Review: HIM (ITV, 2016)



The Pilot episode of HIM aired tonight on ITV at 21.00, and whilst my review of Victoria will show that I am quite impressed with ITV’s dramas at the moment (Tutankhamun is another one I’ve got my eye on) this one, despite the intrigue, fell short.

Main- character-of-unknown-name (Fionn Whitehead), has telekinesis. There is talk of him being traumatised after his parent’s divorce, skipping school, smoking weed – the whole hog. After a parents meeting, which whatever-his-name-is skipped because he’s a badass, he is driving home with his parents when an unexpected nosebleed caused his telekinetic powers to flare up (that’s definitely how it works, right?) and flip up the bonnet of the car. He runs away in distress. After wondering the streets and calling a psychologist, he goes home only to be given a telling off by his step dad (Patrick Robinson) whose teenage daughter (Faith, Simona Brown) is coming to stay. All gets very tense. The next day, thingy visits his nan who reveals that the telekinesis is genetic, but skipped a generation in his dad (of course) and, after returning home bumps into his new stepsister, with whom he immediately develops a crush on (naturally). Eventually, he visits the psychologist again, then goes to see his dad (James Murray), is told off by his step-mother (Lucy Liemann), no one loves him and then he breaks the water tank in his dad’s house. Having taste os his power, we are told through ominous narration, he will continue to go down the wrong path….


As you may be able to tell, I’m not too impressed. The problem was this series is that it is trying to do too many things, and the effect is an amalgamation of cliche’s that don’t quite work.

Personally, I am sick of seeing TV programmes about disillusioned teens, even ones with special powers (as my mum pointed out, HIM is oddly reminiscent of every superhero movie ever). The telekinesis plot seems so contrived, Nan’s comment of “It skips a generation” is so cliche it’s embarrassing, and it really seems to be a not-very-clever way of showing that this is really a story about teenage angst and divorce. Again. 

Finally, the subplot with the stepsister. O hai, Star Wars Rip Off what are you doing here? This could have been an interesting and well-developed plot in narrative that did not already have too many things happening. I suppose, if you were being generous you could argue that the amount of plot-strands is indicative of how overwhelmed the character is feeling. But as a watcher, this third, quite significant, plot strand seems a little ridiculous.

I was waiting for the hook, after the first three sections (ITV obviously, has ad breaks) there was little to convince me to watch the rest. However, the hook did eventually come. The main character is not actually the main character, which is introduced to us by way over a clever and subtle narration that seems to just slip in between gaps in the soundtrack almost unnoticed. The narrator, seemingly the step-sister, only speaks twice, and I think this is truly well-done. I assume we will see more of her in later episodes.

Despite this interesting technique, I’m not sure it was enough of a hook to get me to watch the rest. For all it’s bells and whistles, it’s a supernatural equivalent to Byker Grove – and I’m so bored of it.



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