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Cops and Monsters Review

Cops and Monsters is a crowdfunded award winning web series which follows a Paranormal Investigation Team based in Scotland as they attempt to police the supernatural community. Today I’ll be reviewing the six episodes that make up the first season.

The New Recruit
Opens with a training sequence of sorts, that blends perfectly into the intro for the show, and I’ll admit I really liked it, not overly produced and artsy, instead just honest and appealing. They do an excellent job of giving you the gist of the characters really quickly, and you can already feel the subtle world building of this show without the need for aggressive exposition. This seems like it could really take off, it just has a certain quality, whether it’s just the story or the actors but it has something that I feel just innately hooks the viewer. You finish up the episode invested in Maya Hedges (Ellen Patterson) and her journey as she joins PITS.

I give this episode a 3/5

Preparing The Weapon
The previous episode was an excellent introduction, and it really set you up to back the main character, this episode takes up back five years, sometimes flashbacks and things like that can be heavy handed or overused, but I think in this case it was executed perfectly. You really get the sense after watching this episode that the monsters are beginning to crawl out of the woodwork. Also super cool, Caitlin Blackwood, who you’ll recognise as the young Amelia Pond from Doctor Who starred in this episode as the young werewolf Alexis. It was both strange and nice to see her in this role and showed that Cops and Monsters has the potential to pull in talent from all over. I’ve also been told this isn’t the only famous face you’ll see throughout the series. Not a lot happens in this episode in the grand scheme of things, its mostly dialogue but it’s truly impressive, we again get a clear picture of the characters on screen, and all of that talking builds throughout the episode. We learn a lot in this episode and like a good villain, the sinister Cult of Many Faces (Billy Kirkwood) is equal parts charming and mad.

I give this episode a 3/5

In Crimson
We are back to the present for this episode and after a steamy love scene that ends rather tragically and not just because the girl so wasn’t interested in cuddling afterwards. So we join PITS (Paranormal Investigation Team Scotland) as they investigate another murder, that seems to be the handiwork of what they’ve dubbed the Lycan A2o2. The murder scene has a ghastly, and I’m not going to lie, super cool Bloody smiley face. But Maya ditches the crime scene to go for a coffee date with her aunty, where we get to see another side to her character. For someone that was so devoted to getting the job though I’m not sure about making her the kind of person to ditches work on a whim and still makes sloppy mistakes, we saw how driven and competent she was then after a quick flashback episode she seems different.  But I suppose people aren’t just one thing and she’s obviously still focused on finding out about her parents, and dialogue from the Minister of Justice (Chris Bain) leads us to believe that maybe she was just having an off day. All in all though I liked this episode it was rich in background and just as a little visual detail I really liked the sign in the background saying ‘Fangs Welcome’.

I give this episode a 3/5

Revolution in a Teacup
I already liked this because the title is so evocative, and it wasn’t let down it opened with a recap of the most important parts of the first episode. Rewatching those highlight though I did have a thought, it would appear that Vampires (although I don’t know if we’ve seen any yet) and Werewolves are regulated but otherwise free and legal citizens but Zombies aren’t? She gunned down five in what amounted to a training exercise to test her mettle. I hope we see an episode in the future that lets you know they are mindless shambling monsters, more like stereotypical zombies à la Walking Dead, 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead because I’d hate to think that other than being undead they were thinking and feeling people à la In the Flesh. But enough conjecture, on with reviewing this actual episode. I really like the Chief (Simon Weir), he seemed a bit officious in the first episode but he seems far more likeable in this episode. We finally get to meet a vampire, and a Queen no less. I instantly liked her, she seemed on the ball and a little bit saucy. We also get to see Alexis all grown up, no longer young Amelia Pond but a proper woman…and a killer as well come to mention it. We get to see her humanity, and it leaves the door open for the potential to save her, there’s nothing she’d done that she can’t come back from, and some of the best stories are about Redemption. Next we find out more about the Cult of Many Faces which I was especially excited about, and we see more of his warped personality, and his overarching plans. This episode was the first one that went over the 20 minute mark and it was positively packed full of stuff, and it was this episode that I really started to get a feel for the show.

I give this episode a 4/5

Fight the Bite
I love the idea of a supernatural support group, and I like how diverse the group is, and we get to see Alexis again straddling the line between humanity and being a monster. Also Gordo the Zombie on the support group leads me to believe that Zombies aren’t necessarily monsters either so I’m really starting to think that Maya just straight up murdered some people, Zombie or otherwise. But I feel like I’m fixating on that so again back to the review. I like the idea of a Vampire PR specialist, you live for hundreds of years, theoretically in that time probably killed someone even by accident, so you learn how to spin the story and take control of the narrative, they are the ideal people for that type of job. The Cult of Many Faces is exactly the type of villain that I connect with, theatrical and a bit mental, with a head of wild hair, okay so I just described Loki but the point still stands that he’s a great bad guy. Also he’s dangerous for sure but The Cult of Many Faces doesn’t seem anywhere near as threatening as the Minister of Justice.

I give this episode a 4/5

Inhuman Nature
Has some strong interaction between Martin Carmichael (Kenny Boyle) and the grown up Alexis (Innes Anderson) where she tries to get him to give up his humanity, we learn alot about both characters, and find out that Martin has strong moral fibre and that Alexis is longing for a place to belong and she desperately wants to be free, free from judgement, free from her instincts, free from everyone. This episode I got a real air of Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It from Chief Norris Fletcher, especially when he dismisses Alicia Hughes (Leona Vaughan) the PR Vampire. We finally have some resolution to what happened to Maya’s parents and it was actually pretty surprising. I also like that The Cult of Many Faces was so relaxed and sure of himself during his entire interaction with Maya. Also it was so weird seeing the younger version of himself, not a huge change but it was still a massive difference, and in one swoop he makes the shift from just someone who wants chaos to someone who was driven mad by torture and wanted revenge. Especially working to a tight budget I really do admire the special effects in this show. Its nice that the there was something of a happy ending to the main storyline, and it left things open enough to be picked up again or tied it up well enough that if/when they got a second season they had something to go on.

I give this episode a 3/5

Trapped
Is a really strong episode, and it focuses on Jenny (Katrina Bryan) the leader of the supernatural support group ‘Fight the Bite’ and Astrid Bennett (Joanna Harte) a previously unseen member of the PITS team. I’m really glad we got to see Jenny again, even from the brief scene in the fifth episode I knew I’d like her and wanted to see more. Also the Werewolf Hunter Karis Jones (Victoria Gibson) was pretty strong as a character, although especially after all the dialogue and back and forth I was hoping for something a little more climactic, but it was still a nice little vignette of some background characters.

I give this episode a 5/5

Astrid’s Secret

This is a spin-off episode and it’s always nice when you get to explore another side to the story, you come away from this episode, which I feel was by far the most emotionally impactful episode with a greater feel for the Cops and Monsters universe. It shows you the rich potential for stories, and you get to see what goes on in the real lives of the PITS officers. Especially coming straight off the previous episode where we are introduced to Astrid, this is particular intense. And again like the conclusion of the main storyline it ends with…something of a happy ending. As Norris puts it ‘At least they can be together’.

I give this episode a 5/5

And to finish of this episode by episode review I want to talk a little about the show as a whole, If I’m honest it’s a little rough around the edges but It’s thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless and you do get invested in the story and the characters, and I’m really excited to see where they go with it next season. You can find out more about the series  by checking out their website or by following them on Facebook and Twitter, and lastly you can watch the series for yourself on Amazon.

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org

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