User Reviews (25)

Add a Review

  • The best way to describe this series is X-files meets Downton Abbey. Personally, I'm a fan of stories that mix history in fiction, so perhaps I'm bias in its favor, but there are several aspects of this series which are successful.

    The show's premise is actually fairly straight forward. The characters of Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle team up with a plucky female detective from Scotland Yard in order to solve a series of cases. Naturally, each of mysteries have what appear to be some element of the supernatural. Most of the stories also touch on the personal struggles of the two leads, so watching from the beginning will enhance your ability to to follow and enjoy each episodes.

    What really makes this series are the actors. In addition to having really talented leads, the cast is strong overall. Perhaps it's just me, but I am sick to death of reality TV and hackneyed sit-coms. Consequently, getting to watch actors who actually know how to act is, for me, more valuable than ever.

    Another thing that makes this very enjoyable to watch is its visual appeal. The costumes and set designs are very well done and, even if not always historically accurate, evocative of a romantic and bygone era.

    The stories themselves are fast-paced and fairly intricate by today's standards. They also blend fantasy and reality in a way that's pretty darn appealing.

    Although billed as a mini-series, if this show doesn't get a second run it will be a shame. It's charming, beautiful, and very watchable.
  • This series are by far, the most amazing and interesting ones. I literally watched the whole 10 episodes nonstop in a row, and I'm proud of it. My eyes just lighted up when I saw the Season 1, and I've to say that I want more! That's mainly why I'm writing this review, because I want and need more! I've come addicted to these TV series, and I love it! I simply loved the "Episode 3: In Manus Dei", the drama on it actually made me cry, and I don't cry much on drama movies, or drama TV series, but this one got me good. I'm currently watching Person Of Interest, but it's ending on Season 5, which I'm currently on (waiting for further episodes) and I need other series to watch. Houdini and Doyle sounds just right type of series to fill that empty space!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First it's important to note that, as I said, I'm going to compare/contrast Houdini & Doyle to other shows that are currently airing or available to watch. I don't believe I'll be giving anything away about the show that isn't in the promos for it; but that doesn't mean others might not interpret it as such so better warned than sorry right?!

    Houdini & Doyle is well written. Which is as good a place as any to start because the best actors in the world have a hard time doing their jobs well if they have nothing to work with right from the start. That, thankfully, is not a problem here. It's also quite well cast. An equally important point to the success or failure of any show. You need a good script and a good cast to bring it to life. It is also helpful to have great sets and costumes to make everything else within the story really "pop out of it" so-to-speak. It appears that the producers have been very respectful in capturing the elements of the period in London within which the story takes place and it also seems very respectful about remaining true to what we, the public, already know about these two great men. Both of whom are genuine historical icons and both of whom have specific character traits of which most are aware. I am genuinely pleased that what I've seen coincides with what I know. I also respect that the few surprises they've thrown in are both plausible and serve very well to make the show more interesting. So with all that in mind, here's what you really need to know about Houdini & Doyle the TV show.

    First, unlike Jekyll & Hyde, they do not appear to be under the impression that what they are trying to create is "breakout television". This isn't Penny Dreadful and they know it. What's more, while they are creating a beautiful environment, that environment isn't designed to do anything more than be a place in which the events will unfold. Jekyll & Hyde, at least to me, seem to have created a spectacular collection of sets but given their actors very little to do within them. This is definitely not the case with H & D.

    Also, unlike a wide variety of shows, they are not trying to take themselves too seriously and they're not going for either great depth or tremendous intensity. H & D is not necessarily "edge of your chair" viewing. But it works quite well for them because it's clear that this was something they were never going for in the first place. At it's core H & D is smart and funny with just a dash of intentional "fluffiness". So while it may not be "must-see TV", it is also most assuredly not a "guilty pleasure". H & D, to my way of thinking and seeing, is a show that's fun to watch, includes some great surprises along the way and is a new take on the notion of "English cozy" murder mysteries. The characters are quite human and all have interesting flaws. But they remain highly likable in spite or because of those flaws and it becomes clear in a hurry that while they may never admit it, they also genuinely like each other.

