How good is Apparitions? I mean, seriously, how good is this show? I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed watching something this much. There’s been the odd episode of stuff here and there, but an entire series of consistently superb quality? On UK TV? Surely not?
I’m loving the acting, the direction, the whole look and feel of the show and yes, even the writing. Okay, so it’s not perfect – but it’s very, very good. There are occasional plot points I think are either a bit tenuous or perhaps not given enough weight and can be easily missed, but usually they’re things I don’t think about until after the show’s finished – a good sign since it means I’m so engaged in the episode I haven’t noticed.
That’s a good rule of thumb for me: if I don’t start thinking ‘Why did that happen?’ or ‘Was there a better way of showing that?’ until four or five hours after the episode, then it had me hooked at the time and is enjoyable.
If I’m thinking ‘Why doesn’t he just … ?’ or ‘What the fuck was that?’ during the episode, then it’s failed to entertain me and everyone involved should be executed immediately. A policy I feel the BBC should adopt immediately; since, obviously, my opinion is the only one which counts.
Two negative things which stand out about Apparitions for me:
- The first two episodes seemed to be self-contained with episode three struggling for a few minutes to pick up the pieces and carry on. I thought that was an odd choice at the time, to effectively end most of the plot in episode two, but I’ve since found out it was originally only commissioned for two episodes. So from episode three onwards is effectively a second season.
- The basic premise is silly and makes no sense. Every time, particularly in the first two episodes, talk turned to exactly how the whole God/Devil/Demons thing works it runs into sticky ground, because the whole thing is nonsensical and contradictory. There’s this all powerful, all loving, invisible guy who will punish you forever if you don’t follow a set of rules dictated a couple of thousand years ago and then randomly altered by whoever felt like it ever since – even though he’s infallible and all knowing … he still changes his mind every now and then. He can do anything, ANYTHING, but he won’t lift a finger to help you if you get attacked by demons because … um … he’s busy. There’s a war going on for human souls but it’s only a war because God lets it happen. He can stop it at any time, he just chooses not to because … he’s busy. He’s probably doing a Sudoku or something. Some of those can be really tricky. Maybe he’s still sulking? Remember, he designed you to be stupid and naked, trousers and books are an affront to His will. During every episode there’s a part of my brain (and no, it’s not Satan) telling me there’s no God, there’s no Devil, there’s no such thing as a soul, when you die, you die, there’s no such things as possession or demons or … but you know what? If I can suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy a program about a nigh-immortal man who travels time and space in a box which is bigger inside than outside … I can suspend it long enough to believe in invisible, mentally unstable, judgemental, space ghosts and his intentionally created opponent with an army of nasty invisible, intangible creatures.
Overall, I love this show. I did have a little chuckle at the preview at the end of episode five when I saw the priest with machine gun – but I’m sure in the context of the final episode it will be brilliant. Top marks to Joe Ahearne and everyone else involved.