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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