66 Reasons “Damien” Deserves a Second Life

In the wake of A&E’s cancellation of Damien after only one season, passions for this unique show have continued to run high. This list was written before the news of the cancellation broke and was initially aimed at A&E for renewal, so only minor edits have been made. Here’s my Hail Mary – or Hail Satan – to get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Chiller, AMC, SyFy, or FX to pick Damien up for a second season.

1. It’s the smartest show on TV. You have to pay close attention to catch everything.

2. Naturally, the smartest show also has smart fans. Read the insightful questions Damien creator Glen Mazzara answered in the post-finale Twitter Q&A, and it’s clear what kinds of people the show attracts.

3. As mentioned in my previous article, 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching A&E’s “Damien”, it makes you think about and question everything.

4. The finale made fans want more and left them satisfied, rather than frustrated, unlike traditional cliffhangers.

5. We need to know whose hand that was in the finale. No spoilers, but if you saw the finale, you know what I mean. (It was Amani’s, right? I need it to be Amani’s.)

6. It’s more of a long movie than a regular, serial TV series. Every scene is significant. No filler.

7. It’s easy to rewatch and binge-watch.

8. It’s not preachy. No matter your religion (or lack thereof), you can enjoy it. It makes you see every side. This is no easy feat, especially on a show about the Antichrist, but Damien does it masterfully.

9. Season one was about Damien’s journey to accepting/becoming the Antichrist. Now that he’s traded his soul, the possibilities for season two are endless. Will he still fight to hold on to any remaining humanity? How will he be different?

10. Glen Mazzara is the creator/showrunner. The Shield, The Walking Dead, etc. Need I say more? We need more of his genius, twisted, beautiful mind on Damien.

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11. Such gorgeous cinematography is rarely seen on TV. It looks like a movie. Every detail has been carefully considered and has meaning.

12. Every character is fleshed out and well-developed. No role is small or wasted.

13. If that was Amani’s hand, what will happen when he sees Damien? How will he change? Will Damien finally really let Amani in or keep him at a distance?

14. Damien sold his soul to protect someone he loved. Will he continue to try to protect the people he cares about? Will he look out only for his own self-interest?

15. Cinematic television is the future. Let Damien help pave the way.

16. With strong female characters, who aren’t there for love triangles, it passes the Bechdel test. When women talk about Damien, it’s always “How do we start/stop this?” If the women were replaced with men, the conversations would mostly be the same.

17. Your theories are wrong 99.9% of the time, but you’re shocked and pleased, not upset, when all is revealed. Expect the unexpected.

18. There’s a lot of religious imagery and symbolism – Simone Baptiste washing Damien’s feet, the seven-headed dragon, etc. Things like this are what make it the smartest show on TV.

19. We need to learn more about Damien’s powers. Does he have complete control over his powers now, or do some things happen as an emotional response? Is he able to stop himself from killing? Would he even want to now?

20. Bradley James is phenomenal as Damien, exceeding undoubtedly high expectations. He is the definitive Damien. Damien is a challenging role, especially with 25 years of missing backstory, but he is exceptional. I’ve always said he has the most expressive face, and that helps make his performance subtle without ever being over-the-top, which would be easy in this role. He deserves every award for his outstanding portrayal of this complex character.

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Iconic in so many ways.

21. Homages to The Omen – Few series would be able to reference and weave clips from source material into a show so flawlessly.

22. The smile (above) at the end of the finale showed Damien finally at peace. No more running from the “dark cloud.” I’ve always been a sucker for tortured souls but even more so for “evil” tortured souls. I need more happily evil Damien.

23. Ann’s backstory – What’s the real story about her husband and daughter? Does her carving the “666” into her leg mean that she wasn’t a true/born follower but chose to become one? She’s so intriguing.

