I am willing to grant Lost Girl a Mulligan. A good ol’ fashioned reset has happened before now. An actor changed. A premise shifted. Hell, entire seasons have been explained away as a dream. Lost Girl still has a chance to redeem itself and several options to choose from.
The first time I saw the trailer, I was so excited. Here was a science fiction / fantasy genre with – wait for it – a female lead! Strong female leads are still not that common in the genre and any show that has one has my immediate support. I want to see myself on screen. I want to project myself into the life of a strong, competent heroine. I want the glory that is watching a great character vanquish all foes. I want the fantasy of a really great love story – filled with all the will-they-won’t-they that fuels fanfiction and daydreams everywhere.
I have seen two episodes so far of Lost Girl – the pilot and episode two. Each one is an amalgam of good and bad on several levels – and – because I can appreciate how bloody hard it must be to get a show on the air, I am – as I said – willing to float them a Mulligan. Let’s get some re-tooling done on the show, pull things in tightly and pretend some of this never existed. Some of it works. Some of it doesn’t make sense. Some of it is awful.
First the awful so we can end this on a high note…
To start, the show is called “Lost Girl” but the main character Bo has got to be in her thirties if she is a day. It may well be that thirty is the new twenty but no where does it say that thirty is the new “girl”. I thought for a while the sidekick Kenzie was the main character. It’s a Xena / Gabrielle set up and – because there is death by kissing – the subtext is rife with all kinds of sexual overtone combinations. Still – the age difference is so huge that it feels almost like Bo is contributing to the corruption of a minor.
The “Lost Girl” Bo is much like Harry Potter. She grows up not knowing her lineage and is now confronted with a world she never knew existed. She has lived – as she says – the life of a homicidal maniac and a drifter. If she’s thirty, then she has killed about a hundred and fifty people, assuming she needs to feed every month. From the first two shows, it appears this need is more frequent than that. Following along with that concept, killing that many people and remaining undetected is not easy. Police are not that stupid. Someone somewhere would have connected the dots. I realize I am supposed to suspend my belief because – well – the other characters tell me to. So let’s say she killed that many. The way Bo is written (and acted), she come across as unremorseful about her crimes as … well … Dexter. Worse. At least Dexter is played as a soulless creature. Bo has a remarkable lack of remorse and this is critical because it makes the lead completely unsympathetic. She comes across as a cold, bitchy brat. And I don’t think that was the intent. The character, (writing and acting) is uncredible, shrill, goofy and just plain unlikable.
Here’s another part of the premise that isn’t working well – the kissy-faced killing of humans. Bo kills her human victims with a kiss. If she kisses a Fae, she can draw in power to heal or top up her power stores without killing the Fae. I think it was intended to be sexy, adult and provocative. It ends up being silly and – like all things in over-abundance – is diminished to commodity status. This is also contrary to Rule #17A about creating a love interest. Unresolved Sexual Tension is a massive attention sustainer and a friction to make fiction. By episode two, the two lead male and female characters are screwing each other. Great. Now what? I can get this crap on soap operas, I don’t need it in my science fiction too.
I confess this next echoes sentiments written elsewhere on this subject – the central writing rule of “show, don’t tell” is completely ignored. Both episodes were full of exposition and great whacking passages of explanation. Characters just stood around and explained History of the Fae. Blah Blah Blah. No slow tease and much like the kissy face sex, the interest just bleeds away. There is a lot of thought that has gone into the creation of this Fae world and it feels rushed as if someone is afraid that enough information has to come out before it gets cancelled.
Asking for a Mulligan, though, means that there’s lots of good in the show and enough good that it’s worth saving.
As I said, there’s lots of thought that has gone into creating the world of Fae. The creatures of the world are fun and the play at explaining Headless Horsemen, sprites and signs of the Zodiac are great.
There’s some great lines … most of them given to the sidekick Kenzie. One is given to a Fae with classic office décor. Bo asks, “Early Tolkien?” He answers, “Where do you think he got the idea?”
Two gold stars go to the actors who play Kenzie and Dyson.
Certainly Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) dominates every scene she is in. She gets and executes almost all the best lines. She is tweaky, honest and completely believable and is the obligatory “human” that is the viewer’s access the world. Her reactions (again a combination of writing and actor) really get at the core of the discovery of someone who is not one of us.
Dyson (Kristen Holden-Reid) – a detective and the love interest – is kick ass at brooding and ironic. His character is wonderfully oblique and subtle. Because there is so little disclosed about him, I pay attention to every look, every move, every word. I want to know more. He is soft spoken but there’s a hard edge to him that suggests a back story that is bound to be rivetting.
So … from me, a vote for a Mulligan. Lots busted but salvageable.