Preview: What to Expect from Fox’s The Exorcist

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Transferring “Damien” to the small screen was a risky maneuver that backfired for A&E. The show was far too inconsistent to capture viewers, and plenty of purists saw the maneuver as loathe worthy. There are a few franchises you just don’t fool around with, and The Omen was one of them.

Interestingly enough, FOX is making its own uncertain maneuver by tampering with another classic brand that fans hold dear to their hearts, The Exorcist. Will the small screen adaptation prove more successful than the doomed “Damien,” or is FOX treading where the sharks lurk?

We’ve got a hint of an answer for you, having watching the official pilot…

It’s important, as you prepare to immerse yourself in the world of demons, priests, and exorcisms, that you realize this is no extension of William Friedkin’s classic film. More recognized than William Peter Blatty’s novel, which served as the source material, The Exorcist movie focused on the young Regan, who found herself possessed and subsequently confronted by Father Karras and Father Merrin. That’s not the direction in which FOX has opted to travel.

The pilot gives viewers an introduction to a new troubled family and a brand new pair of priests. The central conflict is – of course – the same, as we see that the Rance family has come under the attack of forces unseen when not occupying the flesh of man. Lined up to battle this evil presence is the promising young priest, Father Tomas, and from the looks of it, rogue priest (who’s had some experience exercising demons) Father Marcus will be joining Tomas in his daunting journey.

Without dishing out too many spoilers, it can certainly be said that Father Marcus has his own demons to deal with, though this element of the story may serve to make the man a far more formidable foe for the nasties that crawl from the depths. Tomas, on the other hand, is still relatively green in the field, but there are hints of something darker in his past as well. Can the two, who really do a fine job of echoing the performances and presence of the late Jason Miller and the still mesmerizing Max von Sydow, successfully join forces and help the Rance family overcome something otherworldly?

Right off the bat we see some stellar aesthetics. There’s a general darkness to the production that feels far more disconcerting than the high-gloss of a production like “Damien,” and that’s the right path to travel with a piece like this. It’s going to be difficult for FOX to convince fans that this is a show they should tune in to, but there’s some great cinematography here and that alone will act as a serious point of allure.

It’s not the only good thing the show has going for it.

Expect to see some stellar work from the young Alfonso (Father Tomas) Herrera and what could potentially prove to be a career-defining showing from Ben Daniels, who plays Father Marcus, though you may recognize him from his work in the 2004 pic Doom. Daniels, in particular, goes complete beast-mode in this episode. We see so much of his character, which is a hardened one to say the least, that it’s virtually impossible to avoid the magnetism he brings to the screen. Performing alongside the likes of Herrera, Geena Davis (where’s she been?) and Alan Ruck (remember Ferris Bueller’s buddy Cameron?), Daniels still shines in wild fashion.

Don’t be shocked to see a little CGI work sprinkled throughout the show; be shocked at how impressive it really is. The production as a whole looks stellar. We’ve got a group of actors that have all the goods required to make a series like “The Exorcist” a legitimate success. The real question lies at the foot of the potential viewers: Will fans openly accept a new Exorcist story, especially one told through the television medium as opposed to a big screen blockbuster?

I’d be an absolute liar if I claimed comfort in the declaration that fans are prepared for this show. I’d also be a liar if I told you they’re not likely to enjoy it. The Exorcist is a picture that truly embodies the idea of sacred ground, but I’ll be damned if there aren’t some great things happening in FOX’s “The Exorcist.” If hardcore fans are willing to extend the show a chance, they may find themselves quite surprised by the package FOX has put together.

“The Exorcist” debuts on Friday, September 23rd.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), the series stars Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Geena Davis (“Commander in Chief,” Thelma & Louise), Alfonso Herrera (“Sense8,” The Chosen), and Ben Daniels (“Flesh and Bone,” “House of Cards”).

“The Exorcist” Episode 1.01 – “Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee” (airs 9/23/16, 9-10pm)
EVIL RETURNS IN THE ALL-NEW SERIES PREMIERE OF “THE EXORCIST” – Something is wrong in the Rance household. Angela Rance (Davis) suspects demonic possession and enlists the help of two priests: the progressive, but naïve Father Tomas Ortega (Herrera) and the broken holy warrior, Father Marcus Keane (Daniels). Together, they will be drawn into a nightmare beyond imagining.

Additional cast members include Alan Ruck as Henry Rance, Brianne Howey as Katherine Rance, Hannah Kasulka as Casey Rance, and Kurt Egyiawan as Father Bennett.

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