Thursday, August 2, 2007

I'm Sad To Report

I finished watching Jekyll.

What can I say? The ending was a disappointment.

It starts so great. And it held me fast for four episodes.

But by episode five, I was asking "what?! what show is this?"

It's funny. In the pilot I loved the abrupt turns that kept taking you into new territory. I thought I knew what kind of show I was watching and then bang! I'd be somewhere else completely.

But when it started taking those sharp turns in episode 5? I didn't like it so much.

I did like the way the show twisted you around so that Hyde became the good guy. I'm always a fan of a show that changes your perspective on a character that way -- you start out hating them and then something is revealed that puts you on their side. And Moffat did that well.

Not only that, but the evolution of my feelings for Hyde was natural. It flowed right out of the first moment he appeared in the pilot when I wanted to like him. And by episode 5, Moffat gave me reason to.

But all the underpinnings of who Jackman is and where he came from and how he became Hyde, that just didn't ring true for me.

I think you should still watch the series, because there's lots of enjoyment to be had and lots of craft to admire and learn from. But be warned:

Great setup. Mediocre payoff.

3 comments:

Bill Cunningham said...

I finally finished watching the series and while I don't think it paid off explosively - I do think it paid off.

What's interesting is the way Moffat took a straight forward plot and chopped it up, mixing and matching the pieces across the six episodes. In this story you don't learn things chronologically you learn them emotionally.

Which of course is great because as you stated earlier "time" plays an important thematic role in the tale. (I almost wrote "show",but that's not right is it? This is a "tale.")

The coda scenes of Jekyll meeting his origins, while good in and of themselves, are misplaced in the structure. I would have liked to have learned this earlier.

I actually liked the number of twists in the fifth episode and looked at it and the sixth episode as the third act.

Jill Golick said...

There are a lot of great insights in those five paragraphs above. ... Learn things emotionally not chronologically...tale not show...fifth and sixth episodes as third act...

The coda scenes may have been what bugged me the most. I thought I'd been watching a novel, but they were the ending for a short story; one of those trick twist endings.

But in all it's minor complaining because there is so much to love in this series. So I wasn't completely happy with the ending. Endings are hard, as we've learned this year. And it's especially hard to build an ending that satisfies the viewer who is emotionally tied to the piece.

Bill Cunningham said...

Thanks, Jill.

I think this six-pack series structure is a lot of fun.

I'm hoping that US/Canada takes a peek and starts using the format more often, especialy for cable programming.