BBC America kicks off October with a little Halloween treat called "Bedlam" (9 p.m. Oct. 1; 2.5 stars out of 4), a fright-fest about a new apartment conversion occupied by supernatural squatters.
The upscale residences of Bedlam Heights are in the former Bedlam insane asylum, where horrible things were done to the patients. Now the people who died there are pissed—and they're poltergeists.
The complex had been sitting empty for years since the asylum closed when developer Warren Bettany (Hugo Speer) decided to make some money off of it. He put his daughter, Kate (Charlotte Salt), in charge of getting all the units sold or rented. Kate also lives there with her pals Ryan (Will Young) and Molly (Ashley Madekwe).
Into this mix comes Kate’s adopted cousin, Jed (Theo James), who moves in with Kate and her roomies until he can get back on his feet. Jed was sent to a mental hospital after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Jed never really had anything wrong with him, though. It’s just that his family didn’t believe he could see ghosts or—and this is even more disturbing—how they died.
Obviously, Bedlam Heights is the perfect place for Jed, who gets text messages from many of the building’s former residents—the now dead ones, that is.
The messages lead Jed to try to help residents being haunted due to something they did in the past. One woman buried her premature fetus, another killed two children in a hit-and-run accident. This may sound like “Bedlam” is going to be a ghost-of-the-week series not unlike “Ghost Whisperer,” but there’s a mystery woven throughout the six episodes involving Jed’s hospitalization and what exactly Warren has been up to.
Plus, these twentysomethings, despite being freaked out by the strange goings-on, still manage to get their freak on. James spends a lot of time in nothing but a towel.
The hauntings are staged for maximum creepiness; the show (and James) look great. He makes Jed an appealing hero who navigates some genuinely frightening activity. What more could you want around Halloween season?