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October 9, 2015

BBC America brings back Van Helsing in Demons

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Dec 20th 2009 1:29PM
The descendants of Van Helsing do battle with the supernatural in Demons.Though I still haven't forgiven the great Dr. Abraham Van Helsing for allowing that awful movie with Hugh Jackman to be made about him -- or for not showing up and killing the entire cast of the Twilight -- I'm excited to catch his descendants on the new British import, Demons.

A new horror series from the writers of past British hits Hex and Merlin, Demons features Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes) as cold, stern American Rupert Galvin. The yank must recruit the last descendant of Van Helsing to join forces with him commit to life battling monsters -- before those monsters kill him.

Demons unveils a world just out of humans' sight -- full of vampires and other inhumans. (Insert joke about politicians here.) Luke Rutherford (Christian Cooke) is the "everykid" teenager forced to come to terms with the harsh reality that he's the direct descendant of the vampire-hunting Van Helsing.

To train Luke, Galvin calls on the beautiful, haunted Mina Harker (Zoe Tapper), a blind concert pianist and authority on the beasts preying on humanity. The creepy Father Simeon (Richard Wilson) is Luke's other teacher on the lore behind his enemies.

Looking at the pilot, I do wish the hero was a little older as I don't want to see "Jim Henson's Van Helsing Babies." But, I'll give it a shot.

Demons premieres Saturday, January 2, 10:00 p.m. on BBC America.

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"Demons" was a good example of how a show that follows a proven formula can fail, and fail horribly at that.

It's a new look at a familiar character -- or in this case a descendant of a familiar character. Everyone remembers Van Helsing from Dracula, right? Well, no, and that horrible film didn't help. So hey, when the execs decide that our working title, "The Last Van Helsing", isn't going to click with the kids, we'll accept their input and go with a more generic title because we're team players. What's the worst that could happen?

It features a well-known actor from a recent cult classic... Too bad Mr Glenister is apparently so worn out from all the work he's had playing Gene Hunt that he used "Demons" as a way to discourage future employers. Perhaps if we hadn't had to cut the scene where we explained that his character had been infected with an evil virus that turned him into an American for a few hours a day, whose effects he was doing his best to fight...

It features high profile guest stars in villain-of-the-week roles. Of course, we need the audience to be able to recognize those guest stars, so most of our demons will be of the latex-prosthesis-of-the-week variety, and therefore rather ludicrous.

It includes a distinctive catch phrase -- "grade 'em and smite 'em". Unfortunately, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you think about it. If you're going to smite them no matter what, why bother grading them first? We never see anyone putting these grades (and by grades we mean type of demons) into a database or anything, so what's the point?

It includes a "good" hot girl and a "bad" hot girl... Actually, we did quite well with that bit. Unfortunately, 42 minutes of either of these women simply walking down a street is more interesting than any of the scripts we've written.

December 21 2009 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Terrible, terrible show.

Don't bother. Tries to be exactly like Buffy in everything it does. BUT FAILS.

Terrible, just terrible.

December 21 2009 at 4:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Istanbul's comment

Yeah, I was reading this description thinking "Okay, it's Buffy meets Star Wars. I mean, they actually named the kid Luke!"

Thanks for the tips, all ye UK'ers. I'll pass...

December 21 2009 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I saw this last year on torrent sites and found the show to be just ok it could be better but it is worth a look for those who have not seen it.

December 21 2009 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shame that the Beeb's supernatural fare has been so poor lately.

I'd love to see something the calibre of Strange again....

December 20 2009 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was an awful show. Bad acting. Bad characters. Bad plots. Just all around bad. I ended up not even watching the last episode because I didn't care to waste my time watching one more episode.

December 20 2009 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, the show was crap. It would be kind to call this a poor mans Buffy or Supernatural, its so much worse than that. It wasn't renewed in the UK and Glenister refused to come back even if it did (and worse, he has a American /South/ accent, yuck!). So don't expect more after the first series run even if you do somehow enjoy it.

The theme did get stuck in my head though, damn this post for reminding me now its back! *Who's coo-king monsters in the kitchen...* argh!

December 20 2009 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I haven't even seen this in the UK and I know its bad. Don't bother.

December 20 2009 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
laura clarke

don't bother, its really bad, not in a fun cheesy way like merlin just plain bad

December 20 2009 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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