Wednesday, November 13, 2013
'Apparitions' Complete Series DVD: Angels and Demons and Mother Teresa Oh My!
The DVD release of the six-part 2008 horror/drama series "Apparitions" shows once again both that BFS Entertainment does a great job providing North American audiences a wonderful chance to experience exceptional British programs and films and that that fare far outshines what we produce here.
"Apparitions" packs far more demonic possessions, theology lessons, and moral dilemmas in roughly six hours than an entire season of the CW show "Supernatural."
The proverbial simple but compelling premise of "Apparitions" is that Catholic priest Father Jacob, played by Martin Shaw, of "Inspector George Gently" and scads of other productions, is famous for conducting exorcisms in the course of his primary task of verifying or dispelling miracles as part of canonizing candidates for sainthood. The ritual of expelling demons relates to the practice of those malfeasors tricking people into thinking that the deeds involving the potential saints are genuine acts of God that provide the basis for bestowing sainthood.
Siobhan Finneran, who is best known to American audiences for her work on "Downton Abbey," co-stars as Sister Ruth. This no-nunsense character creates great tension by striving to essentially get Jacob to return to coloring within the lines after going moderately rogue. As Finneran expertly portrays her, Sister Ruth is every Catholic school student's worst nightmare despite the fact that she does not wield a ruler. Her truly withering gaze and not-at-all disguised hostility are classic.
Jacob participating in investigating the claims that God worked through Mother Teresa in curing lepers is one project that catches the attention of Satan. This big bad is particularly irked both that Jacob shows disregard for the torment of demons whom he returns to Hell and that the Catholic Church engages in what Satan considers hypocrisy regarding suffering.
An interesting element of these overall themes (and several subplots) is that people who are thought to have turned to God during a period of great suffering actually look in the opposite direction for salvation.
The pilot episode conveys this awesomeness particularly well by introducing the storyline of a seminary student who Mother Teresa healed. The evil campaign against Jacob envelops the student in a manner that includes a great look at what qualifications should determine whether someone becomes a priest.
Each of the six episodes deal with an individual possession, and each episode is both a self-contained tale and part of the larger picture that culminates in one of the best-ever final episodes of any American or British mini-series.
Things really get rolling with the possession of an "ordinary bloke;" other stories involve a possession by a saint and a demon working into the body of a primary character. The required voluntary aspect of allowing a demon to take the wheel of your meat suit nicely contributes to the drama and suspense.
The dilemmas include the actual culpability of the possessed individual for acts committed while in that state of altered reality, the classic "Star Trek" challenge of determining when the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, and the extent to which defying authority is justified.
The awesomeness of the aspects of "Apparitions" discussed above and those that viewers will delight on discovering them makes one wonder if Big Red is behind the evilness related to the slowness of the U.S. Postal Service prohibiting reviewing this DVD release in time for Halloween.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Apparitions" is encouraged to email me; you can also contact me at Twitter via @tvdvdguy, but please do not sacrifice any small woodland creatures to find me. It will not work and is a terrible waste of some very cute animals.