Despite the unpleasant news that’s been blowing up the Internet today, all hope is not lost for Canada. Among many other things, they’ve given us a damn good urban fantasy series in Lost Girl, which has just started airing in the US on (sigh) SyFy. Tonight the sci-fi, fantasy and wrestling channel aired the third episode, and I have to say, I’m impressed.
Here’s the basic premise: Bo, a vagrant and itinerant bartender, inadvertently reveals herself to a young human woman named Kenzie while rescuing Kenzie from a would-be assailant. When Bo kills the man through decidedly supernatural means, she also reveals herself to a whole world beyond her wildest imaginings. She’s soon captured, and swiftly discovers that she’s one of the Fae – specifically, a succubus, feeding off the life energy of others and gifted with the power to heal herself and influence people. Forced to choose a side, Light or Dark, Bo takes a third option: neither. She declares herself a defender of humanity, and settles in with Kenzie to forge a new life for herself.
Needless to say, revolving as it does around a succubus, the show involves plenty of sexual themes. Bo, played by the gorgeous Anna Silk, is often naked or dressed in tight, revealing clothing. Her healing powers only work when she’s able to absorb life energy through sex, and her ability to influence people is decidedly touch-based: her caresses can send just about anyone into a lust-filled haze in which they’re willing to confess all their darkest secrets. Bo’s also a very sexual person with both men and women. The show doesn’t miss a lot of opportunities to dress Kenzie in sexy Gothic-style garb, either, and plenty of other attractive regulars and guest stars are showcased in their own special ways. So there’s a lot of fanservice, geared mainly, I think, toward a straight male audience – though there is the odd slice of beefcake, too.
Some viewers may find this sexual content problematic, and I couldn’t blame them. That said, though, the show isn’t just a sexy romp through the sexy world of the Fae with sex in every other scene. Bo has some sexually charged interactions in just about every episode, but she’s also strong, brave and independent, and her friendship with Kenzie is authentic and heartwarming, free of any sexual connotations – though she has been subject to Bo’s powers in the past, Kenzie doesn’t feel any sexual connection to her and they’ve never hooked up. And – this is going to be a shock to anyone who knows me – I can’t say I want them to. Kenzie feels almost like a little sister to Bo and I’d hate to see that change. Plus there’s the fact that Bo kills most of the people she has sex with, of course, and the fact that Bo’s very touch is an irresistible aphrodisiac and I can’t see her doing that to her best friend.
Plus, honestly, I don’t think sexuality is anything to be ashamed of. Bo is a sexual character by nature – she was that way, insofar as she could be, even before she discovered she was a succubus. She’s secure and comfortable in her sexuality, and as she learns to control her powers, I expect she’ll begin exploring her romantic options in earnest. To some extent, that process has already started. While the situation may smack of fanservice, you have to expect that someone who’s had to deal with alternately repressing her sexuality or killing people since puberty would have a few itches to scratch. It’s refreshing to see a bisexual woman on television who isn’t still questioning or struggling with that part of herself, and Bo’s a hell of a woman. And Kenzie? She’s creative, enthusiastic, impulsive, snarky, courageous, and an all-around fantastic sidekick.
As I’ve said before, so far I’ve resisted the temptation to hunt down the two seasons that have already aired in Canada, so I can’t say for sure where this is going. But it’s been clear from the beginning that Bo is not some random vagrant. Though she never knew her parents and she’s only just beginning to understand the world of the Fae, the forces of destiny are already in play around her, and her ability to overcome seemingly any obstacle, through her powers, her wits, or her sheer force of will, must be more than mere coincidence. Bo is an ideal protagonist in a lot of ways: through her eyes, and Kenzie’s, we explore the rich and complicated world of the Fae, learning as she does. The show has featured scenes focusing on other characters and hinting at a wider world – not to mention deeper secrets about Bo’s past and her true nature – but these have been used sparingly, offering pieces of the puzzle without overwhelming the viewer. And, while the show is something of a monster of the week affair, a la Buffy or Supernatural, the spotlight is firmly on Bo and Kenzie. Their interactions, together with Bo’s explorations of the world around her and the slow boil of the show’s overall myth arc, give Lost Girl a solid foundation and make it more than just another monster-hunting cable series.
All in all, I would recommend Lost Girl to most adult viewers. It may smack of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series, but trust me, it’s much better written. If you enjoy Buffy, Supernatural, the Dresden Files or the Mercy Thompson series, you’ll probably like this. I know I’ll be watching.
And incidentally, folks, sorry this is late. I missed a big chunk of tonight’s episode and had to catch up with the second airing. Let’s just chalk it up to getting the kinks out of this whole blogging process – hopefully it won’t become another tradition!