Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review: No simple fairy tale

She’s a strong, independent woman, but life literally sucks for “Bo,” the heroine of Syfy’s newest scripted series, “Lost Girl."

Bo (portrayed by Anna Silk) is a 30-something brunette with dangerous appetites — a full-blooded succubus who feeds on the sexual energy of humans. She was hidden among humans as an infant and raised without knowledge of her lineage, only learning about her “Fae” powers when she drained her boyfriend’s life during her first intimate encounter.

Now, after years on the run and faced with the choice of joining either the light or dark factions of the fairy realm, she shuns both. She takes the middle path, aligning herself with humans, and making her the go-to outsider for Fae with problems. She takes their cases while searching for the truth behind her heritage.

Premiering two weeks ago (the third episode is Monday), “Lost Girl” is new to American TV, but it is soon to start its third 13-episode season in its native Canada.

The setting takes the Syfy channel deep into the dark urban fantasy territory of popular novel series like those of Patricia Briggs, Laurell Kaye Hamilton and Kim Harrison, which also focus on strong female protagonists. It’s the latest new TV series dealing with fairy tale creatures in the modern world, such as ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and NBC’s “Grimm.”

The regular cast includes Kris Holden-Ried as “Dyson,” a wolf-like Fae working as a human police officer; Ksinia Solo as “Kenzi,” a human pickpocket and con artist who becomes Bo’s confidante and aide; Zoe Palmer as “Lauren,” a human doctor working for the Light Fae, who also crushes on Bo. A notable recurring guest star is Emmanuelle Vaugier as “The Morrigan,” the leader of the Dark Fae.

The first two episodes provided for review show the series getting off to a bumpy start. The pilot, “It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae World,” is sexy and violent (sometimes simultaneously), though the explanations of the show’s setting tend to slow the pace. Episode two, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Fae” is just as goofy as it sounds, lapsing close to self-parody, which is odd territory for a show that (in the U.S., at least) hasn’t yet established itself.

In Canada, the series received positive reviews and developed enough of a following for the second season to be boosted to 22 episodes and an order placed for the third season. “Lost Girl” was developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures, in association with Shaw Media and Showcase.

(This review originally appeared in the News Herald prior to the season premiere of the show; I just recalled that it wasn't added here, so here it is now, slightly altered because of the passage of time.)

Catch “Lost Girl” at 9 p.m. CST Mondays, following the second season episodes of “Being Human,” Syfy’s Americanized adaptation of a hit BBC series, which airs at 8 p.m. “Being Human” follows the struggles of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who share an apartment in Boston.

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