    What really sets it apart from other procedural mysteries is that, although they assuredly want to solve each case and determine how each death occurred, they are taking entirely separate but scientific approaches in reasoning. And it is this fact that generates both the fun and the interest in what might otherwise be a fairly ordinary "murder of the week" mystery show. Plus, while Houdini might be sitting on one side of a "see-saw" so to speak, and Doyle sits at the completely opposite end, there is a quite fascinating and unusual third character sitting in the middle of them both. A character that makes everything come together for an entirely different set of motivations.

    In the end, I like it! We're only 3 episodes in but I've made the commitment to ride through the first season with them because I'm truly intrigued by what I've seen so far. Remembering that this is a show to watch FOR FUN! They're not hiding anything, there are no secret pasts or agendas to figure out and it's not the story of "the everlasting great struggle between good and evil". If that's what you're looking for, go somewhere else. But if you're tired of waiting for the "agendas" to play out and sick to death of waiting for something important to finally happen on some other show… go watch H & D and relax! It's a little bit of fun, a little bit of mystery with a little bit of surprise thrown in to keep the mundane well out of the picture. It may not be brilliant programming, but since it isn't trying to be, it's able to do it's own thing well and more than satisfactorily!

    So watch a few episodes and make up your own mind. In the meanwhile, I'm just going to be sitting here fervently hoping I have given you just enough information to make an informed choice. But not so much as to be blacklisted and thrown into an IMDb "black hole", never to be heard from again! ; - )
  • Pretty good show,entertaining even if not factual. Houdini was married by 1894 and didn't meet Doyle until much later. It's sort of like watching a live version of Scooby Doo. What seems like supernatural causes turns out to be the equivalent of a a guy in a rubber mask with just a hint of doubt that maybe something really strange could be going on. Sets are a little too nice for London at the turn of the century. Modern music is often used in scenes but somehow it works. Cotumes are pretty good. The characters are likable and the acting is generally very good. I especially like that they did not make the chief inspector a total buffoon as it first seemed.
  • If you watch this show, don't think too much into it. Yes, it's been done before. Yes, it's basically just ripping off the real Houdini and Doyle.

    BUT it's cute and quirky. I happened to start watching it because there was nothing better on TV, and I'm glad I did. The script is pretty good. The dialogue is a little too modern, I think, but come on, it's a detective show with Houdini. Can't expect it to be accurate.

    What it is is fun. So neat to watch a reimagining of the time period. And there is a great deal of chemistry between the actors. I felt immersed in the story. Would definitely recommend if you want to have a laugh and appreciate imaginative story lines.
  • Honestly, this show is not supposed to make sense. It's suppose to entertain the view, and that's exactly what it does. Houdini and Doyle, send a time before ours, is really a great show. It's great entertainment for the family. I love the suspense, and their mysteries with a paranormal slant. I like American Houdini paired with proper Doyle. I admit that I do hid behind a cushion from time to time, so there is sufficient thrills. I like that is all wraps up in a hour. I also love how all the characters seem to know each other, that Houdini knows great inventors in America, and Doyle knows famous authors in England. I like that both men are likable. It's not a pretentious show. I feel that it can last as long as Murdoch mysteries, if done right. So far, great first season.
  • I've just got to the end of the first series and I'm really hoping there's going to be more.

    When I started to watch this I wasn't expecting great things. In actual fact I only watched because of 2 things, I love Conan Doyle and Stephen was good as Dirk Gently.

    I quickly have become a fan of this great show. The writing is superb and the sets and costumes are well done but not so elaborate they detract from the characters or the stories.

    I love the way the characters are written and the actors play them very well. I particularly found Houdini cast extremely well with many complex layers to the personality showing through. Stephens portrayal of Doyle was also admirable with the nods to the techniques and skills that he used to create his character Sherlock giving the fans the homage they craved.

