Thoughts of a first-time viewer: Cops and Monsters

By: Dominic Kelly

18th August 2017

You know it never dawned on me how lacking the UK is in genre television until recently folks?

It’s not like there isn’t a market for it after all. I mean, outside of Doctor Who, what else do we have? Sure, there are occasional flashes in the pan like Being Human and Primeval, but apart from that? We are woefully lacking in good genre television as of late. Hell, the last great one I can think of is The Stone Tape all the way back in 1972 (though I accept that may be my bias towards horror talking there). I mean these sci-fi and supernatural shows are a dime a dozen everywhere else in the world, so why not here? Now you may be asking what bought this on? What could have potentially sent this train of thought rocketing out of the station.

Well, you have the web series Cops and Monsters to thank for that

Now most folks who frequent this site will be more than aware of Cops and Monsters at this point. For those who don’t, Cops and Monsters is a supernatural show set in and around Glasgow, following the adventures of the P.I.T.S department of the Scottish Police force. Standing for Paranormal Investigation Team Scotland, the series follows the adventures of new recruit Maya Hedges as she is tasked with arresting the mysterious Lycan-A202. In doing so though, Maya finds herself embroiled in a conspiracy that runs deep within the supernatural community, and concerns the mysterious being known as The Cult of Many Faces. It’s a solid premise and I must confess folks, one I was not too familiar with until recently.

I mean sure, I had heard of Cops and Monsters thanks to Geek Retreat, and was familiar with director Fraser Coull’s previous work Night is Day. But outside of a few glimpses, my knowledge of Cops and Monsters was sadly lacking. This wasn’t to remain the case though folks. You see, thanks to the good folks behind Cops and Monsters I was extended an invite to the premiere of the entire series. Taking place at the Grosvenor Cinema, the showing was to include all of the episodes aired back to back, including the mini-episodes, a Christmas special, and the first look at the show’s finale. So with that in mind, and accompanied by our Editor-In-Chief Laurie, I took my seat and took in Cops and Monsters in its entirety.

So, what were my thoughts on the series then folks?

Well, I think it will come as no surprise that I enjoyed Cops and Monsters folks. After all, I have a soft spot for projects with supernatural elements like this. But for director Fraser Coull and his team to have attained so much on a budget of £15,000 is more than impressive.

For starters, the show itself boasts a surprisingly robust and well-rounded cast, including some familiar faces from across British television. This includes the like of Doctor Who’s Sophie Aldred, Scots Squad’s Karen Bartke and Raven’s James Mackenzie. But it is in the work that the cast do that the show really shines. Thanks to Coull’s guiding hand as director, everyone on the cast is given their due, and a chance to shine. Series lead Ellen Paterson proves herself an excellent and relatable lead, with the supporting cast proving themselves more than capable, with a wide selection of excellent performances coming from across the board. But it’s in series villain Billy Kirkwood that the show reaches a new level. Delightfully over the top in his portrayal as The Cult of Many Faces, Kirkwood plays the villain with almost wicked ease.

It’s some truly awesome work put in by the cast, and I cannot sing their praises highly enough.

“The overarching plot of the show is also wonderful in its construction as well thanks to the work of Coull and writers James T. Harding, Roland Moore and Laura Anderson. Drawing elements from across the board, there are a lot of elements in the pot with Cops and Monsters. But what could have turned out being a mess of different ideas thrown together in a slap dash manor instead becomes something quite exciting. It’s true, it does draw elements from other projects, but also brings enough of its own ideas to the table to ensure that the final product is very much its own thing. Episodes tend to vary in length, but never pass the half an hour mark, which allows for some concise and precise storytelling, as well as some cool fight and action scenes. It’s a script that allows the actors a chance to shine, while also offering the viewer a narrative to get easily invested in.

Overall folks, I thoroughly enjoyed Cops and Monsters. As I mentioned previous, the work Coull and his team has managed to turn out on such a small budget is wholly impressive. What’s more, it has given us a glimpse of what could be. I mean, if a small team can put out something so entertaining with such a small budget, imagine what could be done with more. Imagine such a premise with a budget like the one allocated to Doctor Who. It’s something that I do hope we see more folks, because if Cops and Monsters is only the potential, then I can’t begin to fathom what we could see down the line.

It may be a long time before we a second series folks. But if there comes a day when a second series comes along, you can bet I’ll be there to review it as well. Because after such a strong outing for the first series? I am giddy to see what could possibly come next.