October 2, 2016

TV Review: The Exorcist, Pilot Episode


SUBMITTED BY: An Anonymous commenter who seemed to really like the first episode.

It's not like remakes are new or anything, but lately it seems as if they're remaking everything. Movies are one thing, but when it comes to TV shows, creators at least have a chance to stretch their wings and give the stories that they're "re-telling" room to breathe.

When we heard that FOX was making The Exorcist into a TV show, we had the same reaction that we always do when it comes to remakes: "Of course they're remaking it, why wouldn't they?" Add to that the fact that The Exorcist is an excellent and highly-nuanced movie that no one has come close to duplicating over the past 40+ years since its release, and it sounded even worse.

We just knew that they'd make it safe and glossy, and fill it with plenty of diversity and whatever else the Twitter voices of the moment were demanding. Diversity is a wonderful thing, but I truly had visions of them saying "Let's remake The Exorcist, only with a woman exorcist this time!" simply because that's what people "want."

Well, we watched episode 1 of The Exorcist, and were really pleasantly surprised at how great it turned out. It's nothing close to the movie, mind you, but it did its own thing pretty well, and we're excited to see more.

Father Tomas is a priest who has himself a small Parrish in Chicago. He's an up-and-comer in the priest world (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) and he loves his work. He's also plagued by terrifying dreams of another priest, Father Keane, performing an exorcism on a little boy in Mexico.

Then we have Angela, head of the Rance family. Her husband is in the beginning stages of dementia, and the eldest of her two daughters (Kat and Angela), is a handful herself; Kat is moody and troubled ever since being in a car accident that claimed the life of her best friend. Of course this leads Angela to believe that something spooky is going on in the house (?!?), and so she goes to Father Tomas for help.

To avoid spoiling the episode, let's just say that from here on out Father Tomas goes to see Kat to determine whether or not she's got a Demon inside of her, and then is driven to seek out Father Keane to help him with the possessed Rance daughter. 

The first episode of The Exorcist was far better than we thought it would be. I was fully expecting to turn off the TV in disgust and not have any desire whatsoever to come back for Episode 2, but And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee did enough right to keep me interested.

I daresay it was even a good hour of TV.

There was an underlying tone of impending supernatural doom throughout the episode that played well; the scene in the attic was creepy, and the twist unexpected; the exorcism scenes, even though they were dreams/forced flashbacks, were done really well; and the cast all did a solid job with their roles. Their characters were all a bit cookie-cutter, and some of them came off as predictably stiff, but the actors made them likable. Geena Davis and Ben Daniels were the standouts.

That's not to say that the episode didn't have its issues. They crammed an awful lot of backstory into 43-minutes, which made some of it feel rushed. The back and forth between the two priest's worlds never really allowed us to get to know either of them enough to really care about their plight. Same goes for the Rance family; we get that they have it rough, but they kinda felt like caricatures to me. Also, I really hope that they don't rely on cheap jump-scares going forward. The show is solid enough to get by without that kind of crap.

The first episode did a great job of setting an eerie tone though, and we're definitely interested to see where the story goes from here.

FOX has a chance to do something really special with this TV series. We're not expecting it to push boundaries like Hannibal did, but if the first episode is any indication, they aren't exactly going to play it safe like the big networks tend to do with their hour-long dramas either. Let's just hope that going forward, FOX takes the time to let the story unfold naturally, let the characters grow, and cut out the damn jump-scares.

We liked the first episode, and if you have yet to see it, you should give it a look.


The Exorcist airs Friday nights at 9, on FOX.

Both of these girls are possessed... by beauty.


  1. If they can even come close to what Hannibal was, then it was a pretty good shot. I can't believe they canceled that show, although it must have cost them a small fortune to produce all those effects and scenes.

    On another note, I am watching 'The Windmill Massacre' right now, and it's almost finished. I can almost guarantee that it wasn't original title, but whatever. Although it has some usual tropes, it def has some new and interesting scenes. I've never seen a windmill in a horror movie before.

  2. So I'm halfway through the first episode. So far it looks good. But I have one problem that is driving me nuts. Geena Davis?? Alan Ruck?? Don't get me wrong, they are top notch actors, but they are more than old enough to be these kids grandparents. Probably even great grand parents if you do the math. Yeah, she is 60, so 20+20+20, easily a great grandparent. IDK, it's kinds throwing me off, but what the heck, I'll keep going.

  3. I can't remember having seen a more poorly written, lazy hour of television in a long, long time. The pilot is completely awful.

    Then, because I'm a nice guy, I decided to give it a second chance and the second episode is somehow worse than the first. It's shocking how lazy and poorly written this show is. Just amazing.

    1. I think JS might have been a bit nicer on this one than usual.
      I really don't think they should have even began to even talk about anything having to do with the demon. Being it was a TV show and all, they should have took it's time and built up tension. It's almost as if they tried to cram in as much as possible to bring back the audience. We know that TV can give us some serious horror, so they really had to step up the bar on this seeing how it's based on something so iconic.

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  4. I haven't seen the original Exorcist movie so I get to enjoy the show on its own without having to compare it to its roots and I enjoying it so far. After episode 5, I think it obliged me to go see the movie (which I'll probably will soon). I'd like to know more about Raegan's backstory. But this show really gives me the creeps and that I hope that they could sustain it. I thought I've seen enough possession movies but the exorcism with the kid in Mexico was awesome. It wasn't funny like most possessions scenes I've seen before. Lol

  5. Was father Thomas eating out poor 17 year old Casey's vagina? dam catholics did it again.