BBC Two (ended 1996)


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Descend into the shadows of London Below...
Richard Oliver Mayhew (Gary Bakewell) is an ordinary man trying to live an ordinary life in London. When Door (Laura Fraser) stumbles, literally, across his path he is moved to help her. This kindness destroys his normal existence as he is drawn into the world of London Below. Pursued by the evil Mr. Croup (Hywel Bennett) and Mr. Vandemar (Clive Russell), Richard, Door, Hunter (Tanya Moodie) and The Marquis De Carabas (Paterson Joseph) must solve the mystery of the murder of Door's family and find a way to get Richard back home.
Neil Gaiman wrote this series for the BBC. While producing it he decided that he could flesh the world out more in a novel, which he published two years later.

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    • I can understand that this may have been good as a novel, but Mr Gaiman needs to stick to books and comics. He has no understanding of this medium.

      I don't know what was worse, the pretentious, over reaching script or the terrible filming. It was like they didn't know if they were using film or video. The garish lighting and the strange attempt at effects I could overlook. But I can not overlook the fact that the characters were complete cardboard. There was no development of any character except for the lead, Richard. Every other character is a one trick pony. There is the Scoundrel with a Heart of Gold. The Little Girl Lost in need of rescuing. The Nagging Girlfriend. The Every Day Hero who finds himself to be special after all. There is absolutely nothing else to them. You never have a doubt as to how things will play out from moment one. Its obvious that Richard will somehow save the day and become too good for his old life. Its obvious that he will defeat the bad guys, who are always bad. There is no other side to the story. No real emotions are involved. The actors move through their act like badly oiled and cheaply painted automated dolls. You never even get a sense of real grief from Door whose family is killed. The sad thing is if you had someone that knew what they were doing, this could be good. The biggest fault is probably with the directing and the acting. The actors should have been forced to give more. The casting could have been a lot better. Door is a bit plump and pink cheeked to make a good waif. De Carabas would be more believable if he was handsome, which he is not. Richard is perfect, and does a credible job. Hunter needs to be more impressive. And for heavens sake, could you find any less scary assasins? I would let them babysit. It just all needs a lot of work. Its biggest sell will be to people who have read the book. There are always those who will praise any effort no matter how awful as long as it stays very faithful to the original medium. I never understood why you would ever want to watch a director put their imagination on the shelf and follow the book a show is based on like a cooking recipe, but there it is. I would rather see someone fail trying something interesting, then to make sure every detail is an exact copy. After all, we can all picture books in our heads better then any casting. I am sure this is a perfect, if uninspired replica.moreless
    • I see why people don't like it, but I enjoyed it as a fantasy romp.

      This is a fairly uneven mini-series, but it does overcome a lot of that in that it is a very good story by Neil Gaiman. He crafts a wonderful secondary world for this film that is hidden in general from the Londoners, and he works it into a nice twisting story.

      However, it doesn't quite translate to the screen. The complexity and absurdity of what is going on doesn't quite work out all the time visually. I don't know if a higher budget would have helped or not, but it simply wasn't quite there for this film, and that is probably more on the fact that the story is as odd and entertaining and fantasy as it is then anything else.moreless
    • While it may not look like much, Neverwhere was a brilliant show.

      Before I ever saw the series, I read the book by Neil Gaiman and perhaps that's why I think so highly of the show Neverwhere. Although the effects are absolute rubbish, if one can bring his/herself to look past them, there's a lot to be seen. I haven't seen many books translated well to film or television, but I think they hit the nail on the head with Neverwhere. The story written in the book is communicated perfectly through this TV series, and it's like watching life be breathed into printed version. Like I said, the effects are terrible and the backgrounds and scenery aren't anything to look at, but the portrayal of the characters is absolutely amazing. If you're a fan of the book, then it's a definite must see. I would reccomend reading Neverwhere first before watching it, or perhaps the effect it had on me will be lost on you.moreless
    • This is simply incredible. At the same time dark and brooding, funny and silly, and outright weird. In a nutshell: True Neil Gaiman.

      It is a fantastic work! Despite the somewhat low special effects budget that might be a bit of a turn off in the begining after a few minutes the show takes off in a lyrical, frightening and wonderful express ride to a mythical secret city beneath London. The series is full of puns and poetry. Characters are rich and fascinating. This is one of the best mini tv movies I've seen.The two tape set I saw ended with a Gaiman interview in which he discusses the evolution of the work.moreless
    • A series written by the acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, this is a strange and enticing series. Much like "The Prisoner" and "Red Dwarf", the lack of money spent on production is masked by some of the finest work in british television.moreless

      "Neverwhere" is a six episode series from the United Kingdom that is beautifully written by Neil Gaiman, which he later adapted into a haunting book by the same name. Unlike most comparisions between a book and it's companion video, this series stands up extremely well. His intelligence and care during the production certainly are shown to good effect here. Some of the best scenes from the book are missing, because the money simply wasn't there to make elaborate sets, but Neil Gaiman's screenplay makes the omisions invisible to anyone who hasn't read the book.

      The basic plot surrounds a man who is literally lost. After helping a young girl, he discovers that he never worked at his job, his apartment has belonged to someone else, and even his fiancee doesn't know who he is. As he struggles to regain his place in the world, he becomes swept into the place called "London Below", a frightenning and marvelous reality. Time and place are merely words, ignored when needed. Legends live there in secret. Omnipresent rats are discovered to have a strange and terrifying society all their own. And even angels walk amongst the people there. As dangerous events cascade around him, he comes to realize that he must make a terrible choice; return to the world he only THOUGHT he knew, or stay, and know that he can never be "safe and secure" again.

      On a rare occasion, an actor doesn't fit the role, or a set doesn't look quite right, or some other oddity breaks the illusion. But for the most part, this is a beautiful companion to a marvelous book.

      Thankfully, this wonderful series is available on DVD. If you're not a fan of "The Prisoner", "The Avengers", "Red Dwarf" or other series from Great Britain, you might want to rent it first. But I'm betting that you'll decide to buy it just to watch it again and again.

      (A quick plug for something else by Neil Gaiman) Be sure to see "Mirrormask" in theatres this fall. Gaiman and Dave McKean have almost completed the movie from the Jim Hensen studios. I strongly recommend you find a trailer on the web, to give you an idea why you'll want to see it.moreless

    More Info About This Show




    pop culture references, fish out of water, parallel worlds, ruthless killing, supernatural forces