Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Apparitions" with Martin Shaw

First let me say there seems to be some debate as to whether "Apparitions" was a mini-series or whether it was intended to be an ongoing series that was cancelled after just six episodes. I can only tell you that after the sixth episode, I felt it had ended, and ended well, but also felt it could go on if they wanted it to. So if it was meant to end at six episodes, I was well satisfied. If it was meant to continue, it's a crying shame it didn't. Don't be afraid to watch the six as-is though because it's like watching six 1-hour movies of the best religious programming I've ever encountered.

"Apparitions" appeared on the BBC in 2008. It starred Martin Shaw as Father Jacob, a Catholic Priest who has the job of advancing people to sainthood. However, he is friends with the priest who is in charge of performing exorcisms. He more or less takes over the job (unofficially) after this friend is forced to relinquish the position following strange and diabolical circumstances.

This is not an official trailer. It was edited by some kid on YouTube who put some music to it by his favorite band or something. It actually works pretty well though and will give you some idea of what you're missing.

This is not some corny horror series with projectile vomiting and heads spinning round meant to appeal to children. It's more along the lines of "The Omen" but with better acting and great scripts. Never have I seen the forces of good and evil so clearly brought out and shown for what they are in a story of any kind. A story-line in the first episode involving a young priest who's troubled by homosexual lust manages to perfectly show the profoundly wicked and perverse essence at its core, so much so that even the most adamant homosexual could not help coming away questioning his choices. It manages to put onto the screen exactly how I've always felt about homosexuality but could never quite put into words. However, this is just one short story-line in one episode.

Each episode connects to the one before with a subtext pertaining to a coming calamity of irredeemable quality. Among his Catholic family, only Father Jacob sees it coming and is prepared to meet the opposition head-on as every new episode finds him battling the same evil in a new form.

I've been reading amateur reviews of the show at both Hulu and the Internet Movie Data-Base, and one thing that testifies to the greatness of this show is how many atheists and agnostics can't help but love it. Their reviews generally start saying, "I'm an atheist, but...." The following short review at Hulu is my favorite:

Devout Agnostic Almost Converted

"This show almost...Almost converted me to Catholicism. No joke. Just saying. It's that good."

The only place showing this show on the Internet that I've seen is Hulu, but you must live in America and have a paid membership to Hulu Plus. See it here: Apparitions

You can rent this show on DVD if you're a member of Netflix. They have it here: Apparitions

Blockbuster doesn't carry it yet. I'm afraid the show may be impossible to find at local video stores in the USA, although people living in England can likely find it all over the place. If you're game to buy it, Amazon has copies listed in both Pal and NTSC format.