I like bad television. Not always but sometimes and yes, I have a slew of guilty pleasures. But more than bad television, I like those shows that revel in their questionable status. Those shows that openly accept their status as guilty pleasure and challenge you to question if maybe they’re better than you’d like to admit while still holding on and indulging in their own camp and soap appeal. The newest show to join that lot for me? Syfy’s Lost Girl.
Okay, so technically it’s not a Syfy show, it’s been on since 2008 in its’ native Canada, but unless I have readership I don’t know about (any Canadians give a holler) if you’ve heard of this show and you’re reading this post, it’s probably because of Syfy’s current airing.
The show is about Bo, the above-center Anna Silk, a succubus who was raised by humans and didn’t become aware of her Fae (think magic/fairy/non-human) World powers until she discovered them Rogue-style by killing her first boyfriend as they were about to get it on for the first time. In this Fae World, succubi feed off of sexual energy, so she runs away jumping from town to town killing dudes and dudettes (more on that later) until the powers that be of the Fae World show up and tell her she has to pick sides. Sides of what exactly? Why the Light and Dark Fae, of course!
Because she’s all “I don’t get this” and “I don’t belong” she chooses to be neutral and chill with her human friend Kenzi, the green-streaked Ksenia Solo, who is snarky and cute and really there for her and stuff; together, they decide to form a supernatural detective agency which allows for plot-lines of them sticking their noses into matters of which they are woefully uninformed. And so Season 1 goes, with Bo and Kenzi mismanaging the politics of the Fae World and occasionally, almost getting killed.
Aside from the reasonably interesting version of Fae world-building, the show bids for its audience through Whedon-esque banter and at least one sex scene between Bo and the wolf-shifter/werewolf Dyson, the above thoughtful and seated Kris Holden-Ried (also, a dude named Kristen? Wha-?[and double what, he was totally on Degrassi!]), per episode because that’s how she heals and the premise seems to demand for an Angel to her Buffy. At the same time, there’s a budding romance-laden professional relationship between Bo and scientist/doctor-for-the-Light Lauren, far right blonde Zoie Palmer, which offers a slight switch-up to the typical television romantic triangle.
This show is driven by sex and identity, due to the nature of its star character who is learning to control her sexual urges all the while searching for information to find her real parents, but it glosses over any real discussion of sexual identity. This could possibly be excused by the fact that the show is Canadian, if it was American it seems like writers would feel more pressed to make this a main topic of discussion. Either way, the sexual identity of Bo, is the most pervasive metaphor underlying all story-lines.
It’s hard not to read into it: Bo is consistently asked to choose one side over another, Light Fae or Dark Fae, but stubbornly remains in-between. Just as her desire leads her to engage in relationships with both Dyson and Lauren, all the while she laments not wanting to be forced to rule the other one out. Bo is clearly unwilling to accept simple white and black, male and female binaries. Her relationship with Kenzi acts as a a balancing point, sisterly and affectionate peppered with easily managed arguments, where she can develop a non-sexual relationship outside of the triangle.
Somewhere between this love triangle and the collegiate atmosphere with her roomie, what is slowly forming is my new favorite reason to watch the show: despite its fantasy setting and less-than-literary goals, Lost Girl has produced three female characters that are reasonably well-balanced, interesting and interact with each other in basically realistic female relationships. This isn’t to say that these characters and their relationships aren’t entirely unproblematic…