Netflix released the entire first series of the British comic-horror series Crazyhead recently. It’s about two powerful young women (one of them blonde) who fight demons in modern Bristol, UK. I wish I could say the similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended with that basic premise. They don’t. Misfits creator Howard Overman is the mind behind Crazyhead. Rather than run from the standard-bearer of all girl-fights-monsters shows, Overman seems to wallow in the Buffy-ness of his new effort.
Girl Fights Monsters
A warning – in addition to the spoilers in this article, I have the overwhelming desire to write the words “just like Buffy” after almost every comparable element. I doubt that would make my editor very happy, so you can just add it yourself. Like adding “in bed” to a fortune cookie, just go ahead and say “just like Buffy” where it seems appropriate.
Crazyhead stars Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey) and Susan Wokoma as Amy and Raquel. Amy is just coming off medication to treat “hallucinations.” She sees people’s faces go all bumpy and fiery and she has prophetic dreams. Raquel can also see demon-faced folks running around. She’s trained since she was 14 to fight them. She also possesses more strength and power than average, human-type people.
The duo quickly pulls in Amy’s geeky co-worker (he’s crushing hard on her). Amy’s roommate (who is gorgeous and popular) also joins into a sort of “Scooby Gang” to take on the demon d*ckheads. I should also probably mention, in case you’ve not seen Overman’s earlier work, all these characters are foul-mouthed and funny. The jokes about sex and bodily fluids fly almost as fast as the fists in Crazyhead. This “overly coarse language versus overly clever language” is very much different from its older American cousin.
The Brooding Turncoat
Crazyhead is infuriatingly British in that they did just six episodes in the first series. With only time for one story arc, the whole thing seems to end way too quickly. Along the way, we meet not one but two “brooding turncoats.” That is, two demon guys who are actually good guys fighting the demons – coughAngelcough. Their stories are a fair bit more complicated than the “vampire with a soul” we all know and love. Overman mixed it up with a decent twist. However, both end up in different types of relationships with the “chosen one” and are generally all broody and sexy-looking.
Why yes, there is a “chosen one” in Crazyhead too. Just like you-know-who, the knowledge of her role in the great-big-cosmic-whatever of the universe is burdensome. She must protect her family from the knowledge that might get them killed while trying to keep herself sane and alive. A normal life, a job, and a boyfriend are what she wants. She gets fiery-faced hellspawn instead.
Big Bad with a Plan
The first series focuses on a hilariously murderous plan carried out by Raquel’s therapist. He also happens to be “the master” of the other demons. He wants to open up hell on Halloween but can’t seem to get the catering and the marketing materials done properly. There’s also the fact that he needs Raquel to make the whole thing work but she’s all “demon bad” and uncooperative.
As I said, Overman is fairly wallowing in the similarities between his new show and our old favorite. What choice did he have really? With Buffy out there as one of the pillars of the genre Zeitgeist, any show featuring a strong woman thrown into a supernatural fight-fest will draw a comparison. Overman doesn’t let that stop him from producing some very enjoyable television and then twisting the Buffy-ness in new and interesting ways. Crazyhead manages to tell a wholly original story that is similar but also superior in some ways to what we’ve seen before.