Review: Todd and The Book of Pure Evil
I usually ignore the things that Netflix recommends to me. I have enough on my queue at this point that adding more seems excessive. Then a show popped up called “Todd and The Book of Pure Evil,” and with a title like that, I felt it needed to be checked out. A few days and two seasons later and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
“Todd and The Book of Pure Evil” is a half-hour long comedy about a high school pothead named Todd who battles demonic forces with the help of his friends. The formula is simple: The Book of Pure Evil winds up in the hands of someone else in the high school, they read from the book, unleashing some odd demonic force on the school that has to be stopped. As they fight, Todd and his friends try and get the book in their possession, while a small satanic cult is also trying to get it. They defeat the evil, and the book disappears.
If I had to describe the show, I’d say it feels like a bunch of high school, metal obsessed stoners decided to rewrite “Evil Dead,” and have it take place in a high school. The violence in the show is insanely over the top. There’s usually a large body count for every episode, with a lot of blood accompanying it and usually a heavy metal soundtrack in the background. The special effects aren’t perfect, but they’re good enough, this is a Canadian show with a smaller budget than a major network would have.
Thinking it over, my main problem with the show is the characters. They’re all likeable enough, but none of them are really developed. There are five (arguably six, if you count Jason Mewes as the janitor) core characters in the show, and only one gets any real back-story and growth. Every time they get close to giving the characters a little more depth, they gloss over it, or seem to forget it in the next episode. It doesn’t detract from the show, it just feels like they could be doing more, building on the world they created, but instead mainly focus on a monster of the week formula.
While the characters lack some depth, the cast all do a great job acting. This was clearly a show that was a lot of fun to make for them. Some of the dialogue can be stiff at times, but that has more to do with the writing than the actors. Still, the jokes about masturbation and smoking pot are all delivered nicely. Out of everyone, Chris Leavins stands out the most as the guidance counselor, delivering a lot of hilarious lines, stealing almost every scene that he is in.
While the characters don’t grow much, the plot starts to get a little thicker in the second season, going into the history of the book and the cult that’s after it. It’s all well done and leaves you with a lot of questions, which becomes a problem. The show is only two seasons long and was not renewed for a third, however the creators did recently launch a campaign to make an animated feature that will wrap up all the loose ends. It has been successfully funded, so at least viewers won’t be left completely in the dark.
So, is “Todd and The Book of Pure Evil” worth watching? Yes, if you don’t mind the low budget and some of the one dimensional characters. It’s still funny, and over the top, but that is part of the fun. It could have been better with a little more development in the characters, but don’t think about it too much and you’ll enjoy it. Even if you don’t, you’ll still get to hear Jason Mewes sing (then immediately wish you hadn’t). Plus, the show gave me the phrase “Jizz Magician,” which is honestly the gift that keeps on giving. Both seasons are currently available to watch on Netlfix streaming.