13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
So much wasted potential,
This review is from: Bedlam - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)The title of my review says it all. This is a series that is supposed to be about ghosts but, with the exception of one or two moments, the ghosts never seemed to be particularly dangerous. Generally, the worst they did was run up a huge bill for redecorating since all they seem to do is graffiti the walls in a variety of ways.
The series revolves around an old asylum that has been converted into flats. But parts of the building were shown as being completed while other parts were still in ruins; people were falling through floors, endangered by scaffolding etc. Many scenes feature Kate's dad, the owner of the project harping on and on about how they need to sell more flats and why aren't they selling enough flats. I found myself practically screaming at the screen; you're not selling any because you haven't finished building them yet!!! How can you have people moving into a block of flats that's barely even finished? In one scene the character of Mark goes next door to investigate a strange noise. His flat was shown to be completely furnished and comfortable yet the flat directly next door is a hollow shell, looking like something out of a warzone. When exactly does Kate's dad plan to finish them?
The characters themselves were either bland or horrible. The DVD blurb describes Molly as being unemployed and unlucky in love. The blurb has to tell us this because we couldn't learn it any other way. Molly is underdeveloped, boring and even useless. In one scene her bed is set on fire by a ghost. It is only a small fire, nothing that couldn't be put out with a bucket of water. But rather than simply climbing off the bed she sits there screaming for Ryan to come and rescue her. Why didn't she just get off the bed? And as an afterthought, if Molly is unemployed, how exactly is she affording to live in these flats? Those few that have been completed don't look as if they come cheap.
The character of Ryan was equally boring and atrociously acted. Let's be clear about this - Will Young absolutely cannot act! Not one single word did he deliver with even a scrap of believability. The character was also inconsistent - one minute he was straight, then gay, then straight. Pick a sexuality and stick with it. Or, failing that, at least show that the character is conflicted rather than simply swapping them from women to men and back again without any thought for consistency.
Charlotte Salt, playing the part of Kate, is almost as bad at acting as Will Young. How either of them were cast is beyond me. I can only assume that nobody else showed up for the auditions. The character of Kate was nothing short of disgusting. The DVD blurb would have you believe she is the main character but when watching the series I would argue that Jed is actually the main character. Kate is a spoilt, malevolent, selfish, cold-hearted, manipulative, spiteful and vindictive b****. Almost from the word go I was hoping a ghost would just finish her off and give her what she had coming. In one scene, Molly admits to Kate - her supposed best friend - that she has feelings for Ryan. Kate's reaction to this revelation is to wait until Molly leaves the flat before promptly trying to rip Ryan's clothes off. When Molly finds out, Kate's way of appeasing her betrayed friend is to give her the ring Kate's dad found during construction. Great, a second-hand ring. That's just what's needed to repair the broken trust between two friends. It also doesn't take long for Kate to decide that maybe she does like the ring after all and start wearing it herself. Nice.
In another scene where Molly is burned by a candle that she had lit in her room, Kate warns her that she'll have to pay for any damages if the candle has set fire to anything. At no point does she show concern for her injured and frightened friend.
And how many times can we see Kate having nightmares? They all end the same way; with Kate running off down the corridor. Watching it, it felt like this was just an excuse to show off Kate's varied collection of nightwear.
By far the most interesting character, and probably the most interesting part of the series, is Jed. Suffering from a damaged psyche due to his ability to see ghosts, Jed is a troubled character and there was a wealth of potential that could have been explored and wasn't.
The series was littered with endless subplots that go nowhere; Sadie's romance with Jed, the little girl that Jed rescued and the threats of her father to call the police, Kate's affair with a married man and subsequent campaign to destroy his marriage. None of them ever go anywhere and it's incredibly frustrating.
One scene in particular killed the series for me and should have won an award for sheer ridiculousness. Sadie becomes the victim of an angry ghost. Somehow this ghost manages to render her unconscious, then drag her through the whole block of flats and outside to the construction area, lock her in a coffin shaped box and stick her in a convenient coffin shaped hole in the ground to be buried alive by construction workers. This all happens in broad daylight and no one notices??!! And no one hears her screaming??!! And no one questions why they're burying a random box in a random hole when they should be getting on with the flats!!! The illogicality of it makes the viewers out to be idiots.
