From left to right: Thelma, Ella, Azazeal and Cassie
Originally marketed as The British Buffy
, which was true in much the same way that Coupling
was the British Friends
(which, again, was part of the early hype). Hex
told the story of a blonde schoolgirl named Cassie who gets supernatural powers with which to fight demons, but has her style cramped by her falling in love with the leader of the aforesaid demons, Azazeal, discovering that her destiny is to give birth to his child, the Anti-Christ.
It had high production values, a pretty and talented cast, and an intriguing (if hardly original) premise. But the thing was... it wasn't as great as it could have been, running on twists and good dialogue and character emotion, but overflowing with plot holes.
And then the lead actress left, taking half the supporting cast with her as she did so.
It was then rapidly retooled into a show about a kickass red-headed immortal schoolgirl named Ella who has supernatural powers with which she fights demons. Unfortunately she was blind-sided by the Anti-Christ (Cassie's sprog Malachi)'s evil plans, the demons won, and the show's second (and final) season ended with the cast divided into the evil, the very dead, and the fleeing in terror. To call it a Downer Ending
would be a gross understatement, especially as one of the three survivors was actually dead anyway. Although as it ends with the Defrosting Ice Queen
and Jerk with a Heart of Gold
happily spooning with each other while the wacky ghost
claps her hands joyfully, none of them seem to be particularly bothered about the end of the world taking place just down the road.
In both seasons, Thelma the ghost was the heroine's sidekick and speaker of memorable quips.
Notable for characters who managed to be simultaneously Genre Savvy
and Too Dumb to Live
On the other hand, it had Colin Salmon and Michael Fassbender
in it. And they're always awesome.
This show provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Ella Dee (when she wasn't crazy), complete with Badass Longcoat.
- Adults Are Useless: The asylum staff in particular. Plus a whole bunch of murders go completely unnoticed.
- Alpha Bitch: Roxanne, before her character development in late Series 2
- The Antichrist: Malachi.
- Artifact of Doom: The stone of Belial
- Bad Habits: Father Jez Herriot, the new religious education teacher, is actually Ramael The Deceiver.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: If Malachi grants it for you, you become his succubus or incubus.
- Big Eater: Thelma gleefully abuses the fact that ghosts cannot gain weight.
- Black Comedy Rape: Thelma can affect Cassie's dreams, and does so without her permission. Cassie wakes up furious and states that she's told her not to do that, and Thelma clearly finds the whole thing funny, saying that she didn't seem to mind at the time. She does it to Roxanne, too.
"Do you have any idea how frustrating it is being a lesbian ghost?"
- Bond One-Liner: Ella, once or twice.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: People Azazeal has possessed, especially Cassie in "Possession", and later people Malachi has turned into succubi and incubi, especially Leon in "Seven Deadly Sins".
- Bring Out Your Gay Dead: Subverted somewhat by Thelma, taken to extremes by Maya.
- It is probably worth noting that every ghost in the series is gay.
- British Brevity: The first season was only 6 episodes. The second branched out to 13.
- Divided for Publication: The first season was originally written as a Mini Series with three feature-length episodes, but each of the original episodes was split into two for broadcast.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Leon develops a complex about Ella seeing him as this.
- Bury Your Gays: Parodied when Thelma first manifests as a ghost at her funeral. Taken to extremes by Maya. All of the characters who end up as ghosts in the show are gay.
Thelma: They're bloody loving this. Don't be a dyke or you'll end up topping yourself.
- Butt Monkey: Leon at times. He gets to dress up as a nurse to bust Ella out of the asylum, and to be whipped by a BDSM fairy godmother.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Several times.
- Character Development: Leon and Roxanne both mature from having been shallow jerks.
- Azazeal becomes less Manipulative Bastard and more Papa Wolf in the second season. However, because he wants Malachi to choose his own destiny, the forces of hell put him on a bus and send Mephistopheles to make sure the apocalypse goes as planned.
