There’s a new supernatural series on the block in the US and it’s sure to make waves, although there’s a lot of exposition to burn through in order to get to the good stuff.
Let’s break it down…Lost Girl is a Canadian supernatural drama making its big debut south of the border tonight on Syfy (it’s currently 2/3 of the way through its second season on Showcase in Canada). The show stars Being Erica‘s Anna Silk as Bo, a drifter on the run from a series of murders she commits by sucking the energy from her victims during romantic moments. The pilot has to work doubletime to establish the somewhat complicated nature of the series: hidden amongst the human world are Fae, described as creatures that are part of an “evolutionary branch that pre-dates humans”. Not unlike our two US fairytale shows this year (Once Upon A Time and Grimm), Lost Girl trades on viewer’s familiarity (and fascination) with different monsters and supernatural tropes, but since it presents these folks as an entire species, the diversity is endless.
Interestingly we learn about mid-way through the episode that all Fae are split into two factions: light and dark. It’s made very clear that one side is not better than the other; they simply embrace different philosophies that would lead us to believe that the light is more traditionally “good” while the dark is more traditionally “bad” (viewers who are caught up know that this isn’t always the case, though). Bo is different: she has no allegiance to either side and refuses to pick. This is due partially to her stubborn attitude, but also because she does not understand the rules of the world she’s suddenly thrust in. See Bo is an orphan, unaware of her parents or the Fae world to whom she now belongs. She simply always thought she was different: “a freak” she tells her new human friend, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo).
The pilot is a decent introduction to the series. In addition to Kenzi, we open on a scene that demonstrates Bo’s succubus powers, and meet hunky police officer Dyson (Kris Holden-Reid) with whom Bo strikes up an immediate attraction. Other important characters include secretive bar owner Trick (Richard Howland), sexy light fae doctor Lauren (Zoie Palmer) and the representatives for the light and dark side (Ash and the Morrigan, respectively). Aside from the exposition and character introduction, Bo is put through a gladiator trial by fire in which she must defeat two villains in order to survive. Ultimately she does (no big surprise considering it’s the first episode), but her need for Dyson’s strength and Kenzi’s support suggests that she’s stronger when she allows others to help her.
Although Lost Girl is a very different type of show from Being Erica (on which Silk played a similar sexual creature: the main character’s lesbian crush), there are a surprising number of similarities. On initial viewing, each seems cheesy and a little simple (believe in yourself; break down walls and let others in, etc), but the acting, solid writing and familiar yet unconventional premise helps to distinguish them. ‘It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World” pulls off the challenging trick of introducing an entire world of characters and mythologies. Although it can often seem a little clunky dragging Bo from interaction to interaction, at the end of the hour as she and Kenzi walk off together, it feels like the start of a very interesting journey. One that I’m more than willing to follow along on…
- Bo’s leather costuming takes a little bit of getting used to. To a certain extent the show is simply reinforcing the fact that the character is a sexual being, but there are other times that it feels as though it’s exploitative (ie: the examination with Lauren when the camera lingers on her as she puts her bra back on). We get it: Anna Silk is hot. Now let the poor girl act!
- Proof positive that special effects can be subtle and still effective: Bo’s use of her powers to manipulate people into doing as she requests. Convenient plot point? Sure, but it’s never gratuitously used at the expense of good storytelling. It serves to remind us that Bo is incredibly powerful, dangerous and explains how she survived so long on her own (less clear is how she keeps getting bartending gigs considering she eats the customers).
- Dyson and Bo have a very primal sexual chemistry. This seems obvious (duh – he is a wolf!), but I sometimes forget that he’s not still the hot gay from season one of The Tudors. Le sigh…
- Best line of the night: Bo (threateningly to Kenzi): “That depends…do you like milkshakes?”
- Speaking of Kenzi: If you found yourself annoyed by her, give it another week or two. Ksenia Solo’s comic line delivery is often the best part of a given episode, and she grows on you (like fungus!)