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Bedlam, “Episode 1” (1.01)

Jed (Theo James) kneels by the river, looking into the water for something.

The Signal likes to check in on new series as they premiere. Here, we look at Bedlam, a new Sky Living series  about the supernatural goings-on at a former asylum. A review of the episode, written by Neil Jones, David Allison and Chris Parker and directed by John Strickland, after the jump..

Bedlam is a fun diversion, evn though it’s about as deep and skillfully written as Dante’s Cove, the softcore porn posing as a one-hour drama series on American network here!. However, despite this, there’s a couple of likeable people in the cast – including Ashley Madekwe, who is just as adorable here as she was in Secret Diary of a Call Girl – and it’s beautifully shot.

The aesthetics are shockingly good, actually. There’s nothing terribly ambitious here, and some things are just plain too campy at the idea to really execute with any strength, but it’s a very good-looking pilot. The colours are often gorgeous, and the effects are definitely alright for a show of its kind. I’m not really emotionally engaged by anyone in the cast, even brooding hero Jed, but the acting is okay-to-good throughout.

The series’ first problem is its female lead, Kate (Charlotte Salt), who ranges from petulant to merely irritating throughout. When the episode hit its climax and Jed was giving her mouth-to-mouth, I was desperately hoping the show would leave her dead. The second is, well, the writing, which is more groan-worthy than Emmy-worthy. But Theo James is somewhat magnetic as Jed, the man who runs around saving folks from dead people, and Ashley Madekwe and Will Young are solid support.

I can’t say I’d review a second episode, but I might watch one, were I to run out of other contenders and/or I wanted to just turn my brain off for an hour. Not bad stuff.

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