    I will say if you are watching this series then please try not to see it as a Sherlock or a Penny Dreadful show. It is basically a murder mystery encompassing characters that are able to give it an entertaining twist. Take it with fresh eyes and enjoy it for the excellent show it is.
  • 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.
  • I was in free fall after the brilliant first season of Lucifer ended, only to be replaced with what looked like a Sherlock knock-off about Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. What?

    The first episode was a bit jarring, to be sure. Just kind of silly and ephemeral. You know? I know nothing about Harry Houdini. I do know a little about Conan Doyle because I've read all of his Sherlock stories. I didn't quite get it at first.

    I thought the pilot odd and quirky. It kind of reminded me of the Murdoch Mysteries because it felt so "light weight" -- all air, no substance. But then... the show started to grow on me. I continued watching it and I started to appreciate the writing -- especially the snarky Houdini (he's given some of the best lines, dissing Canadians and bigots, for example, but really Doyle and Adeleide have great lines, too). Both the actor who plays Houdini and the actor who plays Doyle take their roles seriously and do a great job -- no matter that the premise itself is just kind of goofy.

    And, in fact, it seems all of the people involved in making this show take their jobs seriously. It's quite good on many different levels, including the production values as well as the writing and acting.

    I set my DVR.

    And then we had episode four -- Spring-Heel'd Jack -- and I sat up and took notice. Now this is really quite good. The main mystery was excellent. There are some continuing subplots that are compelling. I was appreciating the characters more and more. There really seems to be chemistry between the three leads. And they are not one-dimensional but fairly interesting individuals.

    This isn't great TV, but it is far more entertaining to watch than stupid reality shows. And I believe there's lots of promise here.

    I keep thinking here at the end of ten episodes what's the use of writing this review if Fox is just going to cancel the show after the first season. But, hey. At least I am taking a stand. I really don't have anything terribly negative to say about it. The show falls into that amazing category of re-imagined fiction -- Robin Hood, Dracula, The Musketeers, Hannibal... they are really fun. And this show is fun. The TV version of comfort food. What could be better during a blisteringly hot summer?
  • I think I watched all the available episodes to me in the span of a couple days. My favorite murder mystery show was canceled just a month ago and this show really brought me back to my happy place. Episodes 7 and 8 of the season were incredibly entertaining and yet also heartbreaking with a focus on the family dynamics of Doyle and Houdini. All of the scenes are nicely shot and the musical accompaniment to the episodes matched the mood and theme of the show but also stood out as more than just background music. I really hope the show gets renewed, even though I probably won't get to see a second season in the U.S. until next May. Whatever will I do until then? Read, I guess. ;)
  • The drama opens in 1901 London , shortly after the publication of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Great Boer War . At the turn of the 20th century the Metropolitan Police were overwhelmed with bizarre cases so they turned to outsiders including Houdini and Doyle , who collaborated with New Scotland Yard on some unsolved and inexplicable crimes . Then the world-famous magician Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) and a legendary detective writer Arthur Conan Doyle (Stephen Mangan) join forces to carry out a fundamental mission : Catching killers , a main issue that is elementary to them . Houdini and Doyle become involved in the investigation of several mysterious deaths . Along the way they are supported by an intelligent female cop , Adelaide Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard) , Scotland Yard's first woman constable . As they investigate several cases , such as : The death of a murdered nun at a convent ; as protagonists get involved when a boy claims he is the reincarnation of a man whom he says Belworth murdered ; as they find out an issue about a faith healer who appears to have a great power when a heckler drops dead at one of the healer's public sessions ; the death of a motorcar entrepreneur that is initially attributed to a mysterious dark demon ; when the housemaid of Doyle's old friend Bram Stoker is murdered with a stake through the heart , suspicions arise that Stoker may either be the killer or a vampire ; when the duo confronting a travelling medium who uses her powers to help the local police find a missing girl ; when they find a murderous poltergeist in Canada, encountering Thomas Edison and when a young man wakes up naked in a burned out circle claiming that his wife was kidnapped by aliens . And , finally , the trio investigate a small town where almost everyone died simultaneously with no visible cause.

