We live in a big era for content. We have networks, streaming services, movies and more. It seems the only thing that hasn’t gotten bigger is our available time for viewing. That can leave you wondering whether a new show or mini-series is worth your time. That’s what this series is here to help you solve! In these pieces I’ll look at a new show, where to find it, what it’s about and some comparable options to help you decide whether to dive in or move on!
Where to Find It: All eight episodes are available to stream on Hulu
What’s it About: Have you ever read Oliver Twist and thought it would be better without the titular character and if it jumped forward in time to Australia? Well, if that’s you, you’re in luck! This series takes a couple characters from Charles Dickens’ classic novel, jumps forward to the 1850s and moves the action to Australia.
Jack Dawkins (Thomas Broadie-Sangster) is now a surgeon plying his trade at a rustic hospital Down Under. He’s left his life of thieving behind, but he’s still got troubles. After his hand at cards doesn’t go well, he’s on the hook for a big payment. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll lose a hand. All that makes being a surgeon something of a challenge.
Soon, he’s confronted with his old friend Fagin (David Thewlis). Fagin is a prisoner whose been sent to Australia. When he sees Jack, he plays on his memories of their days in England to get him to intercede before he’s sent to the chain gang. Instead, Fagin offers to help Jack out, but his methods aren’t exactly above board.
Before the pilot is out, Jack has caught the attention of the Governor’s daughter (Maia Mitchell), forcing him to cut another deal if he’s to avoid prison or worse. Can Jack keep his focus on his new-found respectable life or will the forces of his past push him back to a life of crime?
Check It Out If: You’re a fan of Charles Dickens’ work, Broadie-Sangster, Thewlis or Mitchell. If you like period hospital dramas like The Knick or gruff frontier stories like Faraway Downs.
One Man’s Opinion of The Artful Dodger
I watch a lot of TV, so it was refreshing to see something that felt different. I’m not a huge fan of Oliver Twist, so while I recognized Jack, otherwise known as the Artful Dodger in the books, and Fagin, it wasn’t a big draw for me. I did appreciate both the performances and chemistry between Broadie-Sangster and Thewlis.
There’s also some fun chemistry between Broadie-Sangster and Mitchell. I enjoyed their back-and-forth in the pilot, and I thought it got amped up in the second episode as well. There’s potential here to explore this world and these characters even beyond the use of the literary figures as a hook for the series.
That being said, I’m not big on graphic medical shows. Given the time period and the methods available, the hospital sequences here make sense. They’re also hard to watch. If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll be fine. If you’re at all squeamish when it comes to medical gore, this might not be the show for you.
Have you seen The Artful Dodger? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!