Fox’s latest procedural follows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author best known for the character Sherlock Holmes, and Harry Houdini, the magician, as they quirkily solve pseudo-paranormal crimes (Houdini) and battle their inner demons (Doyle).
Determined to boost their viewing audience, the network added a female character (Rebecca Liddiard), whose name was never mentioned once in the episode I watched, as an apparent afterthought. I say afterthought because her last name isn’t even title-worthy. Unfortunately for the network, this nameless policewoman is actually the most interesting character on the show.
Despite the casting of the incomparable Rebecca Liddiard from my favorite
VerveGirl KindaTV YouTube series, MsLabelled, the acting falls flatter than Sherlock and Moriarty did in Reichenbach.
I watched the episode “Bedlam,” which involves the investigation of apparent possessions by a Satanic cult. In honor of the episode’s theme, below is a list of the cinematic sins (and cliches) Houdini & Doyle committed.
May Nielsen ratings have mercy on your soul.
Cinematic Sins (and Cliches)
- Choppy, wooden dialog and nonexistent transitions. (Am I now following Doyle to his father’s study or Rebecca to investigate her husband’s death? Wait, her husband’s dead?)
- Lazy use of flashback to show Holmes’ difficult relationship with his father.
- Aforementioned daddy issues trope.
- Disproportionate, gratuitous displays of violence. The show couldn’t strike a balance between the ‘shock’ factor and the ‘wow-I-did-not-need-to-experience-that’ factor. This is a particular shame because Hannibal executed this balance perfectly to convey horror and further the plot even though the images were exceptionally graphic.
- Unlikable characters. Doyle is a jerk to his children, and blames it on #3. Houdini is just a boring House knock-off. Rebecca doesn’t get enough lines.
- Reconciliation scene with an estranged father.
- It was all a dream nonsense.
Overall, the lazy writing, nonexistent transitions, and poor acting render this show unwatchable.
The only magical thing about it was that it managed to get green-lit in the first place.