To Hell With Family Fare; West Palm Cable TV Network Now Punishing Naughty Schoolgirls

That's the trailer for Durham County, the darkest, most daring fall series by Ion, the West Palm Beach-based network formally known as Pax. As Pax, the network had aired nighttime programming from the Worship Network until it had a mainstream makeover in 2005, airing long-finished shows like Mama's Family and Growing Pains.

But a born-again Christian like Kirk Cameron wouldn't want to be anywhere near Durham County. In this article in Saturday's New York Times, a writer for the series describes its opening scene in which two schoolgirls are frolicking in the forest, only to be sexually assaulted:

"We wanted to make people look at sexualized violence and wonder what it was about it that was possibly turning them on."

Alrighty then. Now check out the way the Times describes the show, with help from Executive Producer Adrienne Mitchell, and see if it couldn't have just as easily have been called Palm Beach County.

The schoolgirls dress to look younger than they are; the suburban houses hold seedy secrets that no manicured lawn can ultimately disguise; Sweeney's youngest daughter is fond of wearing masks of anime characters. The sinister power lines that dominate the landscape serve to illustrate that there's no escape from ugliness. "We all had very bizarre experiences growing up in the suburbs, as teenagers," said Ms. Mitchell, who also directed some of the episodes.

OK, so we don't have kids prone to anime masks (do we?), but otherwise it's a dead ringer. So maybe that's why it resonated with network suits in West Palm. Actually, it's originally a Canadian series. In its eagerness to find an audience for the series, Ion is running the first episode, which debuted Monday, every night this week at 11.

In another article last week, the Times gave the series a review most cable networks would kill for, saying:

"Durham County," in short, is very, very creepy and unsettling, and entirely addictive, a modern murder mystery with a touch of Patricia Highsmith misanthropy.

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