Here’s why you should check out The Exorcist TV Show:

The Power of Christ Compels You

The Exorcist is hands down one of the best horror movies ever made. The 1973 film is iconic in its depiction of young Regan’s possession by a demonic entity, and Father Merrin’s struggles to save her from being consumed by dark forces. Since then, its become an iconic staple in horror, with many films attempting to emulate the atmosphere and tone. Some have succeeded, others have fallen by the wayside.

Making a TV show out of one of the best horror films ever made was always going to be a risky move. When Fox announced they’d be creating The Exorcist, it was met with scepticism online. Not only would the show be competing against the original horror’s legacy, it was also given a rather unfavourable time-slot of 9pm on a Friday night.

Unlike the prime-time slot of Sundays and the inevitable “water-cooler” chats on Monday morning, Friday night seemingly set The Exorcist up for failure before it even began. The first episode brought in a sizable chunk of audience though at 2.8 million, and despite a steep drop-off between episodes 1 and 2, the rest of the series actually held firm. The first season managed to just about survive a tough round of cancellations from Fox, with the network having faith that the second would pick up steam.

In fact, when you look at the ratings compared to 2024 numbers for some shows or movie box office takings, The Exorcist did damn well to hold on as long as it did. The second season started with 1.5 million viewers and lost 300k in total between the first and last episode, making it somewhat of a cult watch.

The trouble is, the campaign to try and save The Exorcist from cancellation was overshadowed by two juggernauts – The Expanse and Lucifer. The Expanse was picked up by Amazon in May 2018 while Netflix saved Lucifer in December 2018. Nestled right in the middle of that was The Exorcist, so it’s easy to see why it was overlooked.

So why was The Exorcist such a hidden gem when it aired? What sets it apart from the mass of other horror shows? On the surface, The Exorcist doesn’t actually have much to set it apart from the competition. But what The Exorcist lacks in pure scares, it more than makes up for with atmosphere and character building.

Season 1 is definitely stronger compared to season 2 but they’re held together by the show’s central protagonists, two exorcists by the name of Father Tomas and former priest, Father Marcus. While Tomas has his faith in God tested, coming from a position of belief and unwavering strength in the Almighty, Marcus is disillusioned with God, having not heard His voice for a long time. However, he’s also incredibly experienced with exorcisms and goes in with a gung-ho attitude. He’s the veteran while Tomas is the fresh-faced apprentice. While Tomas is the “good” priest, Marcus in many ways plays off that as the antihero. Think something akin to Wesley’s character in Angel, or Spike in Buffy.

These two find themselves wrapped up in two separate self-contained possession stories. The first centers on Angela Rance and her family. She suspects her daughter Kat has been possessed by a demon and enlists Tomas’ help to exorcise that from her. However, a twist changes everything and as the season progresses, we soon learn how this is connected to what’s come before in this universe.

Meanwhile, season 2 switches the focus to a secluded orphanage where all is not right and one of the kids may be possessed. However, these central stories actually play second fiddle to the far more intriguing character journey that Marcus and Tomas go on. We slowly learn more about their complicated relationship with faith and there are some great moments, especially in season 2 when Tomas and Marcus come to blows.

To further complicate matters, the story also flirts with a much larger, conspiratorial story involving demons and exorcists in an all-out war behind closed curtains. The ideas here are fascinating to see and it’s a pity that this show didn’t get a chance to explore that in more detail. In fact, the only other horror that kinda comes close to this level of conspiracy with the church is 30 Coins. Even with the cliffhanger at the end of season 2, it’s clear that this series has been created with a lot of love.

There’s a deep understanding in this that true horror doesn’t manifest itself in jump scares every 5 minutes. The dread-inducing, methodically paced atmosphere on display here helps the show stand above others in this genre. And it’s also worth noting that there’s a minimal amount of blood too.

The acting all round is great although it’s hard not to think that the actors are very much hamming it up in season 2 with the way the possessions devolve into screaming and shouting “the power of Christ compels you!” every 5 minutes. Like any show, there are of course drawbacks and you can see that at times with the writing at the end of seasons 1 and 2. Both drag their heels a bit and feel like an 8 episode run would have worked a lot more effectively alongside a much tighter screenplay, especially with season 2. There’s one episode here where we basically spend the whole time running about inside Tomas’ head within visions and it just feels like a waste of time.

But even with those gripes, The Exorcist is a solid watch. It’s well written for the most part, the overarching plot is intriguing and the character dynamics make you want to see what happens next. The themes around faith and religion are handled well, with both Tomas and Marcus a fascinating display of yin and yang as they bounce off or butt heads with one another over their wavering faith. If you’re looking for a good horror series to watch, and don’t mind a cliffhanger ending, The Exorcist is definitely worth checking out.

Have you watched The Exorcist as well? Do you recommend this one? Let us know in the comments!

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