Last year, I brought to your attention Ripper Street, the BBC crime drama set in Whitechapel (London) in the years after the Jack the Ripper murders. Last year, the premiere season was showing on BBC America, and I was all atwitter about it.
It’s back for a second season–a good bit of news–but it’s also back in the news.
And I agree. But all is not lost.
Ripper Street is well-wrought in every way. It is beautiful in set, costume, and camera. The writing by way of plot, history, and character is second to none, and (as I gushed about last year) the use of language is exemplary.
Case in point: this week’s episode (“A Stronger Loving World”) had one of those lines that elevates this series’ dialogue well above the standard. As with last year’s reference to “a peeper’s dry plate,” Jerome Flynn has this episode’s great line, when he states, “I am made of naught but death.” It’s a powerful moment, and the formality and solemnity of the sentence fits it well, enhancing its impact and the historical setting of the series.
So, you can imagine my dismay when I heard it was canceled. To twist the blade, BBC had scheduled Ripper Street opposite I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here (a mindless reality show and ratings juggernaut), and then whinged that the were canceling the series due to poor ratings and to “make room for creative renewal.”
Tosh. Turning your back on the highest quality period drama in a decade, a show that gets rave reviews and does so in a fresh, interesting, and unusual manner, has nothing to do with “creative renewal.”
Ah, but then something wonderful happened. Within a few short months, we heard that Ripper Street would have a third season after all, and that its saviour came from an unexpected quarter. Amazon, in a deal with the BBC, will follow the model begun by Netflix, and pick up the show for its own streaming portal. It will be available to UK members of Amazon Prime, and will later air on BBC1. There is no word yet as to when it will be available to audiences in the US, but it will surely make it to us in one way or another. This sort of drama would make me seriously consider paying for Amazon Prime membership. Yes, I think it’s that good.
Season One of Ripper Street can be streamed on Netflix.