Susan Wokoma Is the Best Part of Netflix’s Crazyhead
Crazyhead is a new British show that was released in October before making its way to Netflix in December. Raquel and Amy are in their early twenties and share two important things in common: 1) they can see humans who are possessed by demons and 2) they’ve been told they’re crazy because of it. The show begins with Amy being taken off her medication only to see a demon while in a night club. After being attacked, she’s thrown into the path of demon hunter, Raquel, who fills her in on the world and the two of them team up to stop the hellish creatures.
Spoilers! Continue at your own risk
I went in thinking this would be a crass, funny and absurdist angle on the Buffy-esque story but instead, it was really unfocused. As the episodes wore on, it felt like the show couldn’t find its footing and struggled to balance the quirky humour with its serious moments. The plot was mundane at best with big baddie, Callum, wanting to use the half demon, Raquel, to open his portal to and have his demon brethren possess thousands of human beings. You’d think that’d be interesting, but it started to feel like a lot of work to get from episode to episode. A lot of the jokes fell flat, partly because of the show’s own uncertainty of what it is but also because of its male gaze-y approach, which felt more uncomfortable than funny.
That’s the part that disappointed me because the creator of Crazyhead, Howard Overman, also created Misfits, which I really enjoyed right up until Robert Sheehan’s character, Nathan Young, left.
The show starts to gain its footing a bit in the later episodes. My favourite was episode four which felt like it had the tightest writing and some great character moments, especially from Suzanne and Amy. The last three minutes essentially gave me the show I wanted all along with the girls having a fun back and forth before taking on some newly possessed pricks—as they liked to call them. Too little too late? Possibly. But the show overall did cement Susan Wokoma, who played Raquel, as my favourite.
The last few weeks have felt like a Susan Wokoma love fest with the actress appearing in two other shows I checked out on Netflix: Chewing Gum and Crashing. Wokoma was born in London to Nigerian parents and has worked a lot on British comedy shows. She’s trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and won Best Supporting Actress for Three Strong Women in the 2016 BBC Audio Drama Awards. In Crashing, she plays the vixen and in the Chewing Gum, she plays the God-fearing kid sister of the main character. Even though I found Chewing Gum hard to watch, Wokoma’s character, Cynthia, always stood out on screen and had me in stitches.
She has this ability to stand out even in a supporting or, in the case of Crashing, minor role, so it wasn’t a surprise that she excelled as the co-lead in Crazyhead. From confident vixen to the naive church girl, Wokoma finds a balance in Raquel who is foul mouthed and angry while also desperate for friendship and loving relationships outside of her brother. I think the writing in Crazyhead mostly lets down the actors who are all fabulous. But it was Raquel’s growth shown mostly in her relationship with Amy that made the experience worthwhile. Susan Wokoma is an actress to watch and I’m excited to see what she does next.