RogerBW's Blog

Van Helsing season 1 10 June 2017

2016 post-apocalyptic horror, 13 episodes. Vampires have always walked the earth, and after a Yellowstone-eruption-induced loss of sunlight they've taken over. Three years later, a descendant of Abraham van Helsing helps to fight against them.

This could have gone in all sorts of directions, because there's a whole lot of stuff happening in this world (inspired by a graphic novel series). Vanessa Helsing has strange blood which kills vampires when they bite her, and if she bites them it turns them permanently human again, but for some reason she's reluctant to do this on an industrial scale. She also apparently got Combat Reflexes and Fast Regeneration out of the deal, which is nice.

But the vampire apocalypse is just dreary. It's decaying aristocrats with Eastern European accents quarrelling with each other, trying to breed, and subverting surviving humans; it's generic subterranean biker gang, only with fangs instead of bikes; and it's roving mindless zombies. All these things are "vampires". And there are a whole bunch of different human survivor groups, each differently compromised, who come and go as the plot demands.

This is television as written by a hyperactive child who won't sit down to develop any of the ideas, but always wants to rush on to the next thing. It's about holing up in a hospital with a generator that apparently never needs fuel, and a battery of UV lights to keep the vampires out. No, it's about a road trip in an ambulance, looking for Vanessa's missing daughter. No, it's about finding out where the vampire apocalypse came from, which seems to have been related to some kind of secret government project. No, it's about the endless ongoing squabbling among the survivors. No, it's about finding out which of them is a serial killer. Have a quick emotional moment (or at least an impassioned argument in which nobody listens to anyone else; there are lots of those), and now we're on to the next thing. Oh, and everything's dim and grey even in the daytime, even though sunlight is supposed to be returning.

Christopher Heyerdahl is about the only actor to maintain any dignity here, though Rukiya Bernard has some fun as a de-vamped doctor. The series has been renewed for a second season; I won't be watching.

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:09pm on 10 June 2017

    The Yellowstone Supervolcano went off, and sunlight is returning after only three years? Have they read any of the scientific studies of what would happen if Yellowstone went off? Next you'll be telling me there are people in the North American continent that survived.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 10:00am on 11 June 2017

    Well, "oh dear we're all dead" would have meant fewer endless arguments, so that could have been an improvement.

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