Friday, June 15, 2012

My Babysitter’s a Vampire – season 1 – review

Director: Various

First aired: 2011

Contains spoilers

This follows on from the pilot film and so will spoil the ending of that if you haven’t seen it.

By the end of the pilot we discovered that teen boys Ethan (Matthew Knight) and Benny (Atticus Dean Mitchell) are a seer and hereditary spellcaster respectively. Ethan, being banned from babysitting Jane (Ella Jonas Farlinger), his little sister, due to his general irresponsibility has a babysitter in the form of Sarah (Vanessa Morgan). Sarah is a fledgling vampire – in that she hasn’t fully turned because she hasn’t bit a human yet. This would be a problem because fledglings die if they don’t feed on a human within an allotted time-scale but Benny’s Grandma (Joan Gregson) is supplying a magically created blood substitute for her.

Benny, Rory and Ethan
All three go to the same school, as do the boys' friend Rory (Cameron Kennedy) and Sarah’s friend Erica (Kate Todd) both of whom were turned into full vampires in the pilot movie and who escaped the general slayage of the vampires in that vehicle. The series is, therefore, a school based light comedy, whose twenty minute or so episodes don’t outstay their welcome.

In each episode something supernatural is afoot – sometimes an event that the kids get embroiled in and sometimes as a result of poor judgement on behalf of Benny (who has a tendency to act first and think only when the impact is pointed out to him). As such we get a plethora of ghost, demon, zombie and werewolf tales all more or less sorted by the kids within the respective episode. For instance when a coffee mix-up causes anyone who drinks it to become a brain eating zombie, the kids work out that cold reverts them back to human. Incidentally, in that episode a vampire (Rory) is temporarily turned into a zombie… creating a zompire.

vampire nurse
Vampire-wise we do, of course, have our fledgling vampire and two full vampires. There is also an episode where nurses come to the school on a blood drive and these turn out to be vampires also. A territorial battle over the blood (and the mention of a vampire council, which is not mentioned thereafter) is solved because Ethan has H-deficient blood (something only 1 in a million has) and he is able to trade a pint for Erica and Rory’s safety. His blood is not mentioned again, surprisingly. In a vampire related moment we also get a witch who uses ritual to steal souls in order that she can maintain her youth and immortality.

Vanessa Morgan as Sarah
Indeed the episodes are more or less standalone until the last two of the series in which bad vampire Jesse (Joe Dinicol) returns and offers some inter-episode/film continuity (though it is a little too sparse to suggest an arc as such). In this we get the additional idea that rather than a bite turning, it is the presence of venom introduced during the bite that does. We also discover that a vampire’s mesmerism will work on a weaker vampire as well as a human.

soul sucking through witchcraft
As I say, the episodes didn’t overstay their welcome and the show was cute enough. The references to the show’s alternative Twilight series, Dusk, were still there. The episodes covered most of the supernatural areas one would expect and a couple of unusual ones such as the living doll (Georgina Reilly, Valemont) that could suck life energy out of people (turning them into dolls) to maintain her human form.

That said the series was still comedy light and probably narrowly suited to the target audience rather than having a wider age-group appeal. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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