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All Souls (TV series)

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All Souls
An image with the text "All Souls" set against a sepia backdrop of a ripple in water.
Genre Paranormal hospital drama
Created by Stuart Gillard
Stephen Tolkin
Starring
Composer(s) Joel McNeely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 6 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Mark Frost
Aaron Spelling
E. Duke Vincent
Stuart Gillard
Stephen Tolkin
Location(s) Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Spelling Television
Uncle Monkey Productions
Distributor CBS Paramount Television
CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network UPN
Original release April 17 (2001-04-17) – August 31, 2001 (2001-08-31)

All Souls is an American paranormal hospital drama, created by Stuart Gillard and Stephen Tolkin, which originally aired for one season on United Paramount Network (UPN) from April 17, 2001, to August 31, 2001. Based on the Lars von Trier miniseries The Kingdom, the series revolves around the medical staff of a haunted teaching hospital. The show's main story arc includes fictional characters and events from the American Civil War. While working as a medical intern in the facility, the lead character Dr. Mitchell Grace (Grayson McCouch) encounters various spirits and discovers that the doctors are running unethical experiments on their patients. The executive producers included Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, and Mark Frost. Media outlets found the partnership between Spelling and Frost surprising given their differing styles and approaches to television.

Gillard had developed the premise for All Souls from his belief that a medical facility would be an ideal candidate for a horror series. He also researched statistics on deaths that had taken place in a hospital. Frost felt that there was a close connection between modern medicine and the supernatural. Though set in Boston, filming took place in Montreal, Canada. The episodes were shot in a working insane asylum, with real patients appearing in the background of several scenes.

All Souls suffered from low viewership, and was placed on hiatus following the broadcast of the fist two episodes. It was originally paired with the reality television show Chains of Love. All Souls was canceled after the remaining four episodes were broadcast. In later interviews, the actors had varying views on the reasons behind the show's cancellation. It has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray, or made available on online-streaming services. Critical response to All Souls was primarily positive, with commentators praising its use of horror and paranormal elements. Critics compared the show to other horror and science-fiction television series, specifically The X-Files and the work of American writer Stephen King.

Premise[edit]

Described as a "paranormal hospital drama" by UPN,[1] All Souls revolves around the medical staff working in the Boston teaching hospital of the same name.[2] The area has a history dating back to the American Civil War. A photograph taken during the war is prominently featured in the series, as it shows individuals who still work as part of the staff.[2] The hauntings at All Souls started during the Civil War, when Dr. Abramson conducted experiments on his patients following the death of his three sons in combat. The ghosts of Abramson's victims remain in the hospital to the present day.[3] The facility is composed of "dungeons, trick elevators, deserted floors, passageways filled with smoke and dripping water" and "dark, dank, cavelike areas".[4] It had previously functioned as an insane asylum,[5] which was housed on the upper levels of the structure's tower.[4][6]

The main narrative includes "hints of deeper, good-versus-evil contests". Taking inspiration from the horror film genre, the series includes "extreme closeups [and] bizarre sexual transformations".[2] In the pilot episode, a seduction scene with a doctor and a young woman ends when she is revealed to be a corpse,[5] and several women die after being admitted for treatment.[7] Even though the series followed a specific mythology and continuity, each episode had its own self-contained story.[8]

Characters[edit]

UPN executives had pitched the series as following "young doctors in peril at a haunted old Boston Hospital" who must contend with "a healthy dose of terrifying paranormal occurrences and gripping medical emergencies".[4] In the pilot episode, Dr. Mitchell Grace (Grayson McCouch) begins working at the hospital immediately after graduating from medical school. He had specifically chosen the All Souls medical program, refusing offers from the Mayo Clinic and the Yale–New Haven Hospital, due to his personal connection with the hospital. While working as a janitor in the hospital, Grace's father died in 1978 after contracting a mysterious illness.[2][9] Grace serves as the show's lead character, and functions as a detective as well as a doctor while trying to understand the inner workings of All Souls.[8] As he works, Grace encounters both good and evil ghosts,[2] and discovers medical experiments are being conducted under the guidance of the board of directors.[5] Some spirits include "a mad scientist and his Igor-like errand boy,"[2] and a woman dressed in 19th century fashion pushing a baby carriage through the halls.[7] Grace is haunted by visions of his father,[7] and he is somehow connected with the ghost Lazarus and Civil War doctors.[9] Dr. Dante Ambrosious (Jean LeClerc), the chair of the facility's board, is shown to have made deals with the evil spirits.[6]

