Fall TV Preview
The Exorcist Season 2

The Exorcist Review: What the Hell? Maybe the Devil Made Them Do It?

grade_C+There’s a moment in the pilot for The Exorcist that is so spine-tingling and cool that it actually gave me goosebumps. Unfortunately, the reason the moment is so creeptastically effective has nothing to do with this show — it’s at the end of the hour when “Tubular Bells” from the 1973 movie gets cued up.

I don’t mean that as a dis, either — not exactly. Fox’s take on the horror classic (premiering Friday, Sept. 23, at 9/8c) is a quality production from top to bottom. The cast, led by Sense8’s Alfonso Herrera (as the sexiest priest since Father Dowling) and Geena Davis (in, basically, the Ellen Burstyn role) is top-notch; the directing, sharp; and the effects, far more realistic than when Linda Blair famously projectile-vomited pea soup.

However, it’s inevitable that the series will be compared to William Friedkin’s film — especially when Mike Oldfield is playing, for God’s sake — and the fact is, it pales by comparison. The feature already shocked us. It did its job. And there’s simply nothing new here. So it’s kind of like watching understudies — really good understudies, mind you — put on a show you’ve already seen.

In Episode 1, Herrera’s likable Father Tomas is asked by parishioner Angela (Davis) to speak with Katherine (Scream Queens’ Brianne Howey), the daughter she’s convinced isn’t just a teenager acting out in the wake of a friend’s death but possessed by a demon. No sooner does he agree to do so than — boom, right on cue — a crow flies not in but into the window.

Along the way, we also meet Angela’s husband Henry (Alan Ruck), who’s suffering from a condition that has turned him into, as Kat unkindly puts it, “basically a potato,” and younger daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka, a dead ringer for an adolescent Lindsay Lohan).

the-exorcist-season-1-episode-1-gabrielThanks to a series of convenient dreams about renegade exorcist Father Marcus (intense Ben Daniels from House of Cards) and his attempts to save a possessed boy in Mexico City, Tomas becomes convinced that he should help Angela and her family — just in time for him to have his first demonic run-in. And, admittedly, there’s a cool surprise to it.

The thing is, it isn’t enough. This is all perfectly interesting. It just isn’t… compelling. So, as competently crafted as the drama is, the best I can do is damn it with what sounds like faint praise.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: If you tune in and get all the way to “Tubular Bells,” trust me — you’re going to want to Netflix the movie. But save yourself an hour and, instead, just do that now.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. CGS says:

    I have a feeling this show will be a solid A for me. The trailers have all been awesome and the cast is amazing. It’s the one and only fall premiere I’m even a little excited about.

  2. kate says:

    As a fan of this genre, and that I think like with a lot of late seventies, early eighties movies, I had heard so much about the movie by the time I saw it, it was kind of, okay, I know this is going to happen, I’m going to watch it. Now, if NBC weren’t dumb and not premiering Grimm until after the new year, and I had Z Nation to watch, this likely gets stored for a marathon later on, but, nope. My concern when I started to think about, what if this isn’t just a limited event series, it either becomes a religious themed X Files or if they do a time jump, a probably more network friendly version of Outcast with the girl in the Kyle role.

  3. Ken says:

    This is just based on the pilot episode right? So pilots are notorious for being less than desirable, but gives the writers and producers time to tinker with the writing and direction they want to take the series. I would give it a few episodes before destroying the show with a C rating.

  4. Ann Laabs says:

    I’m going to give thus show a chance, and try to enjoy it on its own merits. There’s a reason the tv version is set 40 years after the events in the first Exorcist movie – to not be compared agai st that classic.

  5. AnnieM says:

    I’ll give it a chance because i like Geena Davis.

  6. Lucifer says:

    This will flop worse than Dracula.

  7. Anne says:

    I’m actually looking forward to this one. Geena Davis is always a delight, but also because I’m not a huge fan of the original film. It was uncomfortably misogynistic. I really enjoy horror, and my goodness has the Scream adaptation been amazing, so I’m hopeful this new Exorcist will be good too

  8. ScottJ says:

    I cannot stomach the movie at all. I’ve tried to watch it a few times, and I always give up. I’ll give this a go, but I doubt I’ll stick with it.

  9. Michelle says:

    This sounds more like an A just from the cast and the directing supposed to be good and the commercial I saw fir it made go from thinking nope! To hell yeah I’m watching this

  10. Geffen says:

    This looks like a winner! The actors are top-notch and we all know the storyline already… I seriously doubt many people (especially fans of Blatty’s book) will seriously sit there and compare this to the original (a few who don’t even know this is based on a book and not just a remake of the movie and those who always look for faults in anything) as, like with many remakes of movies from the 70’s, there won’t really be much of a comparison to find – anything beats horrible hairstyles and a fashion sense that makes you cringe, thinking you’re the one who’s just projectile-vomited all over yourself…