As much out of obligation as anything else, I've been catching up on A&E's new series, Damien. As you might guess, it's a quasi-sequel to the classic Gregory Peck film, The Omen. It's an Anti-Christ story.
The show has received rather lukewarm reviews that seem fair about 5 episodes into my own viewing. Barbara Hershey is wonderful and the show has some nicely imagined death scenes, but the critical consensus, that the show has stiff dialogue and tedious plotting, seems right to me.
In spite of all this, I'm enjoying it nonetheless. This probably says more about me than I should publicly admit.
First, there are several connections to the Sectarian Review Podcast. Our episode on Anti-Heroes is a natural intersection to the show, as Damien is a good person who is coming to terms with his being the greatest tyrant in the history of the world. Walter White? Small potatoes.
We also did a show called "The Ethical Imagination of Horror" (all these can be found at our main page). If you're a Christian and wonder about the morals of watching this stuff, you might want to check that out.
The show also points forward a bit too, however. Jordan Poss and I are just about to record a new episode (or possibly two) about the Conspiratorial mindset, and this show has so many conspiracies working that it makes the viewer's head spin like...well...that girl in the Exorcist. The Vatican, the Satanists, the Devil himself. Everyone is part of a big plot here.
This is no doubt a large part of my interest in the show, despite its obvious mediocrity. In addition, it so reminds me of my own religious upbringing, which (no surprise to regular listeners) haunts me to this day.
My memory of church as a kid is...darkness. The impressionistic image is me sitting wide-eyed in a pew at night listening to someone talk about current events, the Mark of the Beast, Satanic influences in popular culture, and Armageddon. This demon-haunted child lives in me still and it motivates so much of my interests in contemporary Christianity; and this no doubt permeates the podcast.
So for these biographical reasons, I will finish this show (which I don't suspect will last that long, frankly). The paradox built into the faith culture of my youth fascinates me. This is the very kind of show that I was warned against as a child, and yet it bears the closest resemblance to that same faith. Hackey, conspiracy-driven, and wallowing in darkness.