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On Jeckyll by Stephen Moffat

Let's start with reminding everyone that I have ghetto cable and had to wait until Jeckyll was avaible to rent from Netflix.  I love Netfilx, but that is another forum topic.

Being a big fan of Moffat's writing on Doctor Who ("Are you my mummy?" and "Hey, who turned out the lights?" for starters), I put the first DVD into the magical machine in great anticipation of being scared and thrilled by this six-part miniseries.  Don't you just the BBC and how a miniseries can be longer than two episodes?  Again, BBC television is a whole other topic.

Anyway, Moffat and James Nesbit as Dr. Jackman and Mr. Billy Hyde were wonderful in this modern re-telling of the man whose inner demon manifests itself in all sorts of nasty ways.  I love how Mr. Hyde is viewed as the next stage of human evolution.

The story was going so well, I suspended my disbelief in a few bumby spots because I was having fun with it, and then THE LAST 45 SECONDS OF THE SERIES HAPPENED! It was as though Moffat had been promised nine episodes and was told at the last minute, after shooting began, that he would get only six.  He threw some lame-ass ending just like my students write conclusions for they essays they write in class.  They write and write and do not know how to finish their essays, so they bring them to a horribly screeching halt.  Again, I digress, but you get my point.

I hope that when Moffat takes the helm on Doctor Who that he does not run into these brain farts in his writing.

Episode Six

John S. Drew's picture

I have to say that I had no problem with the last 45 seconds of the show other than that Moffat kind of telegraphed it from the moment that woman appeared.  It was too obvious.

Now, the first five minutes of the episode were the best five minutes I have ever seen on television.  Moffat goes through all the trouble of establishing a background for our soldier of fortune and his team that are hired to take Hyde in.  The music builds in tension.  It kind of reminded me of Superman II where the taxi driver says, "Man, this is going to be good," as Supes prepares to take on all three baddies.  I'm ready for a battle royale and then Hyde simply grabs the guy and tosses him off the building.

Brilliant.

Was there ever an intention to continue the series or was that it?

John
Creator, Producer, All Around God-Like Being
"What?  Too much?"

From memory

there was talk of a second season, but it was only ever talk.   WIth Moffat doing Who, I doubt we'll see a continuation.

Episode Five

John S. Drew's picture

Watched this last night.  I loved that they went back to the past and showed Jekyll's past.  It was also cool to see Mark Gatiss playing Stevenson.  Did I miss something or did they not fully explain how Jane affects Tom?  Is that the next episode?  One more episode to go and while there is something sad knowing such a strong story with such strong performances is coming to an end, you know that you couldn't sustain an idea like this without it becoming formulaic.  And to go back to my last post, that's where American television is failing.

John
Creator, Producer, All Around God-Like Being
"What?  Too much?"

Episode Four

John S. Drew's picture

Judy has said that she didn't care for the last 45 seconds of the show.  I thought the show was over when I saw the fourth episode as that ending would have been so mean.  The preview for this episode was very misleading as it featured only the last ten minutes or so.  I loved how we get the early days of Tom's condition and the story of how he met his wife.

In watching this episode, I got to thinking two things:

  1. Americans really need to adopt the British way of telling stories on television.  We need shorter seasons and mini series that span over a number of weeks rather than days.  Jeckyl is self-contained, gripping, and the performances are top notch.  In doing this, you tell tight stories and not pad things out over time.  I remember Keith mentioning how good the second season of Jericho was as they were limited to seven episodes.  I haven't watched it yet as Sue and I haven't finished the first season.  As proof of what I'm saying, we kind of lost interest as the action seems to have slowed down somewhat.
  2. An American version of Jeckyl, what would it be like?  Were I producing it, I'd switch things up and call it The Frankenstein Project.  A man wakes up in the woods without any idea who or where he is.  He is friended by a medical student who lets him stay at her place as the local police do what they can to learn his identity.  Meanwhile, he's haunted by dreams of gruesome murders that he supposedly commited.  He can't explain himself to anyone or the awesome strength he possesses.  His movements are being watched by a government group that wasn't aware that an overeager member of their science branch took their developing clone technology and improved it to bring dead tissue back to life.  In discovering them, the man learns about his past and discovers his body is a patchwork of various body parts and his mind is that of a serial killer.

John
Creator, Producer, All Around God-Like Being
"What?  Too much?"

agreed

krad's picture

It's not a coincidence that:

a) Some of the best-written shows on TV are the ones that have 13 episodes or less per season, which means you really can't waste time on crap.

b) The best season of the new Battlestar Galactica was its first 13-episode season, and when it expanded to 22 episodes it started getting meandering and futzy.

c) Probably the most tightly written season's worth of TV episodes in America over the past few years was the seven-episode second season of Jericho, which was a masterpiece of fat-free writing.

 

Keith R.A. DeCandido | keith@decandido.net | DeCandido.net | kradical.livejournal.com | Facebook.com/kradec | @KRADeC on Twitter

"Even when you turn your back, you're still facing something."

Third Episode In

John S. Drew's picture

Really liking this.  Love the mind play between the two characters.  Nicely done.  Nesbitt is brilliant.

John
Creator, Producer, All Around God-Like Being
"What?  Too much?"

Jekyll

John S. Drew's picture

Sue and I sat down to watch the first episode tonight. It's a very odd show. James Nesbitt is very engaging though and plays the dual role wonderfully. It was cool to see Patterson Joseph, the possible future Doctor Who and Michelle Ryan, the former Bionic Woman. I'm not hooked on the series, but the dialogue and performances will make me come back and watch the next episode.

John
Creator, Producer, All Around God-Like Being
"What?  Too much?"

you need to see the whole thing

John S. Drew's picture

Originally submitted by Keith R.A. DeCandido (moved from a duplicate topic)

 

It really is a single story told over several episodes, though each episode is also structured magnificently. It's the sort of thing that gives one encouragement for the future of Who.

I saw Michelle Ryan in this before Bionic Woman aired, so I actually had higher hopes for BW, since I had evidence that she could actually act -- evidence that never was really forthcoming on BW.....

John
Creator, Producer, All Around God-Like Being
"What?  Too much?"

What you need to remember

is Michelle Ryan was in EastEnders for a while before Jekyll, playing one of the "Slaters"   Not exactly Shakespeare you know...