You know, just once I’d like to watch a drama where the lead teen isn’t a moody little brooding so-and-so carrying the world’s biggest chip on his shoulder and dreaming of getting down and dirty with his step-sister, (if you’re listening script writers).
The premise of HIM (the nameless teen played by newcomer Fionn Whitehead) is quite an interesting one; the world of the supernatural brought into modern suburbia – there’s elements of the US smash Heroes but with fewer special effects and more of a Grange Hill style low-budget set.
The problem is that at the moment the kid is not very likeable. He comes across as a bit of selfish little git; throwing up the bonnet of his Dad’s car and causing him to swerve on the motorway whilst his new born sibling is in the back seat next to him; creeping out his heavily pregnant step mum with his odd, staring eyes and communicative grunts.
The only people who seem to genuinely like Him, are step sister Fiona, who quickly falls for his school bus magic tricks, and His grandmother (Susan Jameson). Gran offers the first real interesting vibes of this so-so drama, suggesting that the would be hero/psycho has inherited a family trait from his grandfather and that he must use his powers for good or suffer the tragic consequences. It’s all very X-Men, isn’t it? In fact, at some points I kept expecting knives to appear from His knuckles but no, there’s no kick-ass action here just quiet brooding.
For a mid-week drama, it’s not bad, but that’s just it, not bad. It didn’t leave me desperate for more or particularly hooked, mostly because I’m not entirely sure what Him is: if this is a supernatural tale of woe then I need more than a few scenes of floating household items to convince me. On the flip side, if this is a family drama exploring the impact of our modern-day, slapdash approach to marriage and parenthood then there’s potential.
In the UK 230,000 couples go through divorce; many go on to form blended families. This issue was handled nicely in ITV’s 2008 drama The Children, putting it at the centre of a murder case; but it’d be interesting to see things entirely through the children’s eyes rather than tying this important issue up in the knots of ghostly goings-on.
The performances all round are fine; newcomer Whitehead does a good job and there’s a solid turn from Patrick Robinson (Casualty) as step-father Victor. I’m a big fan of Katherine Kelly but she doesn’t seem to have much to do here other than carry around the baby, speak softly and wear faded-jean shirts.
I’ll probably tune in to episode 2 of Him, but then again, the BBC’s infinitely more gripping The Missing airs at the same time, so unless I’m struggling for entertainment one evening, I probably won’t be loading up ITVPlayer.
- Aired on ITV1, October 19 2016 at 21:00.