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Hex, Parte Deux

Hex Season Two was disappointingly okay.

I’m still trying to get my head around this. Season One was a train wreck running in slow motion filmed from odd angles; occasionally it was high art but often it was really was the proverbial ‘accident waiting to happen.’ Season Two is far more competent, mostly because it spreads the story over thirteen episodes rather than six and so the characters end up getting from point A to C through B rather than leaving the existence of B up to the viewer’s imagination.

It’s also wonderfully British in that the show really does focus on the ‘crapness of being.’

Take ‘Buffy…’ as an example; in the American show the end of the world is a melodrama laced with wry and witty humour. The enemies are epic and evil, the heroes good and faithful. If someone strays from the path you can be sure that within forty-five minutes that they will be back with the programme of kicking butt and laying righteousness down upon the enemy. Not so with ‘Hex.’ This British show is a soap opera filled with knob gags and the kind of humour that people who want to be in ‘Buffy…’ end up employing in the vain hope that it might be seen to be clever. I think (I hope more like) that it’s written that way deliberately. Our school age characters for once talk like the adolescents they are meant to be playing.

More importantly, in distinctively British fashion, the enemy is hierarchical, aristocratic and completely and utterly bureaucratic.

Season One of ‘Hex’ features the leader of the Nephilim seducing a school girl to bring about the child who will lead the ‘War On Heaven.’ Season Two really is about family; the mother dies, the father finds that he must be estranged from his child and the best friend finds love and betrays the people she is meant to be helping. All the while evil operates in the background not as a malevolent, cackling character but rather a strict set of rules that, if broken, will bring about the Apocalypse. It’s quite a wonder to behold; bad things happen to characters because they break the rules or don’t follow the ediquitte that is the distinction between being good and evil. For the teenage population this notion of social oil is, of course, glorious peer pressure.

I can’t pass comment on you, but peer pressure was something I ignored in Secondary/High School (which was why, consequently, I was part of the what-I-like-to-call-geek-crowd-(but-were-actually-nerds). Come Uni and peer pressure become a motivating factor, but Uni peer pressure tends towards excellence in wit and the ability to quote obscure pop culture, so it isn’t quite the terror of early to mid adolescence. Still, I’ve watched a lot of TV and a fair few movies that deal with ‘fitting in’ and thus I can say that ‘Hex’ basically covers the material well. In so many respects it is a better show in its second (and, unfortunately, final) season. The plots are less haphazard, the characters get more room to breathe and the creeping sense of dread builds up wonderfully.

So why did I find the second season disappointingly okay versus the delight I found in the first season’s uneveness? For one, I miss the protagonist of the first season (she gets written out at the beginning of season two) and it was the interplay between her and her lesbian friend that I felt really worked in the show. Remove Cassie and the interplay is gone. The new protagonist, an interesting character in her own right, also has a different relationship with the antagonist of the first series and so he eventually gets written out and a new villain comes onto the scene. These characters get more development, but I found myself not so fond of them.

Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoyed season two of ‘Hex;’ it is just that the second season of ‘Hex’ is a lot more mundane than season one. Season One felt as if it was being written by people who had heard about ‘Buffy..’ from a drunk; season two felt like it was written by people who knew ‘Buffy…’ well and thus it didn’t feel as original.

I am reminded of something I heard on one of the commentaries on an episode of ‘Red Dwarf.’ The writers were explaining that the early seasons of ‘Red Dwarf’ weren’t the kind of show they were aiming to make and that it is season four onwards that really revealed their vision for the show. I was shocked; seasons one and two especially were, to my mind, the best the show had to offer because they were so different from anything else you could watch at the time. Seasons four onwards just became sitcoms set in space, but the very early material was an existential comedy that just happened to be set on a spaceship. ‘Hex’ season two, I fear, is similar. I suspect season two is the kind of show they really wanted to make and that season one was that uncertain, shaky start towards that goal.