24. It’s terrifying and only gets more scary with each episode. Not afraid of the dark? You will be!

25. Damien and Amani “You look like shit.” “You look like an undertaker.” Whether they’re teasing like brothers or taking care of each other (usually Amani caring for Damien), their chemistry is palpable. Bradley James’ and Omid Abtahi’s real friendship translates to the screen.

26. No matter what happens or how messed up it seems, it always remains truthful. It feels like it’s taking place in the real world.

27. How will Damien trading his soul and accepting his role change the choices he makes? We need to see how he plays judge, jury, and executioner.

28. What would you do if you found out you were the Antichrist? Would you embrace it or be conflicted? How far would you go to save the ones you love? There aren’t many shows that encourage self-awareness and force us to think about difficult questions. There are even fewer shows that could make a traditionally “evil” character sympathetic and relatable without getting campy.

29. Foreshadowing – I wondered what the significance was with part of Simone’s head being cut out in “Seven Curses” but dismissed it at the time because the entire sequence was bizarre. Its purpose was revealed in “Ave Satani.” So smart.

30. The legendary Barbara Hershey is brilliant as Ann Rutledge. She, too, deserves every award for her work on Damien, and her passion for the role is evident in both her performance and her interactions with fans. She has the power to make you question her motives one minute and feel for her character the next. She’s just as vulnerable as she is strong. It’s clear that she loves Human Damien as much as she loves Antichrist Damien.

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That’s why we love Ann. We won’t panic (yet), either!

31. Fans everywhere are as loyal to Damien as Amani is to Damien! Damien hasn’t aired in most other countries yet, but it has a loyal fanbase worldwide. Many of its biggest fans live in places where it hasn’t premiered. I remain baffled that it never aired in the UK (where Bradley James is from and has a following) and was cancelled a week before its premiere in Latin America. Still, there’s a passionate international fanbase, even after only 10 episodes.

32. Why didn’t Damien ever kill Detective Shay, who was a threat to him early on? How will things change between them after Shay’s actions in the finale?

33. Despite being a show about evil, Damien has the nicest cast and crew. I’ve met Glen Mazzara and Omid Abtahi, and everyone I’ve come in contact with on/behind the show (not to mention the lovely fans!) has been exceptionally nice. Glen Mazzara and Barbara Hershey regularly interact with fans on Twitter. They’re the kinds of people you want to succeed.

34. It’s not afraid to take chances and ruffle feathers. The risks always pay off. “Seven Curses” almost didn’t make it to air because network execs were worried about it being too much. It ended up being one of Damien‘s best episodes. More series should be so daring.

35. It turns stereotypes on their heads. Nuns aren’t always good; the son of the devil isn’t totally evil; women aren’t weak. (I’ll share the other examples later.)

36. A&E only had one other scripted series, Bates Motel, and didn’t seem to really know how to handle Damien. Cancelling it could be a blessing in disguise if another network will pick it up. Netflix, especially, values quality over quantity (ie. ratings) and its edgy content would make it an excellent fit for Damien.

37. Bear McCreary’s score is breathtaking. Often reminiscent of the music in The Omen, it remains modern and only adds to the scenes in which it is used, never taking away from anything.

38. How much control does Damien have over others’ free will? Will he encourage people to do things or commit murder for him in the future or will he continue to try to stop them sometimes?

39. A Middle Eastern character who’s not a terrorist, has an American accent, whose ethnicity doesn’t affect the plot, AND is a main character? Who would have thought such a crazy idea could be possible?! Glen Mazzara, that’s who.

40. Omid Abtahi is insanely amazing as Damien’s best friend Amani. While I love all of the characters in different ways and don’t have a favourite (besides Damien), I’m admittedly partial to Amani. He provides comic relief, in addition to stability and protection for Damien. Even when he thought Damien was being dramatic, he stuck with him, despite the Antichrist thing. He’s loyal and fearless.

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Damien fans are just like Amani – there till the very end.

