Demons]] is still suffering at the hands of poor concept, one-dminesnional cast and yawnsome storylines. I’ve been reading what other viewers have said about the show, and generally opinions are dismal.
One thing upon which we’re all agreed is that the diamond in this turd of a series is Mina Harker, played by Zoe Tapper. Aside from Luke, who is the abnormally good-looking descendent of the original Van Helsing, Mina is the only other link to the original Dracula story. Tapper’s portrayal of the blind lady-vampire isn’t flawless, but compared to her fellow cast members, she’s the best thing the series has going for it.
In Suckers, Mina’s past comes back to haunt her, and we discover the most obvious secret of the series so far – she’s the Mina Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And tapping into that lore, we discover that she has a son who she also made into a vampire in order to get him through the World War. But Quincey is a bit of a nutter, and Galvin insists that he must be smited (or should that be smitten?).
Frank gives praise to episode writer Lucy Watkins for delving into vampire lore (especially since it took this long for a vampire hunter to encounter an actual vampire – four episodes):
Lucy Watkins’ script is half-decent, certainly the best one we’ve had so far, and she finally goes for the one thing that the series has definitely lacked so far; characterisation. And she deals a winning hand by taking the only decent character in the series, Mina Harker, and gives us back story, emotional motivation and positions the woman in a moral limbo. Mina, if you already hadn’t guessed, is the Mina Harker from the Bram Stoker novel and Watkins logically develops the character from the book – she did get infected by Dracula’ blood, she did have a son called Quincey..
At the same time, Watkins rightly receives a fair bit of flack for fundamentally altering the rules of engagement with vampires. Apparently humans can’t kill ’em, which kind of pisses on the graves of young Luke’s ancestors a bit. HeroPress describes the plot as:
dreadfully contrived technobabble about obtaining some of Quincey’s “dead DNA”, somehow charging it with electricity to “bring it back to life”, then coating a bullet with it, so that when he is shot he is “infected” by his own “living DNA”, loses his vampiric traits and ages to his correct age… and dies!
No, I couldn’t really get my head round it either.
And despite my great love for [[Philip Glenister]] in Life On Mars, the character of Rupert Galvin is uninspiring. What is he, a veteran demon-hunter? There’s a ton of different ways to play that type of character – gung-ho and exciting, like a vampire-hunting Indiana Jones. Or maybe more bookish like his Buffy namesake? Perhaps he could be more in touch with the occult and throw out a few incantations in times of crisis?
The biggest problem with Rupert Galvin is that if he’s going to be a teacher to Luke, he needs to be on top of the demons a bit more, and get caught a bit less. I had kind of hoped for a bit of Mr Myagi type, instilling Luke with ancient knowledge and the physical training he needs to succeed. In short, Galvin’s a failure.
I won’t go into Luke and Ruby in great detail – Luke’s just too pretty to be fighting vampires, and Ruby’s a bit too boyish a sidekick to be of interest to the male viewers. That may sound crass, but who watches these types of shows? Mostly guys. So a chisel-jawed hero and a scruffy girl aren’t going to win many points here.
Another thing, the villains are attrocious – as Dan testifies here:
“Suckers” was a relatively decent episode because Mina’s a moderately engaging character, and the episode wasn’t without some merit. It’s just a shame Quincey was so insipid and unthreatening as this week’s villain (something of a recurring problem for the show), and the supposed leads of Galvin and Luke are so tiresome to watch.
The bottom line is, folks, I believe this series was set up to fail. Why? Well, we Sci-Fi viewers are notoriously fickle and hard to please. Why would ITV go to all this trouble to broadcast a series like this – hiring big names, then gluing a ridiculous nose on to Mackenzie Crook, giving Gene Hunt a half-assed American accent and setting up ludicrous plotlines like Ruby dismantling a bomb with seconds to spare.
I just don’t believe ITV bothered to give this to a test audience in advance. If you’d seen a trial screening of Demons, would you have given it a thumbs up? I don’t think so. Having watched it this far, we’re obliged to see how the series ends, but hopes are not high for a second series.