Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

TV Reviews: Vienna Blood, Dr Who.

The hero of Vienna Blood is a young Jewish doctor who solves crimes using the methodology of  Sherlock Holmes Sigmund Freud. Just to make it clear that we're in Vienna and it's the start of the 20th century he keeps bumping into the likes of Klimt and Mahler. The first episode ended in a confrontation on the Big Wheel which made no sense at all except as a homage to The Third Man- a movie that wasn't going to get itself made for another 40 odd years. It's all very silly but the art direction is gorgeous. Most of the filming seems to have been done- expensively- in the streets and salons of the city- and the costumes and hairdos are authentic.

I don't think I like Vienna. It's extremely pretty but all the extraneous decoration puts my teeth on edge. It's a birthday cake of a city. The makers of the show seem to feel the same because they're keen to show us that under the layers of cream and swirls of icing sugar there's all sorts of nastiness going on. The city fathers are corrupt, the soldiers are predatory, the doctors are pig-headed and there are proto-Nazis everywhere. In episode two, the killer -whom the doctor analyses while he (the killer not the doctor) is waving a sabre around and threatening to do for the helpless Inspector  Lestrade  Rheinhardt- turns out to have chosen his victims (spoilers ahead) for impeccably Freudian reasons- as stand-ins for the characters in The Magic Flute. If the stories were less preposterous it might actually be rather good. 

I'm afraid I'm finished with Dr Who.  I caught a few minutes of last night's episode- which was a dramatization of the Wikipedia entry on Nicola Tesla-  and it had a standard-issue storyline about malevolent aliens doing something or other and lots of extras wearing false moustaches. The actors do what they can- but the characters are dull- the companions especially- and Jodie Whittaker's Doctor has yet to come into focus. Chris Chibnall has Broadchurch to his credit- so he's not a bad writer- but he doesn't do wonder and strangeness and timey-wimeyness with any conviction.  Take the show off, rest it, bring it back in ten years time and entrust it to someone with the right kind of imagination.
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