Lightfields Series 1 Episode 1 (ITV) Review

The follow-up to 2011’s spooky supernatural chiller Marchlands, which was a relative success on ITV last year, the fact that Lightfields is so similar shouldn’t be a surprise. Like its predecessor, we watch three different residents of Lightfields Farm in three different eras, and must figure out how each family connects to each other. There’s also a ghostly presence in the house, and a dark past that will haunt them all.

In 1944, an innocent and naïve 17-year-old, Lucy, befriends the flighty, exotic and experienced neighbour played by Skins’ Dakota Blue Richards. They bond, there’s a bit of inevitable sexual tension, and then they ultimately fall out when Lucy beings dating Eve’s own American fling. It’s not an unfamiliar story for those with the penchant to sample either teen drama or period pieces, but it is in this time that the story begins. During an encounter with her inappropriate love, Lucy is caught in a devastating fire, and we can now assume that it is her who will now haunt the rest of the characters.

The next family are living on the farm in 1975, with a mother and daughter who have relocated in the middle of a divorce. As with Richards in the 40s story, this part of the show benefits hugely from the presence of Misfits actress, Karla Crome. Otherwise, there’s really not much to see here except the obvious, and quite tedious, spooky encounters. I call them encounters, but it’s important to note that nothing actually ‘scary’ happens until the final seconds of the episode. It’s all long looks into the distance and doors creaking open.

Likewise in the 2012 section, with three generations of a dysfunctional family living under one roof. This family has a young child, which promises lots of potential scares (because children are always scary). He has been abandoned by his father, who next week files a paternity order, and is the only character so far to have seen Lucy in ghost-form. It’s by the numbers stuff, but I guess that the point of this first episode was to set the scene and make us care for the characters both living and dead.

While the first hour had its moments of drama and horror that more-or-less worked, the episode’s inability to let its audience figure things out for themselves could prove a major downfall. The horror conventions seen here are the most clichéd and overused you could imagine, but even they can’t be left alone to inform the viewer of what’s happening. Everything is spelled out to us as if we’ve never seen a ghost story before, and this is strange for a series that aims itself mainly at existing horror fans. I’d guess those viewers have already tuned out, so it’s left with the casual ITV viewer – let’s hope they’re easily pleased.

While I’m not entirely sold just yet, there’s enough here to suggest that we might be treated to some proper horror later down the line. What did you think of the episode? Is it spooky enough to please horror junkies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.