- The Chessmaster: Malachi has this written all over him. As do Azazeal and Mephistopheles at some points.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Peggy (Thelma's ghostly girlfriend from 1918) is dropped without explanation after the end of the first season. Raphael vanishes completely after he sexually assaults Ella and she humiliatingly repels him.
- Circles of Hell: The traditional nine, apparently.
Mephistopheles: "Well, if you'd been on a permanent loop through the nine circles of hell, you wouldn't look too hot either."
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Ella, in the scariest possible way, while she was being mind raped and shot full of liquid Anti-Magic.
"She's my fairy godmother! She's got something nice for me!"
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Azazeal, Ramiel and Perie inflict this on Max.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Raphael gives Ella boils for fancying the guy she’s supposed to be killing. Mephistopheles makes Malachi go blind, but this turns out to be a cunning plan to get him to sleep with her anyway despite her disfigurement.
- Dating Catwoman: Cassie and Azazeal, and later Ella and Malachi.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Azazeal.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cassie, usually bouncing off poor Thelma. Also Mephistopheles (played by the fantastically deadpan Ronan Vibert).
- Decoy Protagonist: Cassie. Although this was more a case of Real Life Writes the Plot.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Ella's character arc.
- Deliberately Painful Clothing: Raphael briefly persuades Ella to wear a cilice to punish her for her sexual attraction to Malachi.
- Description Cut: When Cassie has gone to try to get the child Malachi from Azazeal:
Ella: She'll resist temptation.
[[Cut to Cassie shagging Azazeal]]
- Devil in Plain Sight: The demons are fond of this...and with no small sense of irony either, taking on pious disguises such as priests and witchhunters.
- Dissonant Serenity: Perie is so good at this that it comes all the way round and becomes something akin to a Death Glare.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Felix. He gets gutted by Baraquel for his trouble.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female/Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Thelma imposes a dream of making out with her on Cassie, and is implied to have gone much farther with Roxanne. This is played entirely for laughs.
- The Dragon: Ramiel, aka Jez
- Driven to Suicide: Subverted: Ella makes it look like Jez was driven to suicide after she kills him.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: A major theme of the series.
- Face-Heel Turn: Quite a few...
- Malachi (who despite being the Antichrist, starts off as more Chaotic Neutral) does this after he gets a taste of the power that mind-controlling people brings.
- Jo and Cassie both succumb to their love for Azazeal, the former turning evil and the latter sacrificing herself to protect Malachi.
- Basically one of the major themes of this show is that Love Makes You Crazy. And sometimes evil too.
- The Fair Folk: Perie the Faerie is... disturbing as well as evil.
- Fallen Princess: Ella is Type 1, Roxanne is Type 2
- Fetus Terrible: The end of the first season is based around the rush to stop The Antichrist from being born.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: Why does Azazeal never try to use the Stone of Belial to attack Ella again after the end of the mental hospital arc?
- Friendly Enemy: Azazeal towards Ella, but only to a point.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Practically all the male teens constantly make jokes about wanting to see the female characters doing it.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Played with in the first season, where firelight causes demon eyes to appear bloodshot (as Thelma puts it, “manky eyed”). Played straight in the second season with Malachi and his succubi.
- Good Is Not Nice: Archangel Raphael. As Leon comments, “he’s a lot darker in real life”.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Cassie is determined to terminate her pregnancy, because she knows she'd be bearing a Fetus Terrible.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Virtually all of the demons smoke. Cassie smokes when she's under a demonic influence.
- Great Big Book of Everything: The Revelations of Orokiah, which Ella frequently refers to.
- Groin Attack:
- Ella crushes Raphael's balls when he tries to sexually assault her.
- Thelma shocks Leon out of Malachi's control by threatening to castrate him.
- Heel-Face Turn: Mephistopheles after coming to admire Leon (presumably because of his undying devotion to Ella).
- The Hero Dies: Original protagonist Cassie is killed off two episodes into the second season.
- He's Back: Ella in You Lose, and she even namedrops it ("Didn't they tell you? I'm back!")
