You came thisclose to a long discussion about Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew. That's also streaming on Netflix Instant. You can watch it any time. Instantly. In your home.
Just lettin' you know.
Now, a good chunk of you may have already seen this six-hour series from our friends at the BBC. But those of you who don't torrent probably missed this when the DVD blew through your local Best Buy.
James Nesbitt is Dr. Tom Jackman, a man with a problem. Michelle Ryan, rocking some seriously kicky boots, is hired to help him. Gina Bellman is Jackman's wife. She tricks you into thinking she's just playing the aggrieved wife role, and then transforms into an unexpectedly ruthless heroine. Gina was actually hired for Leverage based on footage we showed TNT from this show. As much as I love her work in Coupling, this is my favorite thing she's done.
Steven Moffat rolls the story out flawlessly, starting with what is easily the best opening on television in years. That opening five minutes is textbook. Little clues. Momentum. An actual goddam ticking clock.
Moffat expertly toys with the meta-text here. We know it's called Jekyll. He knows we know it's called Jekyll. He knows what clues we're putting together, and what conclusions we're drawing. He plays with that extra layer of emotion, laying it into his work as a crucial part of the narrative. Letting us draw the wrong conclusions is a crucial part of the mini-series. All the while this thing hurtles along at a classic pulp breakneck pace, with gasp-inducing acting moments that sneak up on you. Jekyll has a couple scenes that are textbook examples of:
a.) something's happened.
b.) the audience has to take a moment to figure out what's happened, yet it's timed perfectly so
c.) the characters are a perfect number of beats behind the audience, so the audience gets both the thrill of recognition and a horrible frisson of anticipation.
And Moffat knows who we're waiting for.
When ... he arrives, it's a triumph. Where an American show would fuck this up by ladling on special effects, this show, um, doesn't.
While the first hour is flawless, I think the back two sometimes get a little too clever/writery for their own good, even some of the beats I adore. A lot of things blow by unexplained in the end, and I can only hope that they'll be explored -- not cleared up, but explored -- if they ever get around to doing a sequel. Unfortunately Moffat's taken over a little show called Dr. Who this year, so he's a bit busy. Bastard.
BBC's Jekyll, streaming Instantly on Netflix, is your weekend recommendation. Tag your spoilers in the Comments -- there are moments in this show I am sorry I will never get to experience for the first time ... um, again (I'm honestly not sure how to construct that sentence). I want new viewers to get on the ride clean.