Synopsis: Gentleman adventurer Phileas Fogg sets out on a quest to travel around the world and back home in a period of 80 days.
When reading an article in the newspaper at his Gentleman’s Club in London. Phileas Fogg makes a gentlemen’s wager with Nyle Bellemy that he can circumnavigate the world via various means of travel in no more than 80 days. Bellemy believes that Fogg will cave in on the bet at the first signs of pressure, but he doesn’t know about the influence that Fogg’s newfound companions will have on him. Nor how much of a resource that they’ll prove to be to Fogg.
So Fogg along with companions Passepartout and Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue set off for their first stop, which is France. While in Paris Fogg unwittingly prevents the assassination of the French President, while Passepartout and Abigail bear witness to the event, which proves personally expensive to Passepartout who sees his brother die during the assassination attempt.
Having wound up neck-deep in trouble. Fogg and his friends make a quick escape from Paris via a Hot Air balloon and head for Italy where they come crashing down to earth. Now in Italy. The group winds taking an eventful train journey where they meet up with an Italian Industrialist and his son. Fogg befriends the young lad who is an avid reader of Jules Verne, which is just as well. As the book, he is talking about winds up saving their lives when Fogg uses some of the scientific methodology and engineering featured in the book. To save the boy’s life.
David Tennant is brilliantly cast as the inexperienced Phileus Fogg whose experience of international travel is non-existent. Indeed, it is the more worldly Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) who gets Fogg through the first episode’s misadventures. Koma is brilliant in this role as we see a version of the character that is seemingly much less in awe of Fogg. Indeed, Passepartout is not particularly impressed with the myth of English exceptionalism or the Gentlemen that he served prior to his meeting Fogg.
Leonie Benesch is well cast as cub journalist Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue who has a point to prove to her Father. It is her article that has inspired Fogg’s adventures, but her father did not credit her as the writer in the article’s byline. So, Abigail pretty much becomes the official Chronicler of Fogg’s journey.
These opening two episodes of Around The World in 80 Days do a brilliant job setting things up. We see a lot of character growth for Phileas Fogg in these episodes. And we also see some fantastic drama. I loved the sense of tension we got in the second episode when Fogg, Passepartout, and Abigail worked to get their train across a broken bridge. This is likely the first many incidents that we’ll get to see on the show in which Fogg’s book knowledge will be practically applied in order to save their skins.
Overall. A solid start and a fun bit of pulp action-adventure, which will be appointment TV for the next few weeks.
- CGI & Stunts9.8
- Incidental Music9.4