Netflix The Frankenstein Chronicles Review

It’s not what you might expect.  

I love horror.  In fact, I have a horror-romance series in the works, Infusion Blue (link is at bottom), that I am blogging about and it’s getting some great feedback. And so I look for good quality horror, which is a world apart from the chop-em-up-with-axes-and-hatchets movies that are more typically dumped into this genre.  No, I prefer the classics.  Dracula.  The Werewolf.  The Mummy.  The Invisible Man (when you can find him – no pun intended – well, maybe just a bit), and of course, Frankenstein.

SPOILER ALERT 

If you have not watched this series and would like to, you should stop reading right now, or, be aware that I’ll be divulging some elements that would otherwise be surprising.  If you don’t mind that, then proceed.

Season One The Frankenstein Chronicles 

I am a huge of Sean Bean.  Yes, LOTR is my favorite trilogy, and that’s saying quite a bit since i have been a major movie lover since I was old enough to say the word.  And aside from that series, Bean did a wonderful job in National Treasure and in the TV show, Missing.  There are other roles he’s played as well, but those are some of my favorites.

John Marlott, Bean’s character, is the star of the series.  A police detective in London in the year 1827, with a rising-star of an assistant named Joseph Nightingale, Marlott becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of why bodies are washing up on the beach with roughly sewed seams at the wrists.  This mystery is what draws Marlott in and gets him deeper and deeper into some rather ugly discoveries.

The season only has 6 episodes, so to me it’s more like a “mini season” but that’s my opinion.  Dammit it’s too freakin’ short!  But if you are or have ever been hooked on a continuing series you may have felt the same way.  But I digress.  Let’s go on about season one.

Mary Shelley herself is brought into the story, which is totally cool, but, she’s rather a sad figure and not at all what I hoped she’d be.  Still, it was great having her right there, in the thick of the hunt for what could be a real-life Dr. Frankenstein knock-off who is bent on reanimating the dead.

Artist William Blake is also briefly in the story, and since I’m an authority on Tarot Cards, having read professionally in my life, bringing the deck that uses his artwork into the show was a unique and truly wonderful addition.  Several times a character named Flora spreads out the William Blake sketches on the floor, recognizing their meaning as tarot cards, but, it ends abruptly there.  No further mention of those beautiful and rather gripping images is made.  The idea of the William Blake Tarot Deck being of help in solving the murders fizzles out entirely.

Mary Shelley gives us a good flashback sequence telling of an actual killing of a man who volunteered to become the first reanimated dead man, and of the experiment’s failure.  It was that experience, and not the legendary dream,  that was the inspiration for writing the book Frankenstein, or The  Modern Prometheus.  Interesting as heck, but, sadly that sub story line goes the way of the William Blake Tarot and is abandoned.

Sean Bean as John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles

The story twists and turns quite a bit, and even though I love love love layers in my shows, it can begin to lose a person I have to say.  And that’s the fault of the writers.  Sorry guys, but it’s constructive criticism here, for sure.  Add to that that there are holes in the story that should’ve and could’ve been filled.  That is where The Frankenstein Chronicles began to fail as far I’m concerned.

Season one ends on a rather sad note, but it’s not until we get into season two that the truly disappointing events begin to happen.

Season Two The Frankenstein Chronicles 

It turns out that a respected doctor, Lord Hervey, is the mastermind behind the whole bring-em-back-to-life process.  And his methods have nothing at all to do with electricity, believe it or not.  Which goes too far in trying to reinvent the wheel and is simply too far-fetched.

The way that Hervey brings folks back to life, not all mind you there were quite a few failures, is by transplanting a new heart into said dead patient.  No bolts or even seams or anything.  With the exception of a rather large raised scar on their chest, the newly risen ones look perfectly normal.

But Hervey’s many failed attempts at this surgery resulted in murders that he did in the name of science, or proving that God isn’t necessary or perhaps doesn’t even exist, and it’s not until his very first success comes into the story that all things change.  If you didn’t guess it, and I have to admit I did not when I was watching The Frankenstein Chronicles, it’s John Marlott, who is hanged for a murder he did not commit.

That indeed changes the entire story.  Marlott is now placed in a very strange position, even more so than before.  In season one we saw that John had syphilis, which he contracted during the Napoleonic wars, and of course after his resurrection, the disease is gone.  But, really, why did the writers spend so much time on it then?  Marlott visited a local apothecary who gave the syphilis remedy of the day, mercury, which of course caused hallucinations and nightmares.  So instead of that, the resurrected Marlott is now seeing the dead as if they were walking among us.  And it simply doesn’t fit him or the entire story.

Enter another sinister character, Frederick Dipple, a wealthy and powerful man with a penchant for automatons (early robots), and a past that includes being one of the reanimated himself – possibly the very first one.

But too many of the important characters are dead by the end of season two, and stay dead, leaving holes where they should be filling in good parts of the story.

Overall 

It is up in the air whether or not a season three will be approved for The Frankenstein Chronicles, but, if it is, I am hoping that what is resurrected is the original idea, somehow, someway, and that the writers change direction completely.  Actually, they will need to, with so many of the principal players gone, and the original story completely lost.

MY HORROR ROMANCE SERIES 

Coming in Oct 2020

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yolanda says:

    Like the series and also wish they’d get back to the first season. I didn’t like it when Marlott died and then Nightingale. Sorry if that spoils it for anyone. But so many good ones are gone there isn’t much to work with besides Sean Bean. Hopefully that’s enough.

    Like

  2. chella says:

    I started watching this and couldn’t get into it. You’re right about the twists and turns. It’s frustrating.

    Like

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