Ripper Street is the shit

ripper1

I meant to write this post after episode 1 of series 1, but failed to. We’re now waiting on episode 6 (of 8) of series 2 (which was sprung on me a bit unexpectedly, if I’d not idly opened the paper that day I wouldn’t have known it was back on).

Anyway, it’s a brilliant detective series set in Whitechapel, the first series was set in 1889, shortly after the Jack The Ripper murders (one of the first lines in it was “she’s been ripped!”). The main character is Inspector Edmund Reid, who was a real person, though he bears little resemblance to his real-life counterpart (who was far more interesting, a high-ranking druid and a balloonist!). There’s also the usual tough sergeant who is handy in a fight, and an American army doctor (and former spy) who does the CSI stuff. The first series had an ongoing storyline revolving around the background of Captain Jackson, who was a Pinkerton detective in the USA, and got involved in the Haymarket Massacre, a real event of 1886. That’s one of the things I love about Ripper Street, though it’s clearly fictional (despite having some characters who really existed), they make a lot of references to things that really happened at the time. Other references include a boat accident which Inspector Reid was injured in (the real one wasn’t, though!), and the shutting down of the “freak show” at which the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, was exhibited.

The new series looked like it was going to revolve around trying to bring the drug-dealing chief inspector of a neighbouring police division to justice, but that appears to fallen by the wayside in favour of more “individual” episodes touching on various political issues of the day such as the growth of Chinatown, feminism and Irish republicanism. There’s also another ongoing plot about Captain Jackson’s wife, Long Susan (who runs a brothel) being in debt to a local slum landlord.

They’ve managed to avoid anachronistic technology pretty well, and have been sparing with stuff that was cutting-edge at the time. No doubt rich parts of London had electric light, but Whitechapel didn’t! They even make reference to the steam-powered lines of the underground, we haven’t yet seen a telephone or motor car, and film is something they look upon as if it’s witchcraft.

There does seem to be plenty of anachronistic speech, though. But it has been toned down a little in the second series. The first used the term Molly House (used in City of Vice a few yeats previously. That series was set in 1749!), and they occasionally sounded more like characters from Shakespeare or the Bible! That’s been toned down a little in series 2, though the odd modern phrase (like “knock yourself out”) has slipped in. I was surprised to hear the term “infernal machines” used. At the time, that was the term used to describe a bomb, especially one intended to kill people.

All in all this is a great show, in fact I’m probably more excited about where series 2 is going than I am about the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who! I hope it continues for a lot longer – the real-life Reid lived until 1917, working as a private detective in a small seaside town after he retired. Of course, the 1890’s and 1900’s were a period of rapid technological advancement and laid the foundations of the social changes that the world wars were to bring about later. If the writers can keep on coming up with complicated cases and ‘impossible’ murders, it will be great to see these years through the lens of London’s poorest!

Doctor Who

curlygreatturd

Pessimistic (realistic) predictions for the 50th:

– The epic Dalek invasion / mass destruction scenes will come right at the end, and will amount to no more than 30 seconds in total.

– Some sort of deadly, surrounded by Daleks situation will not be solved by a clever McGuyver’d way out, but by technobabble and reversing polarities so that the Daleks suddenly back off comically.

– The Daleks will eventually be stopped by some more technonabble, probably with the result that their invasion “never happened”. It will likely involve the opening of the core of the Tardis again. “Can only be used once (has already been used twice)”, as that hilarious LM2 blog I found once said.

– 11 will have another lengthy, tearful goodbye with Rose, and probably kiss her.

– Some clue hidden at the start of the episode will point to the doubtless anticlimactic, “magic” ending.

– Captain Jack won’t be in it.

– Neither will any old Doctors (apart from the newly-revealed “warrior” one of course).

– The Daleks will be inexplicably teamed up, in an equal partnership, with at least one other monster (like the utterly ridiculous “cram them all in” Pandorica thing), even though they’re supposed to hate every other race and only manipulate them or use them as slaves (as we will hear in An Adventure in Space and Time, no doubt. They’re taking the piss out of us, aren’t they?). It will probably be The Great Intelligence, an omnipresent and very powerful foe. Though this episode appears to be set in The Time War, there’s been no mention of anything other than the Daleks being involved in it up until now. Kind of like saying World War 2 was just Britain against Germany and ignoring the USA, France, Japan and Russia entirely.

– Even when fighting in a war for their very existence, the Time Lords will be shown to be decadent and corrupt. To use another WW2 analogy, imagine if British people had carried on living as if it was the twenties in the forties?

– Elizabeth the First is going to be in it (already confirmed). It will be 11 who makes her angry, even though it was 10 that she recognised on sight.

– It will not be a complete episode, but “continued at Christmas”. Thus, in future years, it won’t be able to be sold as a feature length, one-off “quick introduction”, like The Five Doctors is now.

Optimistic predictions

(Yes, I am aware some of these contradict the above).

– The storyline will involve time travel to many different periods in Earth’s history, and we’ll actually see something of them (not an alley and a Dansette, as “1969” was represented in the Weeping Angels one. Perhaps we’ll see 1973 with Gene Hunt!

– We will see the first Doctor, Susan and the junk yard, new scenes with David Bradley and Claudia Grant. Perhaps also the nearby school from Remembrance of the Daleks.

– Davros will be in it, we’ll see his “final death in the war” (which he survived).

– The Master (not John Simm, he’s in the future!) will briefly appear, but will hide himself and be branded a “deserter”.

– Captain Jack and/or The Face of Boe will be in it!

– The Cybermen won’t be in it. Their next epic storyline (their last epic storyline being in 1968) will probably be on their 50th anniversary, in 2016

– It will answer more Moffatt-era questions than it poses (yeah right!).

bumbs