2023’s The Exorcist: Believer failed to meet expectations upon its October 6 2023 release and currently has a 22 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes to reflect how disappointing it truly was. Despite its poor critical reception, its sequel, The Exorcist: Deceiver, was green-lit due to Believer’s commercial success, and it’s been reported that we will have a full trilogy on our hands after all is said and done. But if you’re tired of all the reboots, yet still find yourself drawn to the iconic supernatural horror franchise, then the 2016 Exorcist series that’s streaming on Peacock may become the next show that you want to possess your screen.
Just like Believer, The Exorcist series serves as a direct sequel to the classic 1973 movie of the same name but takes its audience in a more palatable direction while ignoring the canon established by the original film’s many sequels.
The Exorcist series centers on the Rance family, who is plagued by an ancient force of evil. Two priests, Father Thomas Ortega and Father Marcus Keane, are brought together and tasked with investigating and exorcising a demonic that’s progressively taking hold of the Rance family and wreaking havoc on their lives. The series is held in very high regard by fans and critics alike for its fearless exploration of themes like faith, redemption, and the ongoing battle between good and evil that we’ve seen play out across various film properties over the decades, but its execution makes it a cut above its contemporaries.
Despite its short run, The Exorcist series garnered a loyal audience for its tense storytelling that put a fresh spin on the franchise without insulting the original source material. And we’re not just dealing with a supernatural horror story full of jump scares and shock cuts, but rather a compelling character drama that takes its time in building out its lore across two seasons and 20 episodes.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of The Exorcist series is the dynamic between Father Thomas and Father Marcus, who both have strong, but diametrically opposed personalities. Father Thomas takes on the role of the progressive and compassionate figurehead, while Father Thomas has a more intense countenance, as he is a seasoned veteran who has extensive training in practicing exorcisms. Though they share a common goal, their personalities clash while grappling with the unknown evil that they’re investigating.
As The Exorcist series progresses, it eventually reveals a connection to the original film as the demon’s motives become more apparent.
Unfortunately, The Exorcist was never picked up for a third season due to low ratings despite its loyal fan base. Overall, the series garnered an 89 percent critical score against a 91 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes and has been universally praised for its masterful storytelling, atmospheric cinematography, and legitimately frightening moments that will make your skin crawl just like the 1973 film.
If you’ve been a long-time fan of The Exorcist franchise, but feel like the sequels and reboots on the cinematic front are lacking, you might want to take a look at the series. Recent decades have brought us too many possession narratives that don’t quite get under our skin like The Exorcist has done for the last 50 years. The Exorcist series, on the other hand, gives us a compelling continuation of the original film that is a must-see for any supernatural horror fan.