The Devil: Made for TV?

The last decade has witnessed an explosion in supernatural themes, in novels, movies, and television. Vampires and zombies have been particularly successful, but few mythological creatures have been left totally unexplored. That’s why the absence of the devil from our entertainment landscape is so striking. There are lingering rumors of some kind of Exorcist remake, but that doesn’t really have much hope of being a long-lasting TV franchise. Thankfully, I’m here to help.

Basically, someone needs to make a show where the devil and his legions of demons have decided, like the vampires of True Blood, to make themselves known to the general public. Their primary ambition in “mainstreaming” would be to institutionalize the act of selling one’s soul, and they could also run a sideline of short-term demon possessions for various purposes, perhaps to be able to get away with a crime — this could be run by “rogue” demons. The main characters would be a demonic middle manager and his minions, and through various plot contrivances we could get a peak at higher levels in the satanic hierarchy. Subplots would include following the lives of people who’d sold their souls, plus watching short-term possessions play out. The rogue demons offering possessions could be pursued by a kind of demon police. Surely there are thirteen decent episodes in this premise.

This show would be the logical outgrowth of the sociopath trend and could potentially be the step too far that killed it — asking us to identify and sympathize with figures who are destroying human souls by means of debt.

11 thoughts on “The Devil: Made for TV?

  1. Supernatural is in its ninth season. Lucifer, angels, demons, Death, God, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and other assorted awesomeness out the wazoo. It’s on NetFlix. In effect, souls are the currency of supernatural powers. Admittedly, the early seasons are kind of dumb, but unlike most shows, it gets much better as it goes on.

  2. Supernatural is in its ninth season. It is watched in this house, though not by me, but from a distance demons, angels, the fallen archangel Lucifer, Purgatory and adventures in Hell seem to be major and typical elements.

  3. There was also the short-lived Reaper (on WB, I think). The devil forced a kid (whose soul I believe was sold by his parents when he was a baby in order to save his life) to collect demons who had escaped from hell. As the series went on, I believe there was an attempted coup against the devil by lesser demons and the kid turned out to be the devil’s son. I’m a little sketchy on details because it jumped around a lot trying to find a time slot and we missed quite a few episodes.

  4. Yeah, Supernatural. But unlike Craig up there, I like the earlier seasons much better than the latter ones. There’s always been demonic possessions and soul-selling aplenty on the show.

  5. Early seasons lacked a coherent mythology. Here’s all the proof you need: bugs and hook-man and racist truck episodes. Getting rid of Kripke as “show runner” was the best move for the show. Furthermore, J-Pad and Ackles are just playing in the first few seasons. They don’t really become Sam and Dean until Dean’s soul is claimed and he goes to Hell.

  6. Grimm, American Gothic, Buffy / Angel, the original Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Dresden Files also either had this as a central or occasional theme.

  7. Mikhail,

    In American Gothic, the character played by Gary Cole – who played Lumbergh in Office Space – is some sort of demonic-esque entity.

  8. Y’all should watch more anime. Specifically, the show The Devil Is A Part-Timer!, where through a series of unfortunate events, Satan has to work at a McDonalds.
    Humorous premise, and indeed, the show delivers on the comedy, but it’s also some nice satire. Satan seeks to rebuild his lost Kingdom by taking over the world, and he sees his McJob as the first step through the long trail of the American (err, Japanese) Dream. First, regional manager, then THE WORLD!

Comments are closed.