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An American student named Randi Wallace travels to England in order to
study mythology under British professor Doctor Ian Matheson. Whilst
ghost-hunting out on the moors, she is attacked and bitten by a savage
animal. At the next full moon she turns into a werewolf, and manages to
convince her new professor of her condition. Together the two of them
begin to investigate various supernatural occurrences, in order to
explore mythology and attempt to find a cure for Randi's curse ...
As you can see, thankfully this series shares very little in common with the dull 1940's movie She-Wolf of London from which it takes it's name. It actually seems much more inspired by John Landis' classic 1981 horror movie An American Werewolf in London, not only with it's very similar storyline but also with it's darkly humorous approach to the standard supernatural horror formula. It certainly showed great promise in some areas, but unfortunately the English financial backers for the show dropped out after four months due to some poorly-written episodes. The creators were brave enough to move the show over to Los Angeles for six more episodes and retitle it "Love and Curses", but after this the series was soon cancelled altogether.
Considering the series is titled "She-Wolf of London", few of the episodes are actually focused on lycanthropy, and some don't feature the werewolf at all. Mostly Randi and Ian just investigate various supernatural occurrences, such as ghosts and zombies and nymphomaniac sex demons ... Randi is, however, constantly on the look-out for a cure to her condition, even in the most unlikely places. In the "London" episodes, Ian's extended family provide both comic relief and serve as key characters on occasion, and the "will they, won't they" relationship between teacher and student is prominent all the time, sometimes charming and sometimes irritating. Some have argued that "She-Wolf" was heavily influenced by "The Incredible Hulk" television series, but to me it seems more likely that it was simply following after Frank Lupo's Werewolf, which was certainly influenced by that show.
Kate Hodge gives a peculiar, quirky performance as Randi, which can become a little annoying at times but for the most part she's good. She seems more interested in the comic aspects of the series rather than the horror or the drama elements. Neil Dickson, meanwhile, is a superb actor who you may or may not remember for his excellent portrayal of every schoolboy's favourite World War One pilot in Biggles : Adventures in Time. Okay, so you probably won't. But anyway, he's perfectly cast as the stuffy, charming professor (a kind of proto-"Giles" character, if you will -- this series seems a strong predecessor for "Buffy"), and as long as the script is good he is a reliable performer.
The series isn't nearly as good as it could have been, but aside from certain episodes it's certainly not as bad as some would have you believe. The redeeming quality of the series is it's odd and original mix of creepiness and corny humour. Overall it was a promising blend of horror and comedy, with some truly excellent episodes, and it's a great shame what ultimately became of it.
A short-lived program for a short-lived network, She-Wolf began as
serious horror, set in London. As episodes progressed, the writers
started sprinkling in a little humor. Midway through its run, it
settled on a mixture of comedy and Gothic horror that would later see
huge success in Joss Wheadon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
The formula didn't last long - budget cuts and network fiddling lead to retooling the show, now a comedy based in Los Angeles. It retained the supernatural themes, but not the serious horror. The final third of its run had a noticeable drop in production value, and while those episodes could at best be described as silly, they were also very, VERY funny.
A flawed program, but influential and entertaining.
There was a second season of this series, called "Love and Curses" where Randi and the professor moved to the states and he hosted a television should about mythology and the supernatural which they always ended up investigating or battling. No listing on here for that, someone who has the knowledge should add it. My husband I used to watch this show while we were in college and then again on the Sci Fi channel when they did their limited series collection show -- that was a great show! They should bring it back and show all those odd limited shows again. "She-Wolf of London" was campy but as someone who now has a PhD minor in folklore it was also interesting to see them play with legends, myths and folktales.
A funny, clever and wonderfully atmospheric show that deserved much
attention than it originally received. It had an interesting quality that
was very reminiscent of some of the better "Hammer Studio" horror films of
the sixties and seventies. The humor of this show had a similarity to that
on "The Avengers". "She Wolf of London" also possessed wonderful dialogue
filled with double entendres and spoken by a really excellent cast. The
leads had great rapport and the supporting players were unusually good.
The change of name to "Love &Curses" and setting to LA was a huge mistake and the loss of the distinctly English atmosphere hurt the show. However, even those episodes are funny, well written and well acted.
Watch it if you can!
When I first spotted this series i was 8 years old. The first episodes were
scary and spooky ( i was not allowed to watch the series in the beginning)
but in the end, the whole series turned into a comedy. Still it was a very
good show. I remember scenes like Randi turning into a werewolf in the wc
an airplane or Ian turning into a zombie. The show was also very audacious
(with gore, violence and sexuality) but just the right kind of way. All in
all, very good series and i hope it's going to re-run here in Finland. I
wished it would have lived longer... Definitely a cult-show.
And by the way, Kate Hodge was (and still is) soooo sweet. :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
She-Wolf of London was screened in the UK during the early Nineties. I
watched it at the time, and while it was far from brilliant, I found it
to be enjoyable. It was an American/British co-production, filmed in
England with a mostly British cast. American actress Kate Hodge played
Randi Wallace, a student who was studying mythology and folklore at a
London university under Professor Ian Matheson (played by Brit actor
Neil Dickson). In the first episode, while camping out on the moors
near London (!), Randi is attacked & mauled by a large wild creature.
When the next full moon comes along, she transforms into a ferocious
werewolf in front of Ian, who luckily escapes unharmed. Promising to
help her find a cure, he arranges for Randi to lodge with his parents,
where she joins the other permanent house-guest, Ian's young America
cousin Julian. Subsequent episodes had Ian and Randi encounter various
supernatural threats while seeking a cure for the latter's condition.