    Exciting and charming series formed by 10 episodes , one season , it premiered on ITV in the United Kingdom March 2016 and in which Houdini/Michael Weston and Doyle/Stephen Mangan form a sympathetic and attractive couple . It is in fact true that Arthur Conan Doyle was friend for some time with Harry Houdini . In fact they attempted to discover fakes , false mediums , frauds Spiritualist psychics , scheming clairvoyants and Houdini was really convinced that Spiritualist mediums employed trickery . Although Arthur Conan became convinced that Houdini himself has supernatural powers , but Harry was apparently unable to convince Doyle that his feats were simply illusions , leading to a bitter public falling out between the two . The series relies on the different , opposite characters , as Harry Houdini is a rational skeptic and atheist whereas Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle is a believer in the paranormal and supernatural . They argue over whether the causes are natural or supernatural , and often bet on the cause , which causes their police liaison , Constable Adelaide Stratton/Rebecca Liddiard , some embarrassment and angry . Furthermore , in the series appears a lot of notorious secondary players , such as : Tim McInnerny , Diana Quick , Nathan Stewart , Laura Fraser , Ewen Bremmer as Sherlock Holmes , Louise Delamere : real-life wife to Stephen Mangan , and Paul Ritter as Bram Stoker and James Flett as Doyle's father , among others. The series was well set and shot on stages at The Space Project in Manchester . The series originally created by David Hoselton and David N. Titcher was well directed by Stephen Hopkins , Robert Lieberman , Jeff Renfroe , Edward Bazalgette and Daniel O'Hara .
  • I have to say I wasn't sure what to think when I watched the first episode but by the second episode I found myself waiting for the next episode each week. I am so very disappointed that they are not renewing this series as the show and writing were excellent. I love the characters in this and the acting is great. It was a nice change to have a well written mystery in where you actually have to think and that it didn't require blood and guts as a filler. Also, a show where a person could actually hear the dialogue over the music - take note Blindspot - is a real treat. The cancellation of this show is a major disappointment....please rethink this decision Fox as I don't believe a fair amount of time was given to this series.
  • Very good show! I really liked it and I'm very disappointed that there is no SEASON 2 and not a single word is said about making one! The characters, the plot, the costumes, the whole idea of this show and the actors are great! I felt like I was really there with them! Someone should consider to make season 2 with the same actors and I'm sure there are people who can do that!! For me this show deserves another season and I doubt that I'm the only one who thinks like that!!
  • After the first episode, I was not entirely sure I wanted to watch it. At first I thought it was a little bland and slow but after watching the second episode I was addicted. I look forward to the episode every week to see what crime and/or mystery the characters will be dealing with next. The show is extremely well written with extraordinary plots. The plot pulls you in and you can't let go. The characters are easy to love. The three main characters show wonderful chemistry. With the suspense of the show comes perfectly timed comedy and historic truths. It blends history with the supernatural to create a perfect plot. It is a must-watch show for everyone that enjoys crime dramas, history or the supernatural. The show is really something special that you will not find with any other show. I am so glad I gave this show a chance because it has become my new favourite.
  • robsem1 July 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Watched the latest episode tonight. I like the show, but ever since the first or second episode, Houdini's part could have been played by anyone. Houdini was an escape artist and magician. We haven't seen any of these skills since the first couple of episodes. Why not? If you going to have Houdini as a character you have to show case what he was famous for. Now he seems like a poor mans Watson. Write more Houdini skills to bring us back for more. Doyle is very likable, some times sort of a wimp, but he is a writer not a fighter...The stories have been very creative with adding notable characters from the era the stories take place, i.e. Bram Stoker, Edison,etc. The show is entertaining, and I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so this show has been fun to watch, but hoping they will do a little better and get Houdini doing Houdini thing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A great non-factual premise completely untrue or a non-factual-sequence of events. Yes, they did know each other during the period from 1920-1940, depending upon when Doyle and Houdini died. Yet, it is "set" in Victorian England some 20 years earlier! They actually met after the death of Doyle's mother. Doyle was a Spiritualist and Houdini thought it all to be "hokum". Doyle did not consider himself a Christian! His sick (first) wife died of Tuberculosis and there is no mention, that I can find, of his sick wife's "fainting spells" or ever awakening from a coma. So, enjoy it for what it is. A highly fictional account of two charismatic characters. Very well written, quite enjoyable. A Canadian-British co-production! This is not to be confused with that other "PBS" recent "Sherlock" series. We may see anything, as Doyle also wrote science fiction about the 21st Century!
  • rfeni-124 May 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Just saw the first one, and if watch another it'll be because there is absolutely NOTHING else to watch. Everything played so low-key, there is no excitement, no suspense, no passion, no energy at all. Formulaic. The words "Go fetch Constable Stratton," were all I needed to bet money the Constable would be a woman. No takers. Houdini and Doyle don't exactly have a lot of 'chemistry' (of the non-sexual kind). They barely seem to tolerate each other. The solution to the murder comes out of left field at the last minute, and the 'supernatural' element gets such a ridiculously unbelievable explanation you'd think they would have thrown out the script if they couldn't improve it. A "buddy film" without buddies, a murder mystery without a satisfying motive, a supernatural thriller that ends with an illogical "logical explanation"--this thing fails on every point.
  • Entertaining series that reminds me a lot of Murdoch Mysteries but with better sets and effects. BUT what REALLY bugs me is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character because he has a south England accent whereas in real life he was Scottish. Every time he opens his mouth it irritates me no end.

