The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is a fun little series about magic, witches, and imperialism. The series is based on Sally Green’s young adult novel, Half Bad. I haven’t read the novel, and I won’t be making the comparison. This review will be treating the series as its own separate entity.
Nathan was born an outcast into a society of witches who hate him because of who his father is. His father, the elusive wolf, is a blood witch who kills witches to steal their powers. Nathan tries his best to live his life as a normal witch, but society makes it difficult. Nathan is constantly having to prove to society that he is good. It seems that no matter hard Nathan tries, his society will never accept him. As a result, Nathan grows up neglected and abused by the witches who fear him for something he played no part in. After 17 years, his father returns for Nathan, leaving a trail of dead witches behind him. Nathan is now tasked with killing his own father, a man he has never met before, to rid the world of its greatest evil. Can Nathan succeed where so many have failed?
While there may be some poor writing choices, stiff action scenes, and out-of-place fan service, The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is a solid teen drama. The acting is great, the story is fine, and their use of magic is unique and creative. The series makes a decent attempt at world-building. You get a sense of the different factions of witches occupying the world, you get a sense of the different powers and abilities, and you get a perspective of the beliefs and ideologies that make up each faction. The series does a good job of showing the tension that exists between each faction where conflicting ideologies and a need for imperialism become an issue.
The series likes to explore the idea of good and evil by making Nathan a bad witch who only does well while living in a society of good witches who only do bad. It is hard to watch the first couple of episodes because of how badly Nathan is mistreated. It is a wonder why Nathan hasn’t turned evil considering how terrible the witches around him act toward him. It is a powerful theme that they explore pretty well throughout the series.
This series is a teen drama, so it does suffer from a lot of the issues that are common in the genre. The romantic interests seem forced and only exist for the fan service, the writing and dialogue are a bit awkward as it is desperate to be modern, and the plot is predictable. There is an overarching mystery to this series that is easily deciphered based on the tone of the series. It also doesn’t do a good job of setting the boundaries of magic as the power levels and limitations are always changing to fit the narrative. None of these issues ruined the series because I had a lot of fun with it. I was a bit disappointed by the ending, but not enough to turn me off from the series.
It isn’t perfect, but I am not the target audience. If you are looking for a teen drama about witches that isn’t Sabrina, check out The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself on Netflix.
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