If you have not discovered the Canadian comedy Todd & The Book of Pure Evil yet, I highly recommend it. It is a bit like early Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a horror comedy set in a school where a gang of kids, including a “chosen” one, battle monsters and the forces of evil. It’s definitely hyper reality, rather than realistic, but it is incredibly enjoyable and very funny with a thoroughly charming cast.
The Complete Second Season, now available on a two-disc DVD set, picks up right where season one left off. Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins, Traders) is now completely a villain, after slaying his father and taking over the Satanic cult at the old folks’ home. Atticus seeks The Book of Pure Evil, believing that perhaps he can be the Pure Evil One and control the world, but his greatest obstacle is his own ineptitude.
Todd (Alex House, Dark Oracle), meanwhile, whom most believe will be the Pure Evil One, tries to avoid his fate with the help of his crush, Jenny (Maggie Castle, The Time Traveler’s Wife), his best friend, Curtis (Bill Turnbull, Being Erica), Curtis’ girlfriend, Hannah (Melanie Leishman, Detentionaire), and janitor / wise sage Jimmy (Jason Mewes, Jay of Jay and Silent Bob). Together, they uncover pieces of the prophecy, learn about The Book’s past, and fight the disaster of the week that befalls Crowley High.
Season two grows more irreverent than the first. Not only is there the general acknowledgement by the student body that their school is dangerous, but people seem to grow callous to the death going on all around them. It’s a tongue-in-cheek style humor that builds upon itself with recurring gags and returning supporting players.
But there is also more depth among the central players. Todd’s feelings for Jenny grow more complex, and while a tad predictable in the way that it plays out, there is actual movement and addressing of the tension. Hannah and Curtis feel like a very chaste, sweet couple, but we also see their sexy side. Several of the characters learn about themselves, and a few are forced to relive past mistakes. We find out about the origin of the trio (Dan Petronijevic, Steve Arbuckle, and Norman Yeung). And I like what the actors are are all doing immensely, especially Leishman, who seems to have the most range to play with this season.
Among the installments in this 13-episode second year are: “Daddy Tissue,” which reveals just what kind of person Jenny’s father really is; “Fisting Fantasy,” in which the gang gets sucked into a video game that seems to be a cross between their fantasy-themed favorite and the high school; “Loser Generated Content,” where A/V club members direct others’ lives; “2 Girls, 1 Tongue,” the sequel to last year’s musical episode, with even more singing this time, when Charlotte (Angela Jill Guingcangco) returns and swaps bodies with Hannah; “The Toddyssey,” in which Todd visits a post-apocalyptic future; and “Black Tie Showdown,” the tragic and exciting season finale, which ties up some loose ends, and opens up a couple of huge new doors.
Although Todd & The Book of Pure Evil will not get a third season, the show’s creators did raise more than $120,000 in an Indiegogo campaign and are making an animated film. So fear not that things end on a cliffhanger, as we will get closure next spring, and if you’re worried about making a big time commitment, you will be able to watch this whole series without one, which the end so near.
There are quite a few features, though none I feel are particularly stand out. Among the common inclusions are audio commentaries on several episodes, deleted and extended scenes and musical numbers, and a blooper reel. But even the featurettes, which include a look at some of the special effects and an “In Memoriam” for the deceased characters, sound cool, but are too short, not revealing all that much. If they were lengthened considerably, they could be interesting, but fail in their current incarnation. With a series that attracts a cult following, it would be nice if some of the extras served that segment of viewer, though these are fluff and do not.
Todd & The Book of Pure Evil The Complete Second Season is available now.