Kiss and Kill
Syfy, Mondays, 10 PM
“It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World”
Written by Michelle Lovretta
Directed by Erik Canuel
“I sort of drain people.” — Bo
Genre television has been running through pretty much every mythology known to Western literature in recent years, so it’s no surprise someone finally got around to one of the most enduring myths: fairies. We got a glimpse of a fae world in True Blood, in a storyline that pretty much went nowhere, and this year’s new series Once Upon a Time has given us Robert Carlyle’s excellent Rumplestiltskin. But this new/old series from Syfy makes the eldritch world the centerpiece, with shapechangers, enchanters, sirens and other supernatural creatures the main characters. Nor is this the Disney version of Fairyland: the characters are lethal, seductive, powerful and untrustworthy. None of them answer to “Tinkerbell”; they bear a closer resemblance to Shakespeare’s Puck from “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
“So, you didn’t eat some dude’s face in the elevator?” — Kenzi
Our heroine, Bo (Anna Silk, Ghost Whisperer) has no last name, which figures because she has no idea what she is, and barely knows who she is. She’s lived on the run for years, because she has a tendency to kill the people she kisses (or seduces). Waking up next to corpses is a drag, so she moves from town to town, taking odd jobs. When we meet her, she’s tending bar and watching a sleazeball try to pick up women. Sleazeball dopes a drink and hands it to a young punker named Kenzi (Ksenia Solo,Life Unexpected) who, unknown to him, is a pickpocket. When he corners her in an elevator, Bo comes to her rescue and kills the would-be rapist with a kiss. She vamooses to her current home, a crack pad, with the comatose Kenzi over her shoulder. And now it gets interesting. The police who investigate this apparent murder not only immediately know what happened, they exhibit unusual investigative skills. Detective Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried, The Tudors) says he smells Bo on the dead man. Not only does his partner Hale (K. C. Collins, Rookie Blue) understand, he has a couple of special powers of his own. Finding supernatural creatures on the police force was the first interesting twist in this pilot.
“I want to get a look at this Bo.” — Dyson
For a woman who’s been running from the law all her life, Bo’s not very smart about avoiding cops. She doesn’t react when Kenzi uses her iPhone to video Bo’s attack on the rapist. She strolls nonchalantly through a parking garage with a passed-out female over her shoulder, right past the security cameras every 21st century grownup knows are there. She hangs out in crack houses, which usually get more attention from neighborhood cops than an anonymous cheap hotel room would. So it’s no surprise when Dyson and Hale have no trouble tracking her down. They throw her into a van and take off. What they didn’t figure on was Kenzi, who has overcome her initial fright on meeting Bo to the extent that she wants to partner up with “the toughest kid on the playground”.
“Do you truly not know what you are?” — Kenzi
Dyson and Hale deliver Bo to a mansion where she meets assorted smooth-talking thugs who demand answers she can’t give, who talk about clans and choices and other things she has no interest in. A human doctor examines her and explains that Bo is a succubus, a being who uses sex to influence people (boy, there’s a novel idea). Bo takes an interest only when the doctor suggests that she can help her learn to control her power. This is all by way of information dump, in which we learn that there are fae in the world (supernatural beings with various powers and abilities), and that they are self-divided into two separate camps, the Light and the Dark. Bo is required to choose a side, even though all she wants is to be left alone.
“I choose humans.” — Bo
At this point in the narrative, I was strongly reminded of one of my favorite novels, Emma Bull’s ground-breaking War for the Oaks. Bull’s genius was in melding ancient Irish fairy tales into an urban setting. In it, a modern woman finds herself drawn into a war between good and evil being fought “behind the scenes” of a contemporary city, among supernatural creatures living by their own law. This pioneering work introduced millions of readers to the concept of urban fantasy, and spurred a host of imitations. Without novels like War for the Oaks, we might not have television series like Being Human or Blood Ties. So I am delighted to see television mining this mother lode for even more interesting ideas to hang soap opera tropes on. Bo finds herself in a similar situation, being forced to choose between one side or another when she would really prefer a neutral stance.
“I was not expecting Thunderdome.” — Bo
The structure of the show is very formulaic; all too often I felt I was watching a live-action version a video game. This was never more true than in the climactic “test” sequence, in which the ruling powers force Bo to fight a couple of fae to prove … something. Although Bo’s powers lie in seduction, she chooses to use knives and fists to defeat first a thug roughly eight times her size and then a skinny dude using Jedi mind tricks on her. Since we’ve already been shown, twice, that Bo can get whatever she wants from someone just by touching them, it made no sense for her to resort to weapons she is unfamiliar with. And the idea that a woman with no special training could bring down a guy built like a tank is just flat ludicrous. I was very aware at that point that I was in a contrived video game.
“That was like the Fourth of July in my mouth!” — Bo
The biggest problem with Lost Girl, at least in the pilot, is the lost girl herself. Anna Silk has a few sardonic, funny moments, but most of the time her lines are stilted and delivered rather tonelessly. Ksenia Solo has better lines, but her physical actions sometimes reminded me of a drunken puppet who had lost half her strings. Her flailing, her awkward running, her “hiding”, reminded me of Charlie Chaplin in their broad, pantomimic gestures. Certainly they didn’t add either tension or suspense to the mix. The best character so far is Dylon, whose laid-back werewolf/cop with the seductive grin make him by far the most attractive of the fae. When he exchanges a soul-searing kiss with Bo (strictly in order to give her some of his strength. Honestly.), there are some pretty serious fireworks between them.
“You can control people by touch! And not in a creepy hand-job way! That is awesome!” Kenzi
From the previews of coming attractions, as well as the rather broad hints dropped in this show, it’s clear that the major focus of this series is going to be sex, sex and more sex. Which is fine, but can get boring really fast. Bo, having chosen neutrality, is ordered to stick around so the powerful fae can keep a wary eye on her, so she’ll be close to the magnetic Detective Dyson. She’s also clearly bisexual, or perhaps pansexual, so we can expect some girl-on-girl romance in the future. It will be interesting to see what Bo chooses to do for a living; I really wondered, half way through the pilot, why Bo was not the most in-demand prostitute in Toronto. Oh, yeah, the waking-up-next-to-a-corpse thing. Bummer. But if, as the doctor suggested, Bo can learn to control her powers to avoid killing, then this show might well turn from Lost Girl to Call Girl.
“Now for the million dollar question. What kind of fae am I?” — Bo
Lost Girl is in its second season on Canadian TV. On Monday night, its American debut garnered 1.47 million viewers for a 1.2 rating. These numbers surpass the premiere of Merlin and came close to the second-season premiere of Being Human.