Why you should be watching BBC's 'Jekyll'

There are many reasons to not like the Brits. Their insistence on driving on the wrong side of the road is one. The fact that their accent makes the dimmest person sound positively brilliant is another. But the thing I hate most is that, by and large, their TV is light years ahead of ours. Take, for example, Jekyll. Done on a budget that would barely cover the catering on Heroes, this BBC series is a reinvention of the Jekyll-and-Hyde legend that crackles with wit, suspense, and genuine terror. No wonder the writer, Steven Moffat, was just hired by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson to write their Tintin trilogy.

I dare you to watch the first four minutes of the pilot episode and not demand to see more.

See? That’s some mighty fine televisioning right there. (And, yes, that’s The Bionic Woman‘s Michelle Ryan, rocking her native brilliant-making accent.) The first season’s out on DVD, so get thee to a diskery!

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  • Jakeem

    Not to mention one of the best surprise endings ever…

  • Andrew

    Okay, that’s pretty friggin’ awesome.

  • Scott Bandla

    Moffat (note the spelling, please, Mr. Bernardin…) is one of the best TV writers working today, not just in Britain, but anywhere.
    Not only is “Jekyll” incredibly clever and scary in the gothic sense, but it has such an overall authenticity that when the titular weirdness unfolds, it’s all the more jarring, because the world in which it’s occurring is so genuinely portrayed.
    Moffat is also the creator/writer of the original Brit “Coupling,” which is a better version of “Friends” than “Friends” is, and he has written four of the best episodes of the relaunched “Doctor Who” series: “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” from series one, “The Girl in the Fireplace” (featuring “Tristan & Isolde” and “Moonlight” star Sophia Myles) from series two, and most recently, one of the best hours of TV I’ve ever seen, “Blink” from series three.
    If you’re not familiar with Moffat’s body of work, or if “Jekyll” is the only taste you’ve had, get your hands on as much of it as you can.

  • EGT

    Steven Moffat is also notable for turning in four of the best episodes of another great British show lightyears ahead of anything of its kind being shown on American TV: “Doctor Who.” Even if you’ve never seen an episode of this show, wait patiently for Season 3 to come out on DVD in America and watch “Blink.” No one writes plot *and* witty banter with quite the aplomb of Moffat.

  • EGT

    Don’t just take my word for it! Listen to Scott as well!

  • meg

    We just watched the first season of Jekyll thanks to my mother in law and I really hope they continue with a second. Absolutely brilliant!! The Blink episode from Dr. Who scared the bejesus out of me! Season 3 on DVD in early November, definitely worth checking out!! And the man who plays Jekyll is dead sexy, so that’s a plus.

  • Lene

    I’d leave a long comment, detailing my reaction to the clip, but I have to go get it – I was completely hooked after the first 2 minutes, a rabid fan by the time the clip ended. Why isn’t there TV like this in North America?

  • Kate

    I have to add my praise for “Jekyll” as well. I watched the first season on BBC America and wasn’t sure at the beginning of the first episode. I quickly became an addict and can only wish for more episodes. I’m torn between wanting “Bionic Woman” to succeed and wanting it to fail so she can concentrate on a hoped for second season!

  • Red

    I love British TV…maybe we should have the people sponsor TV here, too…at least we’d have fewer commercials…

  • Joe C

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Marc. So many shows on BBC AMerica are light years ahaead of what we get on American televison, such as MI5, Murphy’s Law, Hex, and now Jekyll. High quality stuff. My only complaint is that the ‘season’ on British television is much shorter than ours; Jekyll premiered in July and finished in September, for example. But it’s all very good. And the Graham Norton show is funnier than any talk show we have here. Long live BBC America!

  • Hi

    That looks great! I netflixed it immediately.

  • SImon

    Thought the name sounded familiar. Coupling is one of my favourite shows ever! For any Canadians out there, Jekyll is on Showcase, Wednesday night at 10pm.

  • debsagrrl

    I am Canadian and couldn’t agree more with your review of Jekyll.
    UK television is tops in my book.

  • Stef

    I had this on my Netflix a while ago and now I have to wait on other people? Why couldn’t this be kept a secret just a little bit longer?
    The “Blink” episode of Dr. Who scared the begeebus out of me! Dr. Who is Brilliant!
    Torchwood is also amazing!
    I’ve got a theory that because there are fewer TV channels in Britain that only the best shows actually get put on the air. With my 200-300 channels at home there is quite a lot of filler material.
    Perhaps reducing the number of channels in America would result in better programing, and fewer episodes of “According to Jim”.

  • Miri

    I worship at the altar of Steven Moffat. “Blink” was one of the best episodes of TV (not just Doctor Who) I’ve ever seen, Jekyll is fun, and worth checking out!
    BBCAmerica is currently my favorite channel. I actually really like the shortened seasons of Brit TV. It makes for tighter stories & higher quality shows, with more attention paid to each episode. There’s rarely a “filler” episode like we have on American TV.

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