Cult, a new series from Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, is premiering February 19th on the CW. As an avid lover of Farscape, I couldn’t resist the early premiere of the first episode, now airing on Hulu. At the time, I had no idea what else O’Bannon had been involved with, so I suppose I was expecting something along the lines of Farscape.
Cult is not Farscape. It’s something completely different.
The only thing that fans of Farscape could recognize is the same thing that made the first episode of Farscape great: connecting the audience with a character who’s being plunged in a completely new world and exploring alongside him.
Unlike Farscape, hilarity does not ensue. In Cult, the events are full of creepy serendipity and crossover, enough to make your skin crawl. But you’re not alone in the darkness. Main character Jeff Sefton (played by Vampire Diaries alum Matthew Davis) and sidekick Skye (Jessica Lucas from Cloverfield) walk with the audience through every creepy crawly bit, pushing us forward even when we might not want to go.
My gut reaction to the show is fascination.
Here’s the set-up: There’s a show within the show called “Cult”, interestingly also on the CW, that has a slew of crazed fans. Some of those fans roleplay and desperately decode the mysteries of the show. Jeff Sefton’s brother is one of those fans. And ten minutes into the show, he disappears.
Skye, a Researcher for “Cult”, starts helping Jeff unearth the underground geekdom of the show, where they start to find overlaps with real life. As a geek that can get a little too “into” things, this kind of exploration of fan interaction with television is utterly fascinating. There’s even a quote pointed straight at geeks: “When I was at Fox, I was the guy that kept Joss on the air for more than one season.” What kind of perfect alternate universe is this?!?
But this is CW. That means sappy romance and nighttime soaps, right?
Speaking only for this first episode, nope! The drama is solid, the clues are engaging, and the tone is rightfully chilling. Color me surprised. By the end of the episode, I had trouble remembering what network I was watching, even with the constant CW references.
I fully believe this show is going to be a foray into horror the CW has never covered before. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Supernatural fan. And Alona Tal (she played fan favorite, Jo) being on Cult is a huge plus. But Supernatural is soapy. Other shows that drift into the “fantasy/horror” realms always seem to have heavy relationship melodrama mixed with their dally into genre fiction.
But Cult seems serious. Seriously creepy and real.
Are you going to watch the Cult? What are some of your favorite Rockne S. O’Bannon projects? (V, Farscape, Seaquest, Alien Nation)