TV Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles (Season One)

Review of season one of Netflix’s The Frankenstein Chronicles.

Inspector John Marlott investigates a series of crimes in 19th Century London, which may have been committed by a scientist intent on re-animating the dead.

Review by Astibe.

As a longtime fan of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, I couldn’t wait to see how this film interpreted some of those ideas in a new way.

No, this isn’t a retelling of the original Frankenstein. Think of it instead as something that happened in a universe where people were aware of that tale and often horrified by the thought of interfering with the natural processes of life and death.

One of the biggest strengths of this TV show was the thorough way it explored the parts of 19th century London culture that clash with how people in western societies live today. Back then the thought of using cadavers to show medical students how the human body works was extremely controversial because any folks believed that anyone who was dissected after death would be denied entry to heaven.

These glaring cultural differences continued with the treatment of children in this time and place. Some of the crimes Inspector Marlott investigated involved kids, but because they were poor, and often orphaned or abandoned, it was difficult for him to convince his fellow officers that investigating these disappearances was worthwhile. The callous attitudes that many in the upper classes held about the fates of these kids was disturbing, but it was also historically accurate.

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Inspector Marlott’s backstory provided plenty of opportunities for the audience to get to know him better and to understand why he was so willing to risk permanently damaging his career and reputation by investigating the deaths of people that polite society liked to pretend didn’t exist. He had excellent reasons for making this choice!

Finally, the mystery was handled beautifully as well. There was an excellent reason why Inspector Marlott kept uncovering suspicious deaths and disappearances among people who didn’t seem to know each other or have much in common at all other than their poverty and tender ages. It was a great deal of fun to come up with my own theories about who the killer or killers might have been as I waited for the next clue.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys science fiction or mysteries.


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