TV, 2010, 4 stars
Created: Michelle Lovretta
First Run: 2010-2015 (6 Seasons)
Supernatural creatures, magical powers, super-hot heroes, dark forces, friends, foes, sexy escapades, murder and mayhem, S&M, mysteries, outlandish plots, monsters, people having sex with literally anything that moves, low(ish) budget, twisted beyond belief Celtic and Norse mythology…
OK, if all of the above doesn't really appeal to you, then you're not going to like Lost Girl. On the other hand, if you’re a gay girl with a love of genre TV then this is the show of your dreams (until you also find Motherland: Fort Salem, or Wynonna Earp, Willow, or Warrior Nun!)
Lost Girl follows the convoluted story of Bo Dennis (Anna Silk) who is a Succubus. For those not up on your made-up mythology, a Succubus is a woman who derives power from seduction and feeding on someone’s life essence. (Succubi are female, Incubus is the male equivalent). Probably the closest pop culture equivalent I can think of is literary vampire-hunter Anita Blake.
In Lost Girl our Succubus is Fae (a concept loosely based around Faerie Folk from Celtic mythology, with a smattering of just about every mythical story thrown in). Fae have two clans it is compulsory to choose between - light or dark. These clans exist in a semi-peaceful but strained truce imposed upon them by ancient laws, but they have different philosophies regarding humans and how to exercise their powers.
Bo doesn't choose light or dark and remains unaligned, which means she is beholden to neither, but is protected by no one. She relies on her plucky group of friends and lovers, both Fae and human, to give her friendship, love, guidance, help, sanity, and healing.
There's Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) the sexy, human reformed criminal who is her roommate and best friend. There's Lauren (OMG, how hot is Zoie Palmer) the sexy human doctor who works for the Light Fae who has the serious hots for Bo. There's Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), the sexy werewolf who is a cop in his "human" life, and his seriously ripped partner Hale (K.C Collins), who in the Fae world is a Siren. Are we spotting the theme?
Bo doesn't set out to save the world, but she does have a strong sense of morality and will fight to protect it. This combined with phenomenal superhuman powers leads her to get into scrapes from time to time. Eventually we find out that Bo really is part of a prophecy to save or destroy the world, which very much reflects her inability to choose between light and dark. Will she make the choices needed to save the world, or destroy it? Or is there a third option?
As the series progresses it gets a lot darker and convoluted. The bad guys and Fae dramas get more outlandish and cruel, and Bo struggles to find peace and real love in the chaos. Above all, Bo wants to live her life as herself, and be loved for that. She yearns for real connections, with just about anyone.
Over and above being a ripping yarn with some cool characters and action sequences, Lost Girl is an interesting exploration of female power and sexuality. Bo isn't even bisexual - she's just walking sex. Her life force (or "chi") is derived from it, she would die without it. This isn't new territory in itself, what is vampire mythology but a giant metaphor for sex? But it does mean that the writers have given themselves a whole lot of room here to flip some well-worn, female genre hero tropes on their heads.
For instance, Bo has spent her life being afraid of her sexuality because every time she has sex people end up dead. She drains their life force to feed her own, and can't control it. With Lauren's help she learns to feed safely, a gigantic metaphor for a woman taking back her sexual power, and shedding her guilt for liking sex. It's not subtle, but it works.
Bo also needs to call on others for help and she calls on men and women equally. Everyone has a unique power only they can use. For Lauren, it's science. For Dyson, strength and loyalty. For Kenzie, it's street smarts. Everyone has something they can offer Bo, and she takes from them in abundance, while giving in equal measure in return.
Bo has two significant sexual relationships with women across the course of series, the most noteworthy is her on again, off again romance with Lauren. The other is with Tamsin (genre veteran Rachel Skarsten), a Dark Fae Valkyrie who changes dramatically across the seasons, with a storyline that culminates tragically in the season finale. Bo's other important relationship is with Dyson, and the Lauren vs Dyson camps warred in the fan community for years. I won't tell you who Bo ends up with, that'd be giving away major plot lines, but suffice to say I think in the end both camps were reasonably satisfied with the outcome.
Let's put it out there though. I've never seen a genre show that shows this much skin, and it's not limited to a gender. The major body parts are skillfully covered during sex scenes, but it's equal opportunity raunchiness here, with equal amounts of boy and girl candy. Genre television does tend to be inherently sexually conservative, and before you start throwing examples like Buffy, Xena, Sense8, Wynonna Earp and The 100 etc around, I would remind you what happens in all of those shows when women (especially queer women) are seen to be enjoying sex. Someone invariably ends up emotionally tortured or dead. Sure, Bo goes through a lot of ups and downs, but the show never punishes her for her sexuality.
The series does live and die with Bo, and Anna Silk. Silk must have a seriously awesome relationship with her body. She exudes confidence in every frame, and even if she's not your type, you can't help appreciating her sheer audacity.
In the first season, it's low budget monster of the week Canadian genre fare, with a larger story arc that kicks in intriguingly in later seasons. Seasons 2 and 3 are the real high points. Yeah I know Tamsin fans, she comes in more later and that’s awesome, but the storylines were just better early on before all The Wanderer madness.
The writing for Lost Girl is surprisingly snappy, and the cast are great at not taking themselves too seriously, with a good smattering of witty and slapsticky humour that Buffy fans should find familiar and interesting. Also much like Buffy, the lead character is flawed, loyal to a fault, and at first thinks she needs nobody but realises her strength lies in those who surround her. One of the greatest things too about both Buffy and Bo is the sense that their superpowers somehow make them more connected to humanity, not less.
Did I mention it's sexy? This cast is beyond hot. Let the prudish beware, this series revels in bumping body parts, women on women, men on men, men on women, human on fae, black on white, it doesn't matter. Every time Bo enters a room, she's keenly aware of the people in it and her impact upon them. They usually want to either sleep with her or kill her, often interchangeably. Silk has the time of her life with this role, never holding back on the sex, the melodrama, or just any opportunity to look smouldering in leather pants or a floor-length gown. (Vegans beware - I don't even want to know how many cows died to provide this girl with her wardrobe.)
It might sound shallow, and it so is, but its just fun, more than any other show of this type out there.