41. Even Detective Shay’s son is interesting. Maybe he’s just there to push Shay to Damien, but he’s actually very significant. I have my own (likely incorrect) theories about him and want to learn more in season two.

42. How will Damien’s relationship with Ann change now? Will he accept her and trust her? Will she guide him more?

43. It has funny moments. Amani has some great lines, and even Damien can be funny. I loved the bug in the coffee scene in “Seven Curses.” (Did Damien’s presence cause it to commit suicide?) One of my favourite lines is Damien’s snarky, “What about the Antichrist thing? You got a pill for that?” I’d kill to see some dark comedy when Damien has no soul.

44. It’s diverse on- and off-screen. The cast is obviously diverse, and some of the best episodes were written or directed by women. Glen Mazzara is often commended for being inclusive, and most would (hopefully) agree that Hollywood needs more diversity.

45. Where are all the daggers of Megiddo? Who forged them and how are they indestructible?

46. We’ve hardly seen the Vatican Death Squad. Silly name, yes, but we need to know more.

47. Firefly, Arrested Development, Veronica Mars Many shows find life (and cult followings!) after death. Too many networks don’t give shows time to build an audience before cancelling them. In a binge-watching era, many people waited for Damien‘s first season to end before watching it. If given a chance, the audience will come.

48. How much does Shay really understand now about who/what Damien is?

49. Simone, previously a Christian, was resurrected by Damien. How will that change her?

50. Megalyn E.K. is incredible as Simone. Simone took the longest to grow on me because she’s a hard read, but once I understood her better, I loved her. She knows being around Damien leads to trouble (okay, maybe she has a tendency to meddle), but she stays with him and tries to help him. She even sacrificed herself for him. Total badass.

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Just like fans won’t stand by and watch Damien get cancelled without fighting for it.

51. It’s a slow build. In the hands of lesser talents, Damien would only work as a miniseries and would rush to the “evil” side of Damien. With Glen Mazzara, it takes its time getting there without getting boring. It could easily last 5 seasons if given the chance.

52. How many series can make you really feel for and root for the Antichrist as much as or more than traditionally “good” people, like priests and nuns? I only know one…

53. The original episode order was for 6 episodes but was increased to 10. It’s amazing how much more ground Damien covered in those additional 4 episodes. Think of all it could do with another 10!

54. I flew across the country to see the Damien panel at WonderCon (and sat through several panels to get front row), and the very first thing I did on my 7-hour layover to return home was watch the episode I missed while I was flying. (Priorities!) If someone was dedicated enough to do all of that after only 3 episodes aired, imagine how dedicated fans will be after another season.

55. The last two episodes brought several characters together for the first time: Ann and Amani, John and Amani, Ann and Sister Greta, Damien and Greta. Honestly, I could watch a season of Ann and Greta fighting about their gods.

56. A major character was revealed to be gay, and it was no big deal, no grand statement. I do wonder if there’s another reason behind it, but that goes back to my theory in #41. Regardless, I love how they approached it with subtlety and made it so normal (because it is.)

57. It has something for everyone: Horror, thrills, drama, religion, (dark) comedy, action, politics, friendship, even a little romance.

58. TV needs more shows with controversial subject matter – not controversial stars. (I’m not naming names of certain A&E shows…) You don’t hear about drama behind the scenes of Damien, only how respected and classy everyone is.

59. Parallels – Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but nothing’s unintentional on Damien. In episode 1, Amani says, “You see how the boss man (Damien) is – he wants what he wants.” In episode 7, Ann says, “The power wants what it wants.”

60. David Meunier is marvelous as Detective Shay. Everyone thought Shay was crazy, but he was right about everything. Did he really fall to his knees on his own? What happens now?

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One of the most powerful moments of the finale

61. Damien’s past – We found out a little about Damien’s youth, but it could be interesting to learn more.

62. The end of the finale showed many people kneeling before Damien after he sold his soul, which was quite moving. Will people naturally gravitate towards him now? Will the rest of the world know/understand who he is or will they try to keep it secret?

