TV Show Review: Evil, Season 1

Hello all, and welcome to my review of the CBS TV Show – Evil! 😀 It’s Halloween, the beginning of my favorite time of the year, so you know I had to watch something spooky.

Starring: Katja Herbers (Kristen Bouchard), Mike Colter (David Acosta), Aasif Mandvi (Ben Shakir), Michael Emerson (Leland Townsend)

Plot (taken from IMDb):

“A skeptical female clinical psychologist joins a priest-in-training and a blue-collar contractor as they investigate supposed miracles, demonic possession, and other extraordinary occurrences to see if there’s a scientific explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work.”

Trailer:

Characters:

Katja Herbers (Kristen Bouchard) – A self-proclaimed lapsed Catholic and atheist, she works as a forensic psychologist, supporting her four daughters while her husband is overseas guiding extreme rock climbing tours. She’s a tough lady, and the perfect counterpart to David because her beliefs are so vastly different from his.

Mike Colter (David Acosta) – A Catholic seminarian, in his fourth year of studying to become a priest, who investigates cases of possible hauntings and possessions for the church. He feels like he’s on a holy quest of sorts, and actively seeks out Kristen as a partner to investigate with so he can more easily discern mental illness from possession. I like that he specifically looks for partners with differing beliefs.

Aasif Mandvi (Ben Shakir) – A tech guy who David hired to work with him to debunk false hauntings. David relies on Ben to sort out if those bumps in the night and crackling behind the walls are spirits and demons, or just old pipes and faulty wiring. He seems religiously neutral, if I remember right? Ben is another example of David seeking out people to work with who challenge him.

Michael Emerson (Leland Townsend) – The main opposition to Kristen, David, and Ben at every turn. He seems to pop up out of nowhere, bringing chaos with him. He’s one of those fantastic characters that you love to hate. He’s got his moments where he steps out of just being a bad dude in general, and goes into genuinely scary due to his actions and early unclear motivations.

Review:

As picky as I am with horror, I can honestly say I really enjoyed this series. To be fair, it isn’t straight horror all the way through – it also has that psychological thriller feel too.

And it doesn’t rely on gore to do the heavy lifting. Thinking back, I don’t remember much beyond a few slightly bloody moments and some disturbing scenes, but these aren’t used to carry the show in the place of plot, which is one of my complaints with horror a lot of times. There’s just a lot of trying to put the puzzle together with each episode, as they reveal more in little bits.

Although there are scary scenes, it reminded me more of Supernatural than a straight horror show, like The Haunting of Hill House.

It’s only 13 episodes, but the whole time it kind of messes with your head here and there.

There are so many moments, especially in earlier episodes, where you wonder if what’s happening is supernatural or psychological. It’s impressive how they blended the story elements to give this feel.

Even right up until the final moments of the last episode, you’re kind of left going back and forth on a few things. The mind is a very powerful thing, after all.

I’ve seen documentaries of people who put themselves into spiritual trances and pierce their faces with spikes once a year, and they don’t seem to feel a thing while it’s happening. Allegedly, you can even tell them to bleed on one cheek but not the other while they’re in these trances, and they’ll do it.

Lol, I know I was the one to bring it up, but I’m far too disturbed to post a picture of it, so let us just peruse these delicious cakes together instead.

So is it all in someone’s head when holding a cross burns them? Mind over matter? Or are they possessed? A recurring nightmare can be reasoned out and dismissed, but what if other people happen to have a very similar nightmare?

Sleep paralysis? Or actual demon?

When the show starts, the content of the episodes feels like they stand alone for the most part. They reference each other more though as the show moves forward, until you start to see the bigger picture they’re laying out.

It all kind of stems from David’s original mission. Without getting into spoilers, it’s his past experiences that really sets everything in motion to begin with. If certain things hadn’t happened, he may have never joined the church, and he may not be as passionate about pursuing these cases of possible hauntings and possessions.

I really liked that David actively sought out partners for his investigations that would challenge him. He even says something, in the first episode I think, about possession and psychosis looking very similar, and wanting help to discern between the two.

He knows he has strong biases towards seeing the supernatural, and wants others with biases towards seeing the psychological, in Kristen’s case, or the technical, in Ben’s case, to make his handling of the cases more thorough. I really respect that about this character, and it immediately had me invested in the team and the dynamic between the three of them.

