houdini and doyle

Series Review: Houdini & Doyle (2016)

5:57 PM

Rating: 6/10

Writer: David N. Titcher

Synopsis: Doyle (writer and doctor) teams up with Houdini (magician) and Stratton (Scotland Yard constable) to investigate crimes with seemingly supernatural causes.

Review: Average is the only way to describe Houdini & Doyle objectively. It is by no means a terrible tv series, but it isn't particularly amazing either. The potential is there in the sense that the characters are well rounded, and its overall concept as well as each individual subplot is well placed. However, that potential falls flat.

The main characters that appear in this series are Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and Adelaide Stratton. First and foremost and as the title suggests are Houdini, an illusionist, and Doyle, a doctor. Considering the plot of the series and what the general public previously knew about these characters, one would assume that Doyle would rely on facts and data when investigating strange cases as opposed to falling for supernatural possibilities. After all, he was the mastermind behind Sherlock Holmes and it was him that thought of this reasoned and logical quote: "It is capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts". In contrast, one would also assume that Houdini would lean more towards supernatural explanations as opposed to more scientific ones. Contrary to these assumptions, it is the exact opposite in Houdini & Doyle. In theory, that seems...questionable and in effect, the concept is interesting. However, as mentioned previously, it falls flat and the characterization seemed forced at points. Had it been done in a different manner, it would have been more entertaining. For instance, if the dialogue did not have as much of Houdini shouting "SCIENCE" and had a little more subtlety, it might have seemed less obnoxious.

As for Adelaide Stratton, she grows with each episode and becomes more and more three dimensional. Watching her develop and mold into her character, hearing her voice what she stands for, and seeing the way she handles certain situations are all worthy of the viewers' time. Sometimes, it seems as if her characterization does not have a clear direction, but in the end and with her newly introduced backstory, things seem to be clearer.

One thing that should be mentioned is that Houdini & Doyle does not shy away from addressing problems and controversies that were present in the setting and are still present in modern day affairs. For example, there were entire episodes dedicated to equality between genders and racism. The way these episodes were executed should be appreciated, reason being it was straightforward and perfectly appropriate considering the setting and the intended audience.

I would recommend Houdini & Doyle for viewers who like snarky characters, relationships with heavy sarcasm, and 20th century dated settings.

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