Houdini & Doyle
I almost made the theme of this week Arthur Conan Doyle but there wasn’t anything else at hand that I had not seen. That is probably because I am a big Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle fan and I’ve pretty much seen everything else popular. Anyway, I wanted to tackle this new show since it has two of my favorite historical people in it. This show explores the dynamic between the two famous figures that was previously explored in Fairy Tale (I talked about it here). Doyle was a spiritualist and had an open mind when it came to the supernatural that sometimes fell into gullibility. This is strange seeing as how the supernatural threats in Sherlock Holmes stories were always some elaborate Scooby-Doo-esque ruse. Houdini, who was Doyle’s friend and one my personal heroes, spent much of his life debunking those who claimed special powers in order to prey on the grieving. The show is called Houdini and Doyle but it involves the interplay between Houdini, Doyle and a female constable. Houdini and Doyle act as special consultants to the police on murder cases and the show does a good job of including touches of their real history. The female constable, Adelaide Stratton, is based on Edith Smith, the first policewoman in British history which is interesting. Doyle is always running off chasing spooks while Houdini tries to prove there’s a rational explanation. Constable Stratton is caught in between and always stuck cleaning up the guys’ messes and being the muscle. It’s interesting to see a female hero during a time when suffragettes were paving the way for later civil rights battles with early victories. The show is still finding its feet but I think it has some potential and if it teaches one person to think like a skeptic then this show is worth its weight in gold.
After I watched the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film (which I found to be awesome), my interest in the old Sherlock Holmes stories was renewed. I had read a couple for school and a couple beyond that and I was interested in revisiting them. There was something so interesting about the characters figuring out what was behind all of the smoke and mirrors and just being smarter than everyone around them. The reason why I am talking about it now is twofold. First, I passed up the opportunity back in 2014 when I made a best of television list. Second, I recently watched the Monstrous Bride special episode and I was moved to talk about the show finally. The reason I hesitated to name it as a top 11 show originally was that each season has three episodes and each is about 90 minutes long. The show takes Holmes and Dr. Watson and puts them in current day London and has them solve crimes based on the original stories which were set in the 1800’s. Watson is a doctor freshly home from the war in Afghanistan and Sherlock is not a normal human being. The stories are great but the real strength is the great character work. The relationship between Watson and Sherlock is sometimes infuriating and sometimes amusing but always interesting. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are brilliant actors but they’re also supported by a great cast who knock it out of the park every episode. It’s consistently good so go watch it.
I had heard about this show a while back and, like so many other things, I told myself I would look into it later. One of the great things about this feature is “forcing” myself to watch new stuff every week and writing about it. I did not know what to expect going into this movie but the promos were intense and intrigue looked like the main keyword. The show is a fictional account of the Culper Spy Ring which was a real life group who spied for the Continental army during the American War for Independence. In the show, the lynchpin of the spy ring is Abraham Woodhull, a farmer who used to be a law student. The show follows Abraham, his allies and enemies as they all try to work against each other to either liberate the colonies or crush the rebellion. Like any good spy story, the plot is full of twists and turns and close calls and a lot of strategy. It also involves characters manipulating each other’s motivations and emotions to achieve a goal. It ends up being pretty compelling stuff and I found myself drawn into the next episode to see what would happen next. I can’t sing the praises of the actors enough. Abe is played by Jamie Bell and you can see and hear so much emotion from him in the first season but he’s also good at acting as a man who is lying to everyone. Huge shout out to the rest of the cast who play their characters perfectly but especially Angus Macfayden’s Robert Rogers who is a cunning and charming character. As I watched the first season this past weekend, I did a little research on how much of it was true. It may not all be true and I have more research to do but a lot of the people in the story actually lived and functioned similarly to how they do on the show. I definitely recommend the show.
– I’m almost caught up on Lost Girl and it’s great
– I finished a superb second season of Daredevil
– Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 is also awesome
– Seth Rollins is back! (Ignore this if you don’t get it)
– Probably gonna see X-Men: Apocalypse this weekend
– Watched Star Wars VII again and it was even better the second time
– I miss listening to podcasts while I drove to class
– Oh wait, I haven’t seen Elementary.
– This week’s theme is Period Drama Television
Tags: Adelaide Stratton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edith Smith, Houdini, Houdini and Doyle, Media, Media Update, Sherlock, Turn