Every time the full moon rolled round, Ian chained Randi to the wall in
his parents' cellar (incidentally, Randi in werewolf-form was played by
Diane Youdale, who later became Jet in the television game-show
Despite the English setting and cast, I've always assumed that She-Wolf's writers were American, because one notable aspect of the series was it's condescending attitude towards both Britain and it's people. The UK was portrayed as a slightly pathetic and backward little country, full of cozy picture-postcard villages and quaint Dickensian towns populated by colourful eccentrics. This was best summed up in an early episode when Julian, seated at breakfast, gazes round at his English relatives and sneers with contempt & disbelief: "How did you people ever have an empire?"
The writers also displayed an eye-opening lack of knowledge and regard about British history. For example, an episode entitled 'The Juggler' concerns an ancient pagan demon who only becomes active between Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night ignoring the fact that the latter occasion has only existed for a few hundred years. And in another episode 'The Wild Hunt', the writers would have us believe that in the late 19th century, large sections of the English countrywide were openly ruled by evil wizards (!).
The scripts also contained other problems: the supernatural elements were often as subtle as a sledgehammer, and the series also tended to concentrate too much on the comic relief, with the humour quite broad. However, one memorable aspect of the show was it's frank and open attitude to sex, almost unique for a genre series at the time, with sexual themes (even if only of the 'nudge nudge wink wink' variety) appearing in the majority of episodes.
However, after fourteen episodes had been completed, the British backers pulled out. Undaunted, the American producers decamped back to the States and immediately started filming a spin-off series called Love & Curses, in which Randi and Ian left England and moved to Los Angeles. While continuing to look for a cure, they both worked on a TV chat show about the paranormal Ian as the host, Randi as a production assistant. There were other changes: previously there had been a spark of attraction between Ian and Randi, but they were just good friends. However, in Love & Curses they immediately became a couple. Randi's appearance when in werewolf-form was also redesigned considerably, and not for the better. However, the major difference was in the tone of the new series. While some of the episodes of She-Wolf were based around some unlikely or faintly ridiculous concepts, the story lines on Love & Curses were all especially ludicrous, and it was clear that the producers had decided to play the series' premise for laughs. Unsurprisingly, Love & Curses only lasted six episodes.
Several episodes of She-Wolf of London were directed by Brian Grant, who later created another British horror/fantasy series - Hex.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I loved She Wolf of London. The main characters had fantastic chemistry and the stories though sometimes campy weren't silly. The showed gelled incredibly well when it was over in Europe. Unfortunately after the European backers dropped out and I suspect most of the creative team went as well the show lost it's intelligence and turned into a crazy spoof of itself. The main storyline about Ian and Randi falling in love and never being able to consummate their relationship because of her "curse" was played up in Love and Curses, but the resolution fell flat when the (and I'm assuming here) American writers wrote around the curse and put them together...which turned the series into Moonlighting after David and Maddie got together. Or like Lois and Clark The New Adventures of Superman when Clark and Lois got together. With the main plot device gone...there was nowhere else for them to go.
She-Wolf of London is without a doubt my favorite television series of
all time. Everything about the show was wonderful: the writing, acting,
horror, and humor. The chemistry between the lead characters (Ian and
Randi) is wonderful, and is one of the series' greatest strengths.
Unfortunately, the series was short-lived because it aired in the early
days of syndicated television (with resulting limited viewing audience
size) and because it was so ahead of its time in a way that audiences
were not ready for (It is similar in many ways to the much later
television series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) There were also
obviously creative differences between the creators and producers of
the series (as is apparent by many of the scripts and story
lines--inside jokes that are thinly veiled).
In spite of the changes in series location and format and supporting cast that occur, the twenty existing episodes of this series are excellent and perfect just as they are. So perhaps it is a good thing after all that the series didn't last very long (sometimes less is more). Reminds me of the Firefly television series, in that it was an excellent series that ended much too soon, and yet is outstanding and memorable anyway.
It is surprising that the series is not available commercially on DVDs. Maybe one day it will be. Until then, I'll have to be content watching my own archived DVD-R recordings of the show that I recorded from the Sci-Fi channel years ago when the series was last aired in re-runs. But some DVD extras sure would be mighty tasty!
I concur with the theory that this was Britain's answer to the Hulk, but I love this series for the fact that it introduced me to the lovely Kate Hodge. Despite the over-acting and the hokey effects of the werewolf role, she did act out the plight of a woman cursed with lycanthropy. Even with the limited premises, the series had a great idea sending her out all over England turning up ghosts, zombies, witches and succubi in her search for a cure for her condition, but then they ruined it by transferring the show to the United States. Not to bad mouth my country, but moving the series took away any credibility and likeability the show ever had and made if even too campy for my tastes.
The first time I watch She-Wolf of London aka Love and Curses was back in 1991. It was aired on free TV before the Sci-fi channel existed. I enjoy watching the show for its unique plots and story lines. She-Wolf of London was ahead of its time and precursor for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy I do not care for as much as this show. The show had intelligent plots involving around the two characters Randy and Ian played by Kate Hodge and Neil Dickson. The show died a miserable death when the locate changed half way through the season from London to Los Angeles. If the show stay in London, the show would had lasted another TV season. Moving to Los Angeles ruined the atmosphere of the show, and the characters were not the same when it first started.
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