BBC America's "Ripper Street": What the Critics Are Saying
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BBC America's "Ripper Street": What the Critics Are Saying

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | January 18, 2013 | Comments ()


The premiere of BBC America's second original televisions series, "Ripper Street" airs tomorrow night (Saturday), and it kind of sneaked up on us. I'd completely forgotten about it, and BBC America didn't send any advanced screeners for it, so I only caught wind of it by accident.

I am fairly excited for it: Jack the Ripper usually makes for a great source material (and the UK is obsessed with him), and I'm a big fan of the series' lead, Matthew Macfadyen, who is wooden in all the right ways (also, married to Keely Hawes), as well as Jerome Flynn (Bronn from "Game of Thrones," and former pop sensation).

Since I can't offer an advanced review myself, here's what a few critics are saying about the series. The consensus seems to be that it's not terribly original, but it's riveting all the same, thanks to strong writing and great performances.

Part of what makes "Ripper Street" so interesting is that it's not entirely what you think it would be. The conceit is that the Ripper has disappeared, and now people are making money off the legend, and the press keeps fueling it. The pilot features a murder where it looks like Jack is back, and the immediate worry of Inspector Edmund Reid (Macfadyen) is to contain hysteria until there's proof. He's in charge of H Division, where a lot of awful things happen in East London. Trying to mop up the place would get exceedingly more difficult if Jack was back. -- THR
It is a cocktail - but it's a bloody good cocktail. Warlow's/Leveson's script is real, alive and human. It's beautifully performed, and beautiful to look at - stylish, and stylised. The bare-knuckle fight scenes are brutal and memorable. It's proper, character-based crime drama, gripping, and yes - I'm afraid - ripping as well. -- The Guardian
Although not without its flaws, the grim, pay-cable-like series benefits from a strong core cast and appealing look (minus a few glaringly bogus FX shots). Despite a notable dropoff from the first-rate premiere to the so-so second episode, for those drawn to the oft-told Ripper story, this is definitely a "Street" worth visiting. -- Variety
"Ripper Street" boasts superb performances, cast and production values, and, beyond the copycat elements, thoughtfully written scripts loaded with surprises and a compellingly complicated moral base: Virtually all the characters are a credible mix of strengths and flaws. There's nothing terribly original in any of this, but if you go looking for original thinking in any TV series, whether it's made in the United States or the United Kingdom, you're quite likely to be disappointed. -- SF Gate

Here's a teaser trailer for the series. We will check in on the series later in its run.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Bewegung951

    Matthew McFrownyen, you are always looking at me as if you believe yourself undeserving. I look back trying to tell you that you are. Most ardently (see what I did there) you are.

    Now, if you wouldn't mind showing me precisely how many layers of herringbone, wool, plaid, and peony are you wearing....

  • Mrs. Julien

    You are a gentleperson and a scholar.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    It is pretty good, though you have to get over the pilot, which was pretty boring.

  • BWeaves

    Was I the only one disappointed that this wasn't about Giles?

  • Mrs. Julien

    He's still hopped up on band candy.

  • in_heaben

    Joyce is so hot right now

  • Leelee

    Well so far I've really been enjoying it (and have developed a bit of a thing for Captain Jackson, who as my mum says is "just the right amount of American").
    I've been describing it as a cross between Sherlock and Bones - mystery solving with tonnes of gore in the name of science.
    Also, the sets and costumes are worth watching the first episode for alone. I swear the prostitutes have the best dresses by far.

  • BlackRabbit

    Is that a green leather jacket that man is wearing? Spiffy.

  • Mrs. Julien

    If I make some reference to Macfadyen being a magnificent Mr. Darcy, will it make PaddyDog's P&P sense tingle and bring her back? Because I really thought he was a lovely Darcy, despite a production that was in many ways problematic.

    [wishing and hoping and thinking and praying]

  • I don't care what anyone says Macfadyen was indeed a magnificent Mr. Darcy. That voice! What a lovely velvety baritone voice he has. I could listen to it all day.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I think I need to re-watch it (with copious fast-forwarding). And set the DVR for Ripper Street.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    I just couldn't get past his unfortunate chest hair.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Did you see him in Spooks? I believe you are mistaken.

  • Samantha Klein


  • Mrs. Julien

    Which part?

  • $1754390

    I've seen up to the third episode and so far I LOVE IT. It's more of a victorian police procedural, Jack The Ripper doesn't actually feature in it too heavily, but it's really fun and extremely well-made. I'd definitely check it out.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Never mind what the critics are saying, let me tell you what my lions are purring:


  • This show is right up my *alley*, where Matthew Macfadyen is welcome anytime.

  • Xiufetish

    Are lions a mature pussy?

  • alwaysanswerb

    You must be new

  • Mrs. Julien

    Here you go - , Xiufetish. It's number one.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Who are you calling "mature"?

  • Kballs

    Love me some Bronn and gritty late-19th century London, but meh. The preview did nothing for me.

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