66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2007
Steven Moffat's writing, combined with James Nesbitt's extraordinary performance has me hiding behind the sofa--but in a good way!
Rather than rehashing all the old films that came before, Moffat took the "What if..." route--what if there was a Jekyll/Hyde combo running about *today?* His answer is a stylish, intelligent, scary, wickedly funny, and just plain wicked storytelling at its best.
The script is lean and mean, every line has a purpose, and one is not just invited, but compelled to try to anticipate what's going to happen next. This is suspense in its purest form, and there is always a solid payoff.
Certain tastes, raised on fizzy diet soft drinks, are not going to react well to their first pint of Guinness. As a writer myself, I am blown away by Moffat's handling of the material.
We are not presented with the same old "don't mess with this stuff" cautionary tale so much as invited along to truly see the world through Hyde's eyes. He's a fun fellow, honestly puzzled by some things and the absolute master of others. He is able to hone life down to its basics and enjoy himself and his carnal nature, yet Nesbitt makes this humorous as well as frightening. This is the true definition of horror in that we are repelled but at the same time attracted.
Did I mention intelligent scripting? That also goes for the direction, production, and a very well-picked supporting cast, able to keep up with the perfectly chosen Nesbitt.
His Jekyll (Dr. Jackman) is as solid and interesting as his devilish Hyde. So far as this fan of classic horror is concerned he now owns the character, and someone dang-well better give him some kind of an award for his outstanding work. It can't have been easy, yet he makes it look so. Wow.
There is close attention to detail in this series that one needs multiple watchings to pick out everything. In-jokes related to Stevenson's original story tickled my literary palate, such as Dr. Jackman's twin boys being named Henry and Edward. There's more, but I'm not spoiling them for you.
It is by perfectly executed turns funny, sharp, and bloody scary and for this jaded viewer, wholly engaging. I can't recommend it enough!
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2007
I just started watching the show Jekyll on BBC America and I have to say it's the greatest version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I have EVER seen. It's so good I had to start watching more episodes from a British friend because I noticed there were some cuts made to the version that aired on BBC America. Hyde is like a hyper active and malicious child who enjoys tormenting things and though is capable of love doesn't admit to it or understand it. In a way his psychotic hyper activity reminds me of Drew Sarich's portrayal of Armand in the Lestat musical.
Hyde, at one point, saves Dr. Jackman's (Jekyll) children when one of them is put in a lion's cage in a zoo. He claims he only did it to kill a lion. Later when Hyde is ranting 'They're not my family they're HIS family' someone threatens Jackman's wife and Hyde asks 'Are you threatening my family?' and when the man says yes Hyde promptly slits his throat. You don't know if you should be repulsed or pity this child-like sadist.
Hyde has a warped sense of humour, listening to Disney show tunes and at one point singing The Lion Sleeps tonight after slaughtering a lion in a zoo. It's dark. It's funny. It's suspenseful.
Now, I don't usually like Jekyll and Hyde stories but this is the best version I have ever seen and James Nesbitt (Jackman and Hyde) does the best duel roles I have ever seen where you really almost think they really are two different men even though the physical changes are subtle compared to most Jekyll and Hyde transformations.
I love this. I'm hooked.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
Another delicious series from Stephen Moffat, who also whisked Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes into the 21st century through his inventive writing. (I can always tell when I'm watching a something with the Moffat touch -- it's effortlessly smart and surprising, and makes everything else on TV seem even more leaden and formulaic.)
And James Nesbitt is amazing as Tom Jackman, the modern-day descendant of Dr. Jekyll, who suffers from the same malady.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2007
Tour de force performance by James Nesbitt (Murphy's Law, Cold Feet) in the dual role as Tom Jackman/Mr. Hyde coupled with great twists courtesy of writer Steven Moffat make this one hell of a ride!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2010
James Nesbitt's tour de force acting alone makes this series worth a view, but there is also the amazing performance of Paterson Joseph as a main nemesis of Jekyll, and the spot on Gina Bellman as Jekyll's wife. Speaking of the latter, all of the female roles in this series are very strong - in many ways stronger than all of the male roles - very unusual.
In addition, the script is clever and witty, darkly humorous, but most of the time not so much that it detracts from the suspense and tension which is the show's chief mood. The script also puts some intriguing twists on Robert Louis Stevenson's original story while still retaining its main themes and tensions. In fact, Jekyll was well on its way to becoming one of the best TV programs I've ever seen until the last couple of episodes. No spoilers here, but I was disappointed with some moments in episode 5, which got a bit slap-sticky and a bit full of itself, and I did not like how the series as a whole ended in episode 6. The concluding moments and explanations made no sense, not even within the show's own sci-fi logic, and the very last moment was over the top in a cheap horror movie sort of way. These are serious miscalculations which bring the whole series down a notch from 5 stars to 4.
Nonetheless, fans of BBC shows, clever writing, sci-fi, and/or sensational acting will not want to miss it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2007
There are very few television events that have come into my life with such ferocious energy and wicked humor as Steven Moffat's modern adaptation of "Jeckyll." James Nesbitt delivers what has to be a tour de force (a phrase I assure you I never use) with his Doctor Jackman good guy tormented by his Hyde id. The moments of tension and humor compound one upon another making each of the six episodes better than one before.