63. The Walking Dead‘s Scott Wilson is menacing as John Lyons. Unlike Ann, he cares only for Damien the Antichrist, but there was even some (short-lived) sympathy for him when we saw his wife’s condition. Could we potentially see him in a second season? If you don’t see a body…

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You wish that were true, A&E.

64. It’s painfully addictive. It makes you wait for the good stuff but keeps your interest while you wait. The episodes feel too short. Commercial breaks make you angry because you want more. The wait between episodes was brutal. The idea of there never being another episode? Torture.

65. It doesn’t shy away from heavy, taboo topics – veterans (and benefits they receive/problems they have), suicide, mental illness, PTSD, murder, religion, greed. That was only in one season. Imagine what it can tackle in season two!

66. Real talk: A&E did an awful job of promoting Damien. While A&E promotes and marathons other shows, Damien was left to fend for itself. They only showed reruns once at 2 AM. Misleading promos often focused on the horror aspect, ignoring that it’s also a character-driven psychological thriller/drama. If A&E had promoted it well, it could have been as successful as it deserved to be. Any failures were on A&E, not on the quality of the show. Critics and viewers who understood where the show was going (admittedly, many critics did not) and stuck with it were rewarded. The finale wasn’t the end of the story; it was the beginning. A&E just didn’t give it a chance to tell the rest of that story.

There could easily be 666 reasons Damien deserves a second life, but it comes down to this: For many, quality is more important than quantity(/ratings), and Damien has quality but wasn’t given a fighting chance. There’s talent in spades in front of and behind the camera, and that talent deserves to be seen. If you love Damien and want to see the Beast truly rise, tweet Netflix, Hulu, and everyone else that might pick Damien up for another season. Hound them incessantly on social media using hashtags #Damien and #SaveDamien. Buy the season passes on iTunes and Amazon. Request season one on Netflix.

Fans won’t stop until we’ve done everything possible to secure a second season somewhere, and if all our efforts fail, at least we can say we did everything we could to try to save Damien. Our support is the only way Damien will have a chance. A&E might not have seen the gem they had, but we won’t go down without a fight. It’s up to us, Hellhounds!

10 Reasons You Should Be Watching A&E’s “Damien”

If you’re not watching Damien, A&E’s series about the Antichrist, you’re missing out on the best show currently on TV. Here are ten reasons why it’s all for Damien, and you should be, too.

10. The many talented people behind it

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Via A&E

I raved about the cast in my reviews of the first and fifth episodes of Damien, and as the series progresses, they prove themselves time and time again. Bradley James is the definitive Damien, making you feel as conflicted as Damien while he tries to avoid the inevitable. Damien evolves in every episode, and Bradley James is absolutely sensational in capturing every nuance of Damien’s complexities. His portrayal makes you feel whatever Damien’s feeling and want to be on his side.

The cast also features legends Barbara Hershey and Scott Wilson. Barbara Hershey is haunting as Ann Rutledge but makes you feel for the character, even when you’re not entirely sure you should. Her chemistry with Bradley James is electric. It’s often difficult to tell whether she feels more maternal or sexual towards Damien or some warped combination of both. She consistently leaves you guessing what Ann’s motives behind her words and actions really are, but there’s no doubt that she truly loves Damien.

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I won’t spoil it, but this is one of the best scenes in the series so far. It reveals a lot about Damien but even more about Ann.

Scott Wilson’s part is smaller, but he does a lot in the scenes he is given and is still an important character. All of the characters are very well-rounded and make you want to learn more about them. There’s not a weak actor in the cast, which is rounded out with Megalyn E.K, Omid Abtahi, David Meunier, Melanie Scrofano, and Robin Weigert. Everyone gives it their all, and it shows. No matter the relationship or who is on screen, there is chemistry between all of the characters and actors. No character is wasted, and all are well-developed, making you want to come back each week to see more of them.

