‘Psychoville’ and ‘Todd and the Book of Pure Evil’ Invade FEARnet in August
by J.C. DeLeon
Fans of the horror genre don’t have a lot of options when it comes to an on-demand, 24/7 place to satiate their need for the scary and the violent. Thankfully though, there is FEARnet, the world’s first TV channel dedicated to horror, thriller and suspense. Unfortunately, it isn’t available everywhere as of yet, but the burgeoning television network is urging fans of their website to reach out to their cable providers and demand this channel get programmed so that they may be able to take in the madness that this network delivers. Part of that madness beginning August 2nd is a new “Twisted Comedy” block featuring the BBC hit Psychoville, and a Canadian series starring Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) called Todd and the Book of Pure Evil.
Psychoville, is an award winning* British dark-comedy serialized television show centered around five main characters from different parts of England: David Sowerbutts, a serial killer-obsessed man-child who still lives with his mother Maureen; Mr. Jelly, an embittered one-handed clown for hire; Oscar Lomax, a blind millionaire who collects stuffed toy animals; Joy Aston, a midwife who treats a practice doll as if it is her real child; and Robert Greenspan, a dwarf in a play in love with his Snow White who believes he has the power of telekinesis. All five are connected by a mysterious blackmailer who has sent them each a letter each with the message: “I know what you did”. They all seem to know what they did as well, and are clearly guilty of something.
The pilot episode does what a pilot is supposed to do. It begins all of the plotlines in a compelling enough way in which you definitely want more, but it certainly doesn’t wrap anything up in the first episode. That being said, it’s easy to see the appeal and why it won so many awards for the BBC. Psychoville should play well with American audiences, particularly those with a predilection with British horror anthologies.
Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is on the opposite end of the comedy/horror spectrum. While Psychoville is very slow paced, and clearly part of a larger complete story, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is episodic, and plays at a machine gun pace. It revolves around a group of high school students; Todd, Curtis, Jenny, and Hannah at Crowley High, the only high school in a small town secretly founded by Satanists. After encountering the Book of Pure Evil, which grants the wishes of those who hold it in dark and sinister ways they didn’t intend, they team up in an attempt to track down and destroy the Book. The trouble is, every time the book’s spell is broken, it flies away in search of another desperate child.
Each episode revolves around a student at Crowley High using the Book to try and make their life better, though this usually results in chaos, mayhem, and bloodshed (lots and lots of bloodshed) at the school. Luckily, Jimmy, the wise janitor (Jason Mewes) is a big help to the kids on their quest to save the school. Supposedly friendly school guidance counselor Atticus Murphy helps them in their quest to destroy the Book, though secretly he is a member of the cabal of Satanists who run the town from behind the scenes, and has been tasked with returning the Book of Pure Evil to the leader of the Satanists, who happens to be his own father.
The pilot episode will undoubtedly play like an old Tenacious D episode, a lot of the same elements are there, but Todd and the Book of Pure Evil certainly has it’s own charms. It helps having a character like the one Jason Mewes plays spouting lines like “You kids sure know how to party, I haven’t seen this much blood since that kid bled out his ass this morning!” to give it it’s own identity.
Beginning August, 2nd, courtesy of FEARnet, both of these shows will make their American debuts. There certainly isn’t any reason they shouldn’t be well received, and based on the pilot episodes of each, I personally, really wish my damned cable provider had FEARnet as a channel. Looks like I’ve got a call to my provider to make. If you’re interested in either of these shows, or FEARnet in general, be sure to visit their website for information on how to let your cable provider know that you demand to see what this channel has to offer.
*Psychoville won the 2009 British Comedy Award for “Best New British Television Comedy”.