Grace works closely with several allies during his time at All Souls,[2][4][5] but he is the one of few people who is fully aware of the hospital's supernatural occurrences.[8] He collaborates with registered nurse Glory St. Claire, who has a long history with the facility and "knows more than she can say or, at least, explain".[2] She is characterized by her telepathic powers and older age.[2][4] According to St. Claire, "the dead have power" in the hospital and the "forces of good" residing inside All Souls had foretold of Grace's arrival for several decades.[5] She connects with Grace by holding his hands to allow him to see the "tortured soul" in the hospital.[10] Grace finds further support from Dr. Nicole De Brae (Serena Scott Thomas), Dr. Bradley Sterling (Daniel Cosgrove), and Patrick Fortado (Adam Rodriguez). De Brae acts as the hospital's chief of staff and Sterling works alongside Grace as a medical intern.[5][7] Fortado is Grace's close friend, a paraplegic who has great skill at hacking.[5] The exact nature of De Brae's loyalty is called into question, with Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle wondering if she will serve as a love interest or be revealed as one of the hospital's spirits.[4] Other members of the medical staff include the psychologist Dr. Philomena Cullen (Reiko Aylesworth) and the orderly Joey (Christian Tessier).[3][6]

Production[edit]

Concept and filming[edit]

"It honestly felt like very fertile ground for a sort of horror/science fiction-based series, and I think anybody who has been in a hospital or spent a lot of time there, they have a kind of cringing feeling about the experience — particularly if they've lost someone or come close to losing their own life. So it's just taking that level of reality and moving it one step further."[8]
Mark Frost discussing the show's influences

Created by Stuart Gillard and Stephen Tolkin, All Souls was produced by Spelling Television and Uncle Monkey Productions. Along with the show's creators, the executive producers included Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, and Mark Frost.[2] Media outlets found the pairing of Spelling and Frost producing a television show "strange".[2][5] Variety's Steven Oxman described it as a "merging of the beauty and the beast"; he equated Spelling to the beauty for incorporating the "sleek and superficial good looks" and Frost to the beast for his inclusion of "surreal, beastly creepiness".[5] Spelling and Frost had previously collaborated on the crime drama television series Buddy Faro.[11]

Gillard felt that a medical facility would be an ideal candidate for a horror show, explaining: "Hospitals are scary places even if you're healthy (and) going to visit somebody." While conducting research to develop the series' concept, the statistic that roughly 80,000 people die in hospitals every year due to unknown causes surprised him. Echoing Gillard’s comments, Frost argued there is a close connection between the supernatural and modern medicine. Describing a hospital as a "pretty paranormal place," he felt that medicine would "only have to go one step further to get to the paranormal".[8] All Souls was developed from the Lars von Trier miniseries The Kingdom,[11][12] and has been compared to the Stephen King television series Kingdom Hospital.[13]

Tom Burstyn handled the cinematography, and the production designers were Michael Joy and Collin Niemi. James L. Conway contributed to the show as a consulting producer, and Joel McNeely composed the musical score. Although the show is set in Boston, filming took place in Montreal, Canada.[5] The episodes were shot in a functioning asylum constructed in Montreal during the 19th century, with real patients walking around during certain scenes, which Frost said added a sense of realism to the series.[8]

Development and casting[edit]

An image of a man wearing formal clothing and smiling towards the camera
Adam Rodriguez initially refused to audition for All Souls, but later said that playing the role expanded his understanding of disability.

The series had originated from a production deal between Syfy and CBS Paramount Network Television. Thomas Vitale, the senior vice president of programming and original movies for Syfy, described the partnership as a way to add more "genre programming to our schedule".[14] It was one of three series UPN ordered as mid-season replacements during the 2000-2001 television season; the others were Chains of Love and Special Unit 2.[15] The network had requested six episodes of All Souls when picking it up for air, and all of them had been shot before its cancellation.[16] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's John Levesque felt that the network decided to produce All Souls in an attempt to find another successful series following the end of Star Trek: Voyager. While Levesque thought the shows were "promising," he did not believe any of them were a "slam-dunk".[17]

Rodriquez had initially refused to audition for the series as he wanted to be a part of the 2000 drama The Street instead. After being contacted repeatedly by All Souls' producers, he read for the parts of Fortado and Sterling; he had to go through the lines a total of five times. During the audition, he met and talked to Aaron Spelling. After failing to be cast in The Street, Rodriquez committed to portraying Fortado. He said that his main attraction to the television project was the ability to work on a show produced by Spelling. While filming the episodes in a wheelchair, Rodriquez said that he gained an increased awareness and appreciation for handicapped people.[1]

