Like Madonna at the Super Bowl, it is halftime in America for season one of SyFy’s Canadian import Lost Girl. And, like the Material Girl’s performance, Lost Girl delivers more over-the-top sexuality, gratuitous violence and hardcore cussin’ than the viewer may have initially been prepared to expect. (Seriously, the TV-MA warning is longer than the credits.)
Anna Silk (a ringer for Witchblade’s Yancy Butler) plays Bo, a being whose very kiss can draw energy out of a human being. In this regard, it shares some similarities to Mark Wheatley’s Breathtaker. One night, while “feeding,” Bo saves the life of a Romani girl, Kenzi (Life Unexpected‘s Ksenia Solo). This act brings her to the attention of the “Fae World;” warring clans of evolutionarily advanced beings who have secretly lived side-by-side with humans since the beginning of time: Light Fae led by The Ash and Dark Fae led by The Morrigan. Bo quickly learns she is a succubus, a Fae species with the potential to learn how to control her “feedings.”
Each group suspects Bo will tip the balance of power between the sides, so they invoke the ancient rite of trial by combat for Bo to earn the “privilege” of choosing an allegiance. When Bo opts for Humanity, not Light nor Dark, it throws even more confusion and suspicion through the Fae ranks.
Along the way, thief and congirl Kenzi becomes Bo’s roommate, and Bo gains allies: a Fae cop named Dyson, who works for The Ash, takes a shine to her. As does The Ash’s “pet human scientist” Lauren. Then there’s a former Fae leader-turned-barkeep, Trick, who has this theory that Bo is the fulfillment of some prophecy that no one wants to talk about…
The first thing you notice about this show is that the budget falls somewhere between low rent and no rent. Your initial thought is “cheesy sets” when I say that, right? But sometimes tight budgets can also spur creativity. Fortunately, Lost Girl leans toward the creative side: Fast cuts move the action along and hide the CG problems. Meanwhile, the location scouts have given the show a funky-eclectic feel by using “found” architecture: The show’s Production Offices double as Dyson’s squad room and Lauren’s lab is an abandoned church. Lastly, the soundtrack is littered with Canadian one hit wonders to keep costs down, yet giving the show a “lived in” feel (anybody remember Alannah Myles?)
Where the show shines is in its smart writing. Series creator Michelle Lovretta worked on Mutant X for years, so she is no stranger to making something out of nothing. This show is heavily into its world building. The Fae have a really long history dotted with colorful characters of various-length lifespans. The story bible for this show must be MASSIVE, but it gives the show a backstory that fans of Timur Bekmambetov’s Night Watch movies or Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files can really latch onto.
As the players come off the sidelines for the second half of the first season (Lost Girl is in its third season in Canada), I’m sitting in the cheap seats thinking, “so far…so good…” Anyone who knows me knows I like to root for the underdog, but I also bore fairly easily, so I’m kinda surprised to find myself a fan of this scrappy little team that has actual strengths AND makes its weaknesses into strengths, as well.
Don’t get me wrong, this show will never win an Emmy, but that really isn’t the point of most television shows: In the realm of guilty pleasures, the only important question is “Was I entertained?” Happily, I can give a resounding “Yes” to that question.
Tags: Alannah Myles, Anna Silk, Bo, Breathtaker, cussin, Dark Fae, Dyson, Fae, Grim_Noir, Jim Butcher, Kenzi, Ksenia Solo, Lauren, Life Unexpected, Light Fae, Lost Girl, Mark Wheatley, Michelle Lovretta, Mutant X, Night Watch, Review, Romani, sexuality, succubus, Syfy, The Ash, The Dresden Files, The Morrigan, Timur Bekmambetov, Trick, violence, Witchblade, Yancy Butler