    I do enjoy the Houdini character and am pleased that he is played by a real American actor.

    Love the Canadian actress who plays the feisty and strong police constable even though I'm pretty sure there were no female police officers back then.

    However, I do hope the series does well in the ratings and gets renewed.
  • It's the start of the 20th century London. Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) is a cynic and a famous performer. Arthur Conan Doyle (Stephen Mangan) is the famed writer of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. They are best of friends and opposite in philosophy. They collaborate to investigate cases with supernatural aspects. The police is dismissive and assigns them the first female constable Adelaide Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard) as their liaison.

    I really like the relationship between the men and with Adelaide. I like all three actors. This should work better. The production is inferior. The lighting is too bright. It doesn't have the feel. I also don't like going to the new world in the last couple of episodes. It doesn't fit. It would have been better if they go to Scotland. The bromance is great but everything else is a step below.
  • I loved the series and it is a shame that is was cancelled after only one season.
  • mollystroll23 May 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    (possible small spoiler)

    I like mystery-thrillers with a hint of the supernatural, much more so if they historical mystery-thrillers. The keys for me are simply stated. Whether it is ancient Egypt, medieval Shrewsbury, or Victoria, Australia in the 1950s, a genuine effort at setting is important. This includes not only close attention to set decoration and costuming. but also mood, lighting and music. The second key is story. All the production values in the world are meaningless if the driving narrative is trite, manipulative, or completely senseless. The latter is especially true in the case of mysteries - the solutions have to work. The third element is chemistry between the principals. Setting and narrative go to waste if the people being portrayed wouldn't really hang out together in real life.

    Houdini and Doyle fails on every count. And does so quite badly.

    Everything seems at least a tad off, from the wonderfully clean and bright London to the modern music. London in 1901 was a dirty, dark, smoky place. The Thames stank of refuse, and the city was in the grip of its famous "London fog", which was actually not fog at all, but the sulfurous, yellow fumes of the Industrial Revolution in full tilt. The H & D London is just too spic and span to be believed.

    As far as music is concerned, the use of jaunty tunes from what seems to be a much later period is distracting as hell. At best, the musical score feels like a hastily contrived after-thought, which, often, doesn't really fit what is happening on the screen.

