Mark Watches ‘Jekyll’: Episode One

In the first episode of Jekyll, Dr. Tom Jackman has devised a method to essentially cope with a growing problem that causes his body to physically change into another person. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jekyll.

I had quite a few ideas for smaller shows to do in between Battlestar Galactica and Buffy. I won’t tell you what those are, since I still want to do them later, but this show had completely slipped off my radar. It wasn’t until I went back through the Suggestions page that I saw Jekyll only had six episodes, and I realized it fit perfectly into my schedule if I allowed for a day to review The Plan. Since that initial comment thread, quite a few people suggested I watch it and that I’d really love it; plus, others told me it had some of Moffat’s best writing, so it was enough to convince me to spend six days to watch the only series available for this show. (As far as I know, there’s no series two planned right now, yes?)

It’s also nice to return to a British television show because I’ve found that I really love a lot of what the BBC is doing these days: Torchwood, Doctor Who, Luther, and Sherlock, to name a few. This show isn’t necessarily new, but, like Sherlock, it’s clear that it’s an interesting and unique take on a story that’s been told so many times before. That’s what was striking to me from the get-go: this is not at all like any adaptations I’ve seen before. First of all, the main character is not Dr. Jekyll at all; the show acknowledges in-universe that Robert Louis Stevenson exists, as does his novella, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. And while there’s a lot to like about the story that Steven Moffat has written here, I’ll just come right out and say it: This would not work without James Nesbitt. A lot of the tension of the first twenty minutes brilliantly comes from the fact that we never see Dr. Jackman convert into his alter-ego of sorts. It’s always off-screen, and visual and audio cues are all we get. We see the fear in Katherine Reimer’s eyes when she hears “Hyde” whistling. We know others have seen this other manifestation, so when it finally is shown to us, it’s a shock. There’s virtually no make-up used, no prosthetics, and only a few minor cosmetic changes made. It all relies on James Nesbitt’s acting to give us to polar opposite characters.

When he first appears to us in that alleyway, striking a match on the wall and lighting a cigarette, my first instinct was to laugh. It wasn’t really funny, but I couldn’t help the feeling. It was such a drastic, visible change from Dr. Tom Jackman, and one man was responsible for portraying both. That laugh was stifled quickly when it was clear that “Hyde” was FUCKING TERRIFYING. His combination of wit, swagger, and confidence was unsettling, to say the least, and I simply feared his very presence on the screen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The pilot of Jekyll feels longer than an hour, but that’s not a complaint. A whole lot of development and plot is packed into this singular episode, and the nonlinear way in which it opens creates a sense of mystery about what exactly is going on. I think some of the tensions relies on these unseen moments, and I can think of two in particular that are left hanging on purpose: Katherine’s introduction and the “attack” on Miranda. I love that the cold open is a double introduction in that sense: we know from the title of the show that this all must deal with Jekyll & Hyde in some sense, but we’re not exactly clear how Michelle Ryan’s character fits in to all of this. She’s a psychiatric nurse of some sort, and it’s clear that Jackman hired her, but he never quite told her what this was all for. We also see how modern technology plays heavily into this adaptation, and I can see how Moffat did a similar thing with Sherlock. In this case, cell phones, dictation devices, and miniature recorders are used as communication and locating objects in the plot.

Truthfully, I’m fascinated by the idea that one person uses this sort of thing to communicate with himself, and the slow dawn on Katherine’s face matched my own. Even further, as fantastical as this is, Moffat doesn’t ignore that this sort of behavior would alienate a husband from his wife. I really love the characterization of Claire Jackman as the wife who is fed-up and irritated by her husband’s constant disappearance. She’s not portrayed as being whiny just for the sake of it; her concerns are real and on an obvious level quite justified. She even confronts Jackman with photographs from a private investigator showing where he’s been since he started “disappearing” on the family. And who could blame her? Her husband just up and leaves, and even if he can’t really tell her the reason, doesn’t she have a right to know? I actually think the idea of the safety of the family is going to play into the narrative pretty heavily: is it fair for Jackman to be around his family if he has such a capacity for violence?

