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Houdini And Doyle

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Historical murder mystery starring Stephen Mangan and Michael Weston in which Arthur Conan Doyle and escape artist Harry Houdini assist the police with baffling cases that appear to have a supernatural element. Their first case finds the duo joined by Scotland Yard's first female constable to investigate the murder of a nun at one of the infamous Magdalene Laundries, where an eyewitness claims a ghost committed the crime.

I didn't hate it, but I don't think I'll be watching regularly. It sort of reminded me of The X-Files, if Scully was always right about the supernatural stuff being fake. The banter between Houdini and Doyle was enjoyable enough, but it didn't leave Rebecca Liddiard with much to do aside from being the sensible one.

 

I wish Adelayo Adedayo had gotten more to do in the episode. I miss Some Girls.

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Magdalene Laundries.  Institutions at which the RC church profited for nearly 250 years, from slave labour, physical and mental abuse and murder, right up until 1996. And from which they continue to realize profits from dealing in real estate, which only requires them to systematically desecrate dozens, sometimes hundreds of graves of their former victims.  Pity the writers chose to whitewash most of this.

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I enjoyed the first episode, but it was also disappointing.   Stephen Mangan is wasted in this role.  Maybe the next episode will be better.  Michael Weston also makes a dull Houdini, IMO.

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I've seen the first two episodes now, and I'm pretty much hooked although I don't know why exactly.   The crimes have been pretty interesting on their own, even without the distraction of having the star icons Houdini and Doyle in the picture.  Maybe because they aren't really much like their real-life counterparts, which is fine by me. That's a pretty high standard to reach anyway.   

 

And Houdini keeps using modern expressions and Americanisms for some reason.  Maybe that was explained someplace.  It's strange and startling, because nobody acts surprised and everybody understands what he means, even when he says, "Garbage in, Garbage out".  

 

This show is nothing like I expected or wanted it to be, but it's fun, and the stories and pacing have been pretty good so far.  It's good-spirited entertainment (hah) even though Doyle hasn't been able to turn up any evidence of the afterlife-- not even close.  I get the feeling the show runners fell under the shadow and the spell of BBC's Sherlock.  Which is not a bad influence.   I'm sticking around to see how this develops, and my fingers are crossed that some ghosts will pop in soon and spook the handcuffs off Houdini.  We'll see. 

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I'm up to episode 6, where Houdini and Doyle change roles.  Doyle is the skeptic.   The show is interesting enough.  It's not great, but  think it's worth watching for the stories and supporting actors, especially Rebecca Liddiard, who plays police Constable Stratton.   Reece Noi is in episode six.  He was in Game of Thrones, but probably made his mark 7 years ago playing  the most despicable character ever on Waterloo Road.   He played a likeable character in Hit and Miss.  Michael Weston was in the most infamous episode of Six Feet Under, That's My Dog,  that turned many people against the show.    He was also on an episode of Burn Notice.  The main character on that show was named Michael Westen.

Edited by atomationage
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Houdini, Doyle and Adelaide investigate when a nun from one of the notorious Magdalene Laundries is murdered. A witness claims that the murderer was a young woman tormented by the nun - but she's been dead for 6 months.

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Episode one is airing in the US now. Pretty fun so far. Grain of salt kind of thing with some good chemistry :)

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Houdini is annoying and Doyle is bland. But i'll stick with it for a while.

Am i mixing my people, or wasn't Houdini's mother deaf?

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I liked it. Very tongue-in-cheek and anachronistic. I like the chemistry between the lead characters. Not meant to be taken too seriously, lots of fun.

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I really liked it. I spent commerical breaks looking up information about their real life friendship. I think it was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to the bromanace.

I really liked everyone's small character bits. Doyle with his children, Adelaide after her chief left and Houdini with the first edition books where nice notes for all the characters. 

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I enjoyed this, despite not liking either of the main chars very much. I'm getting a steampunk/19th century X-Files vibe.

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I think I was expecting a mix of Masterpiece Theater and Guy Richie's Sherlock  ... so it came off as a bit dull to me..  Maybe it will pick up as the series goes along.. 

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I enjoyed it.  I had been looking forward to it so I was afraid I'd be disappointed but I was not.

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1 hour ago, Ubiquitous said:

Why is this ep listed as airing March 12th?

It started airing in the UK on March 12th. 

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I was a bit distracted during the episode, but I followed it enough to know that I enjoyed it. The main cast seems to be having a blast. 

Was that Houdini's mom? The lady with the very nice necklace in Harry's hotel living room?