    Contrived applies also to the story lines. To be fair, I have only seen the first 3 episodes, and I suppose it is possible that the creators saved the stronger story lines for the latter portion of the ten-part mini-series. One would hope so, as the first three mysteries didn't work at all. For example, without going into details that might spoil things, a cloud of dust in the air does not actually manifest itself into a particular recognizable face because of the workings of the subconscious mind. It really doesn't.

    Equally contrived is the third principal character. Women were not permitted into the Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard) until 1919. Okay - so the creators threw out historic accuracy in order to throw a female character into the mix to appeal to modern audiences, but... would a woman who presumably fought and earned her way onto an all-male police force really be as helpless and deferential as portrayed here? Yeah, I get it - it's supposed to be about Houdini and Doyle, but one would expect a woman in such a situation to be a tad more formidable (see the Watson character in Elementary, for example).

    Somewhat related is that, even now, I can't imagine Scotland Yard would allow an American stage magician and a writer of mystery stories anywhere near their most important investigations, no matter what high-placed friends that writer might have. The basic premise makes no sense, and it is a fatal flaw.

    The final straw is the characterization of the principals, and the chemistry thereof. Letting go that they actually did not meet until the Roaring 20s, it is hard to understand why this particular Houdini and this particular Doyle would hang out -- they have different views, and different approaches. Doyle was an avid spiritualist - and often fooled by hoaxes (see the "Cottingley Fairies" case for one). Houdini was a an uncompromising debunker. As history shows, they only met a few times, briefly, and eventually quarreled. The characters on the show clash as well, on many levels, which is too bad. One only needs to read the excellent novel, "The List of Seven", by Mark Frost, a mystery-horror story featuring Sir Arthur as psychic investigator, to get a sense of how this project could have been both riveting and compelling - not to mention creepy. But "creepy" isn't happening here.

    In the end everything seems off, and very little makes sense.

    Later addition: Last night's episode (Episode 5 "The Curse of Korzha") was greatly improved over the previous episodes. Finally, the music was adjusted to something tolerable - opting for a "basic mystery thriller" soundtrack rather than the jarring non-historical pop they had been using. The plot was tightly packaged and actually worked! For once the solution wasn't some nonsense coming out of left field. London is still way too clean - note how clean the Thames River is, in the last few minutes of the episode. The Thames in 1901 was both garbage dump and sewer. Think about that a moment. The water would not be clear nor clean, and would have tons of... ummm.... offal floating about. Also, it is clear that the series was only allowed permission to shoot on one street, but at least in this episode they made a real effort to make it look different. Dialogue and chemistry are still problematic, but this episode marks a big step forward for this series.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The series premise is that Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle team up to solve crimes.

    The pilot episode certainly did not impress me, but I gave it a chance and watched episode two and found it just as bad.

    Now, the real Conan Doyle claimed that his Sherlock Holmes character was based on a Professor Bell, but I have read that he himself had the same skill at observation and deduction. The series pays little attention to this attribute.

    Though the actors gives it a good try, the writing is just not there.

    I gave this one star because there was no option for no stars.
  • andrewbamidele30 September 2016
    Houdini and Doyle gives controversial plots without the ability to tighten their loose ends,leaving the viewer very much under-satisfied.When I sat down to watch it for the very first time I had high hopes for the series.A series based on the best!!! it could never be boring or so I thought however after watching it for sometime sorry to say my joy reduced drastically.The writers kept on promising an intriguing plot at the start of the episode which they failed to deliver.

    It wasn't all bad though as the actors were at their best especially rebecca liddiard.If you are looking for ways to pass the time without any actual thought this is for you.

    All in all this film has one lesson to the viewers - Everyone can write
  • Stupid serial for fem and housewife! Consteble-woman in start of 20th and afroamerican nun, really?
  • Contrived and uncomfortable drama where the writer has tried to meld lated 19th century early 20t characters and story with 21st century political correctness , unsuccessfully.