Wouldn’t it be nice if you could look forward to newly adapted versions of familiar horror characters without fearing the influence of Twilight? The paranoia is apparently justified if the first look at a new Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde-based show is anything to go by.
ITV has provided a full clip from its upcoming 10-part series Jekyll & Hyde. The show will be (very) loosely based on the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story penned by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. In the original version, Dr. Henry Jekyll was a middle-aged man with something of a ‘split personality’. After drinking a potion, he would undergo a painful transformation into a much younger alter-ego named Edward Hyde. Hyde was a complete sociopath with a violent temper, known to commit acts of murder and mayhem. Jekyll’s failure to maintain control of himself and the looming threat of prison resulted in the character’s suicide.
From that intriguing social commentary on psychopathy, classism, and hypocrisy we move to the version created by ITV Studios. British actor and author Charlie Higson was credited with the idea that led to the show. The new Jekyll & Hyde follows the adventures of Dr. Jekyll’s grandson (Tom Bateman) and his quest to discover the secrets of his origin. Bateman’s character is ‘cursed’ with the tendency to transform into a Hyde-type character whenever he becomes angered, stressed, or when he needs to rescue a lovely lady.
In a clip from the show, we see a woman taken away to be manhandled by a group of British ruffians with less-than-honorable intentions. That’s when Edward Hyde leaps into action… With a slow-motion head-butt. He manages to save the damsel, but not before forcing himself on her with a kiss.
Just based on this clip, there’s a strong possibility that whoever watches this show is in for ‘death by slow-mo’. It probably would help this show if action sequences were sped up instead – if only to represent a sort of gleeful mania that’s typical of Mr. Hyde. It’s not always ‘badass’ to count the seconds it takes for a fist to hit someone’s face.
Also, is it too much to ask for an unattractive, scary, or otherwise messed-up Mr. Hyde? It seems that in a post-Twilight, post-Fifty Shades of Grey world, the villain that every sensible woman would file a restraining order against has to be a ‘sexy superhero’. The show’s female lead is even called Bella (Natalie Gumede) and is in a love triangle involving Jekyll (whose alter ego’s first name is Edward).
Another character of note in the series Sir Roger Bulstrode (played by Richard E. Grant). He heads the secret government agency M10, known as “The Invisible Men”. Roger is probably going to be the ‘Jacob’ of this series, as Deadline reports that he rounds out the love triangle (which nobody asked for).
It’s possible that this series might actually be fun, if only in a cheesy and ridiculous way. If you’ve made peace with classic characters being made largely unrecognizable to appeal to a mainstream audience, then you just might enjoy Jekyll & Hyde.
Jekyll & Hyde will premiere on ITV this fall.