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" Stuart Gillard Stephen Tolkin April 17, 2001 (2001-04-17) 2.1[16]
Dr. Mitchell Grace starts his work at All Souls. He fails to save Caroline Patterson, a patient who was moved to a basement room by a suspicious orderly. Dr. Ryman Kreeger, a senior doctor who thinks he can live forever through a procedure called the "Gemini Project," is killed by the hospital's ghosts.
2 "Spineless" Stuart Gillard Stuart Gillard April 24, 2001 (2001-04-24) 1.5[18]
Kirstin Caine, a hit and run victim with spinal trauma, is admitted to the hospital. Patrick Fortado becomes the subject of Dr. Stefani Volette's research, which would involve killing Caine to treat him. Fortrado discovers his paralysis was not caused by his accident, but was induced by Volette as part of her research. Volette decides to become a subject in her own experiment.
3 "The Deal" Stuart Gillard Scott Frost May 1, 2001 (2001-05-01) 1.5[18]
Jordan Holland, the son of Tremaine and Alice Anne Holland, is admitted to the psychiatric ward. It is revealed he died at birth, and was saved by Dr. Dante Ambrosious to fulfill his destiny starting on his 18th birthday. Tremaine tries and fails to stop the plan; he kills himself before Jordan leaves with Ambrosious.
4 "Bad Blood" Stuart Gillard Mark Frost August 17, 2001 (2001-08-17) 1.5[18]
Dr. Juan Antonio Marquez is flown in for special treatment the same time that an identical John Doe is admitted. Marquez's blood infection quickly kills anyone else infected including his in-flight doctor and nurse Cathy Cavalleri. The John Doe is revealed to be the real Juan Antonio Marquez. He was replaced by Colonel Avejo, who had tortured Marquez during their time in prison. Avejo deliberately infects Marquez's niece who is saved with a cure developed from the real Marquez's blood.
5 "Running Scared" Rick Rosenthal Mark Frost August 24, 2001 (2001-08-24) 2.0[18]
Five female athletes, Jolene Martin, Sierra Wilson, Anna Markham, Belinda Karch, and Abigail "Gabby" Maine, have been undergoing experiments by Dr. Henry Lohman at the All Souls Sports Medicine Clinic. The first three die during the procedures. While trying to help Gabby, the doctors discover that Belinda has aged from twenty to over ninety. All five women are revealed to be Dr. Lohman's "daughters" from a genetic breeding experiment. The deaths were caused by an assistant giving the girls experimental DNA treatments without Lohman's knowledge.
6 "One Step Closer to Roger" Stuart Gillard Philip Levens August 31, 2001 (2001-08-31) 1.2[18]
Barney Wheelock has a near-death experience and becomes possessed by a being known as "Roger". While under Roger's influence, he kidnaps nurse Kim Peretti before killing his wife Calvette and their two sons. Roger then takes control of Kim and attacks Dr. Bradley Sterling. Roger is revealed to be an old "god of the dead," and Grace protects Dr. Philomena Cullen from his attacks. At the end of the episode, the symbol used to represent Roger is shown to be the logo for the All Souls hospital.

Reception[edit]

Broadcast history[edit]

All Souls was initially broadcast on Tuesday nights at 9 pm EST,[5] and aired directly after the reality television show Chains of Love.[9][10] The series carried a TV-PG parental rating, meaning that it was judged "unsuitable for young children".[7] It premiered on April 17, 2001,[19] and was viewed by 2.1 million people; Nielsen Media Research ranked it 105th for the week.[16]

UPN placed the series on hiatus on April 30, 2001, due to concerns about its low ratings; only two episodes had aired. After announcing the show's hiatus, UPN executives said that it was not canceled at that point. Despite the network's claims, media commentators believed it would be removed from air following its poor performance.[16][20] The series returned in August and the pilot and remaining episodes aired on Friday nights at 9 pm EST,[19] and were burned off throughout August,[21] with the last one airing on August 31, 2001.[22] One rerun aired during the month of September.[23] Overall, All Souls was broadcast for a total of 360 minutes.[24]

While discussing the cancellation, McCouch felt it was "doomed to fail" from the beginning and referred to UPN as "a loser network at that time" due its treatment of the series. Cosgrove disagreed with McCouch's sentiment and believed that the show's lack of success was not tied to the network specifically.[25] Rodriquez believed that All Souls was unsuccessful as it was "just a little ahead of its time"; he felt that the program was better suited for television one to two years following its initial broadcast.[1] The series has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray, or licensed to on an online-streaming service.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

