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S01.E01: The Boy on the Bridge

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New York City. 1896. The heart of America’s Gilded Age. When a young boy prostitute is found butchered on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, an alienist named Laszlo Kreizler, a newspaper illustrator by the name of John Moore, a secretary, Sara Howard and a police commissioner named Theodore Roosevelt begin an investigation outside the law to find the serial killer.

Please note: This topic is for discussion of the show episode; please take book discussion to the Book Talk topic; if you reference the book in here, please spoiler tag it, however, extensive discussion may be removed.

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I have been waiting for years to see one of my favorite books brought to the screen, and the first episode did not disappoint! The production values are top notch, and the cast is excellent.  I look forward to watching the official premiere tomorrow night.

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I loved the casting, costuming, etc. in this mini series.  I can't wait for the rest of the episodes to see the reason for all the differences between the show and the book.

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I enjoyed it but felt Dakota Fanning was miscast.  From what I saw of the character (I haven't read the book), I feel like it should have been an actress like the policewoman from Houdini & Doyle.  Otherwise, I am in for the run.  I love stories set in this time period and the production value is stellar.

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I really enjoyed this, although the story seemed a bit rushed or jumpy at times. From reviews I've read, that should get better with the second episode. The sets, costumes and cinematography were amazing, especially for a TV show! Although I was slightly annoyed that the freshly fallen snow wasn't smooth on the ground. :P  The scene with John walking up the bridge was really breathtaking.

I liked how Laszlo basically took it upon himself to investigate the new murder. I guess he feels remorse for what happened to the first boy that was under his care who got killed. After seeing the dead boy, John seems determined to help, even if it's going to cause him a lot of sleepless nights.

I'm not sure what I think of Sara yet. Even though I hadn't read the book, I thought Dakota was miscast when I first heard she was playing Sara. Does she ever smile? I get that she works with a bunch of assholes and has to have a hard exterior because of that, but I hope she becomes less prickly when she's around John and Lazlo. Although her causing John to have deer-in-the-headlights expressions multiple times was amusing. :)

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Moore struck me to be Archie Goodwin to Kriezler's Nero Wolfe. TNT didn't go quite full HBO, but as close as they've ever come previously.

One thing kept making me giggle: Bruhl's pronunciation of "wretched" as "ratchet". Yeah, I don't think that made the lexicon in the late 19th century.

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I made a big mistake rereading the book right before the show because I was so distracted by a lot of the changes. However taking the book stuff away I thought it was a pretty good start of introducing this version of the characters. You got a sense of who everyone is for the most part. I'll be back next week.

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I didn't think Dakota Fanning was miscast at all (people always complain about the women).  It's been years since I read the book, but I think Sara came from wealth.

I thought the first episode was well done, it got NYC during the 1890's; and didn't have too much exposition, as the book did.  There was no need to go on and on about how the boy was found on the construction of the Manhattan Bridge, and that you can see the Brooklyn Bridge from there....One of my problems with the book was that since Carr is a historian, it went on and on and on and on about where this is and where this is in Manhattan and here are the Five Points and this is where this is and this is where this street is...It's good, but it became too much at times and for me it kind of took away from the story.

I liked how the boy's injuries were described (using John's drawings) as opposed to actually seeing them (as a station like HBO or FX might have presented them).

But this is the OG, the original, where shows like Copper and Ripper Street got their ideas (especially Copper, IMO... it's CSI 1897, and the book was written years before CSI was ever on TV).

Edited by Neurochick
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1 minute ago, Neurochick said:

It's been years since I read the book, but I think Sara came from wealth.

I'm pretty sure they said on the show she was a friend of Roosevelt's.

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The police captain was urinating on his own wall? Well, that does explain why Howard is so proactively defensive.

Did not like the staging of the chase scene. 

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Sara does come from wealth as does John Moore. She's supposed to be a few years younger than him (so Dakota is a little miscast in the way, imo) and he knew her family growing up. I don't want to get to "in the book" but Moore is pretty much the one who knew all of them separately: Sarah, Kriezler, and Roosevelt.

I really liked the scene on the half finished bridge because no matter how many times I read it, I could never really picture it exactly.

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Just now, TiffanyNichelle said:

I really liked the scene on the half finished bridge because no matter how many times I read it, I could never really picture it exactly.

I agree with this.  And I loved how they showed it, instead of telling the audience what it was.  

I loved the gate of Bellevue Hospital, because that gate is still at Bellevue Hospital today, it's the entrance to the garden now.

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I found the show too dark, and no, I’m not talking about the subject matter.  This seem to be a thing in a lot of tv shows and movies in the past few years. I don’t want to to have to squint at the screen to see what is going on.