Frankly, almost from the beginning you are rooting for Mr. Hyde. Nesbit does the age old trick of basically just "acting" his transformation (a different wig and some black contacts seem to be the only prosthetics) and this is the magic of the show. He is screaming with power simply because he has no conscience to keep him check. In episode one, when Jackman is attacked by a kid named Billy and transforms into Hyde, we have a presentation of power unequaled in drama. Jackman (who pleaded into his recorder for minimum necessary force while being within an inch of death) is suddenly Hyde who gives Billy three chances to kill him before pronouncing "Let me be honest with you, I don't get a lot of pleasure out of killing children ... but I get enough!"
Hugely funny, hugely intelligent, and hugely entertaining; this is the kind of show you simply must watch once.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Why do I love watching this so often? Is it the gallows humor? Is it the speed-of-light character interactions that unfold like layers in an onion? The hip sci-fi updating of a literary classic? The great design, camera work, and writing? Whatever it is, I love it, and I keep coming back for more.
Instead of yet another ho-hum Freudian mumble on the Robert Louis Stevenson's notoriously evasive classic, Steven Moffett, award-winning writer for BBC's Coupling and Doctor Who, reimagines the story in the early twenty-first century. His subtle irony and surprising retcons transform the story so that, even if you think you know it, you'll find something surprising when you watch.
James Nesbitt conveys both nebbishy pathos as Dr. Jackman and blood-soaked comedy as Hyde. Gina Bellman as Jackman's wife is about as removed from her role as Coupling's Jane as you can imagine. And I bet only the quickest eyes among you will spot the Star Wars veteran on first viewing the series.
This series has enough going on that, unlike most horror, it rewards multiple viewings. Hyde's hilarious psychosis exists at so many layers that I still thrill to see him every time he appears. And because this story relies more on psychological horror than some mere BOO, it doesn't stop rewarding audiences just because we know what's coming next.
In a market glutted with horror schlock, this six-hour mini-epic stands out because it goes for more than the scare. It carefully dismantles the concepts we fear in our day and time, and displays them in excruciating, hilarious detail. This show picks you up hard and doesn't let you go.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2007
This is a PERFECT series. It is creepy, dramatic, and funny, all at the same time. I actually fancied "Hyde"! We need more creative shows like this on television. Jame Nesbitt is *awesome* in this dual role.
And the finale could not have been better or more surprising -- avoid spoilers!!
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story gets a make-over, but it isn't what you'd expect. Lot's of horror, lot's of humor, plenty of over the top performances by James Nesbitt, who totally sells the potentially tired premise. A great supporting cast with equally strong performances. The writing is superb as Hugo Award-winning Steven Moffat who penned some the scariest, best written stories of the new Doctor Who series (The Empty Child, Blink) reworks Stevenson's century-old concept.
Some mild spoilers follow...
Much of the exposition is given in later episodes through flashbacks and some hyper-race memory, but the series opens with Dr. Tom Jackman, having left his life and family behind in a desperate attempt to protect them from his "dark side" eventually dubbed Mr. Hyde.
Dr. Jackman has left is family and job. "Blackouts" lead him to hire a psychiatric nurse, played by Michelle Ryan (the new The Bionic Woman) to oversee his transformations and serving as a mediator between Hyde and Jackman. His wife, Claire played by Gina Bellman (from Coupling), has hired a private detective to find out what's going on with Tom, while he fears Hyde even learning about his family. The private detective Meera Syal (of The Kumars at No 42 a.k.a granny) accidentally reveals Tom's family to Hyde after an unscheduled change takes place. Hyde befriends Claire and the kids as "Uncle Billy." Upon his "return" Jackman learns that his family is at risk...other external forces are trying to draw Hyde out for their own covert agendas. While at the zoo with his sons along with shady family friend (played by James Lawson Star Wars' Wedge), Tom converses on his cellphone with his very awake alter-ego and literally enters the lion's den to save his son. A mystery woman, claiming to be his mother, reveals that Tom is a direct descendant of Dr Henry Jekyll, who had no heirs. Dr. Jackman flees, fighting his dark side as he may Hyde is still coming, as are the organization planning to catch him.
Claire eventually learns of Hyde, confronting him demanding her husband back. But there's lots more flashbacks, reveals and twists before she'll get anything of the kind. She may have to learn dark secrets and not only about Tom.
The language and mood of the series is dark and adult, but I'd recommend it, plenty of heart-pumping thriller pacing along with its grislier moments. Nesbitt's transformation into Hyde is subtle from an effects stand-point, but from an acting aspect it is rocking! Gina Bellman's performance is also stand-out good.
The series has many shockingly disturbing moments, even when Hyde isn't on screen (well Nesbitt is) like... A terrifying message in Jackman's own blood on a wall, "When you sleep, I will eat your children," the children locked asphyxiating in steel caskets or just about whenever Jackman's Family is alone with Hyde.
Ultimately, the truth about Jackman is revealed and it is not as unexpected as some of Hyde's actions throughout the climax of the show. Enough questions remain support a second series, hopefully with as much of the "surviving" original cast as possible.
Speaking of cast, I was shocked to see that Amazon failed to list the leading actor James Nesbitt on the DVD info, I mean I love Ewan McGreggor's Uncle Wedge, but props to the man playing two roles for Pete's sake!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2013
Jekyll begins with an intriguing premise and strong characters, but begins to almost confuse itself with its twists and faulty logic. What starts as a smart show for the first few episodes slowly slips into inconsistency, with each new plotline and story arc growing more ridiculous than the last. Serious and interesting characters conclude this show's single series as shadows of what they once were, resulting in a disappointing end to what could have been a brilliant display of storytelling.
TL;DR: a mediocre episode of Doctor Who drawn out to 6 episodes. And this is coming from a Doctor Who fan.