All Souls has received positive critical feedback. Eric Mink of the New York Daily News praised the show's use of horror, and wrote that it would "set the dragging knuckles of UPN's core audience all a-tingle". Mink responded positively to the series' storylines and characters, believing that they had potential for further development.[2] Steven Oxman felt that the pilot made effective use of horror tropes, citing a scene in which a preserved fetus moves as a highlight.[5] The Los Angeles Times' Howard Rosenberg called the series "paranormal fun,[7] and Lawrence.com's Kevin McDonough referenced All Souls as "a classic Aaron Spelling production" primarily due to its editing and special effects.[10] The Charleston Daily Mail's Kevin McDonough wrote that All Souls was "the best show you never watched," responding positively to the show's premise and actors.[21]

Reception of the series' pilot was mixed, with television critics divided over its structure.[9][27] Rob Owen of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gave the first episode a positive review, believing that it set up enough story elements to show promise.[9] LA Weekly's Robert Lloyd had a more mixed response to the series, as he felt that the Grace's initial interactions with St. Clair gave away too much of the plot. However, he wrote that it was "well-made within the limits of its ambitions".[27]

Critics made comparisons between All Souls and other horror and science-fiction television series.[4][5] Tim Goodman noted that All Souls had aspects of The X-Files as well as from The Twilight Zone, Stephen King's 1977 novel The Shining, and the medical drama genre. Even though Goodman felt the series had a "scattershot approach," he felt that all the elements worked with one another.[4] Oxman was critical of the show's originality and its setting in a former asylum, saying it was similar to King's work and the 1996 film Extreme Measures, and felt it had "a superficial gloss" when compared to Twin Peaks. Despite this negative criticism, he called All Souls "potentially the scariest network show since The X-Files".[5] While promoting the series, Frost had said that the show had been partly inspired by The X-Files.[8]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Burnett (2002): p. 64
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mink, Eric (April 17, 2001). "UPN Scares Up A Good Show With "All Souls"". New York Daily News. Tronc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Terrace (2008): pp. 254-55
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Goodman, Tim (April 17, 2001). "'All Souls' Just Might Live On / 'X-Files' knockoff has a fun, creepy premise". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Oxman, Steven (April 17, 2001). "Review: 'All Souls'". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Brooks & Marsh (2009): p. 888
  7. ^ a b c d e f Rosenberg, Howard (April 17, 2001). "'All Souls' Is a Spooky Place to Practice". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Pierce, Scott D. (April 13, 2001). "Hospital horror in 'All Souls'". Deseret News. Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Owen, Rob (April 17, 2001). "Reality TV sinks further under 'Chains of Love'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Block Communications. Archived from the original on September 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c McDonough, Kevin (April 17, 2001). "Spelling behind haunted hospital series". Lawrence.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Kronke, David (April 17, 2001). "Quirky 'All Souls' Rises to Sophisticated Plane". Los Angeles Daily News. Digital First Media. Retrieved September 30, 2017. (subscription required)
  12. ^ "Premise". TV Guide. CBS Corporation. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. 
  13. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (March 2, 2004). "Atmosphere as thick as one of King's books". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved September 30, 2017. (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Sci Fi Channel Closes Major Deal with CBS Paramount to Acquire Rights for Telefilms and Series Including 'Star Trek: Enterprise'". The Futon Critic. August 2, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  15. ^ Liebeskind, Ken (April 3, 2001). "UPN Chains of Love". MediaPost Communications. Archived from the original on October 3, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c d "UPN pulls `All Souls' after just two shows". Chicago Tribune. Tronc. April 30, 2001. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ Levesque, John (January 6, 2001). "UPN in search of post-'Voyager' flagship". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "Episode List: All Souls". TV Tango. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Brooks & Marsh (2009): p. 888
  20. ^ Turegano, Preston (May 2, 2001). "Broadcast Briefs". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Tronc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b McDonough, Kevin (August 3, 2001). "Haunting 'All Souls' returns from great beyond: ; UPN airing pilot, unseen remaining episodes". Charleston Daily Mail. The Daily Gazette Company. Retrieved September 30, 2017. (subscription required)
  22. ^ "August 31, 2001". TV Tango. August 31, 2001. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. 
  23. ^ "September 7, 2001". TV Tango. September 7, 2001. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. 
  24. ^ Bump, Philip (October 23, 2015). "The 1,657 TV shows that spent less time on the air than the Hillary Clinton Benghazi hearing". The Washington Post. WP Company LLC. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. 
  25. ^ "ATWT's Grayson McCouch & GL's Daniel Cosgrove". Soap Opera Digest. American Media, Inc. August 8, 2003. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. 
  26. ^ "All Souls (2001)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Lloyd, Robert (May 2, 2001). "Back to Barbary Lane". LA Weekly. Voice Media Group. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. 

Book sources[edit]

  • Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. New York: Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. 
  • Burnett, Robyn (2002). Crash Into Me: The World of Roswell. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-5502-2539-6. 
  • Terrace, Vincent (2008). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. 

External links[edit]