17 May 2016 | herstoryian-214-847962
Entertaining and Intentional Anachronistic Fun
This reminds me of Ioan Gruffudd's Forever (2014-15), an edgy, yet cozy, murder mystery story that has likable performers, and is filled with anachronisms and good taste in clothing. (Except Conan Doyle's suits, which get louder as the series goes on, a possible sign of growing confidence in the characterization of the character.)
The hook is that Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have partnered to solve murders that have some connection to the supernatural and/or spiritual. It's set in the wrong time period for Houdini and Doyle to have been associated. A choice was made to make it Edwardian rather than in the more accurate 1920s. They use modern language and the modern music is intentionally unsettling. The series relies heavily on the old theater maxim of "a willing suspension of disbelief."
And it's highly entertaining. The actors are personable and talented. It's definitely an ensemble cast that works well together. The sets and costumes are well done (suitable for the time period),and highly detailed.
The story line doesn't explore any real substantial questions of politics, culture, war, or social values...yet. It's enjoyable, mindless entertainment, excellently done, with great potential for more robust story lines. Although the episodes might not have been filmed in the release-date order, the staging, story, and characters appeared to mature as the first season progressed.
But there is one travesty: They do a disservice to a good actor, and to women everywhere, by not giving their excellent female star better billing.