I was surprised by how quickly this show got more complicated and weirder. And y’all know how much I LOVE WEIRD. There’s a nice reference to the novella when Jackman goes to the Klein and Utterson Institute to continue his research into finding some sort of cure. It helps me understand just how bizarre this situation is: the two personalities (or whatever they are, as I’m not quite sure what to call them) are not aware of what the other is doing. They don’t share memories. That’s fucking weird. So Jackman can still do research without Hyde ever knowing, which is necessary since Hyde has threatened suicide if Jackman tries to cure himself.

That’s touched on later, but the weirdness (and the relentless intensity) continues when Jackman escapes his boss during a change AND DECIDES TO GO VISIT THE DETECTIVE AGENCY. Oh, THIS IS GOING TO END WELL. I mean, it sort of does? Well, he doesn’t convert into Hyde while there. (Yet.) And he discovers that the black van that’s been following them has nothing to do with the agency. There’s a third party involved. But before we talk about them and the glorious Benjamin Lennox, can I just gush about Miranda and Min? Like OMG QUEER WOMEN ALL OVER MY TV SHOW. Oh my god, their relationship is SO WONDERFUL. What I love is that while we are watching what I think is the dissolution of the relationship between Claire and Tom, this couple actually seems to be getting along rather well. They’re funny, they love each other, and their bickering is never to the point of genuine fury. Hell, they’re even expecting a child and, so far, this isn’t being played as a shitty plot device!

It’s why I was initially upset at the confrontation that Jackman has with Miranda at her and Min’s home, but it was only because it was another unseen misdirect like the cold open. When Jackman finally does change right after meeting with Miranda the first time, I felt the same uncomfortable feeling then, too. Nesbitt’s Hyde character is riveting, but the odd combination of sexual tension and violence seemed like it was leading towards him murdering Billy and the girl in the alley, or at least sexually assaulting her. And can we just not go here? I just don’t want to see another show stick more women in the role of being assaulted. The hint of it was bad enough and I get how revolting and frightening Hyde is. I don’t want to see things move in that direction.

We also meet Benjamin Lennox in the pilot and what a pleasure it is to watch him troll his way across the screen. How he owns Jackman is fucking beyond me, but he’s the first character who acknowledges the existence of Hyde and then continues to goad him on. Man, dude’s got guts, that’s for sure. But how is this possible? Is Jackman the result of some sort of experiment concerning things brought up in Stevenson’s novella? Miranda later insists that the novella is actually based on truth. OKAY SORRY WHAT?!?!?! Yeah, so….what? I anticipated that she’d reveal that somehow, Jackman was a descendent of this “Jekyll” character, since he looked so much like him, but nope! Moffat’s already got that covered, having Miranda debunk the theory from the start. (No, seriously, I love how sharp, intuitive, and witty Miranda is. UGH SHE BETTER BE IN ALL THESE EPISODES. MIN, TOO.)

Yeah, I have no idea what’s going on.

I do love the way that the camera angles and the situations create for a natural sense of terror, especially when Miranda realizes that not only has Jackman “changed” at one point, but that she’s given up where Jackman’s family lives. God, that scene where Nesbitt is shrouded in darkness due to the brightness of the projector is just astounded, a wonderfully clever way of conveying suspense and darkness. I was immediately upset when it looked like he attacked her because it’s not often that we get lesbian couples on television, and one of those women would already be killed off? BOOO MOFFAT BOOOO.

But, like I said, it was misdirection, as we learn later that Miranda and Min were merely locked in the cellar. It’s really the last two scenes of the pilot that cemented my interest in this show for me because they demonstrate how creepy and fascinating the dynamic of this unique take on Jekyll & Hyde can be. Having Hyde go visit Jackman’s family and pretend to be a cousin is just so unbearably unnerving, setting up the inevitable realization from Clare that this is actually the same man. Again, we’re tricked into believe Hyde may have murdered his own family, and I hope we don’t get too many more of these fake hints in the future. They’d get tiring. (Though jesus, could you imagine how fucked up this would be if he had killed his family in the first episode?)

Not only do I have the feeling that Miranda and Min are here to stay, to provide help like Katherine does (OMG AND POSSIBLY JOIN FORCES?!?!?!), but the “war” that Jackman warns about on his recording device is going to play out over the course of the next five episodes. Obviously, it can only get worse from here, but how is a war fought between two different versions of the same man?

Nesbitt’s a fantastic actor to be the focus of this all, and I love that there are three sets of women who provide the vast majority of screen time instead of the dude party that I expected from this all. I’m intrigued so far, and I can’t wait to see how this develops.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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81 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Jekyll’: Episode One

  1. Sadie says:

    I LITERALLY JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS SHOW AND WATCHED THE FIRST EPISODE TWO NIGHTS AGO.

