Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I know I've tried watching it before. I think. I thought I'd even started with the first episodes when they replayed on Syfy once, but they're not looking familiar. Maybe I got the first episodes of season two -- or maybe something completely different.

It's the concept.

Paranormals (Abnormals, they call them) in today's world. It seems like something I SHOULD like. So, when I noticed it on Netflix Instant, I tried again. I watched 1 and 2 (parts 1 and 2 of the pilot, maybe?), and I'm finding myself frustrated over little things.

"Why am I getting so bothered over the small stuff," I ask myself, followed quickly by, "Why couldn't they make the little things more believable so I could have an easier time with my 'suspension of disbelief' for the big things?"

See, it starts with cops (police officers? bobbies? I'm not sure what nationality we're in, in the beginning) knocking on a door about a disturbance and the woman saying, no, everything's alright now. Then you won't mind if we come in, says the police officer. Just a minute, she says, pushing the door closed, as if she's going to undo the chain latch -- and the police kick the door open!


Please, no, the woman cries standing in the doorway, but he walks by her -- into her apartment, without her permission, while she tried to block his path. Isn't that called breaking and entering?

WTH, number two. Already. This is all followed up by a demand that she open another door, inside, that has it's own lock. Then they find a dead body and a blood splattered boy under the bed. White police officer bends down, trying to coax the boy out, gently, with maybe three repetitions of 'Come on, take my hand, I'll help you, I'm here to help' before he yells at the child something along the lines of Do It Now or I Mean It.

Really? When did cops start yelling at traumatized children?

Then we move on to something and something else, but the next part that had me twitching was where the car runs our main guy down in an alley. Where he goes unconscious and wakes up on a hospital bed -- in an empty hallway -- gets up and apparently goes straight back to work. No worries that he apparently got hit hard enough to go unconscious for at least an hour (between transportation and checking in and paperwork, it seems like it would have to be).

When I growl or whimper (some sound of distress) Husband suggests maybe it's proof that Britain's socialized medicine isn't as good as people say. Maybe that's what they do over there. I question the British-ness of the show, because I thought it was a Syfy original and the accents aren't right -- looking it up, it's apparently filmed in Canada -- at least originally -- but still! Isn't anybody worried about someone being knocked out for that long? It seems like that would be a bad thing! Something about head trauma and brain damage, maybe?

Then, at some point, they capture the child, who did kill the three people so far -- the old man from the apartment and the two cops, but I'm not sure the cops didn't deserve it something serious, unless the Canadians allow that kind of behavior and warrants aren't necessary there to force their way into someone's home there. But they question the kid and the behavioral psychologist (twitch again) figures out in seconds that the mutation on the boy attacks people who are afraid of him.

And then says it's ok, it's a survival/defense mechanism and not his fault at all.

Ummmm, no. It's a defense mechanism if it attacks violent or angry people or even people HE is afraid of. Attacking other frightened people is called bullying.

Then blonde fighter girl is getting her a$$ seriously kicked in a fight and bad guy takes away her gun -- so she adopts an attack posture and suggests they move to hand to hand and fight for real. Apparently in her world punching someone is more real than shooting at them?????

And these weren't all my problems. Somewhere in there it mentions the psychologist guy getting picked on/laughed at as a child because his mother was killed in front of him at age 8 and he said a monster did it. What the hell kind of cruel society do these people live in that they'll laugh at a kid who thinks a monster killed his mother-- who has actually been murdered? I don't care if it's full-blood human. Killing someone is enough, but killing a mom in front of her eight year old? It is a monster. Laughing at an eight year old kid whose mother was killed in front of him? Monsters there too.

Between that and the non-stop dialogue-based infodumps, I've been seriously struggling. Oh, and scientist lady says sanctuary isn't a zoo or a prison -- after she's taken psychologist through a big room where they looked through giant glass walls at all the odd creatures in personalized habitats and she admitted they kept some of them locked up for the safety of others. I'm sorry, what is the definition of zoo and prison again? Is it different in Canada?

But I like the idea of a place of safety for mythological creatures and really want to like this show. Really. If I can stop beating my head into a wall long enough to watch it (it was not the best show for a headache night).

Does anyone else watch it? Does it get better once they've dumped all the info they feel they need to dump? Should I force my way through another few episodes, skip ahead to somewhere, or just give up and read a book instead?

I'd love to hear some recommendations.


  1. 1 - I have watched most episodes. I can say i have enjoyed at least 80% of them.

    2 - I always give the pilot episode(s) a lot of slack because they have to sell the show to the audience, introduce a set of characters and motivations as well as develop the background world that they live in. That's a lot to do and more often than not, leaves gaps.

    3 - If the police had credible witnesses telling them that inside the house is a literal bloodbath, they would have probable cause to effect entry. Police of all nations are taught to first and always control the situation. Some do it better than others and sometimes the means are not pretty (raised authoritative voices, drawn weapons, threats). The show doesn't give the background or additional perspective of what had led up to the incident but what can you do within the 10 minutes or so set aside for this bit of background.

    4 - The show could have also gone through the mundane details of checking in and out of the hospital and filling in the forms and deciding that the bump on his head is not that big a deal but they decided to skip it. Chalk it up to big differences between print and video formats of story telling. If it were an RPG we would say 'skip ahead'.

    5 - Blonde going for the 'real fighting' hand to hand establishes her character as a formidable fighter. In print this could be done in retrospective but she has to take the place of so many sci fi brick characters as the meter stick to which later characters are compared in relative fighting skill. (Worf, Teal'c, Ronon Dex, Leela,...)

    6 - Kids are mean. I'm not sure why it is but I don't find it unbelievable that some kid(s) decided that some other kid's recollection of a very traumatic event was worthy of scorn and redicule.

    7 - Is it a zoo? Nobody is paying admission. Is it a prison? Effectively yes but with a veneer of altruistic purposes. Human history is bursting with examples of distasteful practices performed for what seemed at the time good intentions. Perhaps Dr. Magnus is fooling herself.

    8 - Later episodes get better. I really like Christopher Heyerdahl in both his characters as bigfoot and John Druitt. The most recent Kali episodes were great but I wouldn't want to view them out of order as there is some story arc material that make more sense if viewed in series.

    It's not the greatest show ever but enjoyable enough to watch.

  2. So, you're suggesting push my way through? That I'll need the happenings in the next few episodes to enjoy later when it becomes good?

    I did like the Druitt character -- the little they showed so far (I think he's the one that puffed in smoke and will come back somehow later?), but they were making it hard for me to stick with -- especially the failed banter with the blonde fighter. Maybe if they'd showed her as a little more competent than they did -- getting bitten by the child's mutation, then following that up with disobeying and lying to mom/lead scientist, and then getting seriously played with by Druitt. (That was cat and mouse play there and she was not the cat.)

    But I do usually try to give a show past the pilot since most of them do tend toward the infodump. Glad to hear it gets better. Since I think they're still filming, I'd thought they must, but there is a huge amount of television I can't watch, so I was hoping to find someone who liked it to help me see the improvements. :)

    Thanks for stepping up for that!

  3. Here's another teaser. Pretty cool vampires. I've always thought Tesla was cooler than Edison.