Review: Exorcist, the series

dsIf you haven’t read The Exorcist, of if you haven’t read the story about the original book, it was originally based off of an actual case of possession in Georgetown. Two of the original priests from the incident showed up in the movie, as priests, if not as themselves. Obviously, the possessed in that case had been playing with Ouja boards and other similar instruments.
And, as one of my characters says in the sequel to my book Honor at Stake: Don’t play with Demonic Crap, Demonic Crap doesn’t play with you.

In the case of The Exorcist tv series, I knew this was in trouble the moment that the original author, William Peter Blatty, wasn’t named in the credits as working on the project. He wasn’t a writer, he wasn’t a producer. He got credit for the original story. That was a great big warning flag.

And look at this description, will you?

Something is wrong in the Rance household. Angela Rance suspects demonic possession and enlists the help of two priests: the progressive, but naïve, Father Tomas Ortega and the broken holy warrior, Father Marcus Keane.

Yeah, this will end well. It’s not like we’ve never seen these tropes before…. oh, wait…

 The first ten minutes consisted mostly of atmospherics. I know that’s a lot of the original film, but good God in Heaven, this is a pilot episode, not a movie, the two things operate differently. The minute-long, rat’s eye view of scrolling along the street, I hit the fast forward button until we got somewhere

Eventually, we arrive at a church. In the aisles are the family to be haunted in this particular incident. We also see standard Father New Priest, who is, of course, charismatic, upbeat, friendly, and does a reread of the gospel reading in layman’s terms and modern English. Don’t we all love this trope? Thankfully, he’s not hippy-dippy in the sermon, but this is just the opening.

I’ll give this show credit for trying to set up a bit of the character dynamics of the family, and they do an okay job — enough to give us a sense of how the family operates, including a hint of the reclusive daughter, and highlighting that the father is a bit of a flake who can’t keep track of his hat. Okay, fine. This is all right. Good job. The writers get a gold star and a cookie.

And, oh, by the way, did I mention that Father New Priest is hanging around his ex-girlfriend? A lot?

Then, without any rhyme or reason, we’re whisked away to a Flavella, where an African Priest is hunting down an exorcist in Rio. This priest “hasn’t checked in,” and is supposedly in the midst of an exorcism….

Except, when we first see this exorcist, he’s hanging around outside, on the balcony, lying in the sun, drinking a beer, while the person being exorcised is chained up inside and off screen. Ah, the ever popular Father Burnout, who, if the ads are anything to go by, will be sent away somewhere to rest and recover. I’m sure he’s going to be cranky, pissed off at everyone, but he’s going to be right about almost everything, and I’m sure they’ll listen to him at the last moment.

But I’m forecasting. At this point, I’m a little curious at this point to see exactly what’s going on. Is the possessed tied up? Father African priest (I’m sure he has a name, I just don’t care to look it up. They’re all cliche’s anyway) objects, claims that “this” is against Church policy, whatever “this” is. Blah blah blah, meaningless noise since we have no idea what’s going on…

And then  and Father Burnout pulls a gun on him.

That’s the point when I checked out of this particular fiasco.

I’m sure one of the other writers here might want to try giving this a shot, but I’ve seen more realistic priests on Lucifer, and that show decided that their theology is more Zoroastrian than Judeo-Christian.

This show? I don’t care what they think they’re doing, and I want no part of it.

Here, as a consolation priest, you might want to check out my novel Sad Puppies Bite Back.  I promise, it’s funny.


About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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