- Immediately subverted when Sariel floors her, leading to Badass in Distress, but this serves to highlight the fact that she does need Leon after all.
- Hollywood Voodoo: Averted. There's a chicken sacrifice in the opening minutes, but later exposition makes it clear that real voodoo is a benevolent religion and the demonic events were down to white dabblers playing around with voodoo techniques without understanding what they were doing.
- Hot for Student: Roxanne and her art teacher in season 1, Roxanne and Jez in season 2.
- Hulking Out: Ramiel snaps back to his daemonic form a couple of times, usually when something has pissed him off.
- Idiot Ball: All the heroes, passing it back and forth, but especially Cassie and Leon.
- Deeper Into Darkness is a particularly bad offender. Thelma tries to tell Cassie that Troy is possessed and Cassie...accuses her of being jealous.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ella shoots Perie full of hypodermic needles. Which is suitably ironic, seeing as how Perie had been posing as a nurse and injecting Ella with massive doses of St John's Wort.
- Incompatible Orientation: Thelma is in love with Cassie, but Cassie is either deeply closeted or mostly straight.
- Informed Flaw: Thelma is said to be incapable of touching living things (though not inanimate objects, so she can eat and call a help line) and thus incapable of snuggling with Cassie, but is never shown trying to do so.
- In the Blood: Cassie is descended from Rachel McBain, who first made the house a demon magnet by ignorant experimentation with voodoo.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Inverted with Raphael, who is ostensibly there to help the heroes but achieves precisely nothing (beyond a bit of snark) before pulling an inexplicable Attempted Rape on Ella and disappearing.
- Kill It with Fire: Die, scary fairy, die!
- Kryptonite Factor: Both demons and Anointed Ones lose their powers if exposed to St John’s Wort. This becomes a plot point of several episodes.
- Large Ham: Jez, on occasion.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: It can bring Anointed Ones back from the dead. Thus Magical Defibrillator is weirdly justified even though ultimately it is Thelma armed with Ella's volta that saves the day.
- It also cures possessed people (resulting in a rather amusing episode where Thelma tries repeatedly to electrocute Cassie)
- Limited Wardrobe: Thelma spends the entire first season, as a ghost, wearing the party dress she was killed in.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Arguably the central tenet of the show. Both heroines end up falling for their respective enemies, and love for Cassie, and later Maya causes Thelma to betray Ella and help out the bad guys several times.
- Love Makes You Evil: The Nephilim and the Faeries, who were originally angels and the human women who tempted them from heaven.
- Love Redeems: Mephistopheles of all people says this at the end: "I've traveled this cosmos long enough to know that there is only one thing worth fighting for, one thing that truly moves people, that makes them better than they are. And that is... Love".
- Magical Abortion: A double subversion: it's an actual abortion...and Cassie doesn't get it because Azazeal talks the doctor into safely removing Malachi instead.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Thelma and Maya having sex on a dining hall table during dinner, while oblivious students around are unable to see or hear them.
- Male Gaze: Throughout, Thelma's boobs get a lot more attention from the camera than the plot justifies.
- Manipulative Bastard: Azazeal (mostly in season 1) and Malachi. Mephistopheles too on occasion, though he refers to it as "a touch of reverse psychology".
- Mark of the Beast: Malachi's tools all bear the same neck tattoo as he does.
- Meaningful Name: "I called him Malachi. It means messenger."
- Mercy Kill: Malachi grants this to Max.
- Mind Rape: Azazeal when he starts playing hardball. He did this offscreen to Cassie's mum causing her to become a Broken Bird, and onscreen to Jo, causing her to become evil. He also uses the Stone of Belial to inflict it on Ella.
- More Than Mind Control: Malachi pulls this on the entire school.
- Ms. Fanservice: Perie the Fairy. Also Thelma, who spends most of the first season in a semi-transparent dress that shows off her cleavage.
- Mutilation Interrogation: Done by Azazeal, Perie and Jez on Max.
