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January 01 2010

Fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" should go to battle with "Demons?" io9's Sonia Zjawinski compares the new BBC American series "Demons" with our favorite blond slayer and proclaims it a successor of sorts.

It looks like inverse Buffy. A British boy with inherent superpowers fights evil while being mentored by an American named Rupert.
I actually gouged my eyes after watching the first episode. It was the worst show I've seen in years and I've seen Hex, Bonekickers, Spooks: Code Nine and the first two series of Torchwood.
That must have hurt. I hope you're feeling better soon, Simon. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a good opthamologist. . .
First of all, 'Demons' was on ITV. Secondly, it blew chunks. Thirdly, it's already been cancelled. Buffy wins, hands down.
How does Sonia Zjawinski have a job?
"Demons" was really cheesy. The lead was pretty, but apart from that...
I kinda liked most of "Torchwood" and it became really good in the middle of the second season.
How does Sonia Zjawinski have a job?

Play the ball, not the man. We tend not to go in for criticising the writer here.
I watched a preview of the show, which lasted up to the first battle with demons, which appeared to be gangsta wannabes with shaving issues. Just so, so bad.
Simon - I have to disagree with your assessment of Demons. That show only made me want to hurl. It was Bonekickers that made me want to gouge out my eyes.

The biggest disappointment of Demons was the total waste of the talent of Philip Glenister.
Its awful, avoid!
The writing is up to par with Whedon, with witty banter between characters that runs the gamut between dark ages humor to painful teen sexual tension and sarcasm.

Is this reviewer effing kidding?! I only watched the first episode of Demons, but it was one the the worst things I have ever seen on TV.
Oh, I remember Demons! Yeah, it was pants. I went into it expecting simple, cheesy fluff, and I adore Zoe Trapper (Mina Harker) and Philip Glenister (Rupert), but even so I struggled to watch even two episodes of that show. I'm so upset that I temporarily crossed over to the ITV dark side to watch it!
Well, after I saw goodbye to David Tennant, and the 49ers fail me again, I'll try "Demons". If it did get a second season, I'm sure they would have made some tweaks to make it more British, watchable and scary. After all, our Slayer really came of age in season, especially after "Surprise" and "Innocense".
New year's resolution: No more io9 for me.
This show is the British "Joey".
It was so bad, I sat through it just to see how Buffyesque it was going to get and it was crazy bad. I don't understand io9's current love of British telly, its crap. It truly is. I semi get the appeal (for Americans) of Doctor Who and Torchwood (more uneven than Dollhouse's first season though), and they are kinda okay, but they never match up to US shows at all. ITV's stuff, like Demons and Primeval are just some of the worst stuff to ever get on TV. And I've seen Britannica High.
"The writing is up to par with Whedon..."

No, it isn't.

Demons sucked big time. It was dire. Trying desperately to be a Buffy clone but just failed totally. And I cannot wait to hear what Americans think of Glennister's "American" accent.
Heh, I read a review longer back and it said that it was almost as good as Hex, which gave me the answer to whether to bother or not (and much of the Hex writing staff was apparently also employed on Demons, so...
I saw this and thought "What on earth, that's just plain wrong" and then I saw you had all beaten me to it! Phew.
It appears the short-lived "Reaper" will remain to be the last or most recent series that truly had any kind of "Buffy"-ish vibes or similarities in my opinion.
I think the series that has come the closest to take the position of Buffy's successor is Supernatural. The quality of the shows writing, the complexity of its main characters and their mutual relationship, its playfulness and boldness for experimenting and trying new and unconventional things in the vein of such Buffy episodes as Restless, Hush, Superstar, Once More With Feeling etc., in my eyes all this makes Supernatural the most successful show in terms of becoming Buffy's replacement.
The only notable thing from the first episode of Demons was Mackenzie Crook's pitch-perfect impression of Ron Manager from the Fast Show. Marvellous.
I think the series that has come the closest to take the position of Buffy's successor is Supernatural.

I agree. And all of Ben Edlund's episodes are just pure genius.
I think the series that has come the closest to take the position of Buffy's successor is Supernatural.

I haven't seen Supernatural but for me, Buffy's successor is Doctor Who.
Not that I need a Buffy replacement anyway, but the closest a show has ever come to replicating Buffy for me is and perhaps always will be, Veronica Mars. I understand but disagree with the Supernatural comparison - the show never clicks for me. It does feature some interesting themes and boldness in storytelling, though.