Dakota Fanning’s voice sounds too modern to me, and no, I can’t break down what I mean by that, except she sounds jarring. Maybe it is her dialogue... I did find her enormous shoulder pads rather hilarious. Nineteenth century fashion puts ours to shame as far as weirdness goes.

Did anyone else think that the actor who played Dr. Lazlo was the same as the one who played Euron Greyjoy? Just me? (Slinks off embarrassed)

i

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I have been really looking forward to this, as it has lots of actors I like in it and I LOVE the time period, and the first episode didn't disappoint. I loved the atmosphere, the performances, and the case itself is sufficiently creepy, without the obsession with goriness you see in a lot of these shows. 

I thought Dakota Fanning was fine here, I didn't find her miscast. So far, I like everyone we have seen, even the minor players did well with the screen time they had. I especially thought the guy dying of Syphilis was quite riveting. Also, so gross. So very gross. 

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I was a Penny Dreadful fan of yore, so I'm a sucker for these lavish, dark period piece things (I know Penny was more fantasy, but let's go with it).  

I'm already mesmerized by Bruhl and Evans...they seem really intriguing.  I am also loving all the "oh hey, it's that guy" casting.

Personally, I'm in with Sara/Dakota.  The taking off the corset and seeing it imprinted on her skin made her very sympathetic to me.  

I'm in for the next few episodes, at least.  I can't wait to see Laszlo, John, and Sara really start the investigation. 

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51 minutes ago, Yokosmom said:

I found the show too dark, and no, I’m not talking about the subject matter.  This seem to be a thing in a lot of tv shows and movies in the past few years. I don’t want to to have to squint at the screen to see what is going on.

Dakota Fanning’s voice sounds too modern to me, and no, I can’t break down what I mean by that, except she sounds jarring. Maybe it is her dialogue... I did find her enormous shoulder pads rather hilarious. Nineteenth century fashion puts ours to shame as far as weirdness goes.

Did anyone else think that the actor who played Dr. Lazlo was the same as the one who played Euron Greyjoy? Just me? (Slinks off embarrassed)

i

I agree. I understand that it probably was that way back then, with all the oil lamps and fires for warmth, etc. but it definitely made it hard to see what was happening.

 

I watched this out of curiosity more than anything. I've never even heard of the book ( I'm not much of a reader). In fact, when I heard about the show, at first, I thought it had something to do with aliens ! Then I saw a couple of commercials and I had to look up the word. Just when I thought I knew everything there is to know ! I think the time period is very interesting, but it will take another episode or 2 to see if I will keep up with it.

 

I was surprised to hear the kid use the word "cop". I thought that term came along much later.

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I liked it, even if it was very dark (dark meaning poorly lit and hard to see on my screen, lol). I haven't read the books so I have no background, but I appreciated that they showed rather than told; it seemed as though they expected the audience to keep up, which was a nice rarity. I also appreciated that even though the crime was horribly grisly they didn't dwell on the gore or play it up.

I liked the casting of Dakota Fanning, I thought she was understated but solid. I'm excited to see where it all goes.

Edited by emma675

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Well, it’s good to know Harvey Weinstein hopped in a time machine just to pay a visit to Sarah at work! Good grief, what utter creeps she's working with.  It seems sexual harassment is as old as time. 

Back on subject-- I really enjoyed it, and was riveted the entire time. Like a few others here, I loved the book and have been waiting to see it come to the screen since I read it back in 2012. I thought it was beautifully shot, richly symbolic, and wonderfully atmospheric. I found the pacing perfect-- lingering in the right places, but stimulatingly quick in others.

I'm enjoying all of the performances so far, but Bruhl's really stood out. His performance really goes beyond the script itself in humanizing the character. He seemed to add not just a deep compassion, but also a subtle self-deprecating sense of humor that makes a character who may have seemed merely a stereotypical or clichéd "tortured protagonist" seem real and sympathetic. The girl playing Mary was also fantastic-- her facial expressions, particularly in the last scene as a tear slowly rolls down the cheek of her horrified but carefully composed face-- were amazing, and made me eager to see more of her character. (And not just in the context as serving as a sounding board or servant for Krietzler, either.)

