So join with me now as I embark on an epic journey, o'er hill, and dale and ocean blue, to a destination that some would name paradise, if a very strange one indeed.
(Did you like that? I thought it was quite good, actually) Anyway, you can watch episode one of Strange Paradise here, if you want. Now, lets get to it.
First impressions... it's in colour! Really overly bright, garish colour. My eyes are screaming.
A large bald man in a leather vest is carrying a bucket of... something...up a hill toward a scary house. 10 seconds of that and cue title card.
This lot aren't wasting time.
Or are they? Post title card we're back with him, and he's still trudging up the hill, but now we see that he's being watched by a shady looking dude in a lab coat. The mystery begins to deepen...
Lab coat dude tells a middle aged woman that Kito (sp?) is back and she gets all worried. She's not happy about what a Monsieur Desmond (their boss?) is up to, but Lab Coat (she calls him Doctor, lets go with that)... Doctor Dude makes it clear they have no choice. So clearly Desmond is a bit of a twat.
|Look how worried she looks :(|
Scared woman tries to get Doctor Dude; apparently Dr Lincoln is his name; to reason with Desmond.
Lincoln: The voice of reason is helpless in the face of agony and grief.
So maybe Desmond isn't a twat. Maybe he's just a bit upset. We all have those days, right? Anyway, Kito has finally made it up the hill and it turns out that what he's been carrying up in the bucket was a big old chunk of dry ice. So all the science types reading this, get your thinking caps on and try to figure out what weird experiment they're about to do. They're using dry ice, that should be enough to figure it out.
Cut to a lab set, following the clumsiest 'zoom in on dry ice/zoom out from bubbling beaker' transition you're ever likely to see outside of a, well, a 60's daytime soap opera.
This is the lab of one Dr Allison Carr, who rings a Mr Farrar/Forrest/Farrest/something like that, demanding to speak to him about her sister, one Mrs Jean-Paul Desmond.
Cut again to a creepy looking dude carrying what looks to be a dead woman down a flight of stairs; we quickly learn that this is Mr Desmond (presumably Jean-Paul) so the woman, I'm guessing, is his missus, aka Doc Carr's sister. We're quickly told that yes, she is dead, and shock horror, she was preggers when she deaded. These fuckers are really pouring on the plot here.
Next we meet Farrier/Foxtrot/Finchley-Hague (If someone doesn't pronounce his name a bit more clearly I'll get it from the credits for next time, promise). He's trying to get in touch with Desmond, along with lots of other people it turns out, and he orders his secretary (her what can't pronounce his name) to 'get him on the next plane out to the islands' so... then he heads off to meet Doc Carr, who is apparently waiting for him in his conference room, despite having rung him from her lab not 5 minutes earlier.
Back at Desmonds house, he's looking a bit upset. The female servant, whom he calls... Rexal?!? Really? Anyway, she tries to console him, as does Doc Lincoln, but he's having none of it. He doesn't accept the finality of death, apparently. Not for his Erica, anyway. So, yeah... he's a nutter.
Farmer(?) meets with Doc Carr, and from the smile on her face they not only know each other but he's rocked her world a few times too, if you know what I mean, nudge nudge. But be serious! She's worried about her sis, cos she hasn't heard from her in months. He's not heard from Desmond either as it turns out, for just as long; which is weird cos they're partners or something, in a very eclectic range of businesses. (We get an awkward bit of basil here that basically amounts to 'Desmond is stinking rich') Fastrunner(?) tries to ease Doc Carr's mind but I don't think he succeeds.
|Look how worried she looks :(|
Rexal: Mr Desmond please! Has the Devil taken your soul?
And then he looks like this
Fister(?) is still chatting up Doc Carr while all this is going on. He tells her a bunch of stuff she already knows so that now we know it too; basically Desmond was a bit of a player in his youth but he settled down as soon as he met Erica, that Erica was a bit of a starlet but she gave it all up to settle down with Desmond, and oh yes, the island they live on is called The Garden Of Evil. Because of course that's what you'd call your tropical island getaway. Upshot of the scene; she's flying down to the island with him.
