To my surprise American Satan was one of the better films of 2017 so I was really looking forward to seeing where Paradise City was going to take the characters and story that had been so carefully crafted for that film.
Set a couple of years down the road from American Satan, Paradise City continues to follow Johnny Faust and The Relentless, a fictional rock band who once upon a time made a deal with the devil to hit it big however I won’t be recapping the film here, I would highly recommend that you do before attempting to watch Paradise City.
While I was initially hesitant for the story to be followed up as a TV show after watching it I think it was the right choice as it allowed for further character development and let the wider world of The Relentless expand beyond the restrictions that a 2hr runtime a feature release would impose. But most importantly, Paradise City doesn’t shy away from dealing with the consequences of the decisions the characters made when we first met them a few years ago.
Most of the main characters and actors from the from American Satan return here however the most obvious and jarring is the inclusion of Bella Thorne as Lily Mayflower. While Thorne’s performance does grow on you as move through the world I was a huge fan Jesse Sullivan’s so I was a little disappointed at first when I found out she wasn’t returning here but Thorne does help bring some star power to the case and commands the screen whenever she’s in frame
Once again though, Andy Biersack’s performance as the central lead, Johnny Faust, steals the show. For someone who is best known as the front man of Black Veil Brides, it pains me that we don’t get to see him flaunt his acting skills more. Not only is he a credible choice as the driving force behind The Relentless I’m forever in awe of his ability to show genuine emotion and deliver a powerful and nuanced performance.
Writer, producer and director Ash Avildsen has done a tremendous job here as the creative force being Paradise City and I firmly believe that in lesser hands the show, and even the aforementioned film, would have crumbled under its own weight and ambition.
As someone who spent some time in the music industry and bearing witness to its inner workings, both good and bad, I can’t fault the world that Avildsen has built here. It isn’t all glitz and glamour after all.
If I had to compare Paradise City to anything, it would probably need to be ABC’s Nashville. Paradise City has the same music infused drama that helped that show run for six seasons. Personally, I loved Nashville, but I like the gritty, raw feel that Paradise City brings to the table and that’s what helps make this show unique.
To my surprise Paradise City hasn’t ditched any of the supernatural elements of the world it created in American Satan. They are here but they’re just not as obvious and in your face this time around. I was a little worried at first they would ditch some of these elements in favour of making the show more palatable to a mainstream audience but Paradise City has remained true to its rock and roll roots and embraced both its angels and demons.
My biggest gripe about the show though is just how long it seems to have gotten to get here, especially for how long it is. I don’t pretend to know (or care for that matter) what held up the show’s release but the season clocks in at just eight episodes and while each one is top tier entertainment, another couple of episodes wouldn’t have got amiss.
The eight episodes we do get effortlessly threads together multiple plot points, story beats and develops the characters, both old and new, in wonderful and unexpected ways with the second half of the season in particular being a joy to watch and with plenty of story threads still in play I hope that it won’t be too long until we see an announcement for a second season.
by Edward Laing