This article contains spoilers for the pilot episode of Houdini & Doyle: The Maggies
Fox's newest series, Houdini & Doyle debuted Monday night after Gotham. So how did it do? Well, my girlfriend summed it up in this text: "This is a cute show. It will never last." And the fact that it only got a 0.7 rating may back her assessment up. That's 0.5 drop from it's leading in Gotham, shedding a million viewers. 0.7 is the mark where the four main networks start dropping axes.
And that's a shame because it was a decent start to a series. The mystery had a very Sherlock Holmes feel and they diametrically opposed views of the two main characters reminded me a bit of X-Files. As for the feel, it comes across as almost a step-brother to the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films.
Arthur Conan Doyle (Stephen Mangan) is at the point in his life that he's killed of his beloved character and can't seem to move on. But his literary work aside, the man is desperate to prove the supernatural exists to justify his attempts to make contact with his wife, who has fallen into a coma. His is a tragic story and met with determination to make things right.
Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) is a narcissist who believes it's his responsibility to debunk all claims of the supernatural and psychic ability. He puts up facades to keep everyone at arms distance. He loves his mother deeply and holds onto science and logic like their a life raft in a storm. His is a complicated story that will only be revealed in layers.
Adelaide Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard) is the balance between the two. She believes in evidence and the law but she is open to the idea that more exists than we know of so far. She won't eliminate the impossible if it is at least probable.She is a product of her time and it's limitations and could end up being one of the strongest female characters on television.
The mystery involving the Maggies (unwed mothers) has a supernatural bent but a logical solution as would most Holmes mysteries. All three characters get a chance to shine as we also get a spotlight on the horrible treatment of women in that era.
The characters around them are all one-dimensional cliches but they don't need to be anything more than that. The writing for the show is clever so far and the look of the series keeps you engaged in the story. The real test will be to see if they are able to keep the mysteries worth our time, the locations looking genuine and then get more people to give it a shot.
If the show seems interesting to you, give it a shot or it may just vanish.
Here's a preview for episode two: