Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So Weird – vampire – review (TV Episode)

Director: Pat Williams

First aired: 2000

Contains spoilers

So Weird was kind of the X-Files for kids, in which a juvenile (and female) Mulder is one Fi (Cara DeLiza) who is out on the road, living in a bus, with her rock star mother Molly (Mackenzie Phillips) and brother Jack (Patrick Levis). By season 2 they met the inevitable vampires.

inevitable Bela image
The episode starts with a discussion of vampires and it was cringe-making, after all one would hope that a little more thought would go into these things. We get the inevitable Bela image and then it cuts to the original vampire… Vlad Tepes… and then kind of says he wasn’t really and that the theories of vampirism range from a rabies outbreak in 18th century Hungary to porphyria. In a way I guess we were lucky that it was too early to suggest that they sparkle!

Patrick Levis as Jack
Jack’s grades are improving since he started getting tutored via a network called the OSSN – honour students who tutor, do good deeds and have a motto “sleep when you are old”. He has been invited to be inducted as a member – and thus will be able to set up his own chapter – and so they detour to Indianapolis. He rings his friend Gabe – who happened to give him an angel pendant he always wears – and we see a boy flying alongside the bus, watching him.

turn around, bright eyes
When they get to the OSSN we have discovered that a lad named Brent (David Paetkau) is running the show and he is the same one who was flying. We also know that he knows more about Jack than he is letting on. At one point he sniffs at Fi’s neck and we also see his eyes flash in that old vampiric way. However, he is all charming with the family generally and even asks Molly to speak at the ceremony.

Brent and Pete
Another OSSN member, Pete (Kett Turton), seems rather taken with Fi and at one point is told not to blow it by Brent – as Brent holds him up by the neck. He wants Jack, but perhaps Pete can bring Fi into the fold. Fi is visited in a hotel by Pete who has gone cold turkey to have the will power to tell her to get Jack away. He drops a vial that looks like it contains blood. Fi does some checking and discovers that the OSSN has a parent company in Romania.

glowing angel pendant
Lore wise we have quite a strange little beast here. They can walk in sunlight and stand garlic, they are super strong and have hypnotic abilities. However, Jack’s pendant of the angel saves them and – in the coda – Fi wonders how as nothing else worked, her inference suggests that it was the love he holds for Gabe that saved them. Generally they are a bit like the anti-Lost Boys. They do not party all night, but rather have a corporate style expansion plan and are honour students.

I wasn’t impressed with the opening 30 second crash course in invalid vampire folklore and the lore in this seemed somewhat messy and ill thought through. It was okay, for what it was, but perhaps needed more than 30 minutes to properly establish the conspiracy it wanted to portray. 4 out of 10.

The episode's imdb page is here.


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