Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ripper Street vs. Copper Round 2

So I got Ripper Street and Copper seasons 2 close together and (just like the first seasons) watched them back to back. Despite my earlier reaction of trying to space them out for season 2, I'm glad they were viewed close together because I was able to start differentiating between the two shows.

Ripper Street
I'll start with this show because I watched it first. Season 2 moves away from the original plot of the revived Ripper murders, but still retains much of its dark, brooding atmosphere of East End London in the 1890s. Instead, the focus now falls on individual people. 
Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and Adam Rothenberg all return

Inspector Reid's (Matthew Macfadyen) wife has left him, Bennet Drake is now a married man, and Rose has left brothel work behind. It seems all might be well, but this is East End London so it never is. Opium trade, matchgirl strikes, and fanatical occult followers are only a couple of the topics touched upon in this season's 8 episodes. And as the cases pile up, the police of Whitechapel find their own lives taking a sharp turn into the darkness that consumes the area where they work.

With each passing episode, I found myself more engrossed in this season. Part of this might be because all the character setup has already been established. On the other hand, I think the scriptwriting got just THAT much better. Yes, there's going to be mystery involved with the show, but when you've got me so engrossed that I just keep watching for hours on end, that's when you know it's good.
Charlene McKenna as Rose Erskine

Costumes remain fantastic, especially when looking for material of what the lower classes of London. Many of the outfits presented are worn by men with multiple wardrobe changes, something that gets overlooked. Women's attire is mostly limited to brothel and dance hall workers and may lack some accuracy, but are still gorgeous to look at.

Overall Rating - 4 out of 5
Costumes - 3.5 out of 5

Second season for this show started out with promise - within the first 20 minutes we've got a man a girl and carving a knife into her back amongst more seedy Five Points action. The main cast is back along with a number of new characters. As the new cast members are introduced though and the back stories of some of the existing characters surface, things start to feel bogged down.

Corky starts pulling stunts that make you want to scream. His adoptive daughter and wife bring cat fighting to a new level, in the most ho-hum of ways. Matthew, Corkey's longtime friend, is still dealing with the issues that come with being a freed blackman in the 1860s, but they seem to be the same over and over again. I'd go on, but all it would be about is how the characters got so annoying (Seriously, I could write a whole blog post on how Elizabeth Haverford makes Scarlett O'Hara seem like a sweet woman with no issues).

By the time episode 3 rolled around, it had mostly turned into background noise while I worked on the my sewing. That's how uninterested I was.

All of the sudden though, the scriptwriting was kicked up a huge notch. Oh my goodness, there's been a subtle plot building the whole season! Not that I could tell, giving how bored I was becoming with it all. The season was left with a cliffhanger, but alas, we shall never find out what happens.

Perhaps due to awful scriptwriting, poorly executed characters, or plummeting viewer numbers, Copper was cancelled a few days before its season 2 finale. Guess I wasn't the only unenthused person.

Costumes also remained mediocre. For characters from the Five Points district, wardrobe was done well enough that they blended in with the atmosphere. As for those who didn't reside in the area - ahem, Elizabeth Haverford - the costumes on the woman, have that lovely look of minimal research.

Overall rating - 2 out of 5
Costumes - 3 out of 5

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