Gort vs Lesbian Ghosts - Hex, Sky's short-lived British Buffy

"This is the kind of series where the bad guy shows how bad he is by having a bondage threeway with his teacher"

Hex logo
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series never had huge ratings, but it was adored by that crucial teen section of the market that spent all its money on merchandise and all its time on related websites. As such, when the final episode aired in 2004, Sky was desperate to find something to replace the zeitgeist and commissioned its own supernatural teen show. Doomed to failure from the beginning, Hex nonetheless had its charms.

The show opened with a wonderfully-sordid and creepy sequence where we see the rich, white heiress to a stately mansion in the early 1800s partaking in both the Voodoo ceremonies of her African slaves and a bit of the old how's-your-father with one of them, before launching into a cracking title sequence soundtracked alternatively by Garbage's "#1 Crush" or by the fabulously-haunting All You Leave Behind by Hannah Cartwright and Ross Tones - depending on which version you're watching. Sadly, we then returned to the present where the mansion had been renovated into a posh boarding school and we were introduced to our British version of Buffy - in this case, a shy, bookish student.

While not the actresses' fault, Brit Buffy was written as a boring-as-hell goody-two-shoes. Thankfully, we had the delightful Jemima Rooper holding our interest as a quirky, chubby, emo lesbian and Brit Buffy's best friend. Coming across like Buffy's Xander only not annoying, Rooper remained the show's highlight throughout both seasons. Making her even more interesting, she's quickly offed to return as a randy ghost sidekick for our heroine.

You see, this UK Buffy had its own angelic love interest/antagonist. The leader of the Nephilim - demons who used to be angels until they fell in love with human women and fell to Earth to be with them - has spent centuries trying to have a child; a child whose birth will free the Nephilim and plunge Earth into chaos. He's targeted Brit Buffy as his baby momma and the first stage of the ritual is sacrificing poor old Jemima.

Hang on a minute! Who is this mysterious angelic stranger? It's only bloody Magneto! Yes, this was an early role for the beloved and wonderfully-named Michael Fassbender and... wait a second... is that Colin 'will act for food' Salmon as the school's soft-touch headmaster? Cor blimey, guvna...! Sorry, we'll stop now...

"What the hell am I doing here with these emos?"

Unfortunately, this great set-up left the show unsure of where to move forward. One week, it established the Nephilim possessing humans and Brit Buffy roaming the night, using her new telekinetic powers to protect the innocent like a superhero in Converse; the next, the show was about the lead duo being haunted by roaming spirits and unearthing the dark history of the mansion they live in, like an early draft of American Horror Story; still the episode after, we're doing a supernatural Hollyoaks.

While Buffy had her "Scooby Gang" of supporting characters, Hex' secondary cast are all just a bunch of thinly-sketched bullies and date rapists, leaving the main pair with no-one to play off. Likewise, the show's mythology is far from consistent. Sometimes Fassbender is an angel, others he's an Egyptian priest, the aforementioned telekinesis comes and goes when needed and Rooper's ghostly nature doesn't really make sense. While she can't touch or be seen by the living, she can move objects, but no-one ever sees those objects move. Otherwise, she can eat food, but never puts on weight - where does it go?

Anyway, the series builds to a tense conclusion with the birth of The Son of Fassbender and the end of the world nigh. Planning the second series, Sky realised that Rooper was far more interesting and a lot more attractive than Brit Buffy, so Buff was dropped and they immediately gave Rooper a makeover and put her on a diet to make her more like the character no-one liked. Buff was replaced, meanwhile, with another emo immortal - a witch with her own erstwhile telekinetic powers and a sacred mission to kill The Son of Fassbender.

The second series more than doubled the first series' six episodes and all but two were scripted by one writer, so you'd think it would be more consistent. In fact, it skews even more, with the Hex version of Buffy's Cordelia becoming a nun and an attempted rapist becoming a hero. The rules change once more and the impressive actors begin to peel off. By the end of the series, Son of Fassbender has become a teenager and the Big Bad, turned the school into a cult compound, brought about the apocalypse and Sky had given up.

Hex was almost a different show every week, meaning it frequently became boring and rather silly, but when it was good, it was original, creepy and very funny. What was more, the show was refreshingly kinky. While there was plenty of unnecessary and exploitative PG nudity - this is the kind of series where the bad guy shows how bad he is by having a bondage threeway with his teacher and girlfriend - the show was unchaste enough to present gay characters in a positive way.

Ultimately, Hex' undoing was its rigid determination to be like something else, rather than finding its own niche. Still, it has enough original ideas to make it worth your time.

Hex is available on streaming services and UK DVD, while half of the shows episodes can be found on disc in the US. 


  1. I did enjoy it, but you could really see the cheapness ;)

  2. My mum and I loved Hex, we would sit and watch all of them, and we both bought the DVD's, we were so sad when there was never any more than 2 seasons. we waited and waited for more to be released but years had gone by and nothing :( such a shame as i know many people who really enjoyed Hex. I would have loved it if it continued.
    I love the characters, the darkness of the show, the music (especially the theme)
    And i thought the Nephalem (hope i spelt that right) looked bad assed . R.I.P HEX.