Give me a Satuday evening dose of fantasy or Sci-Fi like [[Demons (TV Series)|Demons]], and I can’t resist. And I’ll give them all a chance – I even watched complete stinkers like Primeval and Robin Hood. On the flipside, Doctor Who and Merlin have thoroughly impressed me, steeped in BBCs pedigree of family-friendly programming.
But ITV haven’t got the same success story to tell, have they? With Demons, they definitely inch closer to winning the war over Saturday night drama. Demons is closer in spirit to Buffy The Vampire Slayer than perhaps the producers dared to dream.
Unlike Merlin and Robin Hood, the show isn’t limited by a medieval setting, despite resurrecting Mina Harker and the wonderful Richard Wilson for a cameo as a zombie monk. You’ve got a modern hero in the form of Luke *cough* Van Helsing – yes, a direct descendant of the Van Helsing who battled Vlad The Impaler. You’ve also got his not-girlfriend, Ruby (a blatant excuse to play Kaiser Chiefs songs), who is unbothered by his newfound vocation as demon-slayer and tags along to help from time to time.
And let’s not forget the original Manc Lion, the Gene Genie, who’s decided to play his role as Luke’s mentor as a wanky American type – Phillip Glenister as Rupert Galvin. He plays the Rupert Giles (oh – two Ruperts, is that a co-incidence?) of Demons, with the weapons to take out the bad guys, and the encyclopedic knowledge and classification of the monsters that roam the streets of London. Great cast. Brlliant cast.
The storylines – well, by unhappy coincidence, I caught an episode of Torchwood the other day where Cap’n Jack and the gang were hunting down some malevolent ‘angels’ who were really demons. And then the most recent episode of Demons, [[The Whole Enchilada (Demons episode)|The Whole Enchilada]] rolls out a similar story of child abduction by foul spirits…
All the same, they tackled the plot with gusto and came out with some clever stuff – like Ruby’s brother activating the orb of whatsitsname and getting the scent on his cap, thus making him a target for the demon Gilgamel. Where this particular episode triumphed was in having Luke trying to live a normal life – with driving lessons and tests – mixed in with hunting down a demon in the middle of London.
As a series, Demons, with its strangely upbeat theme tune, and its mix of normal person dragged into bizarre as hell situation, is on track for greatness. It’s got a great cast, although I had my reservations about Christian Cooke in the lead role. But although he’s pretty, he’s a fine actor in this role. My one gripe is that 6 episodes is just too few to get to know these characters.
We had a dire warning about not trusting Rupert Galvin from Simeon. Mina had a brief flirtation with Luke – might that work out, or will he take the conventional route and hook up with Ruby? And will we find out more about Mina’s past and how she – and Simeon – are surviving in the present day?
Bottom line: Demons had all the makings of a great series. As my teenage brother in law asked me when we watched it at the weekend – how does it compare to Merlin (which I loved)? Favourably.