3 January 2016 | quincytheodore
The celebrated mystery thriller seen from the eyes of a curious officer and the judgment of its time, while preserving the fair surreal ambiance.
The Frankenstein Chronicles is a unique take of the famous story from the perspective of detective trying to solve a grizzly case. Audience might have an idea of what transpires from pop or literature experience, the series uses this as an advantage, teasing and making only vague connections to keep the interest. It invests quiet a lot on the social value as well as visual atmosphere, flamboyant it might not, but it does capture the gritty and muddy ambiance of the time.
Detective Marlott (Sean Bean) has the luxury of finding a mangled corpse of a child. The investigation takes a turn for the eerie worse as he finds more peculiar twists than expected. Marlott isn't the typical suave confident detective most shows opt for, he's just a simple working man with equal tragic past and drive to solve the mystery. Having a veteran actor like Sean Bean is a definite plus and he seems to fit the role living in faraway past remarkably well.
Visually, the series is engaging, although not in traditional gorgeous manner. There's only few beautiful Victorian era architectural majesty, instead this is a look of dirty roads without pavement and widespread poverty. Strangely, the atmosphere works well for a medium loosely based on popular reading. Many other movies have tired the faint fantasy visage, this murky approach serves as a more grounded witness to the era.
It also produces a greater focus on the social or religious aspect of things. The archaic paradigm creates deeper emphasis on the gruesome puzzle. Marlott is clearly a sympathetic man, although he chooses more passive stance and might look deceivingly detached. It's not often that a main character takes less dominating spotlight, which gives the series ample time to tease whether it will follow the famous story line or sew together different branching plot.
By using still air of the past and fragments of broken doll, it's a retelling of renowned fable from modest man and the era's point of view.