    BEST TIMING EVER, Y/Y?

    More coherent thoughts later.

  2. clodia_risa says:

    YES! I had no idea that this had been suggested, but I’m so glad you’re doing it. I adore this series, and I can’t wait to see your reactions to it.

    Mmmfh, James Nesbitt. He complete sells it and he is easy on the eyes. And I love that we’ve already got four women who have their own motivations and personalities.

    Fvapr V’q ernq gur obbx, V sryg yvxr gur punenpgref jrer zvffvat gur boivbhf pbapyhfvba gung Ulqr jbhyq unir cebonoyl unq gbaf bs xvqf, rira vs Wrxlyy jnf n ivetva. Ubjrire, V jnf fgvyy abg rkcrpgvat gur svany erirnyf, fb vg jbexrq sbe zr naljnl.

  3. randomisjen says:

    OMG JEKYLL!!!!!!!! This is awesome and you are awesome for watching it!

  4. pandalilies says:

    I AM THRILLED TO THE BRIM THAT YOU ARE DOING THIS SHOW!
    UGH. LOVE. <3

    I was completely won over after the lions speech, "and suddenly everybody's singing 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight'… Do you want to play lions?"

    It was the right amout of creepy and childish to sell the immature violence of Hyde.

  5. Suzannezibar says:

    Thought process:

    "…this show sounds familiar, where have I heard about it before…"

    "OH THIS IS THE SHOW MY ROOMMATE HAS BEEN TELLING ME I NEED TO WATCH BECAUSE IT'S MOFFAT AND A GOOD STORY AND ALL THAT JAZZ."

    "…crap, why do I have so many college papers to write?"

    Will have to come back and read these reviews when I actually watch the show!

    • breesquared says:

      "why do I have so many college papers to write?"

      Oh that reminds me of why I got onto my computer :[

  6. Jordan says:

    My lips remained sealed. SO glad I can finally tell the world that Mark is watching Jekyll! Party on the astral plane!

  7. psycicflower says:

    Jekyll was one of those shows I meant to watch when it first aired but never did and wasn't overly bothered to hunt it down later. Guess this is as good a reason as any to start watching it. *goes off to download*

  8. Sadie says:

    Okay, going into this show, I literally had no idea what to expect. I read that it was another modernized Moffat take on a literary classic, and I was like OKAY I'M IN. The first episode is undoubtedly intriguing, but the first thing that occurred to me was the vast discrepancy between the aesthetic style of this series and that of, say, Sherlock. In the latter, the very simplest scene is an excuse to deploy every camera-trick known to humanity, a lush montage of London, flashbacks, slow-motion, quirky transitions, the postmodern use of text messages on the screen, and tasteful-yet-gorgeous steampunk sets. Jekyll, on the other hand, is visually simple to the point of appearing archaic, almost evoking the look of a classic Doctor Who serial, and I was actually surprised to discover how recently it had been made. I made note of all this during the first few scenes, and was rather taken aback by the difference between what I had anticipated and the actual experience of the show. However, getting past that, the story is intriguing so far, and Nesbitt's Hyde is, I'm sorry, the very ~*physical embodiment*~ of nightmare fuel. The subtle tricks employed in order to make him appear simultaneously superhuman and disturbingly animalistic? DO NOT WANT. Definitely looking forward to seeing where all this is going.

    Also, Nasreen and Agatha Christie dating? DO WANT.

  9. rabbitape says:

    I watched this series a few months ago with a friend. It had been languishing in my netflix queue, and when I had a friend staying the weekend, we decided to watch an episode. And then we marathoned it.

    I need to go back and watch the first episode so I can remember what happens when. Well, first two I guess, since the 2nd ep will be reviewed tomorrow. (If only I'd known so I could have watched episode 1 last night! Curses!)

  10. Nomie says:

    MIRANDA AND MIN AND CLARE AND KATHERINE <333333333333333

    JAMES NESBITT *______*

    And that's all I can say without spoilering.

