HEY, everybody! Hope you’ve had a great week!
Me, I was on the road until Tuesday evening. The weather was kind of crappy where I was, so I convinced fellow Women and Wordster R.G. Emanuelle to watch some Lost Girl with me (available on Netflix), and we ended up bingeing the first season. R.G.’s new to Lost Girl; for me, it was the second time on this season, though I’ve seen some episodes more than twice.
For those not in the know, Canadian paranormal series Lost Girl launched in 2010, created by writer and producer Michelle Lovretta (who is also responsible for the ongoing space opera Killjoys). The series and some of its actors wracked up several awards and nominations over the six years that it ran.
The series ended in 2016, which means you can get caught up at your leisure without worrying that more and more episodes are being stacked up while you’re frantically bingeing. Heh.
Now, let’s chat a bit about this. I deliberately wanted to focus on S1 to provide an intro to the show, if you’ve not seen it, and it’s also the season that’s freshest in my mind right now. I didn’t pick it because I think it’s better than any of the other seasons; it just seemed logical to start at the very beginning.
THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS BELOW! NO, REALLY! SPOILERS! BE PREPARED!
All right. Let’s go!
The premise of the series is that humans coexist with fae, though the former don’t realize it, and that’s how the fae try to keep it. Among the fae are many different varieties and species, and you’ll meet all kinds, even in the first season. The fae are divided into “light” and “dark,” and a fae chooses the side he or she will be associated with for life. There’s an uneasy truce of sorts between the sides, and certain protocols to follow, and breaching them can bring serious consequences.
The fae live and work among humans, but keep their true natures secret so as not to freak out humans and cause a witch hunt (see what I did there? :D).
So in this context, Lost Girl follows the life, assorted dramas, and scary situations that confront one character in particular. That’s Bo (played by Anna Silk), who we obviously meet in the first episode, when she’s tending bar. There’s some creepy dude hitting on her and then he hits on another young woman, who we find out later is named Kenzi (a fabulous Ksenia Solo). Bo doesn’t like his vibe, so she keeps an eye on him, and sure enough, he roofies Kenzi then follows her out of the bar but neither realize that Bo is following them. Creepy dude tries to force himself on Kenzi in the elevator, and the elevator doors open and there’s Bo. She kisses him and at first, the viewer is all, WTF, but then we watch as we realize that what she’s doing is sucking the life energy out of him. He dies, but he’s got a huge smile on his face.
Bo then has to go on the run again — she’s been running all her life — but she doesn’t want to leave a drugged Kenzi behind, so she takes her with her back to her rathole apartment, which is actually an abandoned warehouse. And she soon finds out that Kenzi is also a drifter and thief, so they already have a few things in common.
The first episode is thus Bo on the run, but the guy she left in the elevator provides a lot of evidence to a couple of detectives who themselves are fae and will become big parts of Bo’s life. They find her, and she learns that she is a succubus — a type of fae that uses sexual energy to feed and persuade people to do her bidding.
In lore, succubi are considered to be demons, and one could probably make an argument for that here, given that Bo killed that dude in the elevator. Mythologically, succubi are female and generally seduce men, but here, Bo is bi or possibly pansexual, which makes more sense to me than the heteronormative interpretation, given the nature of succubi. At any rate, I enjoy how this series takes some creative license with mythology.
Anyway the leader of the light fae — the Ash — says that she needs to choose a side. Light or dark, and she has to battle two opponents first. So she does and survives and then announces she will choose NO side, which throws a big, fat monkeywrench into the fae ecosystem and thus provides another arc that will follow her throughout the series.
Because Bo refuses to choose a side, she occupies a twilight zone between them, and is able to deal with both light and dark fae, though her primary friends and allies are among the light.
We also learn she’s on somewhat of a personal quest — she’s trying to find her biological mother, who apparently abandoned her and left her to grow up among humans, and when Bo came into her succubus powers, she ran away from home because she ended up killing someone. Unfortunately, as fae, she has to feed. In this case, she feeds off the life/sexual energy of others, but she doesn’t know she’s fae and she doesn’t know what the hell this power is, and she can’t control it so she’s ended up killing people she takes as lovers.
Fortunately for her, though, the human doctor who works with the Ash, Lauren (actress Zoie Palmer), works with her in that regard. Meanwhile, Bo and Kenzi set up shop together and become sort of private investigators to make ends meet, and in the process, become great friends.
But as the season progresses, we get hints that there’s a hell of a lot more going on behind the scenes, and that there’s some kind of something brewing, and that somehow, Bo is part of it, and that she’s more powerful than she realizes and her role in whatever is going on will be pivotal.
So Season 1 is basically a primer on fae culture, Bo trying to figure out how to navigate it, and a series of small fires with occasional large fires as well as the overarching hints that there’s something even bigger afoot and we’d better get ready for it.
Oh, and did I mention sex? Lots of it. Because after all, Bo is a succubus, but unlike some succubi, she’s capable of being with one person at a time in longer-term relationships and she develops a complicated situation with Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), the cop who is also a wolf-shifter, and Lauren, the human doctor. The three of them begin to engage in a drama-laden love triangle that leaves them sometimes at odds with each other, other times allies, and the only thing that keeps Dyson and Lauren from killing each other over the course of the series is their shared love for Bo.