In fact, I'm going to commit blasphemy here, and admit an unpopular opinion-- at this point I'm actually more interested in finding out more about Mary than about Sarah. I have sympathy, admiration, and some interest in Sarah. However, she does seem like a "type" that is featured with ridiculous frequency in 20th century shows and movies set in the Victorian Era-- the strong, independent, modern woman tragically constrained by old fashioned Victorian social norms. (Who delivers speeches about the injustice of women being unable to vote/ work/ be freed of corsets at every commercial break.)  At the outset, she is already straining against the bonds that her society has set on her; by the end you can bet that she's proven herself more capable than all of the men around her, told off her (generally male) naysayers, and has had stunning success in acquiring her goals and personal independence. And I would be thrilled to see to see Sarah achieve these things, I really would. I just can't feel that this journey is particularly new or novel if one has happened to see any of the movies or tv shows set in the Victorian Era in the past 30 years. There's also the fact that, like nearly all "socially repressed but feisty and rebellious young Victorian women", Sarah is pretty well off, and is not plagued by the financial desperation that colored many women's lives at the time.  

Meanwhile, Mary-- she's a young working class woman in the Victorian Era, who also happens to be mute and a woman of color. It's still hard to get a direct read on her, especially since we've yet to see her as anything but a maid or a sounding board for Kreitzler. But every scene she's in suggests a deep well of suppressed sadness and emotional depths every bit as complex as Krietzler's. She strikes me as a character I've never really seen before; thus I'm fascinated to learn more about her identity and struggles.

Other thoughts: I'd love to see more of the Isaacsons, they were great. Also, really loved seeing Kreitzler at home-- more Cyrus, Stevie, and Mary, please.

For whatever reason, I also get the feeling that they're going to try to pull off a John/ Sarah Howard romance... and I don't like it one little bit. Maybe it’s the fact that he's already implied that he's known her all of her life (like... since she was a kid?), maybe it’s the age difference, but I'm just not relishing it. Admittedly, the age difference (in real life) is only about 20 years; but the fact that Dakota looks several years younger than her actual age and Luke looks several years older combines to make the two look disconcertingly like father and daughter. So... I'd really rather not see the two making out. But maybe that's just me. 

Edited by Hazel55
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Nitpick the cigarette Dakota Fanning smoked was not right for the times otherwise this was amazing.

What I appreciated about the scene where Dakota was sexually harassed is it helps dispel that stupid notion that if women just wore more clothes men would focus on the work at hand. 

This is one of my favorite books as well; really happy to see it onscreen.  

In the show, the bridge they're building is the Williamsburg which makes sense as the Manhattan was the last to built and the Brooklyn was first. 

I love the cast and the look of this. My heart is still broken over Penny Dreadful, this may start the healing.

Edited by Drumpf1737
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7 hours ago, Yokosmom said:

I found the show too dark, and no, I’m not talking about the subject matter.  This seem to be a thing in a lot of tv shows and movies in the past few years. I don’t want to to have to squint at the screen to see what is going on.

I could not get through it. Could hardly see anyone and Daniel Bruhl was using a weird accident that was hard to understand -- trying to do American. But I got the PC tone when they started with a police officer having a deep respect for a transgender male prostitute in the 19th century. RIGHT. 

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I was not impressed and I found it increasingly boring as it went on.  Daniel Bruhl was not very good and his character seemed to be over the top for the sake of being over the top.  I never would have guessed the guy playing Roosevelt was playing Roosevelt.  He just comes across as a generic police commissioner.  It's hard to believe this generic police commissioner will go on to be one the greatest and fiery presidents of all time five years later. 

This episode also felt like one long lesson in political correctness.  As the previous poster stated, I seriously doubt the prostitute dressing as a woman would have elicited much respect from anyone involved in this case.  No doubt going forward we'll be treated to countless speeches per episode from Sarah's character about being a woman in this society.

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8 hours ago, Drumpf1737 said:

Nitpick the cigarette Dakota Fanning smoked was not right for the times otherwise this was amazing.

What I appreciated about the scene where Dakota was sexually harassed is it helps dispel that stupid notion that if women just wore more clothes men would focus on the work at hand. 

That cigarette did look a little....neat? perfect?......just too round like a machine put it together not a human.  But it was a minor thing.

About the "more clothes" I liked what she said when she was undressing, something about not being sure if being stuffed into corsets means men want us to hide our figures or change them.  But yes, covered head to toe and shoulder to wrist doesn't matter to many; compound that by the idea that the other police see her as a freak for wanting to participate in their "manly" world when she should be sticking to delicate lady things and the majority of them aren't going to treat her well at all.

I have no idea about the book, I've never read the author.  I mostly watched it because Luke Evans is in it.  What I know I loved was the scenery and costumes and background of the city from that time period (whether set or CGI); it was incredibly well done.  I expect the first episode to be a little slow, it's always the "character introduction" portion first before we get moving into the story and this was no different.  It seemed to pick up near the end though.  I'll give it at least another episode to see what I think (and I have to admit if I bail I'm looking up the book just to see who the killer is!)

