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on February 3, 2013
I'm a huge fan of British TV - and I don't believe "Ripper Street" has let me down - not one jot. If anyone, including some of the reviewers, are looking for none stop action and farfetched heroics, then this isn't going to be their cup of tea. I'd suggest watching American TV instead (and I'm American). This show is one where you'll actually have to listen to the dialogue sometimes. I certainly like Ripper Street much better than the current Copper on BBC America. All I can say is I'm a fan of the likes of Foyle's War, Morse, Lewis, Midsomer, Frost etc and I love this show - recommended!
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on February 24, 2013
I am absolutely addicted to Ripper Street! The characters are so layered and interesting and the stories are nail-biting! There is a masterful blend of humor, sarcasm, tenderness, romance, intrigue, mystery, and violence! The writing and acting are terrific! I DVR and re-watch the episodes several times! Truly an entertaining and interesting television show - one of the best in my opinion!
11 comment| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
History's enduring fascination with the gruesome crimes of Jack The Ripper continues unabated with yet another example of popular fiction being inspired by the legendary murderer. Truthfully, I have read enough books, seen enough television, and watched enough movies that cast Jack The Ripper into a central role that I feel like he's an old friend--albeit one I wouldn't want to invite home to dinner. So wearily and warily, I sat down to watch the BBC production of "Ripper Street." I watch a LOT on BBC, perhaps too much! Having recently watched both "Whitechapel" (a Jack tale set in present day) and "Copper" (a historical crime drama), I couldn't help seeing "Ripper Street" as somewhat of a stylistic cross between both of these shows. "Ripper Street" is set in London's East End circa 1889 in the ensuing chaos following the notorious murders. The show centers around a precinct called H Division. Six months after Jack's spree, they are still entrusted to keep the peace within the Whitechapel neighborhood where fear and hysteria run rampant. Although Jack's carnage may be a thing of the past (or is it?), his legacy endures and the streets are far from safe!

As more murders start to be discovered, the public paranoia immediately points to Jack's return. It's up to H Division to sort these crimes out and apprehend the real culprits. To be fair, it might not be entirely accurate to call this a show about Jack the Ripper. The atmosphere and setting of the show is historically linked and influenced by these murders, but the plotting stays the course of a more conventional police procedural with different crimes to solve episodically. The always reliable Matthew Macfadyen heads the investigative team with the assistance of Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg. I like Macfadyen's intensity, as usual, and Rothenberg gets more of the personal drama as his relationship with a brothel madam (Myanna Buring) is one of the series' more intriguing side plots. Rounding out the principle cast are a scandal seeking reporter (David Dawson) and a mother haunted by her daughter's death (Amanda Hale). The performances throughout are solid

As I said, the principle plot threads of "Ripper Street" have to do with solving new cases. MacFadyen and team are rather progressive, and part of the show's appeal is seeing the evolution of modern police investigative techniques. This can sometimes feel a little too modern as if the show wants to hedge its bets and attract the CSI crowd! Also to appeal to a wider audience, Rothenberg is both an American surgeon and a former Pinkerton. So he brings a different perspective that the other Detective Inspectors can learn from and clash with. But despite some of these conveniences in plotting, the show really does a good job highlighting the panic and fear that distinguishes the Whitechapel area.

The staging of the program is impressively dark and dreary. A lot of money seems to have been spent getting the period details just so. A lot of the scenes are shot outside where the sets look spectacular. Sometimes, however, the filming techniques and discordant music feel a little heavy. Overall, though, I think "Ripper Street" is very well done from a technical standpoint. I'm afraid, however, that some people will come to the show looking for fast paced action or even something more gruesome. The show is earnest and methodical and it takes its time. Some episodes can feel spectacularly slow and I don't think that it's necessarily a home run right out of the gate. If you stick with it, "Ripper Street" finds its rhythm and improves with subsequent episodes as the screenplays can dig into the characters a bit deeper. If you like either crime procedurals or period piece dramas, this might be worth a look. KGHarris, 1/13.
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Matthew Macfayden left the very successful UK tv series called MI5 in the USA and SPOOKS in the UK. He was the lead spy and he did a splendid job. He left it to move into movies with his most notable role being Darcy in PRIDE & PREJUDICE with Keira Knightly. But his movie career didn't really take off so now he's back on tv, which might be his best medium.

He is the lead in this series about police work in London AFTER Jack the Ripper. Right off the bat you notice how primitive everything is in policing. He has to find his own coroner and he can't even pay him. He basically knows the goods on him though so can keep quiet about his past in order to use his services for free. However, he can set up a mortuary for him. Again, this is all super primitive but this is how it all started, the forensics of policing. This coroner is the next most interesting character in the series.

