Poltergeist: The Legacy, to give the show its full title, was produced by the same team that brought us the Outer Limits; indeed there are many similarities with structure and look between the two shows. The 'poltergeist' name was probably a ploy used by the creators to associate the series with the films of the same name, however it is only the word that connects them, as the series is a world away from the films. When the pilot first aired is was with a very adult theme; nudity, gore as well as one of the most horrific births ever put on film guaranteed an immediate audience. Unfortunately though the series proper was rather toned down, trying to up the creep factor by reducing the graphic nature; in part it works well. However had the series stuck to its guns and continued with the full on adult horror it would have been quite something. As it is it very quickly falls into 'monster of the week' territory, as good as those episodes are there is a tendency to concentrate on the 'monster' and very little is mentioned about the people behind the Legacy. This is the shows biggest downfall, though sporadic flashbacks are given to the various members there is little emotional involvement from them, any and all rests firmly on the shoulders of the mother daughter relationship between Rachel and Kat. Add to this the nature of 'monster of the week' there is little feeling of coming to a climax; this is addressed very late in the season with a small story arc spanning three episodes that work so well it irks that the series as a whole could have been so much more had the same been applied.
Enough of that fan rant, because when the show was good it was very, very good. As alluded to earlier there is one particular scene that the show will always be remembered for; the birth of the demon in the pilot episode. It is one of those “I can't believe I've just seen that” moments normally reserved for the most excruciating Japanese exploitation films. I won't say the set is worth getting just for this scene alone, but it's a damn near second. The thing is had the makers not taken the show so seriously it could easily have become silly; but without even so much as a nod or a wink at the camera, the screenplay continues to assault the audience with depraved and ghastly acts and we are drawn into the horror of it all. Although the nature was toned down for the series, the seriousness was not, all the actors played the respective roles with gusto, wringing the full out of the parts, even those woefully under used, such as Robbi Chong, were totally believable in their roles. The only loose cannon would be Patrick Fitzgerald who never seemed comfortable with his hybrid characterisation of a priest come Legacy member. If only he could have kept up the intensity of the pilot episode. However when all is said and done The Legacy is full on entertainment. Even the less than good stories have some redeeming feature in them and this first season was strong enough to win it a further three getting it noticed by critics and fans alike.
It's been a long time coming to DVD but unfortunately the package is not great, even though the series itself is.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.