Above all else I feel I should warn any potential viewers about the end. I'm not giving the end away as there is no end. Just when you think you are getting close to answering some of the questions that have been raised throughout the series, the whole thing just stops. It doesn't conclude, it simply breaks off in an absurd cliffhanger. It doesn't make you want to watch the next series, it makes you want your money back!
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Mar 2012 20:37:33 GMT
A wickedly accurate review. Thank you for being honest. Shame I didn't believe it until I had bought and watched the DVD. I think you were being generous giving it even one star.
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Mar 2012 21:49:04 GMT
Thank you. I would have given it less than one star if the Amazon rating system allowed it. I'm just trying to spare more people the crushing disappointment I experienced when I watched it!!
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2012 15:46:21 BDT
Scots Lass says:
I really wanted to like this and all the elements were there for a good spooky series - although to make flats out of a former asylum and call it Bedlam Heights is a stretch. Sadly, all the writing appears to have gone into the basic idea - 4 friends, one with the ability/curse to see the dead, live in the most haunted house EVER. But the stories quickly became predictable and repetative. A shame, because the cast did what they could with the material. I did not have a problem with Will Young's portrayal of the geeky Ryan who was presumably bi-sexual, but he was never really given much to do. Jed saw ghosts, Ryan checked on line, ghosts were laid to rest.
The ending? Pardon? Did I miss something? And 3 of the established characters are not there next series......
A good idea for a series but sadly it did not deliver despite its best intentions. Glad I waited until it was half price.
Posted on 24 Mar 2013 22:00:40 GMT
Rob C says:
I have to commend this review -- you are spot on. I've just finished watching both series on DVD and if anything series 2 is subjectively "worse" than series 1! But I stuck with it just to see how it would end....
I totally understand that they probably didn't have a huge budget, but they could have done far more to make this show a more engaging chiller, by using implication / sound / camera work etc. Instead it was mostly cheesy, predictable nonsense.
What really annoys me is that the *premise* and even the gathered ensemble had promise, but the writing was just terrible. The story wandered and stalled and started, added unnecessary subplots that dead-ended, and they often took two steps back for one forward.
I think that in the right hands this could have been an amazing show. I also wonder if Bedlam would not have been better as a two- or three-parter?
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 22:27:23 GMT
The fact that the show had potential was what made the resulting mess even more painful to watch. It was like all the pieces of the puzzle were there but the makers couldn't fit them together properly.
Posted on 3 Apr 2013 12:40:08 BDT
So it starts " this is meant to be about ghosts" , when you start a review with such inaccuracies then it is hard to take the rest of the overdrawn and tired review seriously. i give your review 1 star. why not stick to serious and factual shows , like the national news, rather than picking holes. you could pick holes in pretty much everything shown on tv/cinema. you moan it is meant to be about ghosts and then criticise for the "ridiculousnes" (is that a word ?) later on. is the notion of ghosts not ridiculous ? , i think so but enjoyed it for what it was. as good as, if not better, than the garbage hollywood spews out and labels as "the scariest film of the year"
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2013 12:58:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Apr 2013 12:59:11 BDT
How is my saying that Bedlam is about ghosts inaccurate? Perhaps you could enlighten us as to what is about?
I will not stick to 'serious and factual shows' because I don't enjoy them. I love the supernatural. Of course, you can pick holes in anything but usually it's little holes. Bedlam had plot holes you could drive a tank through.
Yes, ridiculousness is a word, otherwise I would not have included it in my review.
I was not criticising the show for containing ghosts, I was criticising it for its dire acting, pointless subplots that never went anywhere, poor editing, weak storyline, poor character development, etc
I loved the idea of the old asylum being turned into flats with all the ghosts still lurking there. There was potential in the concept. But the overall result was pathetic.
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