May 23, 2004


neverwheredvd.jpgNeil Gaiman wrote the teleplay for this BBC miniseries. Richard Mayhew is an everyman Londoner with a psycho fiancee. On his way to dinner with the aforementioned shrew, an injured girl stumbles across their path. Richard defies his date and takes the girl home. And his life is never the same. The girl, Door, gets him mixed up in a strange political battle going on in a supernatural underworld existing beneath and alongside the mundane London. Many of the characters and locations are puns on different stops on the London Underground (when the stops aren't actual locations).

The story is your basic plot coupon adventure (the characters have to find some thingamabob so they can get through the next trial where they learn that they need another thingummy to survive the next one). This works because Gaiman writes great characters and the actors are clearly having all kinds of fun bringing them to life. Especially entertaining are Mr. Vandemaar and Mr. Croup, the creepy sadistic villains of the piece.

The production has BBC written all over it. It's actually kind of refreshing seeing these shows where the producers didn't let a lack of state-of-the-art visual effects keep them from telling a good story. (Mists of Avalon was another one.) I get spoiled by reality-bending special-effects blowouts like The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix and forget that enjoying a fantasy is about suspension of disbelief, and some of the pleasure comes from engaging your imagination rather than having everything made to seem objectively real by effects wizards.

The overall running length is three hours split into six episodes. This is actually a good thing because it gives you ample opportunity to enjoy the trippy title sequence created by Dave McKean with music by Brian Eno.

Posted by jeffy at May 23, 2004 01:41 PM