  11. Jenny_M says:

    I haven't seen this one, and I am in the middle of moving to my first grown up apartment right now (OMG so excite! Living on my own, doing my own stuff, BEING MY OWN PERSON), so I don't have time to watch. BUT Mark's review has made me super excited to watch it when I am moved in and Comcast has connected my Internet (hahaha let's pretend that's NOT going to be an epic disaster).

    In other words, I'll see y'all in a week and a bit for Buffy, while queueing up Jekyll for later!

  12. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    As I usually do, I'm ahead of where I am on the site so that I have a cushion of reviews and whatnot.

    If you are iffy about this show, I understand. The first episode–and maybe even the second one–is a bit odd.

    All I will say is that you should get to episode three. Just get that far, y'all. It's worth it. You can find it on Netflix and Amazon Instant and watch it in one or two sittings.

    LET'S DO IT.

  13. monkeybutter says:

    I did not guess this! I feel silly for not looking at your watch list to guess, though. I've never seen Jekyll before, so I guess I'll give it a try based on your reviews.

    Obviously, it can only get worse from here, but how is a war fought between two different versions of the same man?

    Trying to imagine this now. Lots of pettiness, because really, murdering a man's family is a little too much. Do they have different wardrobes? Pee in his shoes! (Looking for Alaska is a great inspiration, no?) Empty his bank accounts! Send codgerly and offensive emails to newspapers and loved ones in his name! Move all of his stuff around! Make the lights flicker! Eventually, the opposing persona will break.

    • clodia_risa says:

      In my head, I just see a montage of Jackman waking up and having to deal with all of the above “pranks” that Hyde’s pulled. It’s simply perfect.

  14. Danielle says:

    Ooo! What an excellent surprise! And it gives me an excuse to watch the series all over again.

  15. YES!! Jekyll is great. You are so not prepared for when shit gets real.

    I will link it again at the end, but for anyone on the fence, here's my review. It's totally worth it! (Warning: mildly spoilery for the latter half, if you don't want any expectation spoilers.)

  16. Manu says:

    "I really love a lot of what the BBC is doing these days: Torchwood…"

    That reminds me… Did you watch Miracle Day?

  17. Noybusiness says:

    Huh. I was sure it would be Angels in America. I'd forgotten all about Jekyll. Interesting.

  18. monkeybutter says:

    NOT FAIR, I'M SUPPOSED TO LAUGH AT YOU FOR THAT SORT OF THING.

  19. nanceoir says:

    Oh, this was a surprise, but a good one. I really love this show. I first saw parts of it when my brother watched it, but I couldn't quite follow because I'd missed the first episode or two (and then the last).

    I think there are few openings to a show that are as fraught with tension as the first, what, five or so minutes of this. It's fantastic.

    Mark, you're absolutely right: this show would be nothing without James Nesbitt. OMG, he's amazing in this. Though, I fully admit that I have trouble not being spectacularly creeped out by any and all other James Nesbitt characters, even if there's nothing creepy about them. I mean, I guess that's a good (?) thing, that his performance here made that much of an impact. (I'm hoping that his part in The Hobbit will help clear this away.)

    Mark, you're absolutely right: this show would be nothing without James Nesbitt. OMG, he's amazing in this. Though, I fully admit that I have trouble not being spectacularly creeped out by any and all other James Nesbitt characters, even if there's nothing creepy about them. I mean, I guess that's a good (?) thing, that his performance here made that much of an impact. (I'm hoping that his part in The Hobbit will help clear this away.)

    Also, hi there, Sophie-Jane! And how's it going, Wedge? The grey totally works for you. 😀 (British Actor Bingo, yay!)

  20. hilarius11 says:

    I watched the first two episodes and, while I liked it, was not sold 100%. My mixed feelings and my very busy schedule led to me not continuing. Guess I'll have to make some time now, eh?

  21. klmnumbers says:

    I LOVE JEKYLL OMG.

    This is one of my shows (along with BSG) that is in my instant queue on Netflix, and it is never removed.

    Sometimes, when I'm having a bad day, I just rewatch some of the episodes in the middle.

    I agree with you critique up a few comments that the first episode is a bit rocky. I think they were trying to jam SO MUCH into it that a lot of it had to be too direct and a little bit hitting the audience over the head. I remember laughing at the first reveal of Hyde as well. I thought 'Pffft, smoking? slicked back hair? What is this, badboy trope central?' But my laughter quickly dissolved at how unbelievably malevolent he comes across in that first bit.

