When I heard that Mario Van Peebles was the force behind Syfy’s new Superstition, I was intrigued. The more I read about the premise and setting of the series, the more I knew this was a show I wanted to watch.
I was hooked after the first episode, completely losing my mind along with a good section of Twitter at the end of it, and enjoying the reactions at the repercussions and twists I so did not see coming in the first half of the second episode. Hooked. Entirely. No boredom or slow roll story-telling here.
So far in the first five episodes, we’ve gotten a pretty good overview of the Hastings family — father Isaac, mother Bea, surviving son Calvin and his former love May (who happens to be the sheriff of La Rochelle), and the daughter he never knew about, Garvey.
There’s also Tilly. She’s extended family, an assistant at the funeral home… and a mystical forensics expert. Literally, she does magical forensic investigations on their battles or to determine whatever magical or mystical evil might have affected someone who’s been sent to the funeral home for final services. Sometimes she just lets everyone know they can stand down because what looked like a heart attack really was just a naturally induced heart attack.
Forensic magic and sorcery. I’ve seen it done in passing in a number of urban fantasy novels over the years, but seeing it in action in this show was the first time I wondered if a CSI: Hellmouth led by Willow and a team of other witches would have been a viable Buffy spinoff.
Opening the series with a prodigal son returning home after a long, silent absence is a powerful hook. All we start out knowing is that Calvin is visiting home from duty, being a 16-year veteran of the US Marine Corps. We discover that he never knew his girlfriend was pregnant before he left to join the Marines, and that their holds some serious resentment and anger towards him for being an absentee father. Complications ensue.
We also learn of a younger son Arlo, who had been killed many years before in a fight against the dark forces. We get a lot of hints that the circumstances of his death seem to be the reason Calvin left home & the family business to pursue a career in the US Marine Corps. What really happened to Arlo the night he died is something that’s finally been revealed 5 episodes in, but there’s still plenty of mystery around what that incident was really all about, and also around a large chunk of undocumented missing time from Calvin’s service record. I eagerly await uncovering what those mysteries mean.
The other big attraction for me, aside from the magic and the infernals, is the family connections, and how they might seem to flex and strain, but in the end, no matter how much time has passed or how much pain their history might reveal, they still come together for each other when it really matters. Never underestimate the family members that squabble with each other like cats & dogs; they really fight nasty when they band together against an outsider that messes with them. That’s what real family should be all about, and in this show it’s fun to watch.
The mysteries, secrets, family drama, whatever it is that makes La Rochelle such an irresistible attraction for the undead, the evil, and the strange things in between are things I can’t wait to discover. I’m also more than a little curious about how the Hastings family ended up in La Rochelle, given what teases we’ve seen so far of Isaac and Bea in the distant past. What happened that they came to be the gatekeepers between that evil and the town? And is La Rochelle some sort of vortex for evil, and the town itself is a doorway being guarded by the family? It would be one explanation why they have the only cemetary in town, why they take such physical and mystical care for how mortal remains are handled and interred, and why The Dredge has such a fixation on who Isaac is and what he can do.
Very superstitious, indeed.
Superstition airs Friday nights, 10pm on Syfy.
Starring Mario Van Peebles, Robinne Lee, Brad James, Demetria McKinney, Tatianna Zappardino, Morgana Van Peebles
SUPERSTITION centers around the Hastings family, owners of the only funeral home in the mysterious town of La Rochelle, Georgia. The family also acts as the keepers of the town’s dark secrets and history. Known for its haunted houses, elevated graveyards, odd townsfolk, and rich history of unusual phenomena, the town is also a “landing patch” for the world’s darkest manifestations of fear, guided into the world by an ancient, mysterious malefactor.
XLrator Media’s Barry Gordon and MVPTV’s Mario Van Peebles(“Roots,” “Bloodline,” “Hand of God,” “Empire,” “Lost”) will produce, and Van Peebles will also write, direct and star in some of the episodes. Joel Anderson Thompson (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Boomtown,” “House M.D.”) has been tapped as showrunner and Laurence Andries (“Alias,” “Six Feet Under,” “Supernatural,” “The Pacific”) will executive produce.