Estranged demonic siblings reunite to save their possessed mother and stop their demon father. Along with their adopted families the Daimon and Ana use their powers to vanquish an evil threat.
Spoiler Level: High
How do you take a comic book character based on the son of the devil and make him a sympathetic likeable character that will resonate with the masses. For instructions, see Hulu’s “Helstrom”. Loosely based on Marvel’s Daimon and Satana Hellstrom, the show follows estranged siblings born of evil, but trying like hell to not follow their demonic father’s footsteps.
I should preface this review with a disclaimer: I do not follow these characters in Marvels print universe, so my knowledge of the source material is limited. I have been told that what I watched bore little resemblance to the original, and therefore, there may be people that do not like the choices the production made. I understand this completely, it is very difficult when a show takes a beloved character and changes the look, feel, history and basic core of a character. I do believe that “Helstrom” got the core of the characters right and the changes made in the adaptation was to make the characters more realistic and empathetic.
Damion and Ana live separate lives in Portland and San Francisco. One an ethics professor and the other an antiquities dealer, respectively. The two use their demonic powers to vanquish evil in their own, different ways. Daimon performs exorcisms on those suffering from demonic possession, Ana tracks down and kills violet human offenders suffering from being bad people. Victoria, their mother, is possessed by a demon known as “Mother” who holds a grudge against humanity for hunting and killing her children. Their father was a demonic serial killer who was thought to be dead. Ana was kidnapped by her father as a child and then raised in foster care after the “death” of her father. The two siblings, like most families, are like oil and water when together. Ana is sarcastic, self centered and cold. Daimon is hard but caring with deep regret and pain over losing his sister and having to institutionalize his mother when he was a child. Daimon was raised by ex-nun Dr. Louise Hastings, head of the psychiatric hospital that houses Victoria / Mother. Ana was looked over by Henry / Caretaker, a member of “The Blood” a cult that hunts down and captures demons to put them into comas, so they can never hurt anyone again.
When it is believed that their father is back. Daimon and Ana reunite and attempt to destroy their father and free their mother from the demon’s grasp. The pair are joined by Louise, Henry and Gabriella, a novitiate of the catholic church, sent to report back on Daimon to the Vatican. During their quest to dispatch their father the groups mental and physical selves are put to the extreme. Can they all survive with their souls intact.
The series is less about superheroes and demonic powers and more about family and the bonds between mother and child. The shows antagonist is vengeful because she has seen her children hunted and killed by humanity. The show is full of twists and turns with cunning manipulations throughout the story. All the characters have a journey and change or evolve by the end. The storyline is exciting and full of adventure. There is plenty of drama and tension just in the family dynamic as well in the situational events taking place, but with enough subtle humor, wit, and sarcasm to keep it fun. The writing is good and seems to flow easily between scenes and episodes. The acting is well done. Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana (Sydney Lemmon) both are likeable, empathetic characters. They show their pain and disgust at what they are, and we see them struggle against their demonic nature to be good people. Louise (June Carryl) and Henry (Robert Wisdom) are also very well performed. Their parental love towards the siblings shines through but is tempered by fear of what the two children represent. The real stand out star of the show is Victoria / Mother, played by Elizabeth Marvel. Essentially playing two different characters that sometimes overlap. Victoria, the loving mother, and “Mother” the demon who laments the loss of her “children” to the hands of human men. With both overt and subtle changes to her voice and body, the performance is riveting especially when compared to other actors in the series who are also possessed from time to time, most notably Ariana Guerra’s performance as Gabriella. I really wasn’t impressed with her performance. I did not feel any real connection to her character and scenes that should have been touching didn’t always hit the mark. She wasn’t bad, but when compared to the other women in the cast I just felt like she wasn’t up to par.
Maybe it is the spooky season talking, but I really enjoyed this entire series. It is one of my favorite Marvel TV adaptations. With enough of a “cliffhanger” to keep you wondering what happens next, I really hope it gets a second season.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 10/1010/10
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