Or that’s what we call it anyway. The show’s actual title is Under the Dome, but you watch it and tell me it’s not the dumbest show on television. Better yet, just imagine a sparkly snow globe featuring a little forest of trees. Staring at the glittery plastic falling on more plastic is exactly like watching the Under the Dome in its mesmerizing simplicity, except not as dumb.
When ads for Under the Dome started appearing last year, I was curious. If you’ve been following me here, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m a fan of Stephen King‘s work. Though I hadn’t read his book Under the Dome (2009), I knew that it had been generally well received by critics. The TV ads made it sound mysterious enough – town gets trapped under an invisible dome, hilarity ensues – but it didn’t enter the realm of must-see-TV last summer. And the more ads I saw for it, which seemed to intensify in silliness from week to week, the less interested I became.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been tearing through the first season of Lost Girl, an urban fantasy television show originally airing on Showcase. That’s the Canadian channel that airs one of my favorite sci-fi shows, Continuum — so I was excited to see how Lost Girl played after I heard good things about it.
If you haven’t seen the show, here’s the gist: a woman named Bo, who has spent her life waking up to dead lovers, finds out that she’s actually a succubus — a supernatural being who feeds on chi. In other words, when she gets “hungry,” it means she’s horny — and when she sleeps with someone, she drains them of their life energy. But finding out who she is means meeting a whole world of other supernatural beings, called Fae. And she gets into all kinds of adventures as she tries to figure out who her parents are, where she comes from, and how she can use her powers to help humans rather than hurt them.
I kind of love the show. It reminds me of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars in the sense that it’s a show with female leads who are bold and smart and witty. The show revolves around Bo and her human sidekick, Kenzi, running their own investigative services for people dealing with potentially supernatural problems. It’s fun to watch a duo of women instead of the typical male “buddy” cop show. And like Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, their gender is really beside the point in their episodic dramas.
But seeing Bo run around kicking ass and seducing people to get information out of them — sometimes with a single touch — I started thinking how fun it would be not only to watch it all, but to play it. In a video game.
The power to seduce is often seen as an “evil” power in fantasy stories and comics, and it comes with strong sexist tones. Male heroes like Thor and Batman are faced with seductresses who nearly turn them evil or make complete idiots out of them — all because men are supposedly putty in the hands of a beautiful woman, and a beautiful woman can use the power of sex to manipulate men. I personally hate that trope.
Fortunately, Lost Girl turns that upside down. The main attraction of the show is the fact that protagonist Bo is a succubus trying to use her power for good. Not all succubi she encounters are like her — using seduction for selfish purposes is a lot easier and potentially more fun — but Bo has a good heart and hates hurting people.
One of the issues she faces early on is learning to control her power. She’s used to draining human men and women completely, leaving them dead in bed beside her. Now that she knows she is a succubus, her goal is to learn to control her hunger and take only the energy she needs. She might leave her lovers weak and tired, but at least they’ll still be breathing in the morning.
All of this would be excellent in a video game. First off, the video game could have all kinds of sex appeal, with certain characters available for seduction if the protagonist needs to “drain” information from them — or just create a himbo or something. I could see some players choosing a more “evil” play style that involves leaving bodies everywhere, while other players limit their feeding and use their wits to ask the right questions early on. This type of power would definitely lend itself to a new, creative type of thinking as players try to progress the plot.
The trick for the game developers would be in keeping the game classy. I’m not opposed to the game having a whole lot of sex scenes — that’s half the fun if you’re playing a succubus video game — but the game would feel cheap if players could just run around using powers to create their own porn game. It would help if the game limited how far random seductions can go, with several cinematic sex scenes built in that are actually integral to the plot, optional side quests, or part of a romantic storyline.
Another aspect of Lost Girl that would make a great video game is the divide between Light Fae and Dark Fae. These are two clans that live by very strict rules; they take care of their own, and they don’t cross into each other’s territory whenever they want. If a Light Fae kills a Dark Fae (or vice versa), you can bet it will be problem for the whole community — and depending on who is involved, it might even be considered a declaration of war.
When Bo is “discovered” as a succubus, she first has to pass trials to show that she is worthy of being accepted into one of the two clans. But when she passes these trials, she refuses to choose a side, instead aligning herself with the humans. This makes her a free agent in the Fae world, capable of associating freely with both but having no real protection from either side if something happens to her. Being neutral makes her homeless, at least as far as the Fae are concerned.
The alignment instantly made me think of a video game and how fun it would be to choose sides at the start of the story. Playing as a neutral protagonist would be fun, but I would especially love the replay value in choosing between the two paths and having different stories, follower characters, or side quests based on your decision.
Supernatural mysteries never get old. I’m a big fan of the Lost Girl mythology so far, which features some interesting types of Fae not often depicted in other urban fantasy/supernatural stories. And having Bo and Kenzi working as detectives in this world of weirdos — some of them terrifying — is a blast.
We already have a lot of supernatural mysteries out there. I saw several on the bookshelves earlier today, and they’re what make Fables so fun to read and The Wolf Among Us so fun to play. But each one I read or watch or play has its own flavor, and a succubus video game would already feel refreshing for having a unique female protagonist. Throw in some little-seen supernatural characters involved in some hair-raising unsolved crimes, and you’d have a pretty amazing game. I’d definitely waste a few weeks on it. =)
After childhood I sort of stopped watching television shows. I watched Friends, maybe whatever was on Cartoon Network when I got home from school, and not much else. This carried on throughout my teenage years and into my young adult life. Now, at the age of 24, I find myself in quite the dilemma – I’m actually watching too many shows at once. It’s hard to go from watching nothing to being involved in about five to six television shows all at once, almost all of them having new episodes weekly. This week I’d like to let you all in to my newly found life in the world of television shows, so what have I been watching lately? Continue reading The Gift of Television – What I’ve Been Watching Lately→
Lately I’ve had this impulse to read, or rather, re-read some Stephen King books. I can’t put my finger on why, after so many years, that I suddenly have to read them again; all my head is telling me is that I must. But why Stephen King so specifically? I think it has something to do with libraries.
Throughout the better part of my formative years, my mother made sure that my siblings and I visited our local library regularly. In fact, I can picture the interior of that library as clear as day, with the large checkout counter just inside the door. To the left of that was the reference book section. Beyond that was the fiction and non-fiction room. And downstairs was the kids section. And all of it was enveloped in that post-modern, sterile, and beige environment common to many public libraries of the time. But I didn’t care one bit about the décor – I was all about the books.