I hope that later Dr. Doyle explained that talking to his daughter helped him solve a real case, so that she doesn't feel that her dad got a sad and ran out. (Not that he looked sad; but they are British subjects and stiff-upper-lipping is a thing.)

I almost forgot how overly horrid the time was wrt women working, until the end. Geez, I wanted to hit Mr. Merring/ Tim McInnerny for the overbearing "well, a man spoke well of you, so you obviously are sleeping with him. I will be looking for evidence to fit my supposition. See you tomorrow!" Yeah, it's probably a toned-down version of what ladies heard all the time, but still. 

Constable Adelaide Stratton was fun. I loved how she was able to clonk the guy at the pub and Doyle addressed her by her title and folks just backed up a step. (I bought it as, per Wikipedia, women on the force would be sent into places to see if laws were being broken/if criminal acts were going on, but then had to allow the male officers to actually arrest perps/suspects. The women were also not allowed handcuffs! Whatever,1900s male cops.)

I enjoyed the show. I won't really make up my mind until another couple of episodes. The mystery was good and very atmospheric this week.

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I did not like seeing Houdini in bed with his box-jumper, 'Florrie.' He would have been married to Bess already by this point in history, and if he were living in London for an extended period (and even brought his beloved mom with him) his wife - and chief assistant/partner in magic - would certainly have been along. Harry may be a cocky showman, but he was also a devoted mama's boy and husband.

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58 minutes ago, Gimmick Genius said:

I did not like seeing Houdini in bed with his box-jumper, 'Florrie.' He would have been married to Bess already by this point in history, and if he were living in London for an extended period (and even brought his beloved mom with him) his wife - and chief assistant/partner in magic - would certainly have been along. Harry may be a cocky showman, but he was also a devoted mama's boy and husband.

Perhaps she was just giving him a massage?  Without a "happy ending"?

I thought it was okay enough to keep watching.  I've gotten over the whole anachronism thing, which makes it easier. 

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Normally I'm all over period procedurals but the anachronism "garbage in garbage out" offended me so much I just quit at that point. 

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I think it will passable enough summer fare, although it basically felt like they were really wanting to be an Victorian era X-Files, with Doyle as Mulder, the "believer", while Houdini gets his Scully on as the "skeptic."  And I'm all the cases will end with a logical reason that will satisfy Houdini, but give a hint that maybe Doyle is right about there being unearthly things involved.

Enjoyed the actor playing Doyle; he apparently was in that racing film Rush, although I can't place him but judging from IMDB, he's one of the British leads in Episodes.  Little unsure about Michael Weston as Houdini.  I felt like they needed a more charismatic actor to play him.  But a lot of it could be I'm just so use to him playing creeps like on House, Elementary, and especially Six Feet Under.

Curious about Constable Adelaide Stratton, even though it took me while to get over how much the actress looks like Jenna Coleman.

Of course, I heard the ratings were pretty low, so I'm just hoping Fox doesn't dump this thing before it even really starts.

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Episode eight is about Bram Stoker.   I think the series improved as it went along. 

Edited by atomationage
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I enjoyed it a lot. Interesting main characters, adequate acting, evocative setting, historical interest, engaging enough mystery. I can be a little put off by the double triple cross twists and hard-to-follow plots of some other shows, though, so there's that. I'd liken this in overall structure to Elementary, which I'm still fond of after several seasons for many of the same reasons.

I'm sorry to hear it didn't get good ratings. I just looked up some reviews, which are generally negatively dismissive as well. Sigh.

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Wow, that was bad.  I wasn't expecting much, but it was actually way worse than I thought it would be.

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I agree, atomationage.  Just saw episode 9-- very good and it's closer to what I thought the series would be like.  There were a couple of preachy, message-y episodes in there that were rather off-putting.  But Ep 9 redeemed them. 

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Steampunk X-Files is probably a good description.  I would encourage people to stick with it.   The cast eventually gels quite well.   Stephen Magnan has been in so many shows.  Green Wing is probably still available on Hulu.   Episodes is probably his best work, pairing with Tamsin Greig, and as a foil for Matt LeBlanc.   Michael Weston usually brings the crazy, so this is a lot different. 

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A 12-year-old boy guns down a well-known suffragette and claims the crime was revenge for a murder--his, in a past life. In order to discover the truth, the team needs to solve a decades-old homicide.

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I enjoyed this very much!  Surprisingly so, I had believed it would be awful.  I really like Michael Weston in the part of Harry.  I need to be convinced a little more for the actor playing Doyle.

