Have you been watching the dark fantasy, horror TV series Van Helsing? If the answer is no or you’ve never even heard of it then fear not, you’re not alone. I can’t even remember how I learnt of its existence but I know for sure it wasn’t due to any kind of promotion for the show. The first season just wrapped and even though the ratings throughout weren’t exactly good, it has been renewed for a second season.
Vanessa “Van Helsing” (the descendant of Abraham Van Helsing) is resurrected in a post-apocalyptic world, three years after her death, to lead a resistance against the vampires that plague it.
Considering this show airs on Syfy I was expecting the production values to be pretty low. However, I must say I was quite impressed with it overall. It’s plainly obvious most of the time that the budget isn’t huge. Still, I think it does a really good job for the most part. Honestly, I wouldn’t care if it was produced with a tiny amount of money as long as the story and characters were great. Sadly, that just isn’t really the case.
I feel the show is paced too slowly. It takes far too long for things to actually get going. Vanessa isn’t even conscious for the first couple of episodes. Our other characters are stuck in a single location attempting to survive. When she does wake up the rest of the season is spent on her discovering her abilities. Then loads of pointless distractions that only serve to stop the plot from progressing. The creators must have been pretty damn confident that the show was going to get more than a single season. The first merely lays the foundations for what is to come.
That’s not saying that absolutely everything is worthless because there is enough, at least for me that makes it worth a watch. As I said, the effects and makeup used throughout are probably better than they have any right to be.
I think the biggest weakness of the show comes in the form of its characters. The amount of backstabbing that goes in with the human characters is just plain silly. You find yourself even slightly liking a character and then they die or do something nonsensical that completely ruins them. I felt convinced that the show simply didn’t want me to like a single character which is just strange, it’s betrayal after betrayal.
For me, Axel is the best character on the show. Although, he does some pretty unforgivable things and his absence from the latter part of the season really hurt it.
The show is constantly switching between Vanessa’s group, the vampires and the human resistance group. I didn’t care much for the whole resistance storyline; it just isn’t very interesting quite honestly.
I wanted to see Vanessa kicking ass. While there are a handful of these moments, for the most part she comes across pretty stupid. She has the ability to turn vampires back to human by either biting them or them biting her; she’s a living cure for vampirism. The characters barely acknowledge this and brush it aside like it’s no big deal, did I miss something? At least the vampires intend to use her to create a day walker type vampire; the humans don’t seem to care.
I do enjoy watching the show because I like vampires and it is pretty entertaining, mostly. Still, why are the creators so determined for me to hate everyone?
If the second season can be anything like the finale for this show then I think it could end up being pretty awesome. That’s the kind of Van Helsing that I want to watch. The build-up is over and done with now. There is a decent foundation for the second season with some pretty cool cliff-hangers. Hopefully they can keep up that momentum.
Van Helsing - Season 1