Steven Moffat has enjoyed a lot of attention of late for his work on the Doctor Who series as well as his amazing hit Sherlock(which I cannot recommend enough). However, Sherlock wasn’t his first foray into updating a classic Victorian character. In 2007, he penned a magnificent mini series called Jekyll.
It’s hard to discuss precisely what the show is without giving away any of its many twists and turns, but the simplest explanation is that it’s an updated slant on the Jekyll and Hyde story. The show features the character of Dr. Tom Jackman, a man haunted by his dark alter ego. Both personalities are executed beautifully by actor James Nesbitt. He is sympathetic and likable as the tortured doctor, and then immediately turns it around to portray his wicked, but oddly alluring, darker half.
The two personalities are only aware of each other in a cursory way, and have worked out a system to trade off who is in control of the body they share. The transformation between the two is sublime is its subtlety. Unlike the many iterations out there that seem nearly human to ape and back, the Jackman to Hyde metamorphosis is startling. There’s a little prosthetic work, contacts, teeth, and hairline changes, but it’s the actor that really sells it. This isn’t Clark Kent to Superman. He truly plays two distinct characters. He is foreboding and spine-chilling when Hyde is at the wheel; a remorseless mirror of the softer Tom Jackman. Even those closest to him think he’s a completely separate person that bears a creepy resemblance to the doctor. It’s the closest translation of the transformation outlined in the book, and is more disturbing because of it.
While James Nesbitt is nothing short of amazing, he is supported by a strong cast of characters that help drive things forward. Some you will love, some you will hate, and some you will love to hate. The show is chock-full of surprises, and at least a few are bound to catch you completely off guard. There are very few flaws to be found, and the largest is simply that it was over too soon.