Subsumed By It
by DICK CHENEY
creator Glen Mazzara
The antichrist is a photographer. I can continue. No, I can keep going. An African-American woman befriends the antichrist, and he is noncomittal. He doesn't really know if he wants a relationship with her (she is also a photographer, but not as good a photographer as the antichrist).
Bradley James plays the antichrist in Damien. When he squishes his face together (he does this when he is thinking, or as he terms it, thanking, since his American accent is not the best) he looks like a pigeon defecating on someone's leather jacket.
Damien goes to visit a biblical scholar who his adopted father consulted about him. The man tells the antichrist to seek Jesus, and he grumpily responds, "Well this was a waste of time." The scholar is eaten by dogs, rottweilers presumably possessed by Satan. I would have found it a lot scarier if they were schnauzers.
The scariest movie of last year was It Follows, which ended horror by making it so the most frightening thing you could think of was a person walking towards you. Satan can't compare to that, but Damien's black friend is swallowed by a conveniently timed sinkhole. He is distressed by so much morbidity, and calls the cops to take the body away.
Fortunately, this mediocre photographer has a sister. Comparing the looks of the two of them is a useless task, each is perfect where her rival fails. They bond over the death of the more appealing one (Tiffany Himes RIP), who I presume will eventually return to the show as a sex slave to Satan, since why not.
Damien wants to get back to Syria; he is going to take a bunch of pictures of a ghetto there. When bad things happen, he does not intervene, preferring to snap as many cute pics as he can on his camera. He only shoots film, since I cannot imagine a bigger waste of time, and it is all he has.
To get back into this awful country he enlists the help of Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). I don't know what has happened to Ms. Hershey since I saw her last. It is a little offensive that her age is used to accentuate her inherent villainy. Still, she succeeds at playing a great deal younger than her actual years: she is IRL almost 70. The irony that she once played Mary Magdalene is subsumed by the caked-on makeup she is wearing here.
That is it — the entire show. Damien eventually will embrace his nature, but he will not able to manage this around any convincing characters and in any kind of satisfying or dynamic way. I doubt this show even makes it to a second season, since its idea of fun is a creepy old woman appearing in a lot of Damien's photographs.
Any story about the antichrist needs Jesus, God and the rest of it. Damien reminds me that we have never really had a worthy Jesus television series. At the age of 30, it emerges, the man started his church, and it is implied Damien could manage the same. The casting of Jesus as the antagonist in Damien is a touchy subject. Most of us want him to be played by Daniel Radcliffe, since he has nothing else to do except to lick his lips when he smells baked cod.
The devil offers no credible alternative to Christianity. He is more an avatar of atheism, feeding on a nonbelief which eschews faith as a silly leap of logic. There are many people whose advanced knowledge of the world around them amazes me, and chief among that group is Richard Dawkins. Just ask yourself — what does Richard Dawkins really want, besides to tawk about himself constantly at every opportunity? To restore Satan to his rightful throne on Earth.
In the end, though, the best Satan could manage, when it came time to bring the world to its knees, was the services of a photographer. I mean, what's next, a blogger becomes vice president of the United States?
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location.
"Waiting" - Sarha Bialy (mp3)