Sun 25 May 2008
Q. E. D. CBS, 1982. Cast listed below.
“Q. E. D.” are the initials of Professor Quentin Everett Deverill (Sam Waterston) who, on a self-initiated exile from Harvard University in the year 1912, ends up in England, where he puts his scientific abilities to good use in having a fine time going on far-fetched adventures and solving crimes, and in the process, saving the world more than once.
I only vaguely remember this series when it was on. It lasted only six weeks, although I’m sure more were planned. The sets and general ambiance, with the series filmed in the UK, are nicely (if not lavishly) done. The performances are doubly fine — I’ll get to the primary cast shortly — but the stories themselves are creaky and old, disconnected and disjointed, too short of material for the hour time slot, and frankly, rather dull.
I’ve found a few photