Saturday, January 24, 2009


What can I say? Episode 4 of ITV's Demons was, in fact, an improvement - though it's hard to see how it could possibly have been worse than last week's. But: Hurray!

I feel obliged to comment on it, since I have commented on each episode so far. This blog will definitely contain spoilers, so don't read it if you haven't seen it and want to watch it.

There was some real character opportunities that were used properly, Galvin's accent did not grate as much (could I be getting used to it?), Luke actually saved the day for a change, useful since the show is supposed to be about him.

But it still managed to have plot holes big enough to float the Titanic through, and still forced characters to behave as the plot dictates.

The only way to kill a vampire in Demons is to shoot it with its own live DNA (which you can make by regenerating its undead DNA). I have no problem with creating your own mythology, as long as it is self-consistent. And they still don't like daylight apparently (since they travel in their coffins) but since every other story about vampires isn't true, apparently, why do they need coffins?

So it's established the good guys need some DNA.

Let's get Ruby to follow this old, experienced, and highly dangerous vampire, just to make sure he doesn't return to base too early. Never mind how dangerous to her that is. And let's have him discover her, and just talk to her so she has the opportunity and the presence of mind to steal some of his hair. (This is the girl that froze with a gun in her hand when being attacked last week.)

Galvin and Luke head into the vampire's lair to take on the vampire girlfriend (I think that's why they were doing it, it wasn't entirely clear because we've already established they can't kill a vampire without the DNA). But they split up (yawn) and get beaten up and taken out by said vamp. Except not quite, in fact Luke manages to win - by doing something sort of clever but played for a cheap laugh.

I have to say, at this point, that the people who produce this show clearly have no concept of (a) how hard it is to knock anyone unconscious (b) how short a time it lasts unless you've managed to crack the skull (which is quite likely if you've rendered them unconscious). Instead, "getting knocked unconscious" is a frequently used plot device, and people stay unconscious for exactly the time the plot requires.

Anyway they get the DNA and make their super-bullets.

Now it has been determined that for some reason Mina knows this vampire and is close to him, and also wants him to leave rather than be killed. He doesn't agree. Oh, I should say, Mina is a vampire except she cleanses the half-life blood every couple of weeks so doesn't don the whole vampire thing. ("League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" anyone?)

As a result when they finally get the drop on the vampire, Mina nudges Luke so he misses.

Let's be fair, they set up some real character stuff here, and it's not what you expect, which is nice (I'm not even going to say what it is, so there).

Long story short: Vampire takes Galvin and Ruby hostage, Luke finds out why Mina is behaving strangely, Mina tells him where the Vampire is, except she's lying. She then goes off to give the vampire what he wants, apparently, in the hope he'll just leave.

What the vampire wants is Mina's blood. This will turn him into some sort of uber-vampire (no reason given). But at the crucial moment Mina drinks her own blood instead and she goes uber-vampire. But she still can't kill the guy because of their relationship, then Luke turns up (having been to the wrong place) and shoots the vampire dead.

Quite nice plot-wise (and fundamentally all the stories have had reasonable "potential" plots and reasonable "potential" characterisation just never fulfilled).

So, what's wrong with this episode?

Mina drinks her own blood, why would it have any effect on her? Not explained, and therefore illogical. In this mythology vampires move very very fast, almost teleporting. This means their reactions must be very very fast (otherwise they'd bump into things or fall over). Fast enough to dodge bullets. But for some reason, Mr Boss Vampire doesn't dodge the bullet.

But the biggest hole? How does Luke know where the rest of them are at the end? Mina didn't tell him the right place, she sent him to the wrong place.

"Nobody will notice."

I can just see them thinking this. Who's blog was it that mentioned this? Can't recall. But the point is your show will be watched by hundreds of thousands of people, it will be re-watched by sad bastards who will go through frame by frame.

Anyone who says "No one will notice" needs to be shot, because someone will.

I'm not a frame-by-frame sad bastard, but I admit I did spot something that I expect very few other people will see. You know how, when you have a pair of doors together, they are cut so that one of them needs to be shut first? And if you do it the wrong way, they don't shut properly?

This episode had a pair of doors. One of which was being held open and then slammed shut with finality. Except it wouldn't have shut because it was the wrong door of the pair. I know, that's a bit sad. No one else will have noticed. (I know why it was done: because using the other door would have given a lousy camera angle. But still...)

There was an "amusing" bowling scene. Of course, Mr Boss Vamp couldn't bowl for toffee while their "Renfield" character, Zippy, got lots of strikes. Until the boss unzipped his head (literally) and bowled it instead for a strike, and then a waitress was scared by the head coming back up the ball return.

Gosh, that was so clever and funny. I laughed so much my own head fell right off. (Please note blog warning in top left of page.)

This is just another indicator that the reason this series is so pants is that the people making it seem to think that, because it's fantasy, the whole thing is just a joke and doesn't really matter.

What else? Oh yes, more of the silly martial arts stuff because vampires are so incredibly dangerous and fast, which wasn't used in a fight - therefore pointless. Just an opportunity for an info-dump. At least when Russell T Davies does a major info-dump he makes sure it's in a scene with lots of real, dramatic action.

But at least it was better. Even my wife sat through it and she hadn't sat through one full episode till then.

What's on the turntable? "Song for Sharon" by Joni Mitchell from "Hejira"

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