On Writing – Why I Like ‘Lost Girl’ (TV Series)

For the past week, I’ve been watching a Canadian series called Lost Girl starring Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo and Kris Holden-Reid.
For the second time.

When I realize something really hooks me (or really doesn’t), I like to analyze the ‘whys’ in order to become a better writer. I wasn’t sure I would write something on this series because it’s a Canadian product (by Showcase) and though I’m proud of my country, I know most of you, dear readers, are American. Well, I don’t mind anymore; Lost Girl is coming to SyFy soon so I’ll wet your appetite and you can keep an eye out for its premiere on your side of the border.
Don’t worry, this is spoiler-free: the information I refer to is either plainly stated or clearly foreseeable from the first episode/synopsis.

I’ll just spend a few lines to say that I absolutely love each and every member of the cast (even though that makes me sound like a little fan girl). They each have a wonderful energy and delightful on-screen chemistry. In fact, if I ever get my Script Frenzy script to pilot phase, I’ll petition to have Ksenia Solo play Mac (I can dream).

But this is supposed to be a post about writing so onward with that.

Cast of Lost Girl

Lost Girl is a supernatural crime drama, which already earns points in my “I like” scale. It follows Bo (Anna Silk, front and center), a succubus, as she strives to live the life she wants amongst the complicated world of her kind (the fae). She fights fae crimes, searches for her origins and struggles with the political nature of the fae world.
This is just a bit of context that is more or less related to the real reason why I like this series so much: the relationship between the characters.

                                        

Taboos aren’t a Big Deal
The very first thing that struck me when I watched Lost Girl was the way it tackles some taboos (relationship-wise) in a natural and flowing way instead of using them as roadblocks.
A succubus is a demon feeding on sexual energy. Already a bit dicey. But the show embraces it, presenting friends with benefits and bisexuality in a refreshing light.
Why? Because in Lost Girl, these things aren’t wrong.
Many shows either shy away from those topics or make it the heart of a personal struggle for the characters.  In my opinion, Lost Girl breaks out of that pattern.
They even go as far as to show that mores disturbing for a Westerner’s mindset (say, a type of fae eating dead people) can actually be a good thing, if we stop to think about it (said fae eats diseased deads, thus controlling epidemics).

                                        

Love is Fate-Free
In a fashion similar to taboos not stopping characters’ relationships, fate isn’t either.
Bo has not one, but two love interests: Dyson (Kris Holden-Reid, far right) and Lauren (Zoie Palmer, upper right). Guess what messes up their relationship? No, not so much of the classic love triangle. No, not the fact that Lauren is a woman.
What causes trouble is… drum roll… who they are!
Each of them have their own lives, desires, motivations and responsibilities, and that’s where the troubles come from. They don’t flirt with each other episodes after episodes and stay apart for weird (read: arbitrary) reasons.
I love Bones and Castle but seriously! Seriously! Can someone ‘de-soap-opera-ize’ these couples, please? Their cat-and-mouse game made sense for one season. Maybe two. The waltz is getting old.
Lost Girl could have fallen in this trap so easily and, so far, the writers (M.A Lovretta, Jeremy Boxen, Emily Andras and Peter Mohan) avoided it with flying colors. They even avoided making Bo’s need for sex the central cause for dissensions: it sets up potential conflicts but the arguments themselves are not about sex.

                                        

Secondary Characters Have Complex Relationships
Though the focus of the series is on Bo, and other characters’ relationship with her, all characters have complex relationships with one another as well. We see these relationships in small snippets and most of them are just hints pointing mysteries yet to unfold, but the tension’s there. The writers obviously know more than I do. And I want to get inside their heads to find out.
All because of a few well crafted lines and actors’ performance.
We get the characters’ motivations. We get the balance of powers’ subtleties. We get more than what’s stated clearly.
Taking Bones and Castle as examples again, secondary characters have light relationships that are either disconnected from the plot or serve the main character’s storyline. It doesn’t make these bad – they’re very entertaining – but the same relationships in Lost Girl run deeper and are integral parts of the world-building.

