Free Spooks on YouTube: Apparitions

Are you looking for something spooky to watch as we wind our way down to Halloween, but find yourself bored by the usual fare of cheesy monster movies or gross slasher flicks? Maybe you’re in the mood for something a little more thoughtful; a little more substantial, perhaps? Let me show you something interesting.

Apparitions is a BBC miniseries about a Catholic exorcist who finds himself at the center of a satanic intrigue that reaches to the Vatican and threatens the world itself. Despite the trite plot synopsis, the show has some of the most moving and human characters I’ve seen on television for some time, and possibly the best portrayal of a Catholic priest I’ve ever seen outside of the Exorcist.

Apparitions is a dark program that deals with gruesome acts of violence and serious, adult topics. The show uses tropes of conservative Catholicism to frame a storyline of suspense and horror. By and large, it gets the details right. Religion is treated respectfully by the show, but by almost none of the characters in it, as our exorcist is shown to operate in a hostile society devoid of real religious feeling.

Most conservative Catholics would be interested to see treated on a primetime dramatic miniseries such topics as Piux XII, Fatima, abortion, Mother Theresa, St. Maria Goretti, homosexuality, faithless nuns, satanism in the Vatican and more, all of which play major roles in the development of the story. But this is not a simple PSA for the Church; the plot lines are too clever. Things are often not as they seem. The writers know how to challenge and provoke thought.

Over the space of six hours Apparitions manages to create some incredibly compelling character portraits. One wonders what they might have done had the series been renewed.

Apparitions is a somber and foreboding series that nevertheless manages to connect with you and leave you wanting more. It has strong religious themes and as such I couldn’t imagine this being run in the States. I recommend you watch it.