Jed - Theo James
Kate - Charlotte Salt
Ryan - Will Young
Molly - Ashley Madekwe
Warren Bettany - Hugo Speer
THEY ALSO SEE DEAD PEOPLE
Episode 1 - First transmitted 7th February 2011
Jed sees ghosts and as a result has been under therapy for a long time. An old asylum building, then, is not the best place for him to be, but his cousin Kate is being threatened by a watery ghost and he is the only one who can help.
The opening episode of Sky Living's homegrown ghost series was a fairly depressing experience as it recycled all of its ideas from any number of other shows that have covered this ground better and thought that the fact that it was filled with pretty, young, fresh-faced people it would come across as somehow original. There was almost nothing about it that was original. Jed sees dead people just like the Al(l)isons in MEDIUM and AFTERLIFE, or Melinda in GHOST WHISPERER or Jack in HAUNTED. He just wants a normal life but he's not about to get one just like most of the aforementioned mediums.
The watery spirit with its writing on mirrors, backing up sinks, drowning in bathtubs and water running down the walls has been done time and time again and mostly better than this. The mysterious photograph that keeps cropping up is straight out of PARADOX and using an old asylum as the stomping grounds of ghost has been done just about everywhere including KINGDOM HOSPITAL and almost always with better results.
It didn't help that the characters were generally unlikeable, self-absorbed youngsters whose arrogance and selfishness seemed to know no bounds. There were signs that some of them might become more likeable in future episodes, but they seriously need to.
BEDLAM did little to ingratiate itself in this opening episode and will need to get a lot better fast.Top
Episode 2- First transmitted 14th February 2011
One of Bedlam Heights' residents, Leah, is being targeted by a ghost who cut his own throat in the asylum and whose wife killed their two children. There is no link between the living and the dead so what is fuelling the ghost's car-related savagery?
The story here is more focussed and better than the opening episode, but it's still riddled with too many familiar scenes and happenings. Lights going off as someone walks away, cars attacking their owners, mysterious marks showing up where they can't and the like. Even the motivation of the ghost for attacking the girl is somewhat flimsy at best.
Fortunately, the pretty cast are filling out their characters a bit more and making the most of what they are given, which helps to pass the time.Top
Episode 3- First transmitted 21st February 2011
Jed meets Sadie, a young woman with her own mental issues who is trying to make her way in the world. She is being haunted by a ghost with a fixation for dirt and a box with a bloody towel in it. Jed needs to find out what the link is in time to save her. Ryan, meanwhile, meets and old lady with secrets of her own.
Another young woman with a dark secret that is being dragged kicking and screaming out into the open by a ghost with a similar story to tell. It's a pattern that is depressingly familiar and shows a lack of imagination.
As does the script, which is full of clunky dialogue the likes of 'who are you? What do you want? Stop I only want to talk to you'. Really poor.
Rita Tushingham ups the star wattage a bit with her turn as Grace, crazy lady in the basement and the emerging truth about Jed is at least a nice development.Top
Episode 4- First transmitted 28th February 2011
Ella lives with her single father in one of the apartments. She is being visited by a ghost called Alice, a ghost who is starting to play tricks and saying that a bad man made her do it. This puts Ella's life at risk.
Child ghosts are naturally scary since children are supposed to be innocent and so when they are not they go against everything that we think is normal. Having a child at the mercy of anything naturally ups the stakes that are being played for as the death of a child is so much more affecting than the death of an adult.
All of which means that this should be fright central, but it isn't and the reason is because the story is an old, old one that hits just about every cliche that you can think of. Familiarity breeds contempt and this is very, very familiar.
The side story of Kate wrecking the marriage of the man she was fooling around with is supposed to be part of the slow burn series arc, but it just feels utterly irrelevant.Top
Episode 5- First transmitted 7th March 2011
Mark is an ex-soldier who has plans to leave the country for Australia following a tragedy in his past. There is a ghost, however, who doesn't want him to go. Secrets are unearthed about Jed's mother and Kate's father.
The links between the modern day victims and the olden day ghosts are getting more and more strained. This story relies on the soldier not only belonging to the same regiment as the man who mistreated the ghost, but also on his rejecting a mentally-challenged woman in a similar fashion to the ghost's own situation. It's too much to believe and only the outcome presents any surprise.
This is the penultimate episode of this modern ghost story and the main storylines are starting to converge as Kate closes in on why she is sleepwalking to the same stretch of wall and Jed's friends unearth more information about his mother. Whilst none of this is particularly compelling, it will be nice to see if the finale can wrap all this up.Top
Episode 5- First transmitted 14th March 2011
There's a firebug spirit that has set his sights on Molly just as she makes a move on Ryan. Kate can no longer trust her father and so decides to find out what lies behind the wall that she sleepwalks to.
It's the big finale to the series and the fireworks just sort of fizzle out. The firebug spirit story is the typical ghost of the week tale with a fiery spirit face in the mirror that's pretty impressive, but it doesn't go anywhere at all since Kate's story takes over.
What lies beyond the wall is a secret laboratory and what's in the laboratory? Well, that's all left hanging in the hope of a second series, but the cliffhanger is so badly handled that instead of compelling ending deluging us in the desire to see what happens next, we're left with no ending at all and a big sense of 'is that it?'.
After five weeks of, admittedly haphazard, build up this is a complete let down.Top
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