sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

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Still off, so today I've rewatched Neverwhere, for the first time since it was screened. (I've had the tapes lurking for a few years; the DVDs disappeared from shelves long ago).

Christ, it hasn't aged well. Given that it was made only two years before Ultraviolet, the difference between the two is astounding. Ultraviolet still looks slick and stylish; Neverwhere looks like it was knocked up between filming scenes for Crossroads.

It's such a shame. There are a lot of people on screen. There are large-scale sets. There's a lot of location shooting. Relatively speaking, it must have been quite expensive to do all that. And yet it looks so damn cheap.

Gary Bakewell does okay as Richard, I suppose, and Laura Fraser as Door, although neither of them particularly transport me. Paterson Jospeh, on the other hand, is fabulous as de Carabas. Croupe and Vandemaar are great, too - albeit in a made-for-children's-tv sort of way. Tanya Moodie, as Hunter, is terrible, though.

But... hey! That's Tamsin Greig, as Lamia. That came as a bit of a surprise.

What's wrong? It's not the technology. Mirrormask showed that a Gaiman script, a brilliantly-imaginative director and some modern equipment could also produce something that turns out to miss the mark by quite a bit.

Think what another director - Tim Burton, say - and better actors - could have done with Neverwhere. I think they could have sold Gaiman's scripts the way they needed to be sold. While Ultraviolet was grounded in the gritty reality of adult relationships, Neverwhere needed to be floating on the lyrical mood of a fairytale. Edward Scissorhands, for example. But the production values used by the BBC never gave it a chance.

"The BBC's like a sausage mincer," Gaiman once said of Neverwhere. "Whatever you put in, you get Doctor Who out."

That's no longer true, even for Who, so it's a pity Neverwhere got made when it did.
Tags: sf, tv
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