Whoever it was on my flist that mentioned enjoying the first episode of Jekyll: THANK YOU.
Okay, yeah, I wrote a novel called Doppelganger; I’m predisposed to like stories in this vein. But still. The British mini-series Jekyll is kind of awesome.
Some of it is standard-issue awesome, if that makes sense: good bits of dialogue, nicely twisty plot, and so on. But there’s also special-order awesome, like the lesbian PI couple, and the general sense that the female characters carry roughly half of the weight of the show, instead of being a couple of tokens running around for variety. I didn’t like Claire at first, and she fell down again a little bit toward the end, but she had a nice stretch in the middle there where she went from plot-fodder wife to an active agent in the plot. And that was very pleasing.
(The other thing that was awesome? I didn’t have to leave my house to make the magic moving pictures come to me. Netflix’s streaming option, via XBox Live, is da bomb.)
So, for those not aware, this is essentially a sequel to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, featuring a modern-day guy named Tom Jackman who’s got more than just your average case of split personality. He’s recently estranged from his wife and children (owing to his fear that his other side might, well, kill and eat them), and he’s being chased around by an evil organization that wants to do god knows what kind of experimentation on him, but there are enough wrenches thrown into that run-of-the-mill setup to keep it quite interesting. If I have one substantive complaint, it’s that I would have liked more than six episodes; I wholeheartedly agree that it’s better off as a mini-series than an ongoing thing, but another two or four episodes would have allowed for more exploration of the very interesting side characters. In particular, the way the opening scene plays made me expect Miss Reimer to have more central of a role, and I was mildly disappointed that she stayed pretty resolutely secondary.
James Nesbitt pulls off the major requirement of a role like this, which is to play a convincing difference between the two personalities. He’s helped along by minor prosthetics — altering his hairline, ears, chin, and eye color, since Hyde is not supposed to look exactly like Jackman — but the important thing is the behavior. David Boreanaz never did it well enough for my taste; Angelus, for me, mostly existed in the dialogue written for him, which Angel would never have spoken. Hyde’s got the dialogue, but he’s also got the change in pitch and tone and especially body language. Hyde moves differently than Jackman does. (He also goes through a pretty wide range of accents, for various reasons.) So props to him.
If you’ve seen this, please flag any spoilers in your comments, since I imagine a lot of people haven’t come across it yet.