If the insanely talented cast isn’t enough, the show was created by Glen Mazzara. Known as a former showrunner for The Walking Dead and The Shield, he has used those same talents to make Damien a truly special show that stands out from the rest. He is well known for diversity (racial, gender, and GLBTQ), and that is evident behind the scenes with his staff, as well as on the show itself. I can’t rave enough about him as a showrunner and a person.

9. It demands your attention.

Damien is very unique in that it’s very cinematic (not just with its gorgeous cinematography) and is essentially like a movie broken up into ten parts. It’s not the same as a serial show in which every episode builds upon a particular storyline but still has standalone elements. On Damien, each episode and each scene is meaningful. Even if you have a terrible attention span, you won’t want to turn away (or live tweet, except during commercials) for fear of missing something important. Everything from the camera angles to the lighting to the sets to the clothes (or so I assume – Damien’s clothes get darker as his mental state does) is significant. From beginning to end, each episode is more riveting than the one before it and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It holds up over multiple viewings, as you can notice something each time that you didn’t notice before. With its cinematic qualities and ability to hook viewers, it makes for great binge-watching material.

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8. It doesn’t give you what you want when you want it.

Some viewers have been fixated on having an Antichrist who is “pure evil” right off the bat. How boring would that be?! While we know that Damien will eventually accept his destiny as the Antichrist, the show doesn’t rush in getting him there and is all the better for it. There are scenes in which you may want something to happen, but it’s better that they don’t. Good things always take time, and Damien requires patience. It will make you wait, but it doesn’t feel like they’re prolonging events for the sake of prolonging them. Everything has a purpose. Damien is a smart, sophisticated show, and it is rewarding in the end.

7. It does the opposite of what you expect.

Previews for Damien are interesting but can be misleading. You can try to guess what will happen, but the show will take it in a completely different direction that you likely wouldn’t think of on your own. You may know someone is going to die, but you think it’ll happen one way, and it’ll go the complete opposite direction, keeping you on your toes. Even in certain episodes (No spoilers!), you might know something isn’t quite right but can’t tell what’s actually happening until the end. Eventually, you learn throw away expectations and enjoy the ride. There are so many twists and turns, and it makes the “Ahh” moment much more satisfying when you figure it out or when it comes together.

6. It makes you root for the Antichrist.

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When this happens, it’s hard not to shout, “Go, Damien!”

Simply put, Damien is all of us. He’s neither completely good nor completely bad. There’s a reason the show is called Damien and not Antichrist. This is about Damien’s journey after he finds out who he really is. Though he’s half-human, half-jackal, we are shown his human side, which helps us relate to him. Damien doesn’t want to be the Antichrist or cause destruction, but he can’t escape his destiny. He does everything he can to stop the inevitable, but it’s futile. He is clinging desperately to his humanity while simultaneously becoming more unhinged by the moment. Damien’s path was laid out for him long before he ever knew it. It’s easy to understand why he takes the actions he does, and we root for him to win. Even when he does something “bad,” he does it for reasons that we can understand.

Many viewers have been waiting to see more of the Antichrist side of Damien. In episode 8 “Here is Wisdom,” Damien finally reaches his breaking point. As he learns new information about some of the deaths around him, he takes matters into his own hands quite literally, beating the source to a bloody pulp but is unable to bring himself to actually murder someone. His actions are not unwarranted, and it shows that whenever he does kill for the first time, it will not be without purpose and will be incredibly significant.

5. Even the Antichrist needs a friend.

And what a friend he has! It’s hard to choose a favourite relationship on Damien, but Damien and Amani’s friendship is easily in my top two. Damien might be the one with the power, but Amani goes to bat for him time and time again. He is not afraid to stand up to absolutely anyone to protect Damien. There is (seemingly/hopefully) no agenda on his end, and he genuinely just loves Damien, Antichrist or not. We should all be so lucky to have a friend as loyal as Amani. He’s one of my favourite characters and is pretty much the only one I really trust. Personal plea to Glen Mazzara: Don’t kill Amani. Please.

