Steven Moffat’s “Jekyll” is a series worth owning


(photo via BBC)

Last night I finally finished a series that I started months ago. (Which is somewhat sad to say as it’s only six episodes long.) I watched the last half of the BBC series “Jekyll”, written by Steven Moffat. I started the series on recommendations from friends and the knowledge that if I loved “Sherlock” I would probably like this one. Not to mention I’m a huge fan of the original novella and actually tried for awhile to determine what might have been in the potion that first changed Jekyll to Hyde, or at least, what might have been the impurity in his orginal batch.

So I sat to watch the first few episodes. I admit that though I thought it was good, I wasn’t completely wowed by it in the beginning. By the third episode, however, I was biting my nails in anticipation. Lack of time caused me to hang onto the second disc of the series from January until now (thank goodness for Netflix) but I was determined to watch it this week. Last night I blew through the last three episodes without stopping. It was that captivating.

The series itself isn’t a retelling (like “Sherlock is) but instead is more of a sequel to the original novella. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t deny the existence of the story but brings it in as part of the plot. A research scientist name Tom Jackman is already aware of the existence of another personality inside his body when the series starts. Though he’s married and has twin sons, he and his wife, Claire, are separated. Dr. Jackman is aware that he doesn’t share memories with his other personality and vice versa. That is to his advantage at the beginning as he is able to keep the existence of his family (and many other things) secret from this other person. And thus the stage is set…

 Moffat’s writing is amazing and by the end I was smacking myself on the forehead at points wondering why I hadn’t figured various things out earlier. The end has so many unexpected twists that I was blown away. And I can’t forget the dialogue. So many great quotes in the series. (“You can trust me. I’m a psychopath!”) The score is also well done and (again, like with “Sherlock) I went online to see if I could purchase the soundtrack only to find that one didn’t exist. Good thing I bought the dvd set so I can at least listen to the score whenever I watch the series again.

One thing I would really like to touch on is how Dr. Jackman and Mr. Hyde are portrayed by James Nesbitt. In many versions of the Jekyll & Hyde story the actor ends up with some serious makeup changes to differentiate between the two personalities. Indeed, the original story even describes Hyde as very different, physically, from Jekyll. In this particular series only minor cosmetic changes are applied but the biggest difference is thanks to the talent of Mr. Nesbitt. He shows two very different characters with just the tone of his voice, the speed of his speech, his stance and movements. Even the smile is extremely different. You could almost do without the cosmetic changes (as little as they are) and still believe he was two completely different men. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen an actor show me two very distinct personality changes as this character and I was extremely pleased with James Nesbitt’s performance.

I’d love to elaborate more but I’m terrified of giving things away. Instead I’ll just prod you to watch the series RIGHT NOW and then tell me what you think. If you enjoyed Sherlock and/or Doctor Who, the story of Jekyll & Hyde or just enjoy a good show, this is definitely one to add to your queue.