    Also, I love Benjamin, but I hate that he plays up the loud American trope a little bit, and his accent is a bit wack.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      It's weird; I actually come to enjoy his accent more as the show progresses. It seems campy at first, but then I can't imagine him without it at all.

      • Oooh, he was my least favorite character, and I was interested in him because people wanted him to be Eleven in the early casting rumor stages and I was like THIS GUY OVER MATT SMITH NOOOOO.

        • maccyAkaMatthew says:

          The accent probably doesn't help here. To get an idea why a lot of people were so enthusiastic about the idea of Patterson Joseph, you should see him playing the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere. It was a role that Neil Gaiman specifically wrote as a tribute to the Doctor. Here's his entrance, from early on, mildly spoilery, but not much:

          Edit: The youtube embed embedded the same video three times, then when I tried to edit it just gave code. So, here are the plain links:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHpYWy89yVU

          The official story, though, is that everything went out of the window when Matt auditioned, which I can easily believe.

          Patterson Joseph is also brilliant in Peep Show (spoilery clips, especially the first one, although the it's a sitcom so it's not spoiled too much by anything):
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO5hByjlPEk
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZtU1iXBejI
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkO7GgJrVxs

          The last two may not work outside the UK.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Yeah, Paterson Joseph is NOT my favourite actor, at all. He annoyed me in Doctor Who and he annoyed me in Jekyll. Plus, the obviously fake American accent is really irritating.

        On the other hand, though, he was pretty decent in Neverwhere…

  22. That laugh was stifled quickly when it was clear that “Hyde” was FUCKING TERRIFYING.

    Oh man. Yes. HIS EYES. HIS TEETH. Suddenly this guy that you saw before is now incredible dangerous-looking and it's amazing.

    Nesbitt’s a fantastic actor to be the focus of this all, and I love that there are three sets of women who provide the vast majority of screen time instead of the dude party that I expected from this all.

    This was one of the things that I really liked about this take on the the Jekyll and Hyde story. Usually whenever Jekyll and Hyde show up…there are no women (aside from that Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde film) OR one token woman (like in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). So many different and great female characters was such a refreshing change.

  23. chikzdigmohawkz says:

    can I just gush about Miranda and Min? Like OMG QUEER WOMEN ALL OVER MY TV SHOW. Oh my god, their relationship is SO WONDERFUL.

    Um, yes, this is so amazing! I saw what the 'surprise show' was, and then I found and watched the first episode (by less than legal means, I admit). And when I realized that Miranda and Min were couple, and wonderfully amazing and functional, I just barely managed to stop myself from bouncing up and down while clapping. So awesome. And they don't die five minutes after being introduced, so that's good.

    And even besides that, there are many women and they are strong and have a point and are not just 'look at me, I'm such a strong character except I'm really not at all because my writers suck at this game'.

    On a brighter note, the dialogue just cracks me up sometimes.

    'For once, just for bloody once, could you tell me where we parked?'

    'That's interesting, because I've always thought of you as a bit like a hard-on.'
    'Oh yeah?'
    'Yeah – usually disappointing.'

    And on a very much darker note: Hyde…is just terrifying. That story about the lions? ::shudder::

    Also, James Nesbitt vf n qjnes. Fcrpvsvpnyyl Obshe. (V qba'g guvax zl urneg pna gnxr jnvgvat nabgure lrne sbe gung zbivr. Naq gura nabgure lrne nsgre gung sbe gur frpbaq vafgnyyzrag.)

  24. Tauriel_ says:

    OMG MARK YOU'RE WATCHING JEKYLL I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! <3 <3 <3

    When you said you'd be watching a 6-episode show, I was kind of hoping for Fortysomething – I can't believe I completely forgot about Jekyll! *facepalm*

    It's a brilliant show, and I'm happy you're liking it so far. As my friend, who is a drama student, pointed out: JAMES NESBIT IS A FUCKING ACTING GOD. <3 <3 <3 He's amazing. I'm glad that they didn't go down the "let's make Hyde look like a werewolf" route, and instead chose just the subtle make-up additions and based the difference between the two characters (because they are that, essentially) mainly on Nesbitt's performance. And boy, does he carry it off. I totally agree with you – Hyde is FUCKING TERRIFYING.

