Aaaah! I have too many shows and movies I want to review. I have so little time, and I’m getting old, and I’m tired all the time, which is not helping. (Waaaah!) People keep asking me how do I find time to watch the shows and review them, go to work full time, care for aging parents, and do charity work, making hats and scarves for homeless shelters.
I don’t. I don’t actually have time for all this stuff, so I’m going to have to establish a priority. Will I be sleeping, or watching a show? Will I be reviewing that show this week? Can I finish this book or this hat? Television insists on creating brand new stuff to watch each week (and seriously, is this a golden age of good TV or what?), so something is getting sacrificed in favor of, possibly, more sleep. (Probably The Magicians and Sleepy Hollow.)
But the good news is, for every show I don’t review, two more pop up that I said I would. This is mainly for those who don’t have access to these shows and shows that aren’t already heavily reviewed. I suspect a lot of people will miss the pilot for Damien because promotions for it have been kind of low key, as I don’t know much about it beyond the trailers.
Anyway, this is another movie adaptation , like Bates Motel, (which I don’t watch but I do respect the heck out of), the show it’s following on the A&E network. Damien is a reworking of The Omen Trilogy which followed the life and adventures of the son of Satan. He comes back home to deal with his unholiness issues after a stint as a war photographer. The show appears to be ignoring the two sequels and referencing only the first movie, which I think is a good idea. I didn’t think the sequels were bad. In fact, I really liked Omen II, but its easier to craft a new mythology, if the sequels are ignored.
Okay, I watched the pilot and its okay. I’m not completely sold on it yet, but I’ll watch next week’s episode and see if they’ve done anything different, and maybe get some clue where its going.
Damien Thorn is a war photographer in Syria during the uprising. He gets accosted by an old woman who has a strange message for him in Latin. Afterwards, she disappears and Damien spends the rest of the show trying to find her, and following the trail that creates. He’s joined in this by his African American, soon to be “fridged” love interest, and another photographer, who is a friend of his.
The show throws you right in the deep end, as there’s not a lot of backstory presented to the viewer up front. It’s not necessary to have seen the original Omen film but its helpful when the characters mention things that happened in the past. Damien doesn’t have much memory of the events of his childhood, basically the events of the first movie.
I was correct that the show completely ignores the sequels, which is a shame because when I was twelve, I was totally crushing on the little boy from the second movie, Damien:Omen II. Well anyway, this Damien doesn’t know who or what he is and the show gets that out of the way about halfway through, when he checks his hairline and finds the numbers 666. Strangely, an old man who warns him about the numbers of the beast gets killed, but a woman who meets him earlier, played by Barbara Hershey, almost warns him of what he is, and she gets to live. I guess the old guy wasn’t being obscure, or sexy, enough in his warning.
Everything happens very fast in the show and a lot of stuff happens. I found it weird that people just sort of readily accept the existence of evil, God and the Anti-Christ, while investigating the strange events happening to Damien. Of course some of these characters were already believers, and there’s a delicious tension in wondering who’s on his side and supports him, vs. people who don’t know.
If you’re a Supernatural fan you will be reminded of season five, when Sam found out that some of his closest friends and associates he knew as a child, knew who and what he was. I spent most of the episode wondering if that was going to be the same set up for this show and who those supporters might be.
Here’s a clue, though. People who don’t know, but find out during the course of the show, get killed. That’s how the show handles that. So the girlfriend who was helping Damien follow the cookie crumb trail to his origins, gets killed and one guy who tries to warn him about himself gets eaten by dogs.
The series is definitely going for straight up horror, without an ounce of humor. I sort of wish a little humor had been added because the dialogue can get more than a bit ponderous after a while. I was glad for the occasional commercial break because it also gave me some respite from the droning choir music, which ratcheted itself into higher and higher decibels, the more dramatic the plot became.
At one point Damien is screaming at a statue of Jesus in a church, which I thought was a bit overdone, and the music was so loud, I wondered if he was yelling over an actual choir, present in the the church.
At this point, I don’t know where the show is going. Its gotten most of the major plot points out of the way that I thought would be the focus of the series. So now I’m wondering if what we’ll be seeing is Damien trying to fight against what he is, while being encouraged to be evil by his supporters, or if there will be political angles, instead.
I will watch the show next week, but I’m not sold on it based on this one episode. i need at least two or three before I lose interest. The way it is now, I’m definitely on the fence about it. As a regular viewer of The Walking Dead, I don’t know if I want to add another heavy horror show to my roster. There’s only so much tension I can handle in a week.