BBC Video // 2011 // 256 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 11th, 2011
Everyone has a dark side.
The BBC loves its supernatural drama and the latest to spill out of their hit-making factory is Bedlam a ghost-flavored excursion into jump scares and attractive twenty-somethings with loins aching for each other. There's some Supernatural mixed with Melrose Place with a touch of Extreme Makeover Home Edition tossed in as well.
The 4-1-1: Kate, an attractive twenty-something, has taken on the task of restoring Bedlam Heights, a former asylum, and turning it into a block of luxury apartments. While she goes about this daunting task, she's drawn in a couple of roommates to her phat digs, both also attractive twenty-somethings. The last piece of the puzzle is Jed (Theo James), Kate's cousin. Jed is a twenty-something drifter with a special gift -- he has visions and can see ghosts. Which is great because Bedlam Heights is absolutely filthy with ghosts!
And so then our attractive heroes embark on six episodes worth of ghost hunting and emotional wrangling, and by the time all is said and done, someone's scrambling out of a morgue or two.
Give it to the BBC...they know how to scratch that ghost itch. Bedlam is a solid, if unspectacular, slice of paranormal-drama. It's a horror show with enough jittery, unsettling imagery of ghosts waggling their heads (as is the norm in any sort of scary movie/show set in an asylum) to qualify as spook-fest, but tinged with more than a few elements of angst-ridden post-modern singles harping. The ghosts? Cool. The relationship melodrama. Eh.
Thankfully, the focus of the show is planted more on the supernatural whodunits. Jed is the lead guy and his main bag is deciphering the hauntings; Theo James does a good job with the character. The mysteries are fairly straightforward, but they're accompanied by some slick storytelling and more than few jolts (my favorite: the creepy Victorian little girl, which, as far as I'm concerned, as replaced the creepy Japanese girl as Most Terrifying Horror Construct).
Bedlam is essentially a one-off show with a "monster-of-the-week" formula. On the outskirts is a larger arc about Jed and Kate's family, which is ultimately tied up in the finale, sort of. A nifty cliffhanger awaits, though the future of the show is uncertain, as it has yet to be greenlit for a second season. Sort of a bummer, because there's an audience for all these ghostly shenanigans and attractiveness.
A lean DVD set: a solid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, and no extras.
Not Guilty. Bedlam is worth scaring up.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BBC Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 256 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated