Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jekyll (live action TV series), via Netflix

Jekyll is a short BBC thriller.

I at first thought this might be like Sherlock, an updated version of the Jekyll and Hyde story that pretends the original Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was never written. However, that's not the case. Instead, Dr. Tom Jackman is a descendant of the original Dr. Jekyll, and Robert Louis Stevenson based his story on a real, flesh-and-blood man. Tom Jackman has a condition that causes him to turn into Hyde at relatively predictable intervals. Hyde has no idea that Jackman is married, and Jackman wants to keep it that way. Likewise, Jackman doesn't know everything that Hyde does while Hyde is in control. Hyde and Jackman have an agreement – Hyde is allowed to roam free only if he refrains from killing people. If he breaks their agreement and Jackman finds out, Jackman will turn the both of them in to the police.

Their agreement works fairly well for them, at first, but then Hyde begins to come out at unexpected times and learns that Jackman has been hiding things from him. Jackman and Hyde learn that a shadowy group has been keeping an eye on them and want to create more people like them (I can't remember why). Jackman becomes determined to both keep Hyde away from his family and keep himself out of the grasp of the people trying to capture him.

This was an okay show. It kept my attention enough that I sped through it pretty quickly. However, it was not without its problems. The way it was structured, with a bit of backward and forward movement in time, was a little annoying and made some things unnecessarily confusing. I also wished that Hyde hadn't been given quite so many superpower-like abilities. He was more than just a dark personality – he was super-strong, fast, and animalistic to the point that he occasionally had literal claws and sharp teeth.

Hyde wasn't a very consistent character. I expected him to be legitimately scary, but quickly realized that there was a particular line he was probably never going to cross, at which point he was robbed, in my eyes, of any bite he'd ever had. Later, he became scarier again (maiming a guy, killing a lion with his bare hands and teeth – off-screen, of course), but once again the story declawed him, turning him into a frightened, uncertain child (a child with a nasty temper, but still). The series ended with him as an almost sympathetic figure.

Jackman's wife was also a hard character for me to wrap my brain around. On the one hand, she had moments when she was justifiably scared of Hyde. On the other hand, there were times when she seemed more suited to Hyde than she was to Jackman. The amount of trust she occasionally had in Hyde, just based on the fact that he shared a body with Jackman, was completely unwarranted. Was this woman naive? Stupid? Unbalanced? A little of all three?

The end of this series was just...insane. It's like the writer totally gave up and chose to aim for shock at the expense of anything resembling logic. I wish I could write about the ending in more detail, but there's no way to do that without spoiling things, and Blogger does not give me spoiler tags, at least not that I know of. I'll just say this: it's crazy and stupid, particularly the last few minutes.


  1. Doesn't sound like it's worth the effort and time...too many good series on NetFlix to be had, I think. I was, however, terribly disappointed in the NetFlix new season of Arrested Development. Talk about jumping the shark...

  2. Compared to some of the things I've been watching lately, it's fantastic, but, yes, you're probably right. It had a lot of potential, but I don't think the writer thought it through very well.