Fans of the phenomenal show “Ripper Street” have enjoyed quite a healthy dose of drama over the past year, and not merely the ones on-screen…After the BBC cancelled the show after two seasons, the outcry from viewers got so loud that Amazon decided to pick up the show for a single season, streaming it to Amazon Prime members and broadcasting the show on BBC America. But after that one season, fans were still left wondering if they had seen the last of the gallant and bowler-hatted heroes of H Division. But yesterday morning, the news broke across the Internet: Amazon has renewed Ripper Street for TWO more seasons!
Set in London’s notorious East End in the months following the disappearance of Jack the Ripper, Ripper Street follows the detectives of H Division (a branch of London’s Metropolitan Police) who chased–and eventually lost–the Ripper. Though the cases they deal with are fictional, the joy of Ripper Street lies in its attention to detail and love of history. In fact, Edmund Reid, the hero of the series, was indeed a real police detective who chased Jack the Ripper. The costumes are authentic in their color, texture, and fit (and their griminess), and the language of the characters is spot-on authentic. And while the threat of ‘The Ripper’, and his potential return, looms large, particularly in the first season of the show, it is really about the men of H Division and the world they inhabit; a world that is as real as our own, and yet so wonderfully different that you simply can’t help but want to explore more and more.
Those of you who have shared your TV favorites at the Circulation Desk may have heard your friendly Blogger here waxing rhapsodical about Ripper Street–the marvelous plot lines, the gritty and quirky historic details…and the plaid waistcoats. It’s impossible not to love the waistcoats. And Homer Jackson (just watch it, and you’ll understand, I promise….). So this turn of events was personally welcomed with loud cheers.
For those of you who haven’t yet witnessed the delights of Ripper Street, come to the library and request a copy of Season 1 and Season 2 for yourself. Season 3 is also on order! And for those of you who find yourself counting the days until Season 4 (probably sometime next year), here’s a list of books and shows to help you pass the time.
If you like Ripper Street, Then be sure to check out:
Copper: Another stellar historic police drama from the BBC, this time featuring Irish-American cop Kevin Corcoran in 1860’s New York City. Much like Ripper Street, while the mysteries at the heart of each episode are fascinating, it is the intense character relationships and the personal journey of the troubled hero that will keep watchers glued to this series. Season Two is also available for those who can’t get enough.
The Yard: Alex Grecian’s historic mystery series begins with a very similar premise to Ripper Street–facing personal and professional contempt for failing to catch the Jack the Ripper, Walter Day, a member of the London Metropolitan Police’s “Murder Squad” partners with Dr. Nevil Hammersmith, Scotland Yard’s first forensic pathologist, to track down a murderer who is hunting police officers. Grecian delights in his time period, and does a sensational job bringing it to life. Walter Day is an empathetic hero whose own personal journey–and whose troubled partnership with Hammersmith– gives this dark and atmospheric series a human touch. Fans will be pleased to know the library has all four books in this series in print and audiobook form.
The Alienist: An undisputed classic of historic fiction, Caleb Carr’s first novel is a must-read for all fans of murder, mayhem, and marvelous historic details. Set in 1896 New York, this book features some of the most prominent historical figures of the day, including Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt and his delightfully chaotic family. When a mystery surfaces that flummoxes even the most dedicated detectives, Roosevelt enlists the help of Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, an early psychological profiler, and journalist John Schuyler Moore, to investigate. This is a fast-paced mystery, but also offers readers the chance to stroll the streets of historic New York, and emerge with a wealth of facts and understanding that Carr effortlessly works into his plot.
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson: In this intricate and thoughtful debut novel, Lyndsay Faye brings together two of the most famous, and infamous faces in Victorian England–Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes. But when Holmes himself is wounded in his hunt for The Ripper, he suddenly finds himself on the defensive, and forced to break every rule he has followed his entire career to bring his quarry to justice. Faye’s book is a credit to the Holmes canon, and the sensory details of this series makes the gaslit world of the East End feel frighteningly real. Faye’s other series, which begins with The Gods of Gotham, is set in 1846 New York, and is also definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoy Copper.
Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns: It seems pretty fair to say that the BBC has a bit of a Ripper obsession, but this modern crime drama is easily among its best series. Set (and filmed) in the twisted, shadowy streets of London’s modern-day East End, this story features the hunt for a killer who is following the Rippers’ known crimes precisely, and the police and historians who are desperate trying to stop him before he finishes the Ripper’s work–and disappears. This series is blisteringly fast-paced, and even though history has laid out what is to come, it’s simply impossible to turn away from this show until the final, climactic chase unfolds.
We hope you enjoy our first If/Then post! Keep an eye out for more similar posts coming soon!