                                        

Lost Girl is a sparkling lesson in the value of three-dimensional characters. In the end, that’s how the writers avoided the easy ways to create conflict; they made sure each character had strong and nuanced personality/desires/responsibilities. Thanks to that every relationship participates in the ’roundness’ of the show’s universe.
Other critics have picked on the action scenes and while I understand why, it doesn’t bother me at all.
Contrary to 24 (which I analyzed months ago), Lost Girl made me care.

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

18 responses to “On Writing – Why I Like ‘Lost Girl’ (TV Series)

  • Jenn

    I LOVE Lost Girl. It is one of my all time fav shows lol & I haven’t made it past the first season! I’m going to have to find all the seasons & catch up to you! I agree, every character is necessary to the world building & their relationships are all well thought out. And yes, sex is there, but not the central focus. Fantastic series…Thanks for writing the review!

  • ralfast

    I see someone who doesn’t like UST. Good, it’s simply abused to keep a show going.

  • Andrew Carson

    Lost Girl sounds like a great show and I totally agree with you on the soap opera aspect to the flirting between characters in shows such as Bones and Castle I put it down to the fact networks are scared of jumping the shark with their hit shows so resort to avoiding more complex relationships between their main characters which is a shame as it makes that aspect of each of these shows predictable in nature.

    • Aheïla

      It is! I absolutely love it.
      I understand why the network do it. But the sad truth is that it makes people like me stop watching after a while. And if I trust most ratings going down as seasons go, I’m not the only one (ok that may not be the only reason but still).

  • Antonio

    😆 Hey MissThang–I just happened to check you out when you are discussing one of my ‘new’ favorite subjects: LOST GIRL.(grin)After being turned on to the show by another Canadian buddy(MissJenn), I chased down the show’s episodes first on YouTube, then later on DVD. For someone who has watched/read every ‘will they? won’t they’ storyline in TV/literature for 4o+ years, LOST GIRL is a balm to sooth this jaded pop culture’s soul.(laugh)I can’t wait for the second season…

    • Aheïla

      Hey Tony!
      Long time no see! I have to steady my life. *lesigh*
      I’ve seen the rhythm at which you burn through books and series so if you say it’s a balm, I’m sure most people will think the same. 😉
      Thanks for dropping by!

  • Ryan

    I love that you analyze this in a careful, methodical manner and that your views and critique are insightful and engaging. I haven’t seen Lost Girl yet but I want to, thanks to this superb post.

    • Aheïla

      Well thank you! As emotional and theatrical as I might appear, I’m actually known for my analytic look on creative projects. It’s that part of me that enjoys editing so much. 😉

  • RK Charron

    Thank you for the excellent post Aheïla.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your examples and writing.

    All the best,

    RKCharron

    PS- I love your hair.

  • On Writing – White Collar’s First Scene « The Writeaholic's Blog

    […] are as charming as the actors are handsome. But, contrary to the analyses I’ve done of 24 and Lost Girl, I’m not going to talk about what I like or dislike in this show. Instead, I’m going to […]

  • manteltje from Amsterdam

    Great job on tekst! but can I just ad to say that this show is so f*ing HOT omg :blush:

    I know, now I sound like a little fan girl 😛

    So happy that I found this show today, can’t stop watching.

  • james gardner

    It is one of the Best new programs i have seen in a long time. it starts off like FARSCAPE , but this one is a better story line. i enjoy the fact that SYFY ran first and second season together. Lets hope it runs for a long while.

  • william jackson

    I feel that Lost Girl is the best Syfi show out there and can only get better

    • Aheïla

      Hello William and welcome to my blog!

      I tend to agree with you. I like Haven and I’m curious to see where Continuum will go, but no other SyFy show hooked me quite as well as Lost Girl.

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