Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gods 1x03 - 'Hunted'

WRITTEN BY: Emma Platt
PREMIERE DATE: 21/08/2005
PRODUCED BY: Monster Zero Productions http://www.mzp-tv.co.uk/godsepisodes.html

Benjamin and Gaynor bring the three young Gods on a mission to take out Borgio, a powerful demonic creature, to test their powers. However, the night takes an unexpected turn when Jayne finds herself captured by the Bebocom, a weird sewer creature, while the others are targeted by a team of gahans who have been hired to kill the three young Gods before they can realise their potential......

The opening two episodes of this series left me, as previously observed in this blog, distinctly nonplussed. As a beginning, it failed to grab me as a concept. It felt repetitive, old hat, bland and somewhat cheesy. However, with the clear writing talent behind the show, I was confident and hopeful it could turn these weak beginnings into something positive. And it may have taken three episodes, but for the first time now, I finally can begin seeing that potential in Gods. For me, episode three is a real turn up in quality, and puts it's two predecessors in the shade.

An interesting set of supporting characters works in it's favour. The three gahans, creations I felt were a highlight of the weak pilot, are introduced in a comedic and off the wall teaser. They're presented much like bumbling Mafia goons in comedy movies, tough but ultimately dim, ineffectual baddies. You know that Cal, Louie, et al.. are doomed to failure, but it's fun seeing them get there. There are some lovely scenes with them toward the beginning especially, such as Louie infiltrating the warehouse, that work really well; similiarly, the Bebocom sewer creature is very strange and creepy, feeling somewhat original in the process. I'd quite like to see it again in some form.

Pacing is another element that is much improved from the opening episodes. In the first two, many scenes seemed to plod along somewhat, filled with exposition that was necessary but dragged the episodes down. A chief complaint was a lack of forward narrative in those episodes. Well, now the set-up is largely out the way, creator Emma Platt is able to exchange expository moments for a much pacier narrative. The entire story unfolds over the course of one night, and is all the better for it. There's a clear plot here, and the characters all seem to have something to do. This narrative also helps with the dialogue as well. Jayne is far more likeable in this episode, since she's served with better lines. It's snappier paced and written, and needs to keep up this tempo in future installments. With the set up gone, the opportunity is there.

I also thought the character development was here handled much better. As I say, Jayne became more likeable throughout. There are nice moments in which Gaynor and Benjamin clash over how to proceed when trouble arises in relation to their charges, a clash that i'd like to see expanded on later. There's tension between these two, and great opportunity for professional fireworks; Leo, too, for the first time, was presented as more than a one-dimensional caricature. Aside from a great bit of antipathy between he and Benjamin when partnered together, Leo shows he can be more than a jerk over his clear concern for Jayne when she's abducted. While his relationship with her is fiery, Leo clearly cares about her, and seeing this briefly is a nice touch; the biggest development, though, comes through the excellent moments in which Leo & April specifically tap into their powers. The scenes involving Leo unexpectedly releasing his thunder & April with the fire hydrant are a delight, and serve to give us a peek at the incredible potential these teenagers have. Opens plenty of doors.

Now, despite this improvement, there are still problems. The excellent pacing completely derails in the final act. We're back to the somewhat talky exposition, and a series of resolution scenes that go on far too long. It almost completely tanks the good that has come before, as does when we finally see Borgio. Yeah, the revelation he's about as scary as a potato is a neat twist and the denounement is quite funny, but the show is still trading good dramatic scenes for flippant comedy. I know the show is light-hearted, but it should be allowed some depth. Parts of this episode have that, but it needs to become more prevalent if Gods is to become an online series to remember. Steady improvement overall, though, hope it keeps doing so.

WRITING: 1/2
GRAMMAR: 1/2
FORMATTING: 1.5/2
STYLE: 1/2
DEPTH: 1/2

FINAL RATING: 5.5/10

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