You can’t say that BBC America isn’t hip to the fact that in our modern society, giving away free stuff actually makes you more money. Following the success of their supernatural thriller Orphan Black, they have begun the campaign for Supernatural Saturday’s Intruders, by posting episode 1 and 2 on YouTube even before episode 2 airs. Let’s have a look at this two-episode preview…
This series of winding plotlines begins with a scene in the past where a woman seemingly is forced to swap souls by dark lurky men, one of whom is Richard Shepherd (James Frein), the apprentice. Flash forward nine years later, Shepherd is an expert at….whatever it is he does, besides shooting people. Independent of Shepherd, who pops up in everyone’s lives now and again, we’re following three storylines: Former police offer Jack (John Simm) is trying to track down his wife who seems suddenly under the impression that she’s a Russian assassin from the 1800s, nine-year-old Madison’s (Millie Bobby Brown) body is partially taken over by Marcus Fox who the Chinese lady says “Nobody is built for Marcus Fox” before Shepherd shoots her, and conspiracy podcaster Oz is immediately replaced by another conspiracy podcaster upon Shepherd’s termination of him. That’s the beauty of the first episode: You don’t know who is going to survive because the writers flesh out and put so much emphasis on the minor characters who are going to get killed right away. This isn’t one of those easy-to-predict action films where the minor characters are all wearing red shirts.
That said, I have a very similar reaction to this show that I did with Orphan Black, which was that the acting was great and all but the paranormal elements and plot elements are things we’ve seen a hundred times before. I love Jack recruiting a cabbie as his impromtu police partner in the investigation of his wife’s disappearance. I don’t love the creepy men in suits following him around Seattle. It feels very Fringe. And every bad horror film has a guy with a radio show broadcasting his conspiracies, and everyone ignores him even though he’s right. And what’s easier to explain complex exposition than a book given to the main character that describes what’s going on? But let’s be fair. I gave up Orphan Black after a couple episodes, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. Then I binge-watched it to catch up and now I think it’s great.
If you feel like you don’t know what’s going on, don’t worry, you’re not supposed to. We’re fed enough each episode to keep us satisfied but stick around for answers to biting questions like “What happened to Bill Anderson?” and “Why did Shepherd bring Marcus Fox back so early?” I will keep watching.