Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could almost go toe-to-toe with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, based on the number of retellings and re-imaginings the original story has spawned.
This time around, the proposed series will follow Grant Hyde, an ER doctor who, while searching for a cure to his rapidly deteriorating eyesight, inadvertently unleashes an alter ego in the form of the far more aggressive Hyde, who approaches and handles certain situations the more timid Grant is unwilling to address.
The pilot is being described as an odd ‘buddy story’ where the two pals happen to inhabit the same body.
No word on where (or if) the Jekyll character comes in to play, because the major crux of the series is apparently that Hyde is a more extroverted personality, an extension of Dr. Grant Hyde’s self, which comes out when Grant is sleeping. So, rather than being another personality altogether, Hyde simply expresses the subdued aspects of Grant’s personality – especially that of addressing conflict.
The buddy aspect and seeming lack of a Jekyll character make this version a more radical departure than more recent adaptations like the BBC miniseries Jekyll. In that telling, the two personalities, Dr. Tom Jackman – the last descendant of Dr. Jekyll – and his Mr. Hyde persona have a tenuous agreement to share the body (with Jackman keeping the knowledge of his wife and daughter a secret from the menacing Hyde).
That series was marked by a one-of-a-kind performance from James Nesbitt (Bloody Sunday, Coriolanus), who seemed capable of altering his character on a physical, as well as emotional level, when switching between the tortured Dr. Jackman and his murderous alter ego of Mr. Hyde. Jekyll was also rife with horror and conspiracy elements that, while not taken directly from the classic tale, felt right at home with the lore of the original story.
Whether Turner’s Hyde will feature the same superlative acting, will depend largely on the actor chosen for the role.
Hyde’s chances depend largely on the success of similarly-themed programs like Once Upon a Time and The Count of Monte Cristo-inspired show, Revenge – which are both making their way to ABC this fall.
Look for more details on Hyde as development on the series progresses.