Expectation is a funny thing. When we hear a new Marvel project is coming out (movies or Netflix show), fan expectation is high. When Stephen King announced a sequel to “The Shining” that involved psychic vampires, fan expectation was pretty low.
That expectation of the quality of a product can greatly affect how we perceive if something will be good or bad before it even hits the market, and sometimes those preconceived conceptions cloud our judgments.
Fox Network premiered their new TV show, The Exorcist, on September 25th. Its name taken from one of the most popular and lauded horror movies of all time. Certainly the name brings attention to the show, but also burdens it with expectations of being of a quality to honor the movie that the show is named for. Smartly, the producers are not remaking the story of the MacNeil family and the two priests who helped them against the demon who had invaded their family.
Having watched the first three episodes, there is no one more surprised than me that The Exorcist TV show is actually quite good. My greatest worry was that the show would fall onto tired possession tropes that were highlighted in the show trailer, such as the possessed contouring her body into strange angles while running in the attic and the general look of a possessed person. What they have done successfully, so far, is take those tropes that we are accustomed too and even expecting and turned them slightly against us. For instance, in the premier episode, a possessed boy begins to turn his head a la Regan and the audience expects the head to turn all the way around and mock the priest. But defying expectation, the neck snaps and kills the possessed boy. The priest loses to the demon.
The Exorcist is blazing forward with excellent writing paired with an amazing cast of actors. The show is setting up a big showdown between the church, our exorcists and the demon(s). I’m eager to see how this all plays out and what the end of the season will bring us.
I never thought I’d say this about this franchise again, but I’m looking forward to what comes next in the world of The Exorcist.
The Exorcist airs on Fox TV on Friday nights at 9 p.m.