Why I dig it:
Strong women. Season 1 has both strong light and dark fae, and it’s so satisfying to watch Bo and Kenzi kick some ass, especially together. I also like how the male characters don’t belittle the other male characters or female characters on the basis of gender. For example, in other shows or movies, male characters might sometimes talk trash to other male characters using terms that liken them to women or female, thus conflating that with weakness. That does not happen here, and I’m going to attribute the most awesome lack of misogynistic language and actions to Lovretta and her team (which included Emily Andras, creator of Wynonna Earp). It’s just really nice to watch male and female characters interacting like…well, like freaking humans and engaging on that level rather than through gender stereotypes. For example, male characters might worry about Bo facing another character in a fae battle, but not because she’s a woman. Rather, because she’s not in control of her power yet. They would worry the same about a male character who wasn’t in control of his power, either. Refreshing.
World-building. I really enjoy urban fantasy, and that’s what this is, with its paranormal elements and urban settings. The added element of hidden fae is a great plot device and allows myriad possibilities in terms of stories, especially when humans are involved. Lovretta and the crew that worked with her on this created a rich world with elements that continually surprise. Even in the episodes that aren’t specifically focused on the big scary issues are fun because they’re quirky and creative and introduce viewers to other aspects of fae culture and history.
Excellent characters. Kenzi alone could carry this series, but her interactions with the others make her all the more endearing and frustrating. But amidst her flaws and personal struggles, she is absolutely, completely devoted to Bo, but also a good friend and foil, and willing to call her out on her shit. She’s also one of the few humans who is involved in the fae world, but she ends up endearing herself to several (there’s a strong anti-human bias among the fae…), and her quips and snark alone are worth bingeing. The evolution of her relationship with Dyson’s cop partner, the siren Hale (K.C. Collins), is a delight to watch in the first season, as they go from wary almost-adversaries to buddies. And of course, there’s Bo, who is basically succubus prime. She’s able to go from goofy hijinks with Kenzi to full-on sultry succubus mode, but she also has a strong nurturing side when her friends are threatened. I enjoy the depth Silk brings to Bo, especially as she negotiates learning the boundaries of her power and developing deeper relationships with the people around her, whether intimate or not. Dyson’s complicated history and primal wolf nature make him an enigmatic but loyal ally, as Bo finds out, and Lauren’s stiff, scientific demeanor masks a woman of deep passions. So much fun getting to know them!
Dialogue. It’s SO GOOD. Kenzi is eminently quotable, but just the back and forth between characters, the cleverness of the lines, and the delivery…consistently good.
The Dal. What, pray tell, is this? I’m glad you asked! It’s a fae bar, run by the calm Trick, who has a wry wit about him. I love how this locale is a locus of light fae culture, and it’s the setting for many an intense scene as well as many light-hearted moments. It’s sort of a cross between an Irish pub and a hobbit house. As S1 progresses, we also find out that Trick may not be just a bar owner and bartender…
Anyway, I wonder if perhaps I enjoy urban fantasy that deals with a hidden paranormal underground because it’s sort of a metaphor for being LGBTQ, in some ways. It’s still not entirely safe for many of us to be open about ourselves or about who populates our lives, and we often have places we can congregate and relax that remain relatively unknown/undiscovered to those who aren’t part of our communities. So the obvious “fae bar” vs. “gay bar” reference stuck with me throughout this series.
Queer rep. Without being overtly labeled as such. It just…was. Bo is a succubus, which means she doesn’t really have an orientation beyond “sexual.” Nevertheless, her character provides open bi (perhaps pan?) rep, expressed most strongly in her relationships with Dyson and Lauren. In S1, her relationship with Lauren gets off to a very rocky start, but if you stay with the series, you’ll see how that develops.
POC rep. There are a plethora of characters in this series, and several are POC, including Hale, who is a strong secondary. However, the POC characters are primarily secondary and tertiary, so that was kind of a bummer because it seems in a sprawling urban fantasy like this that there would be more POC as strong secondary and even primary characters. But perhaps I quibble too much in that regard. Perhaps there were actors who turned the gig down because of other commitments and perhaps there aren’t many actors of color working in the Canadian industry. There could be any number of reasons for what I’m quibbling about, after all.
Serious and well-done sexy-time. I meant what I said, that there is probably sex or strong foreplay in every episode, whether M/F or F/F. And, in one instance this season, it’s M/F/F. It’s well-done and lends itself appropriately to the characters (one’s a succubus, FFS!), and Canadian TV/film allows you to see more than you’d get in the US, so some who fall on the more prudish side, if you will, may blush. By all means, do! And keep watching! 😀
Binge-ability. High. LOL When I want to forget about the crazy of the real world for a while, Lost Girl provides that for me. The strength of the characters, the world-building, the dialogue, the plot twists, the pacing and tension, the subplots…there’s something here for everybody, and S1 should get you hooked on wanting to see more.
Some Kenzi snark and character interaction from S1 so you get some flay-vah!
All right. Hope that maybe got you interested in giving Season 1 of this fab series a whirl. It’s a hella good time, this show!
Happy Friday and may the odds be ever in your favor!