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Catching Up With THE ALIENIST

I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which isn’t just seasonal. It can hit you on a day to day basis, too. If a day, or even worse, a series of days, is or are excessively cloudy, it sets it off. Serotonin levels in the brain drop and depression kicks in. Gloomy, overcast days kill me, figuratively speaking. It’s strange, then, that I would have such an affinity to the Victorian era, and to Victorian England in particular; Victorian London in particular, particular. Possibly it’s because I know that time and place served as home to Dracula, Mr. Hyde, and Jack the Ripper. And possibly, if I actually had to live there, my depression would kill me LITERALLY. (Also, my vision of the past tends to be romanticized. The squalor, filth, and lack of modern amenities like running water and air-conditioning would also quickly sour my enamorment with all things Victorian.)

Victorian New York City looks an awful lot like Victorian London, and THE ALIENIST captures the feel, the flavor of the time perfectly. You can almost feel the wetness of the fog on your skin as you watch each episode, smell the smoke from the countless chimneys. (Other smells that would be present if you actually were there I prefer not to think about.) The sets are magnificent, as are the costumes. It’s like they were really filming on location in late 1800s NYC. The only weakness in the show thus far is with the characters, which is not to say the characterization. The main problem is that the lead, no matter how deftly portrayed by Daniel Bruhl, or perhaps because of how well Bruhl plays him, just isn’t likeable. Not in the least. In the book he isn’t such a jerk. I love Luke Evans’ John Moore, but I do want him to be more effective as a manhunter. (Truthfully I keep wanting him to turn into Dracula from DRACULA UNTOLD and unleash his vampiric powers on the serial killer.)

We’re just past the halfway point in the series. I hate that it’s such a short one, as I feel like the show is really only getting started. There’s still a lot that has to happen before everything wraps up. I’m both excited to see things kick into high gear and sad that the show will have run its course.

(We’ve still got time to swap out Moore with Dracula, by the way. I mean, they’ve already deviated somewhat from the plot of the novel. I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’. Y’know what I’m sayin’?)

TheCheezman • March 6, 2018

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