Autodidact: self-taught


If Buffy and Angel Moved to England

by V. L. Craven

They’d be in the same universe as Hex.

Rather than vampires, we have witches, voodoo and Azazeal, a fallen angel here to make life difficult for very specific people.

Set at a remote boarding school I would have happily killed to attend (Englefield House, pictured below), there’s a blond heroine we’re supposed to believe isn’t popular and her best friend, lesbian Thelma Bates. There’s some really well-done, subtle tension between the two friends (and an obligatory but nevertheless hot snogging scene at the start of the second or third episode) until Thelma is sacrificed. These things happen, you know.

If this was my school I would have actually turned up

It’s available on Netflix for the Yanks, and I’d recommend it for Buffy/Angel fans. The production values are the same though some of the fx make up far surpasses Buffy and Angel.

My personal favourite parts (aside from the girls kissing) are some of the adult supporting characters. Anna Wilson-Jones is one of the teachers at the school and I’ve been a fan of hers since she played the ex-girlfriend in Spaced. Another fav of mine is Colin Salmon, who plays the principal of the school. He was excellent in the second Prime Suspect and a total wanker in the eighth series of Bad Girls. Katy Carmichael is also a joy and quite different from Twist, the character she played in Spaced.

The chief differences between this show and Buffy are: nudity, sex and language, which they have in Britain, as well as characters having tongues when they kiss. Hey, at least they’re keeping it real. Also, the storyline takes the entire series to play out rather than the let’s-kill-the-monster episodic storylines of Buffy.

One thing that drives me crazy (other than the repeated mispronunciation of “nephilim”) is that the ghost, while brilliantly played, can touch things with no problem, but not people. I know it’s just a bit of fun, but explain how an entity can use the same hairbrush a living person does but cannot also touch that person.

That aside, it’s a pretty show to look at and a fun ride.

[The upper portion of this post is a repost from a previous blog. Original post date: 9 December, 2007. The following was added at posting:]

The lead actress in Hex (Claire Skinner) plays the governor of a prestigious university in England in Trinity.

This show only lasted one series of 8 episodes (a common length for British shows). It’s difficult to categorise. Drama, comedy, supernatural something, evil Americans running some sort of nefarious scheme through an upper-class club… Charles Dance was in it. He was great. The adults were fine, but the student characters were straight out of a stereotype machine. The last half hour of the final episode had me shouting, ‘NOW you get interesting?!’

So… watch it or don’t. But the scenery is nice. It was filmed at Dulwich College, London.

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