The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Demons

I don’t like not liking things. But this was very hard not to dislike. It was just so... not formulaic. Formulaic isn’t a criticism. So unenthusiastic. So homogenous. So lifeless.

I mean, goes without saying that its concept seems to be not so much derived from other TV shows as averaged-out. It wouldn’t be fair to say it was ripping off Buffy – it’s simply adopting the common factors found in a host of US teen-fantasy shows. But with no flair or invention. It’s obviously been created with both eyes on the US market; a plan about as flawed as trying to interest Newcastle in importing more coal.

What’s great about Doctor Who, Buffy, and the Russell T Davies bits of Torchwood is the sense of humour. Big, frequent, daft jokes. It’s the lack of humour which makes its imitations feel so anodyne. In the smoothing-down process of notes and revisions, it’s the jokes that are the first to go. They’re worried out of the script by executive producers who have got it into their heads that people don’t like shows if there are bits that only-some-people-will-find-funny. One of the reasons why I admire Merlin and Primeval so much is that somehow they’ve managed to retain a sense of humour.

I didn’t make it all the way through Demons. Too slow, flat and exposition heavy. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t have a proper act structure – all the ad breaks came out of the blue, in all the wrong places. I couldn’t understand half of what Philip Glenister was saying, which was probably a mercy. And I couldn’t see the point of a two-minute scene where they unlock the door to the inevitable secret underground lair using a magical fob-watch. They’re not going to do that every week, are they?

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