Neverwhere (1996)

I’m a big fan of the book by Neil Gaiman. Recently seeing the Sky One TV adaptations of the Discworld books, I remembered that there was a British mini-series of Neverwhere (don’t wonder, sometimes the brain makes strange connections). The mini-series actually came first, but during its run Gaiman published the book version. After seeing it I definitely prefer the book treatment. The mini has too much of the typical weaknesses of older TV stuff, which is quite confusing as the series is from 1996, but looks at least as if it’s ten years older. There’s a lack of convincing special effects and even the mundane scenery looks cheap. Considering how effective the book was in evoking the urban fantasy mood, of giving you the sense of cities having mythical qualities, of vast, secret undergrounds with strange, yet similar societies, the series completely fails to evoke anything similar.

So, with the look and feel such a disappointment, the show could have only be saved by the actors. Sadly, the acting is only subpar and has the same amateurish feel as the rest of the show. Most annoying was the main male character. He’s like a younger Tom Cruise, but with less of the coolness of his movie characters and more of the craziness of the real one. He’s kind of twitchy and less sympathetic than his book counterpart. The rest of the characters are equally ill chosen. Overall watching this one was less entertaining and more torture than I expected.