At the house, Desmond is having another tantrum, before stalking off upstairs in his weirdly stiff way that he walks; his legs never bend! It's very disconcerting, I can tell you. Anyway, once he's gone, Rexal and Doc Lincoln have this exchange;
Rexal: Doctor, can your modern science ever raise the dead?
Lincoln: Not any more than your voodoo beliefs. Without the breath of God there is no life, and the dead belong to him.
Just take that in for a moment. Forget the Doc babbling about the dead belonging to God for now, and just savour that most casual of mentions that Rexal is a fucking voodoo worshiper! This show is batshit, I kid you not. The scene closes on her staring up at a picture of what someone I assume is meant to be Desmonds ancestor; on account of it looks exactly like him except in ye olde fashioned clothes; and hissing at it that he belongs to the devil. As you do.
Here's the thing though. It's fucking Bill Compton! Look at him! Tell me that's not Bill Compton!
Desmond: On this island, from this moment forward, I am God.
To which the painting of his ancestor says, 'Bravo!'
You didn't read that wrong. The fucking painting applauds him. Which freaks out Rexal, but practically gives him an orgasm. Rexal tells him that his ancestor was the Devil, so he sends her to bed and has a bit of a chat with him. And then...
I give up. We're back in whatever the fuck times that is meant to be,
and the same dude as plays Desmond is playing his ancestor, Jacques, looking very smug with himself. He's just gotten married and his wife is having a go at him for looking at other women, so he wins her over by, amongst other things, calling her his pigeon, which I wouldn't have thought would work, but hey ho. Then he takes her for a walk on the cliff top with a psycho look in his eye, so I bet I know where that is headed, but we don't see it on account of we jump back to the present. Just as it was getting good!
Painting Jacques is telling Desmond that if he goes and gets him out of his tomb, he'll arrange for his missus to come back to life. Desmond is wary of doing a deal with the devil but, on account of being a fucking nutjob, not that wary.
So, after screaming that he won't release Jacques from his tomb, and throwing his drink at the picture, he... rushes down into the family crypt and starts humping Jacques tomb, while talking about having 'found the way'. You're sending mixed signals there old son. Sort it out.
My mistake, it's his wife's coffin he's humping; I thought she was upstairs, getting dry iced? Whatever, maybe it's empty. Maybe he just keeps a random coffin in the tomb for humping purposes? Regardless, he soon finds Jacques coffin and starts pulling it from it's slot on the wall. Will he release him?
Who the fuck knows? Not me, because the show has jumped to Farringdon(?) and Doc Carr, who have made it to the Caribbean already, if not Desmonds island. That whole plot strand is moving in a different time stream to Desmonds, I swear. Anyway, they can't get to his island on account of the storm, so they're getting sloshed instead. Best thing, I reckon.
A singer comes on in the bar. She's had a request for an oldie. Can you guess what it is? 'That old black magic'. Because this show is nothing if not as subtle as a fucking brick.
The song plays over intercutting of the bar, and Desmond opening Jacques coffin to find a weird little voodoo doll thing. Obviously.
He pulls out the spike in the doll, which cause Rexal to pitch a fit upstairs and then run down into the crypt. While she's on her way down we get a shot of the painting frame empty and Jacques stood holding the doll, talking of the spell being broken; but when she gets down there it's Desmond holding the doll and looking all calm, followed by another shot of Jacques back in the painting.
I have zero fucking clue what is going on. Especially since his final line is 'Why what's the matter, Monsieur Rexal?' Monsieur? Did I miss something? She's a fucking woman, surely? God knows.
So that was episode one of Strange Paradise. I'll say this for them, they crammed a lot in; Dark Shadows would have made this lot last a dozen episodes at least. Made for a long post though, sorry about that. Hopefully it'll calm down now they've set out their stall.
Next Tuesday, I'll have episode 21 of Dark Shadows, and then next Thursday it's episode 2 of Strange Paradise. I hope you'll come check them out. You know, if you want to.