Top critical review
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Could have been good...
on 11 March 2006
I had high expectations for Hex. I was greatly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, Hex has its plus points too - beautiful sets, one fantastic and original character, and a plotline that could potentially have been very interesting if explored and developed correctly. However, there are so many negative points that these positives are overshadowed.
Probably the main problem is the writing and characterisation. Cassie, who the show centres on, is a very weak character. With little personality, not much to say and hardly any willpower, it's obvious that she could not carry the show herself. She has no passion, no drive, and is only interesting when she is possessed. Azazeal is also a weak character. He should have been dark but sexy and alluring, with an irresistable arrogance and dangerous quality. Instead he is an unattractive, middle-aged, skinny man without any sex appeal.
Fortunately for Hex, there is a saving grace in the amazing character of Thelma, the lesbian ghost, who is played by Jemima Rooper in a quite stunning performance. Jemima gives an incredibly open, honest, touching and sassy portrayal of Thelma and is, to be honest, the only reason to watch the show.
In addition to the mostly-abysmal characterisation, there is also the matter of the plot. It could be great - there is enough history, legend, and religious background to establish a complex and interesting set-up. However, the information is revealed in such a confusing and disjointed manner that you imagine there must be a time when it will all come together and make sense, but...that time never comes. I am sure much of it will be explained in the second season but unfortunately the atmsophere is one of frustration rather than anticipation - I have so many bizarre snippets of information that I no longer care how, if at all, they fit together.
The plot also fails during the pivotal relationship of the show, between Cassie and Azazeal. The fact that much of their relationship develops whilst Cassie is possessed (by what, it is never exactly revealed - a maggot perhaps? The blood of Azazeal? who knows) means that in a sense, their relationship does not exist, and we have little access to what Cassie really feels. It also seems like a cop out - we cannot judge Cassie and she cannot be responsible for her choices because she was possessed. It's not a relationship, it's just Azazeal's fantasy.
Finally, there is the problem of it feeling in many parts like an episode of Hollyoaks or at worst, Grange Hill. The nightclub scenes, spin the bottles scenes, it all adds up to a slightly trashy, schoolkids-pretending-to-be-adults feel. It's not my thing, though if you like programmes like that, you may enjoy it.
Anyway, I bought Hex having heard that it was as good as or better than Buffy. It's not, although that's just my opinion. Buffy is filled with strong, funny, likeable characters, and has fast moving, well thought out plots. Hex has its own strengths, but the series will have to improve dramatically to get many people watching season 2. The fact that it was billed as a British Buffy, which should have guaranteed it a massive core audience, and yet it still managed to slip mostly under the radar, should give you enough warning.
To summarise - worth checking out if you're a fan of Jemima Rooper or cool, quirky lesbian characters. Otherwise, probably best to stick to the American shows - Buffy, Angel, Roswell, Charmed etc etc!
P.S. Boxset wise, the DVD set is slim and attractive, and the picture and sound are crystal clear, so no worries there.