    I utterly ADORE Miranda and Min – they're brilliant, and they have a fantastic chemistry together. I like that the pregnancy isn't used as a plot gimmick, but rather fleshes out their relationship and makes it more realistic (I'm not sure, but I think Fenella Woolgar really WAS pregnant at the time, and Moffat simply incorporated it into the script, but I may be wrong).

    Claire Jackman is gorgeous and I really sympathise with her – although she is a slight bit passive in the first episode.

    I'm rather neutral on Katherine, but that's mainly because I really rather dislike Michelle Ryan (I think she's a terrible actress).

    And I always love your little "predictions", Mark – they're always a mixture of endearingly wrong and eerily accurate. Of course, I won't say which are which, because spoilers. 😉

    But one thing is definitely sure:

    YOU ARE UTTERLY AND ABSOLUTELY NOT PREPARED

    Also, here's a pic I drew for a good friend of mine (she posts at fanfiction.net under the pseudonym of Idrelle Miocovani and she's really good!) – I had it printed on a black T-shirt for her as a Halloween present:

    <img src="http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/335/c/6/c6fa2da9b62c008fac68f96ed33dcc51-d4hvh7y.jpg"&gt;

  25. Tauriel_ says:

    OMG MARK YOU'RE WATCHING JEKYLL I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! <3 <3 <3

    When you said you'd be watching a 6-episode show, I was kind of hoping for Fortysomething – I can't believe I completely forgot about Jekyll! *facepalm*

    It's a brilliant show, and I'm happy you're liking it so far. As my friend, who is a drama student, pointed out: JAMES NESBIT IS A FUCKING ACTING GOD. <3 <3 <3 He's amazing. I'm glad that they didn't go down the "let's make Hyde look like a werewolf" route, and instead chose just the subtle make-up additions and based the difference between the two characters (because they are that, essentially) mainly on Nesbitt's performance. And boy, does he carry it off. I totally agree with you – Hyde is FUCKING TERRIFYING.

    I utterly ADORE Miranda and Min – they're brilliant, and they have a fantastic chemistry together. I like that the pregnancy isn't used as a plot gimmick, but rather fleshes out their relationship and makes it more realistic (I'm not sure, but I think Fenella Woolgar really WAS pregnant at the time, and Moffat simply incorporated it into the script, but I may be wrong).

    Claire Jackman is gorgeous and I really sympathise with her – although she is a slight bit passive in the first episode.

    I'm rather neutral on Katherine, but that's mainly because I really rather dislike Michelle Ryan (I think she's a terrible actress).

    And I always love your little "predictions", Mark – they're always a mixture of endearingly wrong and eerily accurate. Of course, I won't say which are which, because spoilers. 😉

    But one thing is definitely sure:

    YOU ARE UTTERLY AND ABSOLUTELY NOT PREPARED

    Also, here's a pic I drew for a good friend of mine (she posts at fanfiction.net under the pseudonym of Idrelle Miocovani and she's really good!) – I had it printed on a black T-shirt for her as a Halloween present:

    <img src="http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/335/c/6/c6fa2da9b62c008fac68f96ed33dcc51-d4hvh7y.jpg"&gt;

  26. breesquared says:

    I screamed when I saw on your tumblr "blahblahblah instead of Jekyll" then I may have actually screamed and come to this link immediately.

    BASICALLY my best friend/formerly it's complicated recommended this show to me over the summer and I'm amazed by it and today he even presented a scene in our theatre class that was Jekyll/Hyde adaptation so I DON'T KNOW WHY IT DIDN'T OCCUR TO ME THAT THIS WAS YOUR NEXT PROJECT.

    The subtle cosmetic changes didn't even make themselves apparent to me until the show progressed; in each episode I'd notice some other tiny little change, which is wonderous for the makeup artist. Also I love seeing how Moffat brought Meera Syal ("Miranda") back to Doctor Who and Gina Bellman from Coupling into this one. James Nesbitt I was never familiar with and he's WONDERFUL.

  27. Tauriel_ says:

    Also, Mark, are you watching the original (uncut) BBC version, or the "toned down" version they'd broadcast in America?

    • There was a toned down version? I watched it on Netflix Instant; I hope that was the original version.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      It's the original for sure. Netlfix kept all the gore and cursing. OH GOD.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        How far are you? Have you seen the whole thing?

        And it's actually not that much of gore, really (it's not like it's the Saw or anything), but it's highly suggestive and leaves a LOT to the imagination – which is somehow much more effective (especially for someone with an overactive imagination like me OH GOD).

