I’ve always been somewhat bemused by the UK wing of SyFy. It seems not to show quite as much terrible guff as its US parent channel – no wrestling or cookery shows for us – with the latest example of divergent programming being their new Canadian import, “Todd and The Book of Pure Evil”, which began its UK run on Tuesday night.
This is an insubstantial but amusing enough half-hour horror comedy which trades mostly in gross-out humour and sophomoric high school antics, set in and around Crowley High School (I see what you did there, guys) and the tribulations of titular teen, Todd.
He’s a Heavy Metal-loving dreamer who fantasises about musical fame whilst pining for rock chick Jenny, who doesn’t give a fig for him. She’s devoted to the hunt for the Book of Pure Evil, which has some role to play in the fate of her parents. Todd has a one-armed drummer buddy, Curtis, and a nerdy science in the form of Hannah, whose unrequited love for Todd drives the second episode.
If you get the slightest sense that this is reminiscent of early “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, then I wouldn’t disagree with you.
It’s “Buffy” if the proto-feminism and inclusive agenda of that show was slightly jettisoned in favour of a ‘let’s take the piss out of everybody’ world view, balls-to-the-wall gore and a soundtrack which slams together the likes of Children of Bodom and Anvil and amps up the metal archetypes and references to grin-inducing effect.
My inner-Guardian reader is slightly aghast at some of the less PC gags and attitudes (the fate of Jenny’s crap, Chad Kroeger-like boyfriend veered a little towards the homophobic) but my metal head nods in appreciation at the awesome B-movie moments and the character comedy – it’s a tough line to straddle, but I think that I’m going to be sticking with this show.