As a Canadian it is rare that I will have any advance knowledge of any series that is on American television. Usually we get it months after it’s released on one of our small selection of specialty channels. Or we download it, which I shouldn’t encourage but is pretty much the greatest thing ever.
So imagine how happy I was to be able to talk about a show that I’ve already seen numerous times, but is only just making its way onto the American channels. That channel is FEARnet, and the show is Todd & the Book of Pure Evil. A Space Channel Original Series that is based off of a short film of the same name, it’s sort of like Buffy meets Degrassi meets Tales from the Crypt. With hilarity, profanity, teen love, and Jason Mewes thrown in. Yea, Jason Mewes is a cast member. Didn’t I mention that?
It airs on Tuesdays, and started a couple of weeks ago, so I am a little behind. But I plan to have the first 3 episodes for you this week, and then a new episode review every week as they air. This is one of my favorite shows on TV right now, and they are currently filming the second season. So I advise you to get ready for it by following along as it airs on FEARnet. Or you can just read about it here. Prepare to be rocked so hard your ass will bleed. And if that doesn’t kill you then Zombies, Satanists, Giant Monster Cocks and Killer Fat just might. Fair warning.
The series starts out with Todd (played by Alex House) opening the concert for his band Barbarian Apocalypse by dedicating a song to the sexy Jenny Kolinsky (played by Maggie Castle). After catching her panties and shoving them in his pants, because that’s what rock stars do, Barbarian Apocalypse breaks into the heavy metal opus ‘Sexy She-Wolf of Hades’. Todd, along with his drummer and best friend, the one-armed Curtis (played by Bill Turnbull) rock the faces off the concert. At least until Curtis’s prosthetic arm flies off, and we find ourselves back to reality at an audition for the High School Battle of the Bands.
Barbarian Apocalypse sounds little like it did in the dream sequence, and are soon boo-ed off the stage. Even by some of the teachers judging the contest. Jenny’s boyfriend, frontman for the band Quarterback, follows their failure with your typical no talent 3 chord-er that people seem to love. While Curtis remains unfazed, Todd is bummed by his inability to woo Jenny with his….err… rock. Thankfully Curtis is there for a meaningful pep talk about cock sizes and Jenny’s awesome rack. And if that doesn’t work, the plan is to go get seriously high…
We move on to the office of Atticus Murphy Jr. (played by Chris Leavins), High School Guidance Counselor. Jenny is having problems dealing with the disappearance of her father a year ago, which seems to involve a photograph she found of a mysterious book he was researching. Atticus, like most Guidance Counselor’s, doesn’t offer much advice, but seems unusually interested in the picture. He makes a mysterious phone call to a mysterious figure, and claims they’ll have to do something about the daughter as well. Hmmmmm….
Storming out of his office, Jenny literally runs into Todd, who is of coursed pushed in front of her by the always helpful Curtis. Todd gets a great look at the picture of the book, as well as Jenny’s previously mentioned amazing rack. He even gets the chance to introduce himself until Jenny’s douche boyfriend walks in. Not getting the hint, Todd continues to ask Jenny out, which doesn’t sit well with the Mark McGrath wannabe. Jenny holds him off, and Todd wisely decides to settle things at the Battle of the Bands. Unfortunately, Barbarian Apocalypse was the ONLY band that didn’t make it past the auditions. Things just don’t look so good for Todd.
So he reacts the only way an aspiring rock star with shattered dreams can; he heads to the school parking lot and smashes his guitar. Enter the Metal Dudes with a perfectly placed line. “Even guitars gently weep, little dude”. The Metal Dudes are that trio of stoner metalheads that never left High School, and are content to stand by their car, blaze, and impart wisdom unto those that need it. Dropping some gnarly sage like advice for Todd, things take a decidedly evil turn when one of them mentions that in order for Todd to win Jenny and the Battle of the bands, he needs to find the Book of Pure Evil. Cue dramatic music.