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          Four episodes in. And yes it's not like LIMBS FLYING ALL OVER but there's stuff in eps 3 and 4 that would be a hard push for US TV.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Still not prepared, though. 😉

          • maccyAkaMatthew says:

            And in the UK it went out at 9pm on Saturday nights on BBC1, which is the broadcast network channel with the largest share.

            We have the concept of a "watershed" at 9pm, so stuff before then should be suitable for children. Aside from that, though, the basic principle is that adults can use the off switch on their TV if they want to.

        • notemily says:

          Is this a thing in British TV? implied violence that is even more horrible than displayed violence? Because I watched a few episodes of MI-5 one time and oh god obvyvat bvy.

          • maccyAkaMatthew says:

            It is also cheaper. However, I think the best drama is about the effect of violence rather than the violence itself. Indeed, if you show too much you run the risk of making it all about the sensation of watching, which makes me a little uneasy and is definitely less interesting to me.

            MI-5 is known as Spooks in the UK (I assume that when A&E bought it they didn't want viewers to think it was about ghosts). It's worth sticking with it for all ten series. It probably won't surprise you to learn that Neil Cross, who created and wrote Luther, was the lead writer on series five and six of Spooks/MI-5.

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            Hasbeghangryl, V qvqa'g qb Fcbbxf hagvy zhpu yngre naq jnf fcbvyrq sbe gung cnegvphyne rirag. Fgvyy, V jnf fb abg cercnerq sbe gur erfg bs gur frevrf.

  28. calimie says:

    OMG!! Jekyl!! 😀 Wonderful! It's brilliant.

    Agreed on everything, specially about Nesbitt: he's absolutly terrifying as Hyde. His two roles are amazing, I never dreamed someone could do something like it.
    If someone is interested in a non-creepy Nesbitt role, I'd recommend "Five Minutes of Heaven" and "Bloody Sunday". He didn't scare me (much) in those.

  29. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    I'll have to obtain a copy of this, as I haven't seen it since it was broadcast in the UK.

    A little fact to be going on with, though. Moffat was still working on this and so had to pull out of writing the Dalek two-parter in series three of Doctor Who quite early on. So, this is the reason we got Blink, which he wrote in two weeks. He did a have a Sally Sparrow story* to base it on, but still – two weeks!

    *it's here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/features/stories/ficti...

    and if you can track down a copy of his story "Continuity Errors"** from 1996 you'll see how long some ideas have been knocking around in his head for.

    **it's in Decalog 3, which you can pay a lot of money for:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Decalog-3-Consequences-Do
    http://www.amazon.com/Decalog-Consequences-Storie

    or, since it's out of print, look for in PDF format in the usual places.

    • Luke_Rattigan says:

      Yeah, well see. That's a tautology. You can't say PDF format. 'Cause it stands for Portable Document Format. So you can't say "Portable Document Format format." Do you see, Mr. Conditional Clause?

  30. Noybusiness says:

    Isn't the liveblog (for The Plan) usually up by now?

  31. mediamadmeg says:

    WOW that was unbelievably excellent! I'm so excited that your mini-project is something I'm totally unfamiliar with, so it gives me something new to watch!

    The writing was excellent, of course (with the quintessential Moffatian creepiness), but you're right, the best thing about the series by far is Nesbitt's incredible performance. And the already splendid supporting cast. I LOVE THE LESBIANS WITH SUCH A FIERCENESS. (if that's a word)

    What I also love is that, while Jekyll absolutely takes itself seriously, there's a certain layer of sarcasm over the whole thing. I mean, there's little to no humor, but you can almost hear Hyde cackling in the background even when he's off-screen, and the other characters' bitterness over the fact that his presence is there, even when Jackman's the man on screen. Gah. Brilliance. Can't wait for more!

  32. orangerhymes says:

    Finally a show that I haven't seen! I've been looking for something to watch and this is basically the best thing that could happen.

    Nesbitt is brilliant.

    Oh, and Miranda. Miranda is currently my favourite.

  33. notemily says:

    I didn't know Gina Bellman was in this! Love!

    And hey, it's Lady Christina de Souza! AKA Nimueh.

    "It got so big it left me." "That's quite funny." "You have no idea." lolololol

    "I'm going to go home and change!" ahahaha

    Apparently this guy is playing a dwarf in The Hobbit? AWESOME.