- New Transfer Student: Ella.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thelma insisting that Cassie wears her mother's necklace because she thinks it will protect her, when actually it serves to blind her to the fact that Troy is possessed.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In an attempt to psychologically torture Thelma, Azazeal sends her back in time, allowing her to rescue Ella from being burned alive.
- No Body Left Behind: The Nephilim combust and disintegrate after death. Averted with Jez (possibly because he was in human form when he was killed), so Ella makes it appear he committed suicide to cover her tracks.
- Cassie's body also dissolves after she dies, leaving only her clothes. This is because she was killed in a ritual designed to ensure the victim was 'dispatched into darkness, body and soul'. Indeed, because no body is found, the school staff report her missing and spend quite a while searching for her.
- No Immortal Inertia: Ella near-fatally reverts to her real, 500-plus, biological age after Perie poisons her.
- Noble Demon: Mephistopheles seems to see the war with God to be about giving humans free will rather than hurting them. As such he deliberately betrays Hell to save Leon.
- Noodle Incident: Ella’s previous boyfriend. Azazeal also alludes to previous encounters with her.
Azazeal: "You remember that time in Egypt? You know I still can't stand the sight of sand."
- "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Azazeal's attitude to sleeping with a possessed Cassie.
- This backfires on him, since once she's no longer possessed, she wants nothing to do with him. The few times he tries to start something when she's herself again, she basically tells him to fuck off. He appears genuinely confused by this.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Ella.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Perie and the (unseen) rest of her kind were the women who tempted the angels from Heaven.
- Panty Shot: Two utterly gratuitous ones in quick succession when Thelma is sabotaging the electrical socket in Cassie's room.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Twice. Neither is mentioned again, or subsequently found by anyone else.
- Perky Goth / Cute Ghost Girl: Thelma.
- Plot Hole: In the penultimate episode, Malachi and Jo are seen with what are implied to be Tom's dismembered body parts wrapped in bin liners, seemingly about to go and dispose of them secretly. In the final episode, which appears to be at most a couple of days later, Tom suddenly and mysteriously has a formally-marked grave, just so that another character can visit it and have an epiphany.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Malachi's accelerated growth, from conception to viable infant in days and from infant to high school pupil in weeks.
- Police Are Useless: In general, but there are some really jaw-dropping specific examples:
- The murders of the gynaecologist and the security guard at the school seem to go completely uninvestigated.
- Ella severely beats Jez in a kendo battle before strangling him to death, then hangs his corpse up in a crude attempt to fake a suicide. The cops seem to buy this completely, despite the obvious injuries to the body, and the fact that hanging leaves very different marks to manual strangulation.
- Posthumous Character: Perie makes two significant appearances after her death, due to time travel to the past.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Ella has several.
"This is one party you're going to wish you'd missed!"
- Primal Fear: Thelma can de-succubize someone by going into their dreams and invoking it. For Ella it was being burned alive, for Leon it was castration.
- Puppeteer Parasite: Azazeal makes use of one in Deeper Into Darkness.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: Tyrel is seemingly framed for fraud by Jo, and last seen being taken away by the cops.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The angels and demons are as bad as each other.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Subverted with Leon killing Tom to "prove" himself to Ella, which he was tricked into by Malachi and which ended up putting him under Malachi's control.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Uses "#1 Crush" by Garbage for both the opening and closing credits. The first episode uniquely used "You Can't Hurry Love" by the Concretes for the closing credits.
- Really 700 Years Old: Ella.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: David Tyrel, the school headmaster.
- Redemption Equals Death: A particularly nasty example: Roxanne's moral awakening ends up making her a suitably pure human sacrifice for Malachi to ignite the Apocalypse with.
- Robbing the Dead: Thelma discovers in the second season that she can wear clothes if she removes them from corpses.
- Rule of Drama: Occasionally supplemented by the Rule of Cool, Rule of Funny and Rule of Sexy.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Felix in the first episode of the second season. Introduced as Cassie's potential new love interest, then gets gutted by a demon.