I consider Reaper more of a homage. I wish The CW never intervened with that because the lore that could amazing if it got a second season more akin to it's first.
I do find it interesting that when American TV does British, we get a stuffy school librarian and when British TV does American, we get David Caruso.
Jaymii, I completely agree--Veronica is Buffy's heir. Too bad the crown was never passed on from there.
Demons was actually a pretty good idea. Shame the execution was woeful.

I think I lasted about 15 minutes before giving up completely.
Is it bad that I thought "mmm ITV" and never watched it? Probably not... Torchwood had a total of 5 or 6 good hours. Shame those hours where parcelled out into 5 minute chunks and spread between two series and a special.
Simon, give "Supernatural" a watch. I've a feeling you might like it.

Now, about this demon thing....jury is still out.
From the BBCA previews, it looks...kind of horrible, and from what you guys are saying, I definitely won't waste my time with it.

Besides, I think I'm going be such a mess after losing Ten that I wouldn't be able to tell what was going on anyway.
I just jumped on the Supernatural bandwagon- it gets better every season. Personally, I feel it has the best character development since Angel.

Going by previews, Demons doesn't look promising.
Oh, and on an pretty off-topic Doctor Who related note, has anyone noticed the slight similarity between the Matt Smith's companion and Felicia Day? I can't help but think she's going to be pop culture fantastic because of it.
I enjoy "Supernatural," but to me it's more "Night Stalker" with family issues than it is like "Buffy."
Demons keeps Buffy's spirit alive... No, I think it makes Buffy's spirit change its mind about the badness of beer.

I watched a few episodes online, seems like at least a year ago or longer now. I saved my eyes because I need them, but boy, not good. I liked Hex more, which isn't saying much.
As I recall, we pretty much chewed this cud when it first aired in the K of the U (and yeah, Tonya, it was just about a year ago).

It sucked most heartily then, and I'm sure it'll still suck most heartily now that it's available to us Yanks on BBC America, but let me refresh your memories with this delightful photo montage of Mackenzie Crook's appearance in the first episode - which was as far as I made it until I, too, gouged out my eyes.

And here are some choice quotes I supplied the first time 'round. It was mind-bogglingly bad3 writing and that is a fact. Jack.

"... all of us warriors in the coldest of cold wars - struggle between human and inhuman. Us and them."

"People like us keep the freaks in their places."

"We don't care to Name them. We Grade them and we Smite them... with Extreme Prejudice, Swiftly and Surely, like the Wrath of God."

Demons was an insult to Hex's memory, and that's saying something, since that piece of work was itself a Cruele Tormente. The best thing about it was some bug vomit and I don't remember why it made an appearance. I do remember that this little stinker of a show has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with BtVS in quality, spirit or class.

Anyway, I'm very sorry about your eyes, Simon - I'm glad my eyes finally grew back recently in what can only be called a Christmas miracle, and so God bless us, Every One.

And a Happy and Demonless New Year to all of you, my dears.

Anyway, I'm very sorry about your eyes, Simon

Me too. And my ears started bleeding after hearing Philip Glenister's accent.
Demons was a terrible show. ITV need to give up on sci-fi (haven't they just done that Prisoner remake that sucked?) Demons was *nothing* like Buffy. It was just poorly made. The low point for me was the Kaiser Chiefs song 'Ruby' playing when the main character had to go and rescue Ruby. Lame! And I'm a big Philip Glenister fan, he's amazing in Ashes to Ashes/LoM, but he can't pull this one off.

Incidentally, did anyone see the ITV2 show 'Trinity', with the main actor from Demons in. That was even worse.
I love Torchwood when James is in it and Supernatural has been one of my favorite shows for the past 5 years. I did record Demons and will start it just to see how bad it can be. After Buffy, Veronica Mars is my favorite show ever.
and three days ago I was looking forward to this, but after reading the above posts, and the 2 reviews, im not going to bother
Yeah, Demons was absolutely awful and that's coming from someone who likes Primeval. If you're after a new British fantasy show, try Being Human - really looking forward to the second series.
I remember them saying the same thing about Hex... And that one missed the target in a huge way... Personally, I think Veronica Mars will always be a much bigger spiritual successor than this ever will be I'm sure... Buffy was never about the demons.
I like Philip Glenister but is he trying to do an American accent? Because every time he talks in the trailer, I have to chortle. He should ask for tips from Damian Lewis or Hugh Laurie.
"Demons" is like warmed over shite that's been left to cool, only with fewer redeeming features. Still, some people love 'Hex' and some can watch 'Robin Hood' without wanting to take their own lives every 2-3 minutes so mileage clearly varies re: the appeal of British TV abroad.

and some can watch 'Robin Hood' without wanting to take their own lives every 2-3 minutes...