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1 hour ago, benteen said:

I never would have guessed the guy playing Roosevelt was playing Roosevelt.  He just comes across as a generic police commissioner.

My one complaint.  I never would've known this character was TR if they didn't use his name.  I should've known.

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I was prepared to not accept Dakota Fanning as Sara but her no-nonsense, buttoned-up stance (self-preservation, I'm sure, is her and the director's take) sort of worked for me. Probably more realistic than someone "plucky" like Abigail Spencer from "Timeless" might have played her. To me she's a little bit of a soul sister to Anna, the heroine of Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach, if you've read that. 

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My husband and I finally got Hulu to show this to us last night (I think the sneak peek thing confused Hulu).  I read the book over a decade ago and enjoyed it, but only remember the basic story and the fact that it was pretty graphic--which is good because I was prepared for what I saw.  I'm not sure my husband is going to stick with it, but I thought this was surprisingly well done.  It's very interesting to watching it and knowing how the show is going to go generally, but the actual details of the story seem entirely knew to me.

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13 hours ago, willco said:

I agree. I understand that it probably was that way back then, with all the oil lamps and fires for warmth, etc. but it definitely made it hard to see what was happening.

I was thinking this too at first, but...  TR became Commissioner in 1895 and last night's episode made it clear that he'd just recently come into office.  NYC had an electrical station by 1881 and streetlights along Broadway from 14th to 24th and all of Madison Square, and according to a NY Landmark Preservation report by 1884 a 4 mile swath of midtown was illuminated at night.

Sorry, I digress because I'm an historian. But basically I feel like historically it SHOULDN'T be this dark. So that has to be a stylistic choice? I agree that at certain times I wanted to adjust brightness on my tv because I felt like I was losing nuance.

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53 minutes ago, shockermolar said:

I agree that at certain times I wanted to adjust brightness on my tv because I felt like I was losing nuance.

I just shut the lights off in my living room and I'm fine.

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Haven't read the book, but it was decent, if kind of slow pilot for the most part.  Daniel Bruhl and Luke Evans were both pretty great in their roles, Dakota Fanning was solid even if her character didn't have much to do (yet?), and I'm curious to see how this mystery plays out.

I didn't realize that the commissioner is actually suppose to be "the" Teddy Roosevelt.  Yeah, nothing against the actor, but I'm having problems that guy is going to become one of the most infamous Presidents in the history of the United States.

Certainly pushing the boundaries with some of the content, but I found it amusing that they somehow had Luke Evans fully clothed for all of his sex scenes, while the actress playing the prostitute was fully naked (but still avoided showing anything that could get them nasty letters.)  I guess some things will never change.

Love that the corrupt captain is played by the same actor who Artherton on Ripper Street.  And Ted Levine a.k.a. Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs as the former commissioner.

Curious to see more of Lasizo's staff, including the butler played by Robert Wisdom and his housemaid who I'm guessing is Native American, since she is being played the actress who played Pocahontas in Terrence Malick's The New World. 

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17 hours ago, willco said:

I was surprised to hear the kid use the word "cop". I thought that term came along much later.

The word "cop" is an old British word meaning "copper" as in "someone who captures" (and not short for the copper in the badges like many believe).  It comes from the Latin derivative "capere."  "Cop" first appeared in the British Oxford Dictionary in 1704.

[And yes, I looked some of this up.  I'm not that smart...  :-) ]

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I like period dramas, and I love this setting and time period. This episode set up the story and introduced the characters pretty well, and it mostly looked well (if dark). Overall I liked it enough to stick around for the next one.

But I thought it would be better? It's yet another story about a special genius white dude who solves murders. And I found everyone around Lazlo more interesting than him. Like, I was all set to be bored by Luke Evans, but I was surprised to find that he was excellent in the Doctor Watson role of foil to the special genius. You could read every feeling of disgust, discomfort, embarrassment, and exasperation on his face throughout the show. And I'm intrigued by the little we saw of Sara Howard's odd life.

Captain Connor's Irish accent is perfect (Just looked him up and David Wilmot is Irish) and his attitude towards the dead kid rang true. But I agree with the criticism of the actor playing Roosevelt; he doesn't impress so far.

What was with the direction and score during Mrs. Sweig's scene? If she's not (a) the murderer, (b) a ghost, or (c) a figment of Lazlo's imagination, then the show needs to tone it way down!

