Strange (TV series)
Strange title card
|Created by||Andrew Marshall|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||7|
|Executive producer(s)||Andrew Marshall|
|Running time||60 mins|
|Production company(s)||Big Bear Productions|
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||9 March 2002 (pilot)
31 May 2003 – 5 July 2003
Strange is a British television drama series, produced by the independent production company Big Bear Productions for the BBC, which aired on BBC One. It consists of a single one-hour pilot episode screened in March 2002, followed by a series of six one-hour episodes broadcast in the summer of 2003. The supernatural storyline involved a defrocked priest's mission to destroy demons.
The series follows former priest John Strange (Richard Coyle), dismissed from the clergy under mysterious circumstances. He was implicated in a number of gruesome murders, murders that he says were done by demons. Now he seeks those responsible and to clear his name. To help him in his hunt for demons, John has Toby (Bryan Dick in the pilot, Andrew-Lee Potts in the series), a technological expert who is in charge of the equipment John uses to sense the presence of demons, and Kevin (Timmy Lang). Kevin has Down's syndrome, which appears to enable him to sense the presence of demons and is often an early warning that something supernatural is about to happen in the area. Jude (Samantha Janus), a former scientist who works as a nurse, is interested because she found out that her partner Rich was a demon. With Rich dead, her main concern is that the son they had together, Joey (William Tomlin), could also be a demon. John's mission is hampered by Canon Black (Ian Richardson), who is intent on denying the presence of dark forces.
The Demons in Strange include non-human to near humans.
Near humans are distinguishable by their inhuman eye colouring which can vary from blood red, silver or gold, but the demons are capable of concealing their eyes' colour with a sort of nictitating membrane which makes the eyes appear human. They are capable of interbreeding with humans and many demons have assimilated themselves in to human society, hiding in plain sight and using their human identities and professions as cover for their activities.
Non-human demons live on the fringes of society or hibernate in isolated areas unless their rest is disturbed. They reputedly have long lifespans, and can only be killed through special methods. When a demon dies its body will explode in a ball of flame.
The Demons of the series include:
Azaal: A demon capable of turning itself in to electricity in order to hunt and kill its victims. The demon has a deep hatred of the Church and was fond of attacking churches during lightning storms and it eventually helped man discover electricity so that its killings could become easier and more frequent. In modern times it assumed the identity of a courier named Rich and fathered a child with Jude. When Azaal started to sense that a powerful demon called Asmoth was close to awakening to begin its next feeding cycle he began to kill again to gain favour with the demon. He was killed by Jude and Strange when they managed to ground his electrical form though he continued to haunt Jude in dreams about the arrival of Asmoth.
Zoxim: A demon originally from Africa that must feed on human life energy every seven years or perish. The demon was known for feeding on weary travelers and in ancient times traveled in a cart to avoid suspicion. In modern times it assumes the human identity of a minister's wife and travels on a bus at night, feeding and subsequently aging its victims to death and dumping them all over the city to avoid suspicion. The bus is inhabbited by "Fragments" of the life essence of the creature's victims giving the appearance of people on the bus to better facilitate the ruse. It is killed when Strange is able to stop it from feeding on Jude, its intended last victim, causing the creature to rapidly age and die.
Quasami: Known as the warrior devil and servant of the non-corporeal demon Kaa Jinn. Quasami assumes the identity of a tattoo parlour owner, where he is then able to mark victims with the sign of his master. His most unique feature is a retractable red hot samurai sword that grows between his middle and index finger. Attempting to create a new body for his master he tattoos unsuspecting people with his master's symbol with poison tattoo ink and then amputates the limb the tattoo is on. He was almost successful in his mission only to die when Strange tricked him in to stabbing his semi formed master causing them both to die.
Kaa Jinn: A non corporeal Japanese demon whose original body was destroyed by a Japanese hero in ancient times. He is partially able to regain a body when his servant fashions him one from the parts of sacrificial victims with only the left arm missing. He is defeated when Strange tricks Quasami in to stabbing him; causing them both to explode.
The Banshee: A human who sacrificed her soul to the Costa Bura in exchange for being allowed to survive a plague that swept her village. She becomes a Banshee and must follow the plague and summon the Costa Bura to Earth with her demonic cries so it may harvest the souls of the dead. It became part of a Victorian family when the plague eventually died out and befriended the family's unruly daughter Pandora. Sickened by Pandora's father constantly abusing her, the demon summoned the Costa Bura to take him, only people later thought Pandora was to blame, which led to the girl's death. When Pandora's body is discovered walled up in the cathedral the Banshee begins killing all those involved in the discovery to hide its shame. The demon eventually allows itself to be taken by the Costa Bura as it can no longer tolerate its immortality after the loss of the first human it ever genuinely cared for.
The Costa Bura: Known as the Death Coach, the Costa Bura appears on Earth in times of plague to harvest the souls of the dead or when especially summoned. When it arrives on Earth it cannot leave empty handed. It created the Banshee out of a human child to be its servant and to summon it to more victims. In the end the coach returns to hell with the Banshee herself who has given up on life after the death of her human friend Pandora.
Milan Incubai: Reptilian demons that once terrorised Milan and were cultivated by a nameless demon to spread chaos and panic. The demons can only grow surrounded by human flesh which the nameless demon is able to achieve by placing incubai embryos in breast implants and harvesting the emerging young. They are killed when they attack the nameless Demon in their blood lust and die in his explosion wake.
