ITV’s Demons Series 1
ITV series Demons came to it’s conclusion on Saturday (apparently with it’s lowest viewing figures yet – 3.42m), so i thought i’d pass on some musings i’ve had about Demons 1st run.
For those that haven’t seen Demons, on paper it reads like a pretty reasonable idea for a Saturday evening show. Teenager Luke Rutherford is happy going about his teenage life when Rupert Galvin, his american uncle turns up out of the blue claiming Luke is the last descendant of the Van Helsing line, and he’s here to train him in the art of slayin… erm… ‘smiting’ demons. Luke is helped along on his adventures by a couple of other hangers on. Ruby – his best friend who’s completely besotted with the young Van Helsing, and Mina Harker – can knock out a decent tune as a concert pianist… but then, being a vampire (albeit, one controlling her feeding urges via transfusion), she’s had enough time to practice over the years.
If some of this is sounding familiar…
‘Old guy turns up out of the blue to warn young person that they are last in the line of great warriors who need to battle members of the afterlife with help from a neutered vampire and love struck sidekick’…
…you wouldn’t be the first person to think ‘Buffy lite’… I’d like to say this was an unfair assessment, but frankly, it isn’t. The ITV Demons website even refers to him as Luke the Teenage Vampire Smiter so there’s no denying where they take their influence from! It does really look like some executive watched a few Buffy episodes and said to a writer “make me that, set in London, but change it enough so we don’t get sued”. You do wonder if they know the show isn’t really cutting it when, in episode 6, Luke makes a remark regarding his current situation as being “like The Da Vinci Code”… which i took to mean, looked good on paper, but fell apart on screen… I have no issue with people paying homage to the cult of Whedon. The problem though with most shows that try to emulate Buffy & Angel is their totally missing the key ingredients of Joss Whedon’s writing and guidance.
If it does make it to a 2nd series, there’s a few things i’d like to see changed… Make the monsters creepier rather than glorified panto villains. I have nothing against Mckenzie Crook, but the character of Gladiolus Thrip was just ill conceived… The child catcher with a plastic beak isn’t going to cut it. This isn’t the first foray into the British fantasy/sci fi genre for the writing/production team. With people from Sky 1‘s HEX, and the BBC‘s rather more successful Merlin, you would have expected them to have learnt a bit more than they have. But really, if your going to try and emulate Buffy they really need to sort the scripts out.
I think there’s a germ of a good idea in there, and the acting from the leads is fine. Phil’s american accent seems okay to me, but then i’m not american, so what do I know… What Demons is really missing is a strong show runner to boot it in the right direction. A slightly later time slot might do it some favours, or at least push the boundaries a bit more.