Saturday, January 26, 2013

Whitechapel TV Series Review


Whitechapel is a show I want to love. It has a dashing lead, historical mysteries to unravel and it got a strong stylised look. However, instead of combining these elements into something that really works, too often the show unravels into a puddle of “oh-look-at-me-aren’t-we-a-clever-boy” mess. This doesn’t mean at times it isn't enjoyable. I mean at times it is often mesmerising but overall there is something about it that just doesn’t click. 

The team lead by DI Joseph Chandler and DS Ray Miles is a good ensemble group of characters. It has been a pleasure watching them bind together to form a functioning unit across the three series. Incorporating the nutter - Edward Buchan into the team as an archivist was an inspired move and also brings a nice dynamic to the team. We get to know these people, we like these people and we appreciate the humanity they bring to the show.

Perhaps though the thing that Whitechapel is most is dark. Dark lighting, dark alleyways, dark murder - it seems as as though every frame has been shaded with a permanent. At times Rupert Penry-Jones’ pretty face is the only thing shining back at the dark, and his character’s OCD and obsession with order are clearly at sea in the darkness. This is a very intense style to commit to and it part contributes to the show being over-complicated and embellished with false-intrigue enough to smother what should be very engaging story lines.

A little too dark? A little too gruesome? A little too eager to gross you out rather than to trust in a compelling story? Perhaps. But here it is still on our screens, with another series in the pipeline. I for one won’t be counting down the days before it returns but if I end up watching it, I won’t be able to look away.

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