The cases are interesting, the first one being a copycat for Jack the Ripper and a second involving an orphan who is accused of murder. I think this series just needs time to develop itself. It is very promising.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
99 comments| 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
History's enduring fascination with the gruesome crimes of Jack The Ripper continues unabated with yet another example of popular fiction being inspired by the legendary murderer. Truthfully, I have read enough books, seen enough television, and watched enough movies that cast Jack The Ripper into a central role that I feel like he's an old friend--albeit one I wouldn't want to invite home to dinner. So wearily and warily, I sat down to watch the BBC production of "Ripper Street." I watch a LOT on BBC, perhaps too much! Having recently watched both "Whitechapel" (a Jack tale set in present day) and "Copper" (a historical crime drama), I couldn't help seeing "Ripper Street" as somewhat of a stylistic cross between both of these shows. "Ripper Street" is set in London's East End circa 1889 in the ensuing chaos following the notorious murders. The show centers around a precinct called H Division. Six months after Jack's spree, they are still entrusted to keep the peace within the Whitechapel neighborhood where fear and hysteria run rampant. Although Jack's carnage may be a thing of the past (or is it?), his legacy endures and the streets are far from safe!

As more murders start to be discovered, the public paranoia immediately points to Jack's return. It's up to H Division to sort these crimes out and apprehend the real culprits. To be fair, it might not be entirely accurate to call this a show about Jack the Ripper. The atmosphere and setting of the show is historically linked and influenced by these murders, but the plotting stays the course of a more conventional police procedural with different crimes to solve episodically. The always reliable Matthew Macfadyen heads the investigative team with the assistance of Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg. I like Macfadyen's intensity, as usual, and Rothenberg gets more of the personal drama as his relationship with a brothel madam (Myanna Buring) is one of the series' more intriguing side plots. Rounding out the principle cast are a scandal seeking reporter (David Dawson) and a mother haunted by her daughter's death (Amanda Hale). The performances throughout are solid

As I said, the principle plot threads of "Ripper Street" have to do with solving new cases. MacFadyen and team are rather progressive, and part of the show's appeal is seeing the evolution of modern police investigative techniques. This can sometimes feel a little too modern as if the show wants to hedge its bets and attract the CSI crowd! Also to appeal to a wider audience, Rothenberg is both an American surgeon and a former Pinkerton. So he brings a different perspective that the other Detective Inspectors can learn from and clash with. But despite some of these conveniences in plotting, the show really does a good job highlighting the panic and fear that distinguishes the Whitechapel area.

The staging of the program is impressively dark and dreary. A lot of money seems to have been spent getting the period details just so. A lot of the scenes are shot outside where the sets look spectacular. Sometimes, however, the filming techniques and discordant music feel a little heavy. Overall, though, I think "Ripper Street" is very well done from a technical standpoint. I'm afraid, however, that some people will come to the show looking for fast paced action or even something more gruesome. The show is earnest and methodical and it takes its time. Some episodes can feel spectacularly slow and I don't think that it's necessarily a home run right out of the gate. If you stick with it, "Ripper Street" finds its rhythm and improves with subsequent episodes as the screenplays can dig into the characters a bit deeper. If you like either crime procedurals or period piece dramas, this might be worth a look. KGHarris, 1/13.
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on February 10, 2013
Initially, my review spoke of the wonderful main stars. I had thus far only seen the BBC America version of the first 3 episodes. Tho, I liked the show very much, I found it confusing at times. But I knew, of course, that I had seen another "americanized" cutting of a BBC show. Just as with MI5, Whitechapel, and more too numerous to name, the British series is even more amazing than I imagined. Sometimes, I wonder why I bother watching the commercial cuts at all. They are no more than a preview of the real thing. Clearly, this is the whole point. To get one to purchase "something you can see for free" you've got to add more. I expect that. But, this may be the worst cutting I have ever seen BBC America do. It's true: you get what you pay for. Buy it. You'll love it. (first review starts here): Matthew Macfadyen back on episodic tv. Well, that took just way too long. It goes without saying he will make whatever the show that much better just by his presence. But, yay! The show's really good, too! The surprise "finds" are Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg. Initially, found Flynn in "Game of Thrones" and was impressed instantly. He makes quite his own the parts he plays in these two very different series. Excellent understated acting. Don't think I had ever seen Rothenberg before, but am looking forward to seeing alot of him in future. The funny, brilliant, alcoholic medical man with a mysterious past. You will truly enjoy every second he's on screen and wish there were more. Macfayden is a true star and one will always want to see anything he's in. He is always that good and that interesting. It is also nice to see two excellent co-stars who can handle heavy lifting quite nicely on their own.
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VINE VOICEon March 12, 2013
Ripper Street grabs you from the very first episode. Though the setting is post-Ripper, it does reference the murders throughout the season, interweaving it with the various story-lines. Matthew Macfadyen plays Inspector Edmund Reid and apparently he failed in his efforts to track and find Jack the Ripper. He has other issues to deal with now, along with haunting memories of what happend to his young daughter. Every episode has its own murder mystery to solve. Some are more complex than others, but all are very intriguing to watch. There is too much information to go in to, but I want to point out that the period details in Ripper Street are superb. The costumes, scenery and props look so authentic and it really helps to pull you into the show. I'm not sure what sort of money was spent on this series, but I love when little details like this aren't overlooked. All the actors do a fine job and each one has their own story to tell. We learn a little bit more about each one as the series progresses. Though it may seem slow-paced at times, I never got bored or tired from it. The writing is fantastic and requires attention so you don't miss out on the smalled detail. I hope the second season is just as great and will now be looking out for similar shows from the BBCA!
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on February 17, 2013
I'm a fan of British television (Sherlock) and find the Jack the Ripper case very interesting...still I was hesitate to watch Ripper Street not knowing any of the actors. I'm am so glad that I took the chance and watched the show...I love it! I like how they have all the different crimes in every episode but also relating to Jack the Ripper..its amazingly acted. I would highly recommend it...everyone should give it a chance and I can't wait to get it on DVD!
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on January 25, 2013
If you liked MI-5 you will love Ripper Street. If you like WhiteChapel you will love Ripper Street. If you like Copper, you will love Ripper Street. Are you getting the message yet. This is the best show to hit the Tele for years. Those who miss Luther, Waking the Dead and all the other shows that seem to just disappear, there is hope. There is Ripper Street!!! Can we hope for more than six episodes a year?
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on March 23, 2013
Let me start out addressing some of the haters first:

