The Frankenstein Chronicles with The Bean

frankI do like a bit of Bean now and again. Unfortunately his recent venture, Legends, wasn’t worthy of any thespian recognition.

The first season was a piss poor chewed up and regurgitated US TV show, which had Sean Bean waiting in each scene for the other actors to catch up with him. It was bogged down by weak dialogues and full of eye-candy with zero talent.

The man can act, and a wee bit of sex on legs on-screen never hurt anybody, even if he is looking rougher than a dog’s tongue lately.

In fact I would suggest watching him in Accused: Tracie’s Story, in which he plays a transvestite. You might never look at him in the same way or he may feature in your dreams, in high heels and a blonde wig from that point forwards, but you will get to see what he is capable of.

Unfortunately Sean has this slight affliction that never really goes away completely or shall we say lately he doesn’t really give two monkeys whether it does. Affliction: Northern accent. You can always hear it just below the surface, so he either picks or gets offered acting jobs where he can be his jolly Northern (yup jolly is totally sarcastic) self or perhaps it has become more of a trademark at this point.

In Legends he plays a spy or spook, who takes on a multitude of identities to go undercover, so it goes a little like this: Sean as a cowboy with an American accent with a Northern English twang, Sean as a drug dealer with a Northern English twang or Sean as a posh upper class Brit with a Northern English twang… The list is never-ending. I think at this point he is just like ‘fuck it.’

Which brings us to his new venture into television, The Frankenstein Chronicles on ITV. There seems to be a spate of TV shows jumping on the supernatural, myths and book characters bandwagon at the moment. Penny Dreadful is gloomy, depressing and suitably freaky ass gory, Jekyll and Hyde is a ..well I haven’t quite figured that one out yet, main character has a wee bit of road rage, day rage, life in general rage. I’m finding it hard to follow anything in between the moments of rage.

The story starts in London 1827, a suitably gloomy, foggy and creepy setting I might add. Marlott (Bean) finds the body of a child on the banks of the Thames.

The body of at least eight children sewn together to make one. The surgeon, who examines the body says the child was never alive, so why and how did it grab Marlott?

I had to laugh at the accurate portrayal of the upper class snooty English sirs and lords with their sensitivities and utter disgust at the second class humans they are surrounded by, oh woe be me that I must walk amongst the dregs of humanity. Meanwhile Bean is playing an officer of the river police with, you guessed it, a Northern accent.

Sir Robert Peel (Tom Ward), the Home Secretary, thinks the abomination has been created by quacks, who are trying to stop Parliament from passing a bill on the practice of medicine. Making it illegal for anyone other than a licensed or trained medical doctor to perform certain medical acts or surgical procedures. A few years later the Anatomy Act was passed:

Passing of the Anatomy Act 1832, which expanded the legal supply of medical cadavers to eliminate the incentive for such behaviour. The Act authorised persons who had legal custody of a dead body to send it to a medical school before burial, so that it might be used for the study of anatomy and practice of surgery. If relatives could not be found

Before the Anatomy Act of 1832 (England) was passed, only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection. We know that this wasn’t technically adhered to, especially in the case of Burke and Hare (1828, Scotland), who provided corpses simply by killing people themselves.

Marlott believes from the get go that this is the work of a medical professional. He keeps his controversial opinion to himself, but is bound to knock heads with the upper echelon. He is partnered with Bow Street Runner Nightingale (Richie Campbell).

Marlott weaves his way through the perilous and dismal world of the London streets. His informants a mixture of street urchins, child prostitutes to body snatchers. Little does he know that the promise of a few coins leads a young boy straight into the arms of the monster Marlott is looking for.

The period drama moves smoothly between fact, real life historical figures and the premise of a famous fictional story. Next week the author of said book, Mary Shelley (Anna Maxwell Martin), is being introduced into the fray.

It will be interesting to see whether the drama sticks to the 1818 publishing date of Frankenstein and the events being inspired by Shelley or whether it has her writing the events she personally experiences, ergo the birth of Frankenstein the book. Either way her presence opens the door for some intriguing developments.

What do I think of it so far?

I think it has gotten off to a great start and I look forward to watching it unfold. It’s nice to see the Bean in something that lets him shine. The Frankenstein Chronicles has a fantastic supporting cast with some very talented fellow colleagues. The scenery and setting are authentic, the dialogues are period suitable and luckily not prone to the cheesy texture of some television shows I could mention. Indeed it promises to be a series full of potential and very memorable. So, yes I am a very happy bunny that the Bean is finally in something worth watching again.

Read and download Frankenstein, The Last Man or The Mortal Immortal on Feedbooks. Or listen to Frankenstein, Mathilda, Transformation or The Invisible Girl at Librivox. Alternatively you can download Frankenstein or The Letters of Mary W. Shelley at the Internet Archive.

You can also read and download Legends, The Fall of the BeanMary Shelley’s Mathilda, The Invisible Girl, Other Gods, Horseman in the Hollow, The Vampire, Wolf Blood, The Skull, Be Pretty or Else!, The House on Haunted Hill or The Fiend for free right here on the blog.

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