Superstition

Spooky goings-on and more Mario van Peebles that any one series can contain.

What’s The Show? Superstition

What’s It All About, JG? Black Supernatural, essentially. But with about a tenth of the budget, and instead of having two hot boys fighting monsters, they have one hot boy fighting monsters, and also Mario van Peebles for some reason. Actually the reason is very clear if you watch the credits, because he seems to have done everything on this show, including writing, acting and directing. The show is set in a funeral home in Georgia because Georgia has lots of film subsidies that’s a spooky location, and every week something of a supernatural occult nature will turn up to threaten or engage the central family in some way. Also Peebles’s character, Isaac Hastings, is sort-of immortal and knows more than he’s letting on… But basically it’s just an excuse to dick about with ghosts and demons and the like on next-to-no money.

Why Did You Give It A Go? Because, despite all reasoning, I still throughly enjoy Supernatural and was curious to see what someone giving a not-white, not-Judeo-Christian spin on similar material might result in. What it resulted in was, in fact, a very, very inexpensive version of Supernatural. Surprise!

Is It Any Good? I’m not sure that good is exactly the right world, though it’s certainly entertaining. The problem – well, one of the problems – is that the budget is vastly inadequate for what the show is trying to achieve. I’m not normally one to criticise shows for being cheap, but the title sequence – the same ten-second-long title sequence style that Supernatural has, in case the parallels weren’t clear enough – looks like it was made by the same guy who did the special effects for Birdemic: Shock And Awe. It’s hilarious, and the fact that the whole show is being delivered with real sincerity somehow makes it all the funnier. Every time we get a shot of the outside of the funeral house, which is always the same establishing shot, we get crows on the soundtrack going “cawww! cawwww!” Every. Time. Once you’ve noticed it’s impossible not to, and it becomes funnier every time. Also, if Superstition is to be believed, Georgia must have the most dramatic lightning in the whole world – it’s always flashing away, every episode, when there’s a big moment of tension, yet always absent when someone needs to have a heartfelt conversation. The production is hilariously messy and though I don’t want to say it’s so-bad-it’s-good, the show’s terribly judged shortfalls are definitely one reason to find it hilarious. Still, it’s not all bad – that sincerity of delivery goes a long way to covering up the production problems, and the cast are game and, occasionally, even good. There’s some ambition on display here too, so while we do sometimes get unforgivable clichés like a killer doll out for revenge, there’s also an episode set inside a universe of clocks. The production – unsurprisingly – can’t quite pull off the surrealism of the setting, but there’s a rather bracing sense that the show is trying to do things with imagination rather than budget, and that’s just how a show like this ought to operate. So yes – good isn’t the right word, but it’s very watchable, for a whole host of contradictory reasons.

How Many Episodes Did You Watch? All of the first season, which ends in a suitable batshit way after losing some momentum towards the end of the season. This is, let’s be clear, an often unintentionally-funny show, but it remains for the most part entertaining and you know – Brad James is hot. So I guess that’s a reason to persist. If nothing else the show is rarely boring, and the guest cast have varied between surprisingly terrific and laughably church-hall-am-dram, with seemingly no attempt to bridge the gap between those two styles to hit anything like a consistent tone. Which, again, just makes it funnier.

Would You Recommend It? Um. For lovers of schlocky, B-movie-style nonsense in need of a good laugh but with just about enough story to carry you through? Sure. Don’t go in expecting too much and your expectations will be thoroughly met. If you’re looking for a high quality drama about spooky goings-on in the Deep South, then no, that’s not what you’re going to get and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Scores On The Doors? 6/10

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