- Satan: Azazeal is the closest thing we see, though season 2 implies that there are higher powers that even he is answerable to.
- Scars Are Forever: Ella has scars on her wrists, which she tends to hide with long sleeves or sweatbands. They are later revealed to be manacle burns from when Azazeal tried to have her executed as a witch. At one point, Ramiel tries to convince David that they are evidence of self-harming.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Thelma and Maya were dead lesbian schoolgirls. Which didn't stop them having a sex life. Prior to this, Thelma was in love with Cassie, who realized too late that she felt the same way.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Subverted
- Shock and Awe: The best way to get rid of Nephilim. Ella usually achieves this with a two-part staff called a volta.
- Leon quotes Catherine Tate's "am I bovvered" speech at one point.
- Thelma comments "I have a cunning plan" when explaining to Leon about her plan to rescue Ella from the hospital. This is then repeated several times in the final couple of episodes.
- Azazeal and Ramiel, rather creepily, discuss Reservoir Dogs while they torture Max.
- Azazeal makes Troy possessed by shoving an insect into his ear in a blatant shout out to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- Ella's seventeenth-century attempted execution as a witch, with her tied to a ladder and lowered into a fire, makes visual reference to the film Witchfinder General.
- Slashed Throat: Ella's preferred method of dispatching non-demonic targets.
- Stable Time Loop: Azazeal unintentionally causes one when he sadistically sends Thelma back in time to witness Ella's trial and execution: Thelma interrupts the execution and scares the villagers away, ensuring that Ella survives into the twenty-first century.
- Stalker with a Crush: Azazeal. Not only does he sneak into Cassie's room to watch her sleep, when he overhears her talking to Thelma about how much she likes Troy, he gives the poor kid a Puppeteer Parasite.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Ella and Malachi. It doesn’t last, as Malachi gets Drunk on the Dark Side and Ella does not appreciate being mind-controlled.
- Spirit Advisor
- Straight Gay: Tom. There's no strong indication until Thelma sees that his dream is Leon being in love with him.
- Supporting Protagonist: Thelma, arguably, as she goes from being Cassie's sidekick to being Ella's sidekick and thus is the most constant character.
- The End of the World as We Know It
- The Bad Guy Wins: In both seasons.
- Thematic Theme Tune: #1 Crush by Garbage. Given that it's a downright creepy song about a Stalker with a Crush, it fits the show's premise quite well.
- Title Please: The series originally had episode titles that were used in listings but not on screen. The DVD issue of both seasons doesn't use the original titles, but simply gives episode numbers.
- Trenchcoat Brigade: The archangel Raphael of all people is depicted in this manner, although he turns out to be nastier than that.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Pulled twice on Tyrel, first by Jez and then by Jo.
- Unlucky Everydude: Leon in season 2, though when given the chance he frequently has moments of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
- The Vicar: Jez is initially a standard example of the "ineffectual trendy vicar" stereotype. Then he turns out to be the demon Ramael the Deceiver...
- Villainous Breakdown: Azazeal averts this, instead simply commenting in a dry tone, "I'd forgotten how much fun it is having Ella around..." Evil is indeed cool.
- Weimar Republic: Malachi takes Ella on a date, via time travel, to a stereotypical 1920s Berlin sex club.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Ella has no problem with casually killing the students under Malachi's control, even though she knows that Thelma can cure them.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Thelma and Raphael's actions towards the end of You Lose ( respectively, Thelma saving Malachi because she's afraid to go to heaven despite the fact that Maya would presumably go with her, and Raphael attempting to rape Ella for no reason at all) are pretty inexplicable.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Thelma repeatedly calls Ella out on this.
- Wild Teen Party: In the first episode of season 2.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Zig-zagged. The characters constantly insist on their free will but the prophesied events constantly come to pass.
- You Keep Using That Word: Characters frequently mix up the singular and plural forms of incubi/succubi. Understandable for Leon, but you'd think Ella would know better.
Of course, you might be thinking of a different Hex...