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they somehow had Luke Evans fully clothed for all of his sex scenes, while the actress playing the prostitute was fully naked

Right? This tired bullshit where the show indulges in a little titillation, but only for the male viewers. Way to make me roll my eyes in the first five minutes. Still, I was curious about what John was playing at with the ring.

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Curious to see more of Lasizo's staff, including the butler played by Robert Wisdom and his housemaid who I'm guessing is Native American

Same! Lazlo lives with Pocahontas and Bunny Colvin from The Wire; I hope they get some lines. That reminds me: some of the lines were baaad eg. Lazlo's final monologue while Mary took off his boots by the fire. The show could use a little less over the top atmosphere and a little more work on the script.

Edited to add: And I just saw this on Twitter from the tv critic at Slate:

In the book, a character is roused from sleeping: in the show, he is roused from having sex with a whore in a brothel. Any show that makes this kind of change is... almost automatically MEHsville

That's not part of the book?! Lol, that's... not a great sign.

Edited by Kirsty
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I liked the character and Sara and liked Dakota Fanning in the part; I noticed that Dakota maybe, decided to put on a little weight for the part, which I liked.  I also liked the scene where she takes off the corset and  you see the damage that shit does on her body, damn, made me grateful for my Gene bra.

I kind of thought Robert Wisdom was too old to play Cyrus Montrose; I imaged the character to be in his thirties but that's probably just me. 

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Great production values,  cenimatography, etc.  

The story seemed a bit slow - which I think the PTB also considered since it ended with "scenes from the season" rather than just scenes from next week. I'm in ... tho the idea of yet another serial killer isn't exactly exciting despite it being set in the late 1800's. I supose I'm watching mostly  for the atmospherics with hopes that the story will get more interesting as it goes along. 

I appreciated Sarah's comment as to whether 'society' desired the female body or wanted to reshape it. But I couldn't muster much sympathy for her blaming anyone but herself for following accepted convention. Lots of women managed to make a mark on history without pushing things up or out or painting their faces. If she is willing to defy conventional job choices, surely she could drop the corset. But, whatev .. 

I also agree with others who have mentioned that it doesn't seem likely that the death of a crossdressing teenage prostitute would garner much concern during that time period. 

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They haven’t gotten into it (yet?), but there as a big newspaper war going on in NYC at the end of the century (see yellow journalism and how the publishers basically started the Spanish-American War two years later), so I am guessing that the sensationalism of the killings is played up in the press. I remember that the novel introduced me to Jacob Riis when I read it nearly 25 years ago, and I hope he shows up in the miniseries.

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4 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

Certainly pushing the boundaries with some of the content, but I found it amusing that they somehow had Luke Evans fully clothed for all of his sex scenes, while the actress playing the prostitute was fully naked (but still avoided showing anything that could get them nasty letters.)  I guess some things will never change. 

I thought that was something character related. The fact that he makes the prostitute wear an engagement ring. There was some bit of dialogue which seemed to be role playing and then being fully clothed. Maybe it's because of TV but, I thought it was something they'd reveal as we got more into the character/story.

I really like the show, I thought the sets/clothing/atmosphere was perfect. I really enjoyed all the sides characters and the friendship between Lazlo/Moore. I'm also really interested in the murder mystery.

If I had any complaint it was the sub-mysteries, what was the deal with Moore and the ring (broken engagement?). What was going on with Sara/Moore just friends? Family history? Something romantic? What was the deal with the Cops, especially Leland Stottlemeyer, giving Lazlo/Moore the stink eye?

I'm sure it will all be explained eventually but, I was a little annoyed at the way it was handled.

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I really enjoyed the first episode, can't wait for the second.  Bruhl and Evans were standouts but I really liked Dakota Fanning as Sarah and I'm interested in how the group interacts as the story progresses.  I think the Isaacsons will end up having a role to play there to.

 

I agree with the previous poster that I think Moore being fully dressed is something character related, that we'll find out more about in a future episode.  It has to do with the whole roleplaying thing that he's doing with the prostitutes and seems to be related to some sort of real life trauma for him(dead fiancee? broken engagement? I don't know but I'm interested enough to see where it goes). 

 

The age difference between Evans and Fanning is 15 years in real life but I think it's probably supposed to be less between the characters they play and honestly so long as everyone is an adult I don't really care if they hook up eventually or not(I think they may just tease that a little and then go in another direction but who knows at this point).  They are both socially equal from money and during that time period that matters far more in terms of the balance of power in the relationship than their ages do, with them both being adults.  

I feel like the three leads all have good chemistry with each though so I'm looking forward to seeing them all interact more. 