1. it's a simple thing. If you don't like programs with graphic violence or nudity (or if you really don't know that Europe has looser standards on nudity than the US) you won't like this show. Don't buy the DVD, don't watch it, and don't complain about it if you do.
2. What kind of people would watch a graphically violent show like this? Well, I help the poor and needy and have performed work in animal rescue. In my dealings and life, I have known those who have suffered violence and rape. Let me say this: I have noticed people who want violent shows or novels out of the way tend to treat victims of violence the same way. The victims are patted on their head and sent on their way, and the travesty of the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional damage done to them is never spoken of, addressed, or dealt with. It's treated like it's something invisible that never happened, out of sight, out of mind. People like that do not take evil seriously at all. You know why I occasionally watch programs that have such violence? Because there are good guys in the program that usually put a stop to it, a fantasy many victims never see in their lifetime. It's nice to dream that there is justice for even the worst of the worse (Do you think it's coincidence that some victims of violent crime relate to the Lisbeth Salander character in "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" so much). Evil like that depicted in this series exists and worse.

NOW ON TO WHY THIS SHOW IS EXCELLENT!

As I am sure is stated many times, in many reviews, the series takes place in 1889, six months after the Ripper murders. The show focuses on the aftermath and how it colors crimes thereafter...is it Ripper? IS he back? Even if it isn't, will this monster get away, just as Ripper did? Is there no stop to the evil?

But even better, and this very oddly took me by surprise, the lack of technology on the show is a perk. No radios, no cell phones, no computers,...well there is a telegraph which poor young PC Hobbs struggles with in the first episode ("Come on boy, this is the future," shouts Reid as Hobbs struggles to make the telegraph work). No Mass spectrometers, no GC's, or HPLC's, or DNA profiling. When the bad guy shouts, "You'll never get there in time," it actually may be true and not cliched. There is no car or police helicopter to ferry the good guys in time...a horse drawn carriage at best? Will they make it? Or in episode 2, when Reid, Drake, Ms Goren and innocent children are trapped at the Jewish orphanage, completely surrounded by the boys gang and their Fagan, Carmichael,...no one at the precinct or anywhere else for that matter knows what's going on or that they are even there (Jackson knows, but that would be a spoiler). There is no phone or 911 to call for help. They have to wait it out until dawn and hope for the best. And when the boys gang breaks through and all hell breaks loose, will anyone go to save them in time?

I will say for all of us in the states I had no real clue how much BBC America cut, probably to fit in commercials more than censorship, until I saw the DVD. Suddenly things that didn't make sense became crystal clear. Anyone who enjoyed the series on BBC America should absolutely get the DVD set to see what they missed.

Its hard to pick a favorite episode. I can't wait for season 2. The only challenge to the show is some of the Victorian era slang, which is supplied below:

Cracksman - A burgler, a safecracker.
Crusher - Policeman.
Lurk - Place of concealment.
Molly house - homosexual, specifically transvestite, brothel.
Nipper - Young child.
Pig - Policeman, usually a detective.
Rookery - Slum or ghetto.
Scratch - Line drawn in the ground where boxers stand at the beginning of a round.
Snide - Counterfeit money.
Thomas - Prostitute's client.
Toff - well-dressed or upper-class person, generally male.
Toffer - High class prostitute.
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