A Few TV Thoughts

An Introduction to Bedlam

Or Theo James Big Break!

We go to see movies because we love to delve into stories and get to know new people. And that includes new actors. With the release of the movie adaption for the mega hit book series Divergent we get up close and personal with Theo James who portrays the hot Dauntless hero, Four. While Divergent thrust Theo James into the spotlight his big acting break came with a British television show, Bedlam.

Bedlam - Theo James Eyes

Bedlam is a ghostly series set around Bedlam Heights — a hip, newly renovated apartment building. People are slowly moving in excited about their new home unaware of its dark past. The conversion of the former insane asylum has awakened the ghosts of its violent history. These spirits wish to reclaim what’s theirs and seek revenge on those who have wronged them – the Bettany family.

Kate, a direct descendant of the people who ran the former asylum for generations, lives and works in Bedlam Heights. Her father, Warren, still owns the property, and Kate is helping him fill the remaining vacant apartments. She shares her apartment with roommates Ryan and Molly, but only with the unexpected arrival of Kate’s adopted cousin, Jed, are they able to uncover the terrifying secrets of the old hospital.

The hauntings that follow prove that sometimes when you scratch away the surface, things aren’t always what they seem.

The opener to the first episode intrigued me. Jed knew what he was about and approached it with a healthy dose of fear but boldness and bravery as well. I found him very relatable as he approached each mystery much the way I would. Theo James as Jed goes a long way to legitimizing the whole series. James has a mysterious quality that he puts to good effect. And Jed is aware of the real problems haunting Bedlam Heights right from the beginning. Not that Kate or her father would believe him!

That’s because his family sent him to an institution to deal with the ghosts and visions of the past he’s been plagued by. Now with a history of mental illness and all too aware they can send him back he’s not about to doom his freedom. Yes, his family has trust problems. We need this as we spend much of the time crammed into the corner of our couch screaming, “It’s right there! Behind you! Just open your eyes and save yourself!”

One moment in the series though really made the show click for me. Jed finds out his mother was a patient at Bedlam Heights Hospital and he’d been born there. A blue baby he’d been dead for two minutes before they’d revived him. Just like for me, it all clicked for him. Up until then he’d been fighting the feelings he should stay and see this through. Now he knows he has no choice, not if he wants to live with himself later.

 photo Bedlam-Cast_zps0e25b2d0.jpg

I didn’t particularly like Charlotte Salt’s Kate Bettany. I believe though Kate was meant to be “the one” you hate. Nevertheless they developed her not at an evil antagonist, etc. but with equally good traits as bad ones. In these modern times writers are increasingly exposing their audience to more amoral people as our society degrades. I appreciate this. For this reason I’m fascinated by the choices Kate makes, swinging between sensible and illogical, moral and selfish. And the conflict with her father, Warren keeps dragging her back into her bad choices every time she tries to escape them.

Molly is the flake of the group – the best instigator of plot with the exception of new random residents on for a guest spot and many a time the link between said guests and Jed. I believe Ashley Madekwe who plays her does a great job making us believe her character, who my writer’s mind says is just a writer’s crutch. Still the skill to make such a character work is to be applauded. She’s a little lost and needy, looking for what the other characters want too but being more obvious about it.

Ryan is a great sidekick. As a modern theme I appreciate his mutable sexuality and it feels like a part of the character rather than a gimmick – which it still can be – yet it still works. I liked his brother’s story and how it won him over to Jed’s side rather than Kate’s family. I don’t think he’s more open to it because he’s gay, though the implication is there. I think that’s just part of Ryan’s character. As the computer geek and as Jed’s much needed researcher he works. Will Young plain works.

Bedlam is a little haunting and a touch scary for those of us who don’t regularly visit horror land. It has characters – and actors – we want to root for. Read more about the incredible showing in Bedlam here and the writings great pacing here.

Did you see Bedlam series 1? Are you a fan of Theo James? Will you search out Bedlam knowing he’s in it? Do you watch movies and television for characters or plot?

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1 thought on “An Introduction to Bedlam”

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