Now That's What I Call Great Storytelling

The recent six-part Jekyll on the B.B.C. was a style-over-content masterpiece: snappy dialogue, beautiful people and the most O.T.T. lead performance I've seen since... ooh, James Purefoy's Marcus Antonius last month. There was some rather original violence too, such as when James Nesbitt delivered a still-twitching torture victim to A&E in a holdall slung over his shoulder, or when he killed a lion with his bare hands at the zoo. Whatever this program wasn't, it was consistently entertaining.

The absolute superlative highlight for me was the opening of the final epsiode. The previous week's preview showed a ruthless mercenary who, we assumed, would be sent after the escaped Mr. Hyde. The teaser sequence the following week is all about the same fella: he's training, killing, taking no shit from his employers and (through a flashback to a moment of the series we've already seen) waiting to be called into action when he is needed. He's a secret weapon, a boss level, a nemesis.

Then we're back at last week's cliffhanger ending and Jekyll/Hyde/Nesbitt is still surrounded by bad guys on a rooftop. Up steps the new ultimate tough guy character. He approaches Hyde with a tough-talking line and, in one fast fluid movement, Hyde turns and throws him off the building to his death on the pavement below. What a set-up and what a way to reinforce that your central character is the bad-ass of bad-asses! The credits hadn't even rolled. The writer in me was in awe at that.

Update 2007-08-18: Having described it, I now find you can watch the whole delicious sequence online. They changed the title to "Hyde" instead of "Jekyll" for the last part too. Who got the style? They do.


Anonymous alice said...

That was truly excellent, you're right. In all my years of watching HBO, I've never seen anything quite so slick as that.

Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

Nesbitt always looks like a psycho so I wasn't sure he was acting. Cool stuff to be sure.


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