Friday, November 1, 2019

Fall TV review, 2019: Evil

Watch Evil: First Look At Evil On CBS - Full show on CBS ...
To start with, psychologist Kristen Bouchard (actress Katja Herbers) was going to profile a simple serial killer. Then he started speaking in tongues and going insane at the sign of the cross. Vatican assessor David Acosta (Luke Cage's Mike Colter) thinks it might be a case of demonic possession. When the DA tries to twist arms to force Bouchard's verdict, she quits... 

And the Vatican needs a psychologist to help with assessments, because demonic possession can be confused with mental disorders and vice versa.

But assessor David Acosta comes with his own nemesis, Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson). Leland another psychologist who wants to promote dark, twisted behavior, going so far as to tell our heroine that he wishes to release the guilty and condemn the innocent.

And went Acosta tries to pray, something that looks very much like Townsend comes to harass and harangue him.

And thus begins Evil, one of the creepiest, smartest shows I've seen outside of Prodigal Son.

Aasif Mandvi with Mike Colter and Katja Herbers on EVIL
Our Trinity. The assessor, the shrink, and the tech guy.
This show is ... horror, after a fashion. The main plots with the miracle / possession of the week are relatively good procedurals. 

Somebody actually read the novel The Exorcist and decided "Wow, there are a LOT of tests you have to run before doing an exorcism ... or declare a miracle. We could make this a whole series."

These are some nice flashes of creepy in the main plot, and a lot of character driven element to the main story. Though a lot of it is deflated by the scientific, rational explanation presented as a possibility offered by the end of the episode.

There is usually a subplot including Bouchard's four Catholic school girl daughters, so seem to be getting sucked more and more into a tidal pool of darkness. And while everything that seems to be creeping in on them has a perfectly rational explanation, no one actually stops and spells out those explanations, unlike in the main plot.

While I don't know the actress playing Bouchard, she pulls it off quite well. And I've enjoyed Mike Colter's work ever since he was on Ringer, here is no exception.

I do have trouble with reconciling how Michael Emerson can be so normal, while being the creepiest freaking thing in the entire TV show...Okay. He's not the creepiest thing on the show. But damn, is he close.

Then there's "George" -- a Joss Whedon demon who plays a recurring night terror. Though whether or not he's a night terror or a real demon is left up for grabs. But he's entertaining anyway.

While this so is filled to the brim with wall to wall creepy things, much of them from the main plot are explained away, or are just ambiguous enough to be eerie. Because after all, this show isn't called Supernatural, it's called Evil. And the most evil, creepy things in this entire show isn't the potential possession that might be demonic. They're the things that are almost certainly "merely" human... but they're still pure flipping evil.

Right now, an 8/10. Yes, I'm grading it lower than Prodigal Son, but that's because the latter has more laughs. Dark Laughs, but laughs.

Speaking of dark, check out the kickstarter for my current horror series, Saint Tommy, NYPD. It's got a dark, twisted sense of humor, a strange perspective, and generally ... dark. And having fun with it.

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