‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ review: David Tennant stars in a new Masterpiece version of Jules Verne’s classic
Naturally there’s a ticking clock (and a fantastic rating estimating that by Hans Zimmer and Christian Lundberg) as Fogg undertakes his worldwide trek in the 1870s, in a spontaneous reaction to a difficulty from Bellamy (Peter Sullivan), an oily member of Fogg’s snooty club covertly in desperate requirement of winning their high-stakes wager.
Where this “Eighty Days” sticks out, nevertheless, remains in Fogg’s buddies. His not-really-a-valet French assistant Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma), who, in requirement of a job, lies to protect the gig; and an enthusiastic young reporter, Abigail Fortescue (Leonie Benesch), who are both usually more resourceful than the starched English gentleman they’re accompanying.
The higher latitude and time boosts the travel elements (after film variations, including David Niven and Jackie Chan, in 1956 and 2004, respectively), while presenting more comprehensive backgrounds and relationships amongst the main trio expands the characters.
The private episodes have an anthological quality, from encounters in Paris, Italy and India to the American West following the Civil War, teasing out the bold leaves while facing problems like race and manifest destiny.
“You’ve undertaken this great journey and you don’t even know why,” Fogg is informed by among individuals he comes across, an observation that ultimately causes some uneasy soul-searching about his life and intentions.
Approved, 8 hours of “Eighty Days” is a bit excessive, however eventually the series not just addresses the “why” of doing a television variation however skillfully plants seeds for another season, as unlikely as that sounds offered the facility.
All in all, not a bad day’s (or 80 days) work.
“Around the World in Eighty Days” premieres January 2 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.