As for Kristen, she’s primarily motivated by her love for her family. The challenge of this new position as one of David’s partners appeals to her too, but in the end it all comes down to her girls.

Lol, Kristen’s mom concerns me sometimes though, especially towards the end of season one, but I love her style. She makes some really poor decisions, but again you end up wondering how much is her being a bit of a jerk, and how much is a certain someone’s influence.

One little nit-picky issue I have is that it actually annoys me when all the girls speak at once. You can tell they were told to do that to showcase one of the family’s little quirks. Lol, it’s one of the very few things I could find to pick on with this show. I still love their supportive family dynamic though.

The individual characters themselves were another impressive part of the series. Every character is flawed and complicated. They all have demons, psychologically speaking. Possibly spiritually speaking, depending on how you look at it and which episode you’re watching, lol.

It’s not like David is this perfect, holy character who never stumbles. He stumbles constantly, alongside his two partners. And he doubts and falls back on old destructive habits, which leads him to trouble on more than one occasion.

Kristen struggles with having her husband on the other side of the world, her own personal demons that are only just hinted at in the first season, and she’s consistently behind the eight ball with finances in the beginning. So she jumps at the challenge, and the money, when David approaches her, which leads her to questioning a great many things she starts to notice around her, despite her more clinical view of things.

Ben has his own struggles, but they aren’t quite as pronounced as David’s and Kristen’s in this first season. He’s a good bridge between the other two. I don’t remember much about if he follows his family’s religion, but he is passionate about pursuing answers to keep innocent people from being duped by fake ghost hunters, or fakes in general. If there’s any kind of technical tampering going on, he’ll find it. He also becomes close friends with Kristen and helps her out in several scenes with her kids. I’m wondering if we’ll see more in the next season.

David, Kristen, and Ben are all flawed, relatable characters who are just doing the best they can to do right in the cases they take on. Each has their own approach. Sometimes they agree, and sometimes they don’t. But they all play off each other really well, and it looks like each will have an important role in what may happen later in the series.

I think they did a great job getting me engaged in trying to guess where everything was going. They’ve laid the ground work for a really interesting second season, which I hope is on its way.

My rating for Evil: Cash-Worthy – I’m really looking forward to seeing where they go with this series. I hope they don’t cancel it! There are so many good shows that have been axed waaaaay too early, so I’m really hoping they’re already approved for the next season. Definitely check this one out if you like psychological type horror and suspense, shows about hauntings or possessions, or shows similar to Supernatural in feel. 😀

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My Rating System:

Epic: This movie is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I may go see it twice. This one will have a place of honor on my shelf.

Cash-Worthy: Good stuff. This will most likely find a place on my shelf.

Not Bad: I liked it. I’m glad I saw it, and it may or may not end up on my shelf at some point. I would say rent it first to be safe.

Meh: Rent it first. You may love it or hate it, but I’m indifferent probably because it’s not my type of movie. I’m glad I saw it, but it won’t end up on my shelf.

Emergency Cake: I have an emotional reaction to movies sometimes, especially to tragedies. If a movie makes me sad or angry, sometimes it will stick with me for a while. At these times, only chocolate cake can save me. Chocolate cake makes everything better. No shelf for you. Ever.

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One thought on “TV Show Review: Evil, Season 1

  1. disperser says:

    Glad you found something these days that caught your attention . . . me? I’ve given up on pretty much anything modern (perhaps it’s my age; I’ve lost patience with anything other than flawless presentations — meaning I’ll never watch anything ever again).

    I’ll pass on this because I can guarantee one of two things . . . either it will lean toward evidence of the supernatural, or it will leave it open to interpretation. Either way, it’s the skeptic who’s always proven to be on the “wrong side of reason”.

    Mind you, I don’t mind fantasy, supernatural themes, etc.

    But I really dislike shows (and there are so many) that purport to “investigate” but always, always end up leaving the door open to it being possible. Again, I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s always the skeptic that is wrong, or that “sees” the light. Or that is left with their mouth open and unable to explain what happens or has happened.

    Yes, is fiction, but I’m tired of this particular thrope, and I can’t any longer even appreciate the artistry or production of the show . . . again, grumpy-old-manism is strong in me.

    Hope that it continues to offer a worthwhile experience for you. FSM knows thare are so few these days.

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