When Ghost Rider was part of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. a few years ago, someone had the bright idea of using some of their ‘dark properties’ into new TV content. Thus the creation of the so-called Adventure Into Fear MCU spin-off. Per Marvel.com, two series were to kick-off “new live-action series based on fear properties.”
Ghost Rider was to be the first, with Helstrom to be the follow-up series. Hulu announced the two new series in May 2019 along with four Marvel animated series set to roll out in 2020.
In an interview with then Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb with Deadline in 2019 revealed:
“What we love is the notion of how we can present a Marvel hero who was truly feared and truly believed that they were a monster, but that, as the stories go on, they realize, oh, I’m the hero of the story, I’m not the villain of the story. That’s not something we’ve ever done before. So we started with Ghost Rider, we went out and managed to get Gabriel Luna to come back and reproduce the role he played on S.H.I.E.L.D. Then we’re going to do Helstrom, and then there’s a couple more that we haven’t yet revealed to the world.”
Gabriel Luna was to continue his role from AoS as Robbie Reyes but since it was going to Hulu, it could be more mature than what ABC would allow. However, about a month after the interview with Loeb, it was announced that the Ghost Rider series would not go ahead after all. Production on Helstrom was a go for a 2020 release, with other titles to still be announced.
Then in December 2019, it was announced that Marvel TV would be rolled into Marvel Studios and all further development on new shows was stopped. Helstrom was the only survivor of this project. Jeph is looking for a new job.
“Daimon and Ana Helstrom are the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer. The siblings have a complicated dynamic as they track down the terrorizing worst of humanity – each with their attitude and skills.”
I was not aware of the characters from their comic book origins, I did discover that Daimon has worked with Blade, Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider and is/was a member of The Defenders. A quick scan of his bio here reveals that the comics and the show are quite different.
Those familiar with the comic do not care for the show based on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scores. Since I knew nothing about these characters, I was able to watch the ten episodes without the baggage of their history. I quite liked what they produced. If you are a fan of Supernatural, you should enjoy this show as well.
The core of this story is about family. Two children that have Satan as their father and a mother possessed by a demon institutionalized for twenty years. We see a broken group of people work through the horrible events of their lives to stop a threat that could destroy the world. And it may involve their dad.
Daimon is played by British actor Tom Austen (The Royals).
Ana (Satana in the comics) is played by Sydney Lemmon (Fear The Walking Dead).
The mom Victoria is played by Elizabeth Marvel (Manifest, Homeland).
Rounding out the cast is Robert Wisdom (The Wire, Supernatural), June Carryl (Mindhunter), Alain Uy (True Detective), and Ariana Guerra.
If you take one part of The Exorcist TV show, one part of Supernatural, and a dash of Lovecraft imagery, you have Helstrom.
Are there problems? Of course, the show does rely on too many jump scares which seems to be a bad trend in all horror properties these days. The other main issue is the reliance on flashbacks to when the siblings were children and we see glimpses of their personal hell but in short snippets that take place over the entire series. Some of the sub-plots could have been beefed up and some removed as well.
It’s too bad that this will probably be a one and done series due to the studio changes as I would have liked to see more of these characters. Plus they probably would have gotten Ghost Rider to pay a visit. The very last scene in episode ten also shows where this show could go and had a nice surprise appearance by another Supernatural alumni.
Helstrom is currently streaming on Hulu.