I’m taking a stand. You should be incredibly excited about the US Season 4 Premiere of Canadian supernatural show Lost Girl.
You… haven’t heard of it?
Don’t feel bad. Most people haven’t. I probably wouldn’t have except for the wall-to-wall Facebook geek-outs of some friends from college. But boy am I grateful for social media stalking.
Lost Girl started out on Canadian channel Showcase in the summer of 2011, and later debuted on SciFi Australia, SyFy UK, and finally Syfy US in 2012. It’s a light supernatural drama with a monster-of-the-week set-up, but it’s not your typical experience. It’s sexy and snarky, with a stubborn female heroine, and a lot of heart where it counts.
After years on the run from the accidental death of her teenage boyfriend, Bo (Anna Silk) discovers that she is actually a succubus (a being that feeds on sexual energy) and that there is an entire Fae underground world to which she truly belongs. The Fae is an umbrella term for the myriad supernatural beings that keep their presence hidden as they coexist with the human world. The Fae are separated into two factions: Dark and Light, but not necessarily good and evil, and Bo is forced to choose a side and thrown into a battle to the death. Bo survives the fight and chooses not to choose because of the derogatory way the Fae treat humans. She achieves infamy and becomes known as The Unaligned Succubus.
I get it. It sounds dumb and hokey. But I’m not going to apologize. After only a few episodes, I was hooked. Seduced, even.
“Life is hard when you don’t know who you are. It’s harder when you don’t know what you are. My love carries a death sentence. I was lost for years. Searching while hiding. Only to find that I belong to a world hidden from humans. I won’t hide anymore. I will live the life I choose.”
– Bo’s voice-over as a cheeky guitar thrums in the background.
Bo and Kenzi (Ksenia Solo), her human BFFL/pet/partner-in-crime, set up a private detective business that puts Bo’s sensual powers of chi-sucking and persuasion to use for the protection of humans, and both sides of the Fae community. Bo resists the temptations of aligning herself with Dark and Light clans; they offer protection, riches, and power, but also a strict hierarchy and set of laws. In addition to the weekly baddies, malignant forces amass each season, bringing Bo closer to her goal of discovering her past, but also bringing the Fae and Human worlds into grave danger.
Lost Girl comes across as one of many genre-tinged shows that have been introduced in recent years. It’s formulaic like Supernatural and Grimm, and it doesn’t have the high-budget or witty dialogue of counterparts like HBO’s True Blood, but it might be a good way to get your fix after True Blood’s final season in summer 2014.
What Lost Girl does best is entertain. Series creator Michelle Lovretta (Secret Circle, Relic Hunter) perfectly describes her work as “[celebrating] provocative cheesecake for everyone.”
Punchy. Sexy. Fun. It’s a show that combines the cheesy snark and strong female core of supernatural shows past like Charmed and Buffy, with an LGBT-friendly and sex-positive environment. Even in the episodes with more gravitas, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still manages to cast shades of moral ambiguity.
I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure because the show is all about embracing pleasure freely.
Bo is a sexy and smart protagonist, with a strong desire to fight for the underdog no matter the personal cost, even as she undertakes a journey to find herself, the origin of her growing powers, and her Fae birth parents. The surrounding cast supports, filling character niches, but also becoming a family that supports each other as much as they do Bo.
What Could be Better
Lost Girl is definitely not perfect. Plots are not always resolved smoothly. Major arcs are resolved at an odd pace, while Fae-of-the-week plots are sometimes solved too quickly. Side characters can be inconsistent in their motives, like The Morrigan, the leader of the Dark Fae, who fluctuates wildy between scheming to murder Bo & Friends and seducing her to join the Dark.
Lost Girl suffers from the age-old cliché of a protagonist love triangle. At least one of them isn’t a werewolf…oh wait.
The series follows the ins and outs of the love affairs between Bo and Dyson, werewolf cop, and Bo and Lauren, a human doctor under indentured servitude to the Fae.
Being a lower-budget show, the special effects aren’t all that, either. The writers employ body-switching or mentality-altering episodes as common trope, as they cheaply provide character insight. In season one, it’s hysterical, but it gets reused too often.
What Really Makes It Worthwhile
Lost Girl is a huge win for the LGBT crowd with its portrayal of same-sex relationships. Bo’s relationship with Lauren is treated the same way as her relationship with Dyson, and accurately provides context for monogamous bisexuality rather than treating bisexuality as a source of scintillation. Often, pop culture reduces it to a gimmick, so it’s really cool that sexual identity is not a plot point, but just a unapologetic natural presence. Other same-sex couples are seamlessly featured throughout the show. Again, no plot revolves around the fact that these relationships exist and I think that it’s really a step forward.
Supporting characters have their own arcs that don’t rely on Bo. Early on, it becomes apparent that breakout star Ksenia Solo as Kenzi is the one to watch. She’s often the spunky comic relief, and she definitely breaks the mold as a Russian, gothic fashion-obsessed, kleptomaniac, delinquent, sidekick extraordinaire. However, Kenzi is not all fun and games; she explores her broken relationship with her family and her frustration and being powerless as a human in the Fae world even with the protection of her supernatural friends.
Other character highlights include Kristen Hold-Reid (The Tudors) as Dyson. Yes, he’s gruff sexy werewolf cop (how many clichés can we fit in?) but it’s not the only role he occupies. His relationship with Bo really becomes about the love between friends, and not just a spicy affair or destined romance. He takes the friendzone without aggression or posturing because he really cares about her as a person, not just an object to win back. Moreover, he develops a true friendship with other females on the show like Kenzi, and later his Valkyrie police partner Tamsin.
On the other hand, Lauren and Bo really don’t seem to understand each other as people, despite having a very strong connection, especially sexually. They don’t really have that much in common other than circumstantially. This provides an interesting dynamic for the love triangle; it’s not about team-whoever or hetero vs same-sex. Instead, Bo’s naturally open-hearted and trusting personality makes it about seeking a partner who can meet her level of trust and freely-given love.
Overall, the sexual and romantic relationships in the show are not as important the friendships and family ties that are formed, which is an unexpected joy for a show about a sexy supernatural superhero that uses seduction as source of power.
Even as formulaic as the structure is, I also really appreciate how the Fae-of-the-week draw from mythology from all over the world, not just Western cultures. In the first season alone we get everything from the typical basilisk and furies, to a Japanese kappa (water demon), to carrion-eating Filipino asuwang, to a South African lightning bird which comes from tribal cultures like Xhosa. It’s definitely way more interesting than your regular demons, boogeymen, and spirits.
On top of all of this, the soundtrack is solid. It relies heavily on female artists, but there are definitely some great indie dance tracks.
In the fourth season (which has aired already in Canada) there are some great guest appearances including GEORGE TAKEI as a giant snake-man-thing in the season premiere. Oh my!
Other things existing fans get to look forward to: Bo finally choosing a side (sort of), Kenzie and Hale finally admitting their feelings, two big main villains (one of whom may be Bo’s father,) and Una Mens: Fae judge, jury, and executioners trying to enforce a codex of laws written by the Blood King long ago. Plus, the producers try absurdly hard to cover up Anna Silk’s pregnancy.
Do yourself a favor and catch up on the first three seasons now on Netflix. This show is genuinely fun and sexy (so much fan service), and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Grab some triple fudge swirl ice cream (Bo’s favorite) and join in for steamy, light-hearted fun.
Season Four debuts in the US on Monday January 13th at 8pm on Syfy.