The Book of Pure Evil is a book of flesh that was stitched together by the foreskin of Judas, and grants wishes to those lucky, or cursed, enough to wield it. Todd’s doubtful, but is encouraged by the Metal Dudes and their demon weed. Back in school and high as shit, a ghostly apparition of Jenny leads Todd to the Book’s hiding place, Crowley high School’s trophy case. Todd stands transfixed as the book’s power shows itself, and he is interrupted by the school custodian, Jimmy (played by Jason Mewes).
Bribing with Jimmy to get the case open, offering only $1.49 and his lucky condom, he soon holds the book in his hands. Once at home, with the appropriate candles lit and the mood set, the book flips open to the desired pages, and Todd recites the magic words. At first nothing happens, but soon the Book transforms into what is easily the best metal guitar ever made.
Todd arrives at school the nest day, decked out in full on metal god fashion, and challenges Stewart (Jenny’s bf) to a rock-off, and promises to make Stewart bleed out of his ass. Stewart starts off with a basic lame solo, soon rocked out and amped up by Todd and the Book. This continues, Todd mocking Stewarts riffs with his newfound skills. Jenny, watching behind her man, pulls out the picture of the book and notices the amazing similarity to Todd’s guitar.
Todd applies his gothic metal makeup and Jenny tries to move in closer, using her feminine wiles to try to separate Todd from the guitar. Todd almost falls for it, until the Book rears its ugly head and speaks through a mirror to Todd. The Book encourages Todd to Eliminate her and he refuses. So it decides that Todd should do her, then eliminate her. When that doesn’t work, it suggests he eliminates her, and then does her. Jenny confesses to knowing about the book, and a struggle ensues, forcing Todd to lock her in his locker.
It’s time for Barbarian Apocalypse to hit the stage. Atticus watches from the crowd, and recognises the Book immediately. Todd begins to rock the crowd, causing an uncontrollable head banging mosh pit that splatters blood across the floors. Meanwhile, an upset Curtis finds Jenny in Todd’s locker freeing her. They head to the gym and find the crowd slowly killing themselves by head banging. Only Curtis’s quick thinking and nearby fire alarm frees them from their bloody spell.
The showdown between the book possessed Todd and his friends commences, but is short-lived as Jenny ‘borrows’ Curtis’s prosthetic arm, causing Todd to slip and the Book/guitar to go sliding to Curtis. He promptly goes Jimi Hendrix on it and lights it on fire despite Todd’s and Jenny’s protests. The Book cries out, changes back into a book and flies away, freeing Todd from its possession. Atticus watches on as Jimmy walks in with a bloody mop, only to see the gym covered in blood.
Todd, Jenny and Curtis walk away, commenting how glad they are that everything is over. Jenny claims it isn’t and that they have to find the book, but Todd just wants to go get baked. Again Curtis delivers some great advice, and encourages Todd to use this as an excuse to spend time with Jenny. And just like that our team of heroes has begun to form, and Todd embarks on his quest to woo Jenny.
The episode ends with Atticus meeting a group of red cloaked Satanists gathered around a pentagram. He looks pretty ridiculous in his sweater vest, but we learn that this cult is looking for the Book in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy. It is revealed by the leader of the Satanists that the Book will continue to search for a soul from which to draw power from. As he talks we are shown our cast of heroes yet again, ending on uber-fan Hannah.
Cue Awesome Heavy Metal Outro Music…
And that’s the first episode! I love how easily it introduces us to all the central characters, while doing it in a hilarious and fast paced way. This episode pulls you along the story effortlessly, and leaves you wanting more, while providing characters that are easy to love and relate to. Chris Leavins as Atticus is especially hilarious, and I predict great things from him.
I’m giving this episode 3.5 Grizzlies.
It’s not deserving of a lower rank, but I’m saving those high scores for some of the really great episodes that will be coming up.
Can’t wait for the next episode…