tek's rating: meh and a half

Helstrom, on Hulu
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First of all, I'm kind of amazed that I actually got through all ten episodes of this show. I really wanted to like it, but for the most part it was just dull, in spite of all the supernatural elements. I did think the character of Ana Helstrom was kind of cool, and I sort of cared about the other characters, especially Dr. Louise Hastings. But I wasn't especially interested in any of them. Also I found the series kind of hard to follow.

Here's what I can tell you: the two man characters are siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom, who were separated when they were children, to be raised by different people. Daimon was essentially raised by Dr. Hastings, who runs a psychiatric hospital, where Daimon and Ana's mother Victoria is locked up, because she's possessed by a demon. Ana, meanwhile, was I think raised by a man named named Henry, aka Caretaker (or as Ana calls him, "Taker"). He fights demons, and has ties to a group of demon-hunters called the Blood. So anyway, Daimon and Ana haven't seen much of each other, over the years, and now that they're adults they don't really get along very well. Ana runs an auction house, but that's mostly a cover for her and her business partner, Chris Yen, to kill evil people. (Not people possessed by demons, just people.) And I guess Daimon exorcises demons, but not the way priests would do it. He and Ana both have various powers inherited from their father, who was also possessed by a demon and was a serial killer. At some point in the past, he was killed, but now the Helstroms have reason to believe he's back, or rather the demon who used to possess him is now possessing a new host. A large part of the season is about them trying to prepare to fight him, but spoiler alert, he never actually shows up. (At least not until the very end of the season finale, but I don't want to spoil any details about that.) And Yen gets caught up in all the stuff Ana and Daimon are dealing with, in ways I don't want to go into. There's also a nun in training named Gabriella Rossetti. I don't even remember quite how she was introduced into the show, I just know she was sent by the Vatican to... I don't know. But she spends a lot of time with Daimon, anyway. Well, there are plenty of demons in the show, and they all have the same agenda, which ultimately has to do with a demon called Mother, or Kthara, the one who's been possessing Victoria for the last 20 years. And I think that's all I want to say about the plot, partly to avoid spoiling certain developments, and partly because as I said, it's kind of hard to follow.

The way the show ends definitely looks like the writers were expecting a second season, but it was cancelled after the first. I'm almost disappointed, because I feel like the second season might actually have been a bit more interesting. But I'm not really disappointed, because this show just felt like such a chore to watch. (To be fair, part of that may be due to my executive dysfunction. But mostly I think it was the show's fault.) I suppose I should also mention that this show was intended to be part of a sub-franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a group of shows collectively known as "Adventure into Fear". But with Helstrom's cancellation and the other planned series being dropped before they ever started, that franchise doesn't really exist. I'm a little more disappointed about that than I am about Helstrom, because some of the other shows probably would have been more interesting, if they'd been made. But whatever. They were never going to have any impact on the larger MCU, anyway.

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