I read the book when it came out and really enjoyed it(read the second one too and didn't like as much) but it's been so long I remember almost nothing about it in terms of who the murderer is or how the relationships progress and I purposely didn't re-read it so that way there could still be some suspense watching the show, trying to figure out who is doing it. :)

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5 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

Certainly pushing the boundaries with some of the content, but I found it amusing that they somehow had Luke Evans fully clothed for all of his sex scenes, while the actress playing the prostitute was fully naked (but still avoided showing anything that could get them nasty letters.)  I guess some things will never change.

The "gorgeous, fully naked female has sex with fully clothed male" thing struck me as something straight out of the Game of Thrones playbook. In addition to being a bit of a WTF, it also showcases the ridiculously askew male to female nude ratio on TV. It seems that even when they aren't technically showing anything, its just the girls getting naked. Which isn't something I'm furious about, mind you-- its just funny how women are objectified nonstop, but when it comes to doing the same thing for men, the (often male) show writers get squeamish. 

Furthermore, it seems to me that this show is (like quite a few others on TV) has a bit of a split personality when it comes to confronting sexism and women's issues. On the one hand, with Sarah Howard, there is a thoughtful and sensitive attempt to explore sexism, patriarchal attitudes, and things continuing to affect women down to this day. On the other, it seems uninterested in even questioning the ethics of John Moore visiting prostitutes, or even looking at the aformentioned prostitutes as feeling, thinking human beings rather than objects to be used sexually, then exploited to further develop the male characters. 


Shows like the Knick and Penny Dreadful, set in the same era, featured working class female characters, and beautifully explored how the lack of employment options, poverty, and desperation oftentimes forced lower class women to turn to prostitution simply for survival. (Something that upper class Sarah Howard definitely doesn't need to worry about.) For instance, Brona on Penny Dreadful gave viewers a brutal and visceral look at what life was like for a prostitute during the 1890's. Here the prostitute character was merely here to take off her clothes, and add more to John's characterization. (He goes to brothels because he is sad that his fiance dumped him. Boo hoo. Lucky for him to have a CHOICE on whether or not to go there, which can't be said for many of the girls who work there.) The prostitute literally didn't get one line in her own voice-- the only words she said were scripted by John for his little fantasy. I honestly believe that the writers don't connect the exploitation of the women in the brothel John visits to the sexual exploitation of the adolescent boys who are getting murdered. And while the latter is obviously much worse because it involves children, the sexual exploitation of women obviously is hardly hunky dory. 

Edited by Hazel55
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It's only the first episode how do we know what they will and won't connect?  They are setting things up.  You set things up and then start to question them or take them down.  If they did it all in the first episode, there would be no story.  Particularly as

Spoiler

Going by the little argument we see in the coming attractions(where it appears Lazslo does in some way connect what John does with it because John then says something about not going around murdering young boys), they may well do so.   

But then again, I don't need every single show to be about every single thing, I watched Penny Dreadful(didn't like the last season very much but liked the rest of it quite a bit and never saw the Knick because I didn't get the station) I liked what that showed.  If this show doesn't choose to focus on that, I'm fine with that too so long as it tells the story it IS telling, the one it's choosing to focus on, well.  

Edited by tessathereaper
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Love that the corrupt captain is played by the same actor who Artherton on Ripper Street

Loved Ripper Street!!! He certainly moved up the ladder... 

 

Questions

Enjoyed the 1st episode, but I'm having some trouble with the continuity.  Sara "took" the file without "permission" per se.  So when Kreizler didn't find any information in the file, the next thing we see is the cemetery with bodies exhumed.  So did Kreizler get authority to exhume?  If so, I would assume he would have told Roosevelt that he was not able to find any information from the file. Are we just assuming that Kreizler was able to convince Roosevelt (finally) that the cases may be related?  No reprimand for Sara for releasing the file?  Then the next scene we see the 2 medical examiner brothers introduced to us & Kreizler adds that Roosevelt didn't trust the county with what they were up to, so he sent the 2 brothers to help out Kreizler.  Did I miss a scene or scenes?   Roosevelt is portrayed in the 1st ep as dismissive & uncooperative.  The last 20 mins seemed rushed to me.

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1 hour ago, tessathereaper said:

It's only the first episode how do we know what they will and won't connect?  They are setting things up.  You set things up and then start to question them or take them down.  

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Going by the little argument we see in the coming attractions(where it appears Lazslo does in some way connect what John does with it because John then says something about not going around murdering young boys), they may well do so.   

But then again, I don't need every single show to be about every single thing, I watched Penny Dreadful(didn't like the last season very much but liked the rest of it quite a bit and never saw the Knick because I didn't get the station) I liked what that showed.  If this show doesn't choose to focus on that, I'm fine with that too so long as it tells the story it IS telling, the one it's choosing to focus on, well.  

