Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, July 22, 2007
      ( 7/22/2007 08:54:00 AM ) Bill S.  

HEXED OUT – Caught the last two season episodes of the British supernatural series Hex on BBC-America last night, and it looks like American nets aren't the only ones capable of abandoning a fantasy series mid-story: season two's finale concludes with the End of Days commencing – and our solitary trio of good guys (lesbian ghost Thelma, hard-ass demon slayer Ella and regular guy spear carrier Leon) left stranded in the woods unsure what to do next. Pretty flat as a cliffhanger; totally lame as the end of a series.

Should've seen it coming, though. First season, when it began, the series was a decent little mix of Buffy and Harry Potter, with a dose of Ann Rice's witch books included for good measure: hot and mysterious escapades set in a remote English public school that only seemed to have at most two teachers, a patently unequal battle between fledgling good witch Cassie Hughes (Christina Coles) and a wickedly attractive fallen angel named Azazeal (Michael Fassbender) with Jemima Rooper's spunky dead girl Thelma struggling to keep our heroine from getting all fluttery around the alluring Azazeal. But midpoint into the series, they killed off Cassie, pushed Azazeal off to the sidelines and brought in his son Malachi (Joseph Beattie) to handle the Byronic villainy. The series heroine now became the Xena-esque 400-plus aged demon slayer Ella Dee (Laura Pyper), who herself struggled with her fatal attraction toward Malachi, even though Beattie wasn't half as adept at pulling off the bad-guy-who-every-girl-wants thing as Fassbender had been.

More distressingly, the series' writing grew increasingly more slapdash: less beholden to its own rules, more repetitive in both dialog and action. When solitary good adult authority figure David (Colin Salmon) gets weakly shunted off-stage in the final episodes for the second time that season, you can't help but feel peeved that the writers couldn't find a single damn thing to do with this superbly authoritative character actor all this time. When a secondary character is murdered and chopped into pieces by a possessed Leon – and we see the bad guys bagging his separated remains in black plastic Hefties – it's more than a little what-th? to later show Leon standing by the kid's grave, talking to his ghost. When did the guy get buried, and, more importantly, why weren't we shown the authorities getting up in arms over the lad's violent demise? Perhaps the series' writers already knew the End Times were near? All I know is that by the time we were treated to the unconvincing sight of that private school "burning" to the ground, I was thinking nostalgically about demonic cinematic turkeys like The Devil's Rain – a movie that's mainly notable for giving us the edifying image of a very young John Travolta's face melting . . .
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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