Why all the self-mutilation? We should be immolating the people responsible for all the eye-gougings, ear bleedings, and lack of bleach to properly brain wash. I made no New Year's resolution to be nicer, so there you go.
Good point, I should be externalising all that anger, it's meant to be healthier, think I read that in "Anger Management for Dummies" (and who doesn't like a nice fire, s'primal that is ;).
OK, this thread is making me really want to watch the show. I love genre shows, both good and bad. I do get annoyed if they are boring, though. I couldn't get through a single episode of Conan on Hulu, but I love Lost World and thought it was hilarious.

But, then, I don't want to gouge my eyes out nor do I care for bleeding ears. And I would hate to associate Philip Glenister with terribleness, so maybe I should stay away.
Also Saje,

If we want to not have the stain of human violence on our souls, perhaps we could buy up all the negatives and ...
All that said, I'll probably watch an episode or more - it's the MST3K-Gal in me. And it appears that there's only a total of six episodes, so watching the entire series should only feel like a year or two.

Confession: on some level, I'm sure I deeply enjoy disliking and mocking it.

It's cathartic.

"Well, its taken a while, but its finally happened. Weve had our revenge for Dick Van Dyke." - Jeremy Clay, Leicester Mercury
I dunno, Glenister's accent was bad but Van Dyke bad ? Not convinced.

(personally i'd put it at about .85 Van Dykes)

If we want to not have the stain of human violence on our souls...

Ah no worries, club soda will lift immolation stains right out. Err, apparently.
Demons was just painful in every possible way. Somehow they managed to take the concept of BtVS and remove everything worthwhile from it, leaving a show with no redeeming features of any kind. Avoid at all costs.
Shows like this are the reason I never gave BtVS a shot. (Didn't watch Buffy until it had been off the air for two years)
And they called him Rupert. Aaargh.
Saje can you put forth a recommendation to have the Van Dyke officially adopted into SI? Personally, I would love to be able to mathematically quantify bad acting.

And you know I do wonder (especially regarding accents) how helpful it must be to have a native speaker on the cast. Actually Glenister made the exact point on a you tube interview that it was difficult because he had no one to converse in an American accent with to mimic the patterns. After all, Marsters had Tony Head who probably helped him quite a bit. Even if they were different accents, I'm sure Head could probably easily tell him, "James... no." Jamie Bamber was surrounded by Americans and Canadians.

If I were the one making Demons, I probably would have either cast an American in that role or at least had an American around to work with him. With Sci-Fi these days, so much of it is being exported across the pond in both directions and bad accents are noticed fairly quickly. And this one was so bad, it was noticed before we even had a chance to go, "what the...?!"

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-03 05:28 ]
I made it through about twenty minutes before thinking, if my time isn't more valuable that this, I may as well pack it in.

I have never in my entire long and eventful life, in many different parts of the country, known an American named Rupert.
Saje can you put forth a recommendation to have the Van Dyke officially adopted into SI? Personally, I would love to be able to mathematically quantify bad acting.

Well, only bad accents specifically azzers but yeah, i'll mention it to the Systeme folks the next time we meet down the pub ;).

(rough comparative scale: Tommy Lee Jones in 'Blown Away' is about 1.0 Van Dykes if not more, David Boreanaz with Liam's horrendous oirish is about .95 Van Dykes, Spike's English is about .05, Pre-Spike William's English is about .001, River and Dru's cockney are about .8. My cockney BTW, is about 1 Mega Van Dyke ;)

And yep, it seems to help when you have a native speaker around (to my ear the best Brits doing American accents are Damien Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Louise Lombard, Joseph Fiennes, Sonia Walger - all acting amongst a largely American cast and all, in fairness to Philip Glenister, living in America and immersed in the accent while they work) and also when the writers have an ear for local idioms or when those idioms are made up (e.g. Jamie Bamber never really had to use many American/Canadian idioms because, accent aside, he wasn't American/Canadian, he was an 'alien'). Spike worked as a well travelled Englishman abroad, especially one that was putting on a more working class accent as part of his persona, and his slang - no doubt partly advised by ASH, partly by Joss' time in the UK and partly just by the writers paying attention to British shows/books etc. - often helped solidify his Englishness (although every now and then he'd use British slang in a way you'd be unlikely to hear many Brits use it).