The Nameless Demon: A demon of unknown origin that some believe is an adult Incubai that once terrorised Millian with its offspring. It has the power to control and paralyse victims with its glare which allows it to trap victims and implant incubai embryos within them. Strange and Jude uncover its operation in a cosmetic surgery were it has been implanting the embryos in breast implants with plans to release the young into the public when they are strong enough. It is killed when Jude and Strange cover it with blood and lock it in the room with the incubai who kill it in a frenzy.
The Dubuykk: A demonic tree that was spawned when a hanging tree's roots fed on the blood of the condemned for many years creating a vampiric entity. Most active at night the Dubuykk can take the form of a deceased person from the victim's memory so it can draw its victim's closer to ensnare them. Originally contained in a forest in Hexagovinian and watched by a local family the demon was brought to England when loggers cut the tree down to make a coffin for one of their own who was killed the night before by the demon. The wood is tracked to a carpenter's house who the Dubuykk has killed and assumed his identity. It uses the carpenter's profession to place its wood in people's home so it can feed on them. It almost managed to kill Strange when it took Helen's form but he was rescued by Jude and they managed to kill the demon by burning down the house. It also vulnerable to a special axe blade that has been in the family that contains it.
Asmoth: An unseen demon in the show and Strange's demonic nemesis who murdered Strange's fiance Helen along with several others. As a reminder of his victory over him, he gave Strange a brand-like wound that will never heal and causes him intense pain from time to time. Asmoth is said to be the demon that demons fear and he is believed by some to be the inspiration for the Christian Devil. In ancient times humans both feared and worshiped him and he was once awake in the time of the witch trials. The only image of Asmoth seen in the show is one painted by Father Bernad who's eyes were clawed out by Asmoth so that no one would be able to identify him. Though abstract the painting shows a pale skinned, dark haired man with black eyes. Asmoth normally hibernates has a human for several years until he needs to feed. At that point Strange explained the demon is consumed by a terrible hunger for human flesh which gets worse has time goes on. At first he will devour corpses but as his hunger gets worse he moves on to live victims with his chief delight being to devour his victims alive. He apparently returns at the end of the series when bones are discovered in a locker and murdered people are discovered with bite marks on them though it is eventually revealed to be the work of a disturbed young man. However before Strange is beaten by some police hired by Canon Black, Asmoth sends him a taunting message in a dream saying "I win Again" meaning the demon has awakened and can now feed with Strange unable to stop him.
Pilot: Jude is a young woman working in a hospital and is happily living with her boyfriend Rich, a courier, and their son. After a priest turns up in her ward horribly charred during a thunder storm, Jude is given details on John Strange, a mysterious, distant man who may be able to solve the case. Strange introduces Jude to demons and tells her that a demon is walking amongst them in human form and that it is a demon responsible for the priest's death. Jude makes a horrifying discovery that her boyfriend, Rich, is the demon in question.
Episode 1: Zoxim: Jude is concerned her son may have inherited his father's demonic talents and seeks out Strange's advice. Soon there are more pressing concerns when withered corpses are discovered. Has a new demon awoken in London?
Episode 2: A missing priest and the killing of group of young boys start the next mystery for Strange. The race is on when these killing are discovered to have a greater and more sinister motive than they first thought.
Episode 3: The opening of an old tomb awakens a deadly and ancient evil. Strange and Jude must find and defeat the plague spreading demon and its master before a new deadly outbreak is unleashed.
Episode 4: When one of Strange's team is accused of murder, Strange must work to prove his innocence and find the true demonic culprit. Meanwhile Jude is about to fall into a deadly trap.
Episode 5: When Strange is given a job by Canon Black involving a demon he is naturally suspicious. Unfortunately the demon proves to be very real and forces Strange to re-live a horrible event from his past.
Episode 6: Asmoth: With the discovery of gnawed human remains Strange must face the horrible reality that his demonic nemesis Asmoth has returned. But with Canon Black and even his own friends plotting against him can Strange hope to defeat the undefeatable demon alone?
All six episodes of the series were written by Andrew Marshall, a scriptwriter primarily known for his comedy work. It was directed by Joe Ahearne, who had previously been responsible for both writing and directing the World Productions vampire serial Ultraviolet for Channel 4.
The six episodes were shot on location and at Ealing Studios, and filming concluded on 23 December 2002. Filming was split into two blocks; the first (made up of episodes 1, 2 and 5) was directed by Aherne and the second by Simon Massey, who had previously worked on Ballykissangel. Marshall wrote the first regular episode as an introduction to the characters and the scenario, despite having already done so for the pilot. He attributed this to the BBC's policy of not repeating pilots; he had to introduce new viewers who may not have seen the pilot.
A second season was planned and Kevin was to have been found dead in the first episode.
Broadcast and reception
Broadcast on Saturday nights, the series was hampered by frequent timeslot changes, the long gap between the pilot and the series and the BBC's decision not to repeat the pilot before the series aired. The viewing figures were low, and a second series was not commissioned. However, to mark five years since the original broadcast, creator Andrew Marshall wrote an additional short story entitled 'Ramset.'
In the United States, Strange has been broadcast by the cable television network Showtime, on one of its specialist subsidiary channels and in July 2009 the series started airing on Chiller. The UK Sci-Fi Channel screened all seven episodes of Strange in both 2006 and 2007.