The cast and creators of FOX’s Houdini & Doyle screened the show’s premiere episode for fans at WonderCon this morning, and we were there.
It’s a mystery adventure drama that follows two of the 20th century’s most iconic characters: Harry Houdini (Michael Weston), master magician, escape artist and paranormal debunker and Arthur Conan Doyle (Stephen Mangan), prolific writer, creator of Sherlock Holmes and paranormal aficionado.
Now, what you may not know is that the pair were friends in real life. But, of course, they never actually joined forces with New Scotland Yard to investigate unsolved mysteries with a supernatural slant.
Imagine The X-Files, in monster-of-the-week mode, but set in 1900. And instead of Mulder and Scully, it’s Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.
The opening episode finds them attempting to solve a series of nun murders. Doyle believes it’s a ghost. Houdini, of course, does not.
They’re joined by Adelaide Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard), a “lady cop” on a mission to prove herself.
“Adelaide has a large story arc that takes place over the season. We’re gonna find out why she joined the police force, and she has some dark secrets,” David Shore, the show’s executive producer told the WonderCon audience.
The trio each does their best with the material, but it’s Weston’s comedic chops that shine most in the pilot.
The show will follow a crime-of-the-week format, while chasing broader story threads. For instance, we learn that it’s Doyle’s quest to connect with his sick wife that drives him, while Houdini seems to be seeking something deeper than the life of a showman. Whether or not there’s a big bad who makes trouble for the trio remains to be seen.
Creator David Titcher’s idea for the series was sparked long ago, but he struggled to figure out how to do it. “For years I tried to do it as a movie, but it always had many different plots,” he told fans. “Now 30 years later, here it is.”
Houdini & Doyle premieres Monday, May 2 on FOX. And be sure to check out all of Fandom’s WonderCon coverage here.