This week on Yesflix/Noflix, we’re tackling the sensitive issue of supernatural women living in our world. There’s been many an attempt at the idea that some supernatural underground world is hiding just out of sight of us regular humans for years, so it’s not exactly a new concept. However with shows like Vampire Diaries and Supernatural flooding the market with angst ridden supernatural boys looking broodingly at the camera as they stride around trying to capture the teen girl market, we can’t say there’s been much innovation in the genre. With that in mind, I set out to find two female led supernatural shows to keep any of you with a taste for the mythical from spending your weekends on another angst ridden vampire show.
Yesflix – Lost Girl
Lost Girl is the story of Bo, a bartender who lives on the run due to her terrifying ability and instinctual need to drain the life force of humans through romantic entanglements. One night, during her shift, she notices a businessman at the bar trying to dose a young girl and follow her to the elevator, and Bo feels compelled to stop him the only way she knows how, by kissing him and feeding on his life force. She then takes the dosed girl, who witnessed the ordeal and was thoroughly out of the loop due to the drugs, back to her home where Bo prepares to pack up and run away once more to cover her tracks. However, there is a snag where the dosed girl, revealed to be named Kenzie, wakes up and demands an explanation as to everything that just happened. The problem is, Bo has no idea why she has this power, or how to control it, resulting in the deaths of everyone she has ever been intimate with.
Meanwhile, the police are catching up to Bo, as two detectives find the businessman’s body and quickly link it to a supernatural murder. Bo is then apprehended and thrown into a world she had never known existed; the world of the Fae. The Fae are a group of supernatural species who all coexist and blend into human society, and Bo will soon discover that not only is she one of them, but she must choose a side between the Light Fae and the Dark in an ongoing struggle of good vs evil.
For any of us who have taken a wiki walk through some ancient mythology, you have no doubt noticed that there’s a vast world of creatures beyond simple vampires and werewolves. Every culture has their own take on a creature and their own stories to tell about how they fit in our world. However, not many shows take on the more obscure races and how they would fit into a modern society.
Lost Girl is not only a show that dives into the deepest depths of mythology, but it actually represents them well. There are all manner of mythical creatures from Selkies, a form of shapeshifting seal which can turn human on land, to the Kappa, a semi-humanoid reptilian creature said to drown anyone who crosses it. The lengths to which this show goes into making sure every mythic from every race is represented astounds and intrigues me in a way that no other show has, and it leaves me constantly wondering what new species we’ll encounter next episode. What’s more, the species that are represented are characterized fantastically. Werewolves have traits in their human forms that you would link to wolves in real life such as being protective and loyal, and Succubi take the traits of being flirtatious and charming. How many supernatural shows can you say that not only are the characters strong, but they’re accurate?
And when I say the characters are strong, I mean it. Kenzie is absolutely charming as a lovable human sidekick, and Bo’s constant need to not only learn about herself and her powers, but also where she came from is a driving point of the series that really makes you want to find out just as much as she does. They even handle the characters sexuality in a way that’s really rare in TV shows in that Bo is bisexual and very clearly has meaningful connections and a tough choice between her two interests, Dyson and Lauren. It’s not tacked on to get views, or pandering to male fantasies as so many bisexual relationships are, it’s real. It’s an integral part of Bo’s character that lends itself beautifully to her species as a Succubus.
Lost Girl undoubtedly has my recommendation for anyone looking to get into some new supernatural fiction. Though slight warning, this one isn’t for kids. She’s a succubus, guys, and they won’t shy away from that fact!
Fans of Witches of East End and Orphan Black will LOVE this!
Noflix – Bitten
In contrast to the spectacular Lost Girl, I give you Bitten. Elena Michaels is a woman living with a secret, in a world she never wanted to be part of. Elena became a werewolf in a tragic incident involving her ex-boyfriend, and has since been living away from him and his werewolf family in order to live a happy, normal life as a photographer in Toronto. However, her perfect little normal life is soon thrown into chaos as a girl in her families town is killed by what appears to be a rogue wolf, and she must return to her estranged were-kin to help them avenge the girls death… For some reason.
Does that sound like a good, strong plot for female leads? Well how about adding to that fact that Elena is the only female werewolf ever to survive the change, and the fact she’s the best tracker in the clan despite being the youngest wolf, and the fact she’s literally the only female billed in the main cast. For a show that boasts a strong female lead character, she seems pretty weak to me. Elena may as well be named Mary-Sue for the amount of times we’re told how great she is without giving a single piece of proof. On top of that, there’s scarcely 10 minutes of the show that Elena isn’t more concerned with her love life than the murders happening literally everywhere in the town. If you’re going to go back to a family and a life that you tried so hard to run from, is it too much to ask that you focus on the task that brought you there?
Needless to say, the show fails the Bechdel test on every episode I’ve seen. Not only does every woman in it bring up the man in their lives, but aside from Elena, no one seems to get more than 5 minutes of screen time per episode. And there’s no redeeming feature in terms of equality as there are no gay or transgendered characters, and the only non white character seems to have been tossed in for the hell of it. He literally serves the main plot for only two episodes before being swept under the rug for a plot line that was pretty much stuck on with Pritt Stick at the last minute. It’s like the writers wrote him for the sole purpose of getting Elena to go back home, only to realise that after that was done, he had no impact and needed to be kept busy with a side plot.
Then again, having no impact seems to be at the core of this show. Within the first 8 episodes, at least four main characters have been killed, two of which being your primary antagonists. Not once did I feel sorry for them. It was less of an emotional downpour and more of me wondering what their names were. Because you see, the problem was that none of these characters really had enough screen time between Elena’s romance troubles to make me care about them. They had no personality, no drive, and in the end, no name to remember. So can we please have a moment of silence for that dude, he’s totally, definitely supposed to be missed.
So the characters are dull and literally white washed, and the story has no impact at all on my emotions, but there has to be some redeeming feature here right? Sorry, but that’s just far too optimistic for this show. Even the people making the show seem to know how dull and poorly done it is, because they keep shoving sex scenes in my face every ten minutes to make sure I’m still watching. You might be asking, “Hey, Lost Girl has sex too! You can’t criticize for that!” But you see, I can. Where Lost Girl does their sex scenes tastefully and with purpose to the plot, Bitten just seems to throw them in for the hell of it. In one of the episodes there’s literally 5 minutes of one of the characters (whose name I cannot remember, he’s just so distinctive), and a random extra they hired for the day stripping each other and setting up for what may as well be a soft core porn shoot. They have no reason or purpose to these scenes except to make sure the audience forgets how bad the plot is because “Hey look! Boobs!”