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“Whatever’s going on, man, I’m with you till the very end.” If Amani dies, we riot.

4. It’s honest and rooted in reality.

One of the things that made the show’s 1976 prequel The Omen so scary was that it was true to life. While there are many twists and turns, Damien follows that lead and stays pretty close to reality. The characters’ reactions are believable, no matter the situation, and the whole thing just feels real. There are obviously supernatural elements, but it feels like the events could actually happen in our world. This makes the terrifying parts even more frightening, but as twisted as it is, it stays truthful.

3. It leaves you wanting more.

I’m generally a very patient person. Damien really tests that patience. It’s not that every episode ends with a massive cliffhanger (it doesn’t), but it’s just so good that the wait in between episodes is, well, Hell. Even the commercials breaks are like torture. There are only two episodes left as of this writing, and I’m already worried about the withdrawals. Damien is like a drug you can’t quit but you don’t even want to, and its small but very vocal fanbase on social media is evidence of this.

2. It makes you question everything you thought you knew and believed.

“Are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?” Sure, this is a quote from Wicked, but it fits Damien pretty well. It makes you ask so many questions and re-examine your own thoughts on life and good versus evil. Is anyone really good or bad? (Nope.) Does Damien really have a choice in who he becomes? Do any of us have a choice? What if we save someone, and that person becomes evil? Are we then responsible? What if we think we’re making the “good” choice, but it results in evil? Was it the “good” or “evil” side of Damien that let a killer live? Is Damien going to become more evil because he was born that way or is it because he is being pushed to it? Why do we root for the Antichrist more than the detective who is trying to figure out what Damien’s deal is and stop him? Is {insert character here} in on it or is he/she genuine? Did a character do what he/she did because they’ve always been in on it or were they possessed? What causes some to be affected by Damien and others not? What are this person’s real intentions? Does Ann love Damien as a person or because he’s the Antichrist? (I say both.) What’s with her carving the “666” in her leg – does that mean she wasn’t born a true follower? Is it always the evil forces at work that cause someone to die or is there ever something else? (I’m still asking this after episode 5.) What’s the deal with Detective Shay’s son? Is he involved in it somehow? Who’s the old lady? Where are all the Daggers of Megiddo? If we kill an evil person, are we any better than they are? What will finally cause Damien to accept his destiny? (I have my theories…) Will he still retain some of his humanity when he does? So many questions…

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Should we? Who makes that decision?

1. It needs another season (or five) to tell its story.

It’s no secret that Damien‘s ratings have been disappointing, to say the least. This may partly be because it’s a (poorly promoted) slow burner, and people want to make sure it pays off. I think it will build its audience after all the episodes have aired when people can see that it does pay off, but that will take time. I fear that A&E doesn’t recognise the truly unique show that they have here or the potential it has and will cancel it before it gets the chance to show what it can do. There are so many stories to be told and directions to take with Damien. The first season is only the beginning.

I hope I’ve offered some compelling reasons to watch this brilliant show. I’m not going to say, “Pretty please with a cherry on top, watch Damien because I really love it, and you will, too.” I will say you that you should watch it because I think you lovely readers would probably want to stay on the good side of the Beast, and cancelling Damien might not be the best way to do that.

If you already watch Damien and love it, for the love of all things unholy, please tell A&E. Tweet them and post on their Facebook pages. Buy a season pass on iTunes and Amazon. Send A&E tongues. Sacrifice a goat. (I’m being 95% facetious. Please don’t actually do those last two things.) Whatever you can. Force all your friends to watch it. Do whatever you can to let them know you’re watching and want more.

Watch Damien on Mondays at 10/9c on A&E. Catch up on previous episodes on AETV.com. It’s all for you.

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Via Lexi Porter. (Thanks!)

 

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