Sunday, August 17, 2008


A low key day, with most of it spent tidying the apartment up a bit for Cathy's grand return on Wednesday. But along with cleaning I spent most of the day watching the BBC mini-series Jekyll. I picked up on a bit of a lark when I was in Ottawa last month. I had heard a few good things about it online. I kept trying to watch in on Showcase, but always managed to miss the first episode. Plus, it was a rarity for a BBC was cheap. I mean, I love MI-5, but there's no way in hell I am paying $90 for one season which runs about six episodes. Same problem with Dr. Who. Wouldn't mind picking it up, not prepared to auction off part of my soul to buy the seasons.

But Jekyll was an impulse purchase and a good one. That's a clever little show. Oh, it wobbles pretty badly towards the end, but there's enough "holy fuck, that's clever" moments to redeem it.

The show, for those who have never heard of it, is an update of the Jekyll/Hyde story. Dr. Jackman has a alternate personality that he can barely control. But he's doing his best, with technology and a bit of help. But the usual powerful and secret organization has plans for him and his family.

The best parts are the writing, which is pretty damn smart, assumes the audience is smart and throws in a few genuine "holy shit, never saw that coming moments." The second best part is James Nesbitt who plays both characters and who I hope like hell won a bunch of awards. It also proves you can do the role without getting silly with it (and I'm looking at you League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The wobbly bits? Well, they're kind of all over the place with Hyde's abilities and they rushed the ending a whole hell of a lot. Plus, and this might mean I have to watch it a second time to make sure I didn't miss something, but there are a few bits that, in retrospect, do not make sense to me. Like Hyde's ability to remember things he shouldn't be able to.

Actually, it's interesting to see how this is done in England compared to how this might have been done in the the United States. Jekyll is six, 55 minutes with no commercial episodes and is done. On the one hand, it's quite the rush. There's not too much wasted time and scene-filling. And it makes for very captivating viewing.

If this were an American production - well, on the major networks and not HBO - then there's a whole season's worth of material and ideas waiting to be fleshed out. Certainly a lot more with the lesbian detectives (it's almost criminal how entertaining they are, and how they are under used), more with the psychiatric nurse who is taking care of him and probably a lot more with the secret organization.

It wouldn't have made for the same kind of compulsive viewing and there would have been a lot more filler scenes, I suspect. But I do wish I could see more of these characters and had things fleshed out a bit more.

Still, not a bad way to spend a Sunday. I recommend watching it if you get the chance.

Last Five
1. Guided by wire - Neko Case
2. Where did you sleep last night?(live) - Nirvana
3. Expecting - The White Stripes
4. Best for the best - Josh Ritter*
5. An cat dubh - U2

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