“Lost Girl” is Syfy’s new import from Canada, a fantasy show that’s in the middle of its second season in the land of flappy-heads. It’s derivative, low-rent, and jaw-droppingly poorly acted, but I’m not giving up just yet.
The pilot, which aired on Monday, is a world-builder, likely does not represent the typical structure of an episode, and thus makes the show difficult to judge. We meet Bo, an attractive bartender, being hit on. Dude tries to slip her a mickey, she declines the drink, dude gives the drink to another girl, Bo intervenes in an elevator outside and kills the dude by sucking the life force out of his mouth whilst making out with him. Obviously, if you’ve ever seen any kind of fantasy or fairy tale book, movie, TV show, whatever, you know that Bo is a succubus. Bo has never heard of such things, so she’s all “I don’t know what I am” when she makes friends with the girl she saved over milkshakes the next day.
The cops investigating the body are quickly revealed to be magical as well. They catch up to Bo, kidnap her, and we get exposition about what Bo is, how magical folk are called Fae, how there are many types of Fae and how, with the exception of Bo, Fae are either Light or Dark. These don’t appear to map directly to Good and Evil, because the Light Fae seem pretty ominous, too. In any case, Bo winds up with a triumphant “I CHOOSE NOBODY” after killing some big-ass dude in a tournament-challenge thing.
The “during this season” bit after the episode reveals that Bo and her human friend are going to open a private investigation service (which, I mean, more than one show can have P.I.’s, but, like, Angel?) and so the show is presumably going to be a combination of solving cases, investigating Bo’s mysterious past, and dealing with some big overarching prophecy that’s vaguely hinted at.
This kind of show cannot take itself too seriously (looking at you, Grimm), and I think it doesn’t. There are quips galore and you get the sense that everyone involved knows how ridiculous the special effects are. But these are bare minimum issues — you still need compelling characters, the potential for solid stories, and the actors to bring these things along. The first is good enough — Bo can be a decent Buffy (angst and attitude and kick-ass powers she’s learning to control), human friend Kenzi is apparently related to the Russian mob?, wolf-man Dyson is a wolf-man with a heart of gold — the second is taken care of by having our characters become P.I.’s and setting up enough big picture story to draw us in, and the third … ok, we’re seriously lacking in the third. Each and every actor outside of Kristen Holden-Ried, as the wolf-man, had at least one seriously cringe-worthy moment. Some of this is the exposition, as with any pilot, and some is that chemistry takes time to develop, but plenty was flat-out incompetent: “attitude” expressed in ways that fell flat, or that shouldn’t have been expresed at all; weird facial expressions; poor comedic timing.
The bottom line is simple: I didn’t like this pilot after the first ten minutes. It wasn’t even clear until the third act who our protagonist was, said protagonist was entirely reactive, and they managed to not even get the beginning of the P.I. thing into the episode. But given that enough Canadians are watching that the show will be back for a third season up there, and given that there are enough balls tossed into the air to make things potentially interesting, I’ll stick with it for just a bit longer and see if it gets better.