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Hey, I managed to stay awake this week -- not bad!  How did Peter/Martin find out who his birth parents were?  I doubt the adoptive parents told him anything.  Real spirit guidance??

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Why the 'will they/won't they?' dynamic on Houdini & Doyle ends up being one of the show's more unbelievable elements.

Huh.....Houdini was very much a married man at time this show is set.

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I'm with you brat. Weston had me from his first appearance on psych but they miscast Doyle. The lady seems a poor man's rachel Weiss.

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I am enjoying it and not sweating the small stuff, At least for me, watching Gotham and drifting right into H&D afterwards is a fun ride. I take them both with large grains of salt, they are what they are - fun.

And, I am really impressed with the production values, the show is beautifully shot and so authentic looking to me.

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I wondered how the little boy knew where to find the other woman he tried to kill. I am assuming it wasn't in the diary b/c our heroes didn't see it there.

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Huh.....Houdini was very much a married man at time this show is set.

I take it as a slightly alternate-universe story, possibly a "what if Houdini hadn't met his wife?" as a turning point.  That would also explain why, in this version, the detective spotted far-sightedness faster than Dr. Doyle, who was an ophthalmologist.  I like that they're showing Constable Adelaide as someone who can do actual detective work, but I enjoy it more when I realize it's historical fiction, with a mix of the accurate (Houdini modeling himself after Robert Houdin) and the changed-for-television (Houdini being single.  

That's a long way of saying I'm with SoSueMe--and I'm curious as to where they go with it.   

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I'm enjoying it as well. My only slight nitpick is that the actor playing Houdini comes off as so trifling. It seems like the show wants to play up the difference between the sober and studious Doyle and the more lighthearted Houdini, but at this point he's acting more like an obnoxious 19th century Johnny Knoxville.

Edited by lordonia
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Hey, I managed to stay awake this week -- not bad!  How did Peter/Martin find out who his birth parents were?  I doubt the adoptive parents told him anything.  Real spirit guidance??

 

This series isn't boring, but it does have a way of making me fall asleep.  More than once I have had to restart the DVR after trying to watch this live.  I sometimes DVR the show I am watching, because the prospects of me trying to stay awake through the live version are slim and none.  Especially this series, where the only likable character is Adelaide.  I have to try and tune out the asshat behavior of the male characters, given the way they treat women.

As for this episode, Houdini is a douche.  It is none of his business whether Adelaide is a virgin or not.  I understand that this is a way back in time, period series.  Still, I am having a hard time even trying to like any of the male characters.  I don't know what Adelaide sees in Houdini.  It can't be his charm.  He has about as much charm as Archie Bunker.

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I liked this one better than the first. Maybe it was getting more insight into Doyle's family life. I felt bad for his situation with his wife's TB ... but I felt almost worse for his daughter. That British stoic comforting is pretty sad - - I probably show more affection to my house plants.. 
..Yet in comparison, Houdini still comes off looking like an ass - - and he is the realist of the two. 

It could be a good show if they don't get too far away from the reality of the times - and throw in a lot of historical references. Those are the things that kept me watching Downton Abbey after it went full-on soap opera in the 3th or 4th season..

It's a shame that H&D have decided to go the trope route with pairing off the male and female leads, tho. 

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If you know more about Doyle's situation with this daughter, etc - well, if you don't, don't read up on it.  Kinda sours it all a bit for me.

I like these shows based in times pre-technology gizmos everyone now relies on - I find it far more interesting that someone shoving something inside a machine and then getting the answer spit out at them - 

It's light hearted and (so far anyway) no torture/violence porn and that is refreshing.  

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The marriage bit bothers me as well. Of course, most of the info I have on Houdini comes from the old Tony Curtis movie, and I'm sure that wasn't historically accurate..those old Hollywood films were notorious for taking all sorts of liberties. Part of me rationalises that this show takes place before he met his wife, but people in those days married young, and unless he's supposed to be a kid, it seems like he should be already married. Why can't he and the constable just be bantering partners and leave it at that? I don't need some alternate universe romance, thank you very much.

I know even less about Doyle's real life, so unless I hit Wikipedia, I'm okay with what they are doing so far.

What I fear is this: Each week they will come up with a case, where the only possible solution seems to be supernatural. Of course, just like on Scooby Doo, it will turn out to be old man whatsisname dressed up in a costume, or some other contrived solution, like in tonight's episode. At least Mulder and Scully found actual aliens!

The show is nice and light hearted, so I don't hate it, but they are going to have to do a better job of having their mystery solutions make sense. And cut out the stupid romance. It's not needed. 

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