Aug 17, 2012

TV Review: Jekyll

Everyone knows the story of Jekyll and Hyde, even if they've never read the original story, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This BBC modern day take on the tale is a sci-fi rabbit hole with twists and turns in every episode, and is currently available on Netflix Instant Watch, which is how I viewed it.

The show is about a scientist named Tom Jackman who (without magic potion) slowly has his super-strength, super-speed, cannibalistic, psychopathic secondary personality, Mr. Hyde (who takes the name from the Stevenson novella) take over his life. As if that wasn't enough trouble for Jackman, there's a government conspiracy afoot! A secret order with deep pockets and agents planted all over the place are trying to bring the most interesting man in the world into the lab to study.

I liked Jekyll, although it wasn't without it's faults. I was concerned with the transformations and Hyde maulings that BBC's low-budget Dr. Who-like special effects would completely destroy the show for me, but they thankfully worked around this. A lot of the CGI-needed scenes were instead filmed with the power of suggestion, and it worked out very well. The acting was another strong point of the show, as I never felt annoyed with any character.

What was disappointing was that the entire show's run was only six episodes long when the 1970's TV series, The Incredible Hulk showed just how much mileage the premise can offer. Also, the plotline and backstory got so chaotic at the end that things didn't reach a satisfying end. Anytime someone offered up a long-awaited explanation to a big mystery, it felt unrealistic within the rules of this world or just unfleshed out. There were a lot of plot moments that felt like shocks for the sake of shocks rather than common sense.

Overall, I really liked this show but I don't think I could suggest it to everyone in a general sense. It's a niche market kind of show that only people with an already built-in interest to sci-fi and transformation genres will appreciate. It was certainly up a lot of people's allys, but I think the crazy twists into twists that got me lost would sour the show for many. My overall score for Jekyll...

4 / 5