Yep, and if that's what they're doing, I'll gladly eat my words. However, their presentation of the prostitute struck me as the typical "tv treatment" of prostitute characters--objectifying, exploitative, and dismissive. An quote from a review of the show in The Atlantic explains this a bit better than I can:

"Brühl portrays Kreizler as an enigmatic obsessive who might have darker tendencies of his own. But the doctor is also a paragon of modern psychiatry, admonishing priests who preach against the sins of the flesh and advising parents whose sons want to wear their sisters’ clothes to accept them no matter what. It’s an anachronistic kind of virtue signaling that curdles awkwardly with the show’s leering, exploitative focus on human flesh. (It’s not just blood and gore: Sex scenes are inserted into the action for no obvious reason—in the opening scene to the book, John Moore is staying with his grandmother, but in the series, he’s visiting a brothel.)"

So they may go on to question the ethics of the (adult, female) sex trade, what they've shown thus far has been typical exploitative, thoughtless tv crap. The prostitute. living during a time when countless women were virtually forced into prostitution by economic forces, was introduced merely to tell us more about a male character and take off her clothes. 

Also, they while, as you note, they don't have to touch on everything, not touching on issues of prostitution in 1896 in a show about murdered prostitutes strikes me as a little ridiculous. 

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3 hours ago, shrewd.buddha said:

Lots of women managed to make a mark on history without pushing things up or out or painting their faces. If she is willing to defy conventional job choices, surely she could drop the corset. But, whatev .. 

In one of the behind the scenes featurettes, they mentioned that every woman in that time period, even the poorest, wore corsets. Women didn't start burning their bras until the 60s, and when they did, people went nuts. I can't even fathom Sara, working in a police department full of men, arriving to work one day without an undergarment on. There were no other choices besides corsets then.

 

2 hours ago, Morrigan2575 said:

I thought that was something character related. The fact that he makes the prostitute wear an engagement ring. There was some bit of dialogue which seemed to be role playing and then being fully clothed. Maybe it's because of TV but, I thought it was something they'd reveal as we got more into the character/story.

I hope there is actually a reason for John being fully clothed. Otherwise, having the woman completely naked, and not the man, is just ridiculous. And I'm not saying that just because I like seeing Luke with his clothes off. :) I got the feeling that they were trying to show nudity for the sake of nudity, just because they could. You'd think he would at least have his shirt off, or his pants down. From reading spoilers, I know what's going on with the ring, but there could be a reason for him keeping his clothes on. It could be a way for him to stay unattached, or for her to "bare" herself to him, while he remains closed off. In one of the trailers for the show, they showed Flora talking a stroll in a park-like setting during the day, so perhaps she will have a bigger role than just "John's favorite prostitute."

One of my biggest complaints about the first episode is that it almost moved too quickly and so much happened. To expect them to cover everything about each character and their backstories in the first episode is unrealistic.

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John Moore's ex-fiancee must have really broken his heart since we've seen him role play their break-up scene with prostitutes two times so far.

I laughed when I realized David Wilmot was playing Captain Connor and not Sgt. Atherton from Ripper Street. Was a little confused as to which show I was watching for a minute.

Sara Howard is a great character. Her job is important to her, and she knows she's lucky to have it, but she's still willing to risk losing it in the hope of being part of a team that's fighting evil.

Looking forward to more Robert Wisdom, who will always be Bunny Colvin to me!

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5 hours ago, tessathereaper said:

The age difference between Evans and Fanning is 15 years in real life but I think it's probably supposed to be less between the characters they play and honestly so long as everyone is an adult I don't really care if they hook up eventually or not(I think they may just tease that a little and then go in another direction but who knows at this point).  They are both socially equal from money and during that time period that matters far more in terms of the balance of power in the relationship than their ages do, with them both being adults.  

 

If you're worried about such things, then maybe a show about the murders of child prostitutes isn't for you anyway.

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5 hours ago, dramachick said:

John Moore's ex-fiancee must have really broken his heart since we've seen him role play their break-up scene with prostitutes two times so far.

I missed it the second time but, I thought that's the role playing that was going on in the first scene. 

A few other minor things about the episode. I have no background on the show and, never read the book so I was surprised to find out they were all so wealthy. It's not a big thing just seeing the grandeur of their homes surprised me.

I figured out Roosevelt was future President Teddy Roosevelt from the minute they said his name...he's my favorite President. However, it was super cool to have that bit of history included.

