In the world of genre television, there seems to be an assumption that a bigger budget makes a better show. In some ways, this holds true — despite the obvious lack of character development and inconsistent writing in “True Blood,” millions of viewers tune in every week to see the fantastic, heavily stylized visual effects. But some of the best genre shows of all time, such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its spinoff “Angel,” operated on modest budgets, relying instead on the abilities of their casts and strength of their stories to craft spellbinding, evolving shows.

Lost Girl

Pilot
Mondays at 10 p.m.
Syfy


“Lost Girl” — a supernatural crime drama that debuted in Canada in 2010 before being picked up by Syfy this year — has low production value, but that hardly detracts from the show. Yes, the makeup and costumes are sometimes hideous, and the special effects are painstakingly ’90s-esque. And of course it would be nice for all genre shows to have the production value of “Game of Thrones,” “The Vampire Diaries” or “The Walking Dead.” But “Lost Girl” has plenty going for it, and to simply write it off because it looks cheap would be unfair.

The show follows Bo (Anna Silk, “Being Erica”), a stunningly beautiful bartender who is irresistible to just about everyone. But Bo can’t get physically close to anyone — everyone she kisses ends up dead, an eerie smile plastered across their lifeless face. After rescuing a girl by killing a sexual predator in an elevator, Bo decides she has to start her life over again. Before she has a chance to go on the run, two detectives show up at the crime scene and deduce that the murderer could not have been human. Surprise! The detectives aren’t human either, and they quickly find Bo and kidnap her for interrogation.

Bo discovers she is a Fae — a group of supernaturals divided into two factions: the Light and the Dark. After a steamy scene with the Light Fae leader’s human doctor Lauren (Zoie Palmer, “The Guard”), Bo learns that she belongs to the succubi species specifically. The two detectives who brought her in — Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried, “The Tudors”) and Hale (K.C. Collins, “Blue Murder”) — are a werewolf and a male siren, and it turns out there are endless species of Fae, all with ranging abilities. When presented with the choice of choosing to join the Light or the Dark, she dramatically chooses neither. Bo wants to live her own life, unbound by the Fae social contract.

The supernatural world of “Lost Girl” is expertly crafted, mainly because it is so intertwined with the human world. This isn’t Sunnydale, where most humans were completely oblivious to supernatural activity. The Fae are discreet, but they work in the human world. Human-Fae relationships are frowned upon by both sides, but they still happen. When Bo and her human sidekick Kenzi (Ksenia Solo, “Life Unexpected”) start freelancing as private investigators in supernatural mysteries, they become a bridge between both worlds, saving innocent Fae and humans alike.

Creating a complex world is one thing, but “Lost Girl” also succeeds in populating its world with powerful, captivating characters played by an adept cast. Its leading ladies are particularly outstanding, and their lack of acting experience goes completely unnoticed — Silk plays Bo with precision, selling the oft-cheesy one-liners and nailing the emotional complexities that come with the character’s identity crises. And Solo transforms seamlessly into the best part of this show, Kenzi: a sassy, bouncy day drinker. Solo and Silk’s chemistry makes Kenzi and Bo’s sister-like closeness even more engaging than the succubus-werewolf-doctor love triangle that forms between Bo, Dyson and Lauren.

The effects might make you wince, and the show can reach laughable levels of camp, but the characters in “Lost Girl” are instantly lovable, and the writers take impressive storytelling risks, giving the show speedy, enthralling pacing. It’s fun, it’s sexy, it’s a show about a bisexual, crime-fighting succubus — what’s not to love?

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