Everyone has a different ear for accents of course (there're English people on here that couldn't themselves - or know other English people that couldn't - tell that James Marsters wasn't himself English for instance) but Glenister's American was so bad that it goes beyond individual judgement and just becomes "Do you have ears ?" ;).

ETA the caveat that we're talking about 'American' and 'English' accents as if that's an actual thing BTW, clearly both countries have a wide range of different accents - Nottingham to Birmingham is an easy 2 hour drive but the accents are very different, i'd bet it's the same in the US only probably spread out a bit more.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-01-03 11:30 ]
Just to throw in a couple of other Brits who do good American accents (to my ears anyway!).

Owain Yeoman (Generation Kill/The Mentalist)
Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without A Trace)
Idris Elba (The Wire)
Whoa, the guy that plays Rigsby is Welsh ?! Simon Baker's Aussie sometimes comes through a bit but the rest of the cast I just assumed were American (or maybe Canadian at a push) - flawless, natural accent to my ear. Wonder if they watch the rugby together ? ;)

(Idris Elba I knew was English from - everyone's favourite ex-squaddie vampire killer - Vaughan Rice in 'Ultraviolet', dunno the other two actors)

[ edited by Saje on 2010-01-03 15:41 ]
If you really want you mind blown watch an interview of him with his real accent! Freaky.

(Though I had seen Idris Elba in things before The Wire I didn't recognize him because his accent was So. Damn. Good. Sadly couldn't say the same for Dominic West).
I'm always quite unsure about Anna Torv's accent. I'm not sure whether its her accent, her acting or the way Olivia Dunham is written but I struggle to like her yet I often see her getting praise for what I consider an average job. I've watched interviews with Torv on Fringe and from what I've seen, she's much more appealing to the earholes when she has her original accent.

I'd say its a believable American accent, because if I didn't know she wasn't American, I'd believe it.
I've only watched the first few episodes of Fringe and Anna Torv's terrible accent was one of the strikes against the show. I didn't know that she wasn't an American before I watched, but thought it was glaringly obvious after a couple of her lines. I might have been more forgiving if she wasn't playing an FBI agent or the dullest character ever created. As I said, I only watched a few episodes before giving up, so I'm hoping that they eventually gave Olivia a personality.
I emailed QuoterGal last night and let her know because she mentioned MST3K, I watched the last 2 episodes of Demons. I would have loved to see it with a room full of Whedonites. The popcorn would never have stopped flying towards the TV screen, or in my case, the computer monitor. Funniest bit for me I think, was Glenister forcing his way into the medium's home in the guise of a Pennsylvanian psychic researcher. He sounded like he was from the deep south, alternatively, Texas - I couldn't figure it out. Oy.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2010-01-03 18:03 ]
theclynn, I urge you to give Fringe another shot. They have worked on the accent issue, and though once in a while you still hear a tinge of it, it's mostly gone. Also, she's pretty kick ass now. I'd definitely try to watch it again if I were you. I've really enjoyed the second season.
I've really enjoyed the second season. It's notable how much I hate Olivia and find a lot of the episodes irritating but, SOMETHING clicks that makes it more compelling than a few other shows. It's biggest issue it faces on a weekly basis is that its lying to itself. It's not a procedural. It's a serialized drama and soon as they accept its not a creepy CSI, the better it'll get.

That said, it's probably only worth looking at if its ratings goes up. I get the feeling its a very 'current' sci-fi show. By that I mean, I doubt its making a lot of people's favourite lists.
I actually really enjoy the procedural nature of Fringe. I lost track of The X-Files when it went story arc heavy, and never returned as I couldn't work out what was going on.
It tries to be a procedural, boy it does, but the entire idea of a procedural is that you can jump in and out without much of a second thought (and for the majority of The X-Files, you can actually do that - it kept its mytharc separated). With Fringe, second thought is actually needed. There's a really interesting story in there, but sometimes gets forgotten about for 35 minutes, only to make you really pay attention in the last 5. I think if it actually gave in to its roots, by planting some more cliffhangers and actually going full out with its mythos - it might do better creatively.

(Err... I think that's what I wanted to say, I'm confusing myself.)

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