Last bit is about Dakota Fanning/Sara debate. I don't think I've seen enough of Sara/Cannon to judge (yet). I do think the character is rather stuff/Wooden/uncomfortable and a bit dull in the delivery. I don't know if its an acting choice or if Fanning isn't a good actress. 

Edited by Morrigan2575

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7 hours ago, eliot90000 said:

If you're worried about such things, then maybe a show about the murders of child prostitutes isn't for you anyway.

On the contrary. A show about the murders of child prostitutes is inherently concerned with power imbalances in sexual relationships. And even if it was a show about puppies picking daisies: an online tv forum is exactly the right place to talk about age gaps between actors. What if some of those so-called puppies are too old to be considered puppies? I'd want to know why. ;P

tessathereaper, I'd say 15 year age gaps between couples weren't uncommon among well-to-do, nineteenth century Americans. Didn't women marry very young back then? So there might actually be a legit excuse for it on this show, apart from the usual bullshit. Maybe the historian who posted above could offer a perspective on this.

My thing is that I love the setting but I'm disappointed with what they're using it for. Apparently it's shot in Budapest and at $5 million an episode it's the most expensive show TNT has ever produced. I mean, if the ancient Roman empire makes a comeback as a story setting during "peak tv", I'll be disappointed if all the beautiful sets and costumes Netflix pays for are only there to tell us the story of unorthodox Gaius Genius tracking the serial killer who leaves corpses in gruesome, theatrical poses. Meanwhile, his sidekick Doofus Maximus is introduced fully clothed in a scene with a bunch of naked slave women who get no lines while he cries. On the one hand, I'd be oohing and aahing over the look and feel of ancient Rome. On the other hand, I'd be all "This shit again? Haven't we all seen these cliches before? When is he going to tell us that he has to think like the killer to catch the ki-- There it is."

Edited by Kirsty
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10 hours ago, pezgirl7 said:

In one of the behind the scenes featurettes, they mentioned that every woman in that time period, even the poorest, wore corsets. Women didn't start burning their bras until the 60s, and when they did, people went nuts. I can't even fathom Sara, working in a police department full of men, arriving to work one day without an undergarment on. There were no other choices besides corsets then.

 

 

 

Thank you.  I hate it when modern-day shows and books try to give women attitudes that didn't really exist back then.  Sara is already bucking convention (a well-off young lady who doesn't need to work taking a job?!  In a police department full of men?!), so it would be pretty unrealistic for her to show up with no undergarments.  It would also probably lead to even more sexual harassment, unfortunately.  

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Re Sarah's corset: I don't think natural rebels join the police force. 

The semi-official view was announced I think by Alan Sepinwall, who is a reliably second-rate reviewer. The subject is old hat. And it's a period piece (which is implied to be old hat too.) Therefore no one need really watch. I think the real issue is that TNT is not to be accepted as competition for FX.  Professional reviews are part of the publicity machine.

As an amateur reviewers, with no ax to grind, I would like to point out that Hannibal was a terrible serial killer show, although it was an extraordinary homoerotic fantasy, unless you really get off on fetishized murder. That Mindhunter (and the overlooked Manhunt: Unabomber) is actually best when it is about the folly of profiling.  That Penny Dreadful may be set in the same period but it was not even the same genre, and ditto The Knick. And Boardwalk Empire is not even the same period, and looks at crime from the criminal perspective. Looking only at the sets is rather superficial I think. Sepinwall is so desperate to preempt viewing he even tries to drag in CSI, noticing for once CSI was a true procedural. The thing is, it is pretty obvious that, for better or for worse, The Alienist had anticipated the Mad Men tactic of seeing now in its origins. The funny thing is, the real objection might be that Criminal Minds has burnt us with hundreds of hours. Except that a superficial glance shows the execution to be far superior, I think. 

I don't know whether The Alienist will end up being a complete success. Flaws in the source material may kill it in the end. But I do for some reason feel contrarian, and want to kick back against the anti-buzz. And watch it first.

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(sjohnson, Manhunt: Unabomber was terrific! Paul Bettany was great as Ted K. Still making my way through Mindhuter—looking forward to seeing how they deal with Speck, since I have a strange interest in him [my great-uncle was his dentist at Stateville].)

I am deliberately avoiding reviews of this—I just want to enjoy it or reject it on how I relate to it, since I have fond-but-25-year-old memories of the book.

Edited by Sharpie66
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A reminder; there is no book talk in the episode topics. Posts that discuss the book may be removed with no notice; if you feel it's an important point, a spoiler tag may be used on a single point; but posts regarding the book should go to the book talk topic. This would include "it was different in the book/it was the same in the book," as an example.

Thank you.

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