    "I don't own a black van." Yep, definitely Moffat-y. He loves those scare lines. "Then who's typing?" "So why don't the statues?" etc.

    So Hyde is not only a supernatural guy who you can't attack, but he's a creepy rapist as well? Yay? O_o

    So wait… he pretends to kill the guy, doesn't kill the guy, threatens to rape the girl, doesn't rape the girl, and then goes off to get really drunk? I'm confused. Well, not about the last part, because he's obviously setting himself up for a really bad hangover, which, what an asshole.

    WHAT HE CAN CLIMB BUILDINGS?

    "If Jackman gets a hard-on, I'm it." Is that why he started to show up when he was making out with his wife? That could get inconvenient.

    That's an interesting car you have there, Agatha.

    "Tactless to make plans." LOL

    "The hairline is completely different"?? It is? Does evil have more hair, or less?

    "We're pregnant. Well, mostly me."

    Oh, okay, so Mr. Hyde was going around with some ladies and ended up leaving descendants? Or… time travel? Or something? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND

    "I think he's a child." So this is like the nightmare version of Big with Tom Hanks?

    "I didn't think Tom had any family." "Neither did I." SO CREEPY.

    OMG, he calls him "DADDY." WHAT THE FLUCK. (That was a typo, but I stand by it.) IS HE HIS KID OR WHAT. I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Is there significance to him having twins? Why is Hyde "brand new"? Why is he "a child"? What triggered the initial change? adfskjlafds;adfjksd

    Mark, if you "really love the characterization of Claire Jackman" it's a shame this is all you've seen of Gina Bellman. Watch her in Coupling and Leverage and see her incredible range of comedy and drama. (Please tell me "Coupling" is on your confirmed list. PLEASE. IT'S MOFFAT. AND ALSO HILARIOUS.)

    So yeah, this was pretty great. I genuinely believed that ANY of these characters could die at ANY time, the wife, the kids, the investigators, whoever. (Even though I spoiled myself by looking at the imdb page for this show, which says how many episodes the actors are in.) I definitely want to know WHAT Hyde is, and how he came to exist, and I hope there's a satisfying answer to that somewhere in this series because apparently the BBC doesn't want to produce a second one. DON'T PULL A SHERLOCK ON ME AND THEN LEAVE ME HANGING, SHOW.

    John Jarndyce from Bleak House is in this! Like, okay, he's Wedge Antilles, whatever. Mark, I hope Bleak House is on your list as well. Just watch ALL the BBC shows okay?

    • Tauriel_ says:

      So Hyde is not only a supernatural guy who you can't attack, but he's a creepy rapist as well?

      Well, he hasn't raped anyone yet, so I wouldn't call him a rapist. After all, he didn't rape that blonde girl in the alleyway – I think he only wanted to scare her (which he did). And that "one night stand" in the bar was, as far as it was portrayed, consensual.

      Also, Coupling IS on Mark's watching list! 😉

    • knut_knut says:

      OMG HE IS IN THE HOBBIT! I was trying to remember what I'd seen Nesbitt in recently and it's those The Hobbit production videos *facepalm*

      • Tauriel_ says:

        He's got a Pippi Longstocking hairdo, a funny hat, and a bad-ass looking mining pick crossed with a hammer. Fuck yeah, you don't want to mess with Bofur! 😀

        I had a nerdgasm when it was announced that he'd been cast in the Hobbit. Almost as big nerdgasm as when I learned that Martin Freeman would play Bilbo and that Benedict Cumberbatch would play Smaug and the Necromancer.

  34. Tauriel_ says:

    So, Mark, now you know what it's like for us when you make an ironic-looking prediction! 😀

  35. Christian Myers says:

    Oh my god Mark. This show was my first introduction to several of my now favorite things. Including British Television and Moffat and Gina Bellman. The fact that you are watching this has made life worth living. ^_________^

  36. Amanda says:

    I know you've already finished watching this, Mark, and I'm waaay behind, but I would have left a review saying OMG THIS IS AMAZING and I watched all six episodes in one go without stopping. Nesbitt is literally awe-inspiring and I'm astounded by him, he's a freaking genius. He blew me away, and Moffatt continues to impress me with his adaptations that feel fresh and different.

    On to read your remaining reviews. 🙂

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