At the behest of my friend and colleague Nikki Baughan, I just finished Season 1 of Fox’s TV series The Exorcist. And I can highly recommend it. Inspired by the William Peter Blatty novel (which was the basis for the 1973 film), it is incredibly unnerving in ways that filmed horror often fails to achieve, partly because it has a lot more time — we get 10 45-minute episodes here — to create an inching envelopment by evil of the Rance family of Chicago. There are some fantastic performances here — particular by Geena Davis as the mom worried that her teenaged daughter is possessed by a demon and Ben Daniels as the badass exorcist — and a few sneaky feminist touches, such as the cloistered nuns who perform a loving sort of exorcism that’s more about the warm embrace of Christ compelling evil spirits to leave mere mortals alone than violence and shouting to drive them out.
I also love how effortlessly diverse the show is: the primary central character is a Mexican priest played by Alfonso Herrera, and one major Vatican honcho is played by black British actor Kurt Egyiawan; both of them are wonderful. There are also many intriguing female characters, such as the Rance daughters, played by Hannah Kasulka and Brianne Howey (who actually look like sisters!). I love, too, that the show is as much about the corporeal political power of the Church as an institution as it is about the supernatural — which, there is no doubt, is really real here, which makes it easier to suspend disbelief about, at least in the context of the story. And it also comes up with really plausible and actually understandable motives for the demons!
Good stuff. I eagerly await Season 2.
The thread is yours to discuss the show in as much depth as you wish. Assume massive spoilers in the comments. (Not a spoiler, but there’s a comment I made in my review of the 1973 film that would seem to be reflected in these 10 episodes. I wonder if series creator Jeremy Slater read my review, or merely thinks along the same lines as me.)
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