Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jer3miah vs Sherlock

"The Book of Jer3miah" did what I thought was all but impossible: create a murder mystery intertwined with BYU culture.

The story of a college freshman who's life comes crashing down after receiving a bizarre, supernatural calling to protect a box, "The Book of Jer3miah" delivers a suspenseful plot with the short segments of the wen series. After reading the reviews of some of my classmates and more critical commentary, it became evident that the choppiness of the web series did not appeal to the broad audience. There were also complaints that the story lacked character development and that the dialogue was scattered and inconsequential. While all of these comments hold water, there is still something to be said of the series when the genre is taken into consideration.

Over the course of my life, I have gone through many TV show binges. Normally, I side with medical or comedic series, but I have tried on a few occasions to get into more mystery and crime based productions. My issue has always been the lack of depth, especially in shows where the plot is unrelated between episodes and the audience is left to enjoy the story just for the twists and turns of the day. As an avid reader, I personally tend to crave character development more than the average person, but this has not diminished my appreciation for the brilliance of the genre when executed well. Then, six months ago, I was turned on to BBC's rendition of Sherlock Holmes. Where other mysteries lacked in character development and meaning, Sherlock Holmes excelled. I believe the reason is the show's focus on portraying Holmes's personality as its primary hook. As opposed to other mysteries, it feels as though the plot is just the vehicle that the directors use to develop Holmes as a character, and not the end all be all of the show.

While "The Book of Jer3miah" is not Sherlock Holmes, I do appreciate it for what it is. Jeremiah remains a somewhat flat character, but I believe that the main focus of this show was the suspenseful plot and not the development or journey of Jeremiah as a person. However, there are attempts at this development. For instance, Jeremiah's intuition and sensitivity to the Spirit makes him and interesting character to follow.

While I do agree that some elements of BYU culture being portrayed in the series make me cringe (such as the scene from a ward prayer in which Jeremiah's love interest asks him to stay just after returning home from his parent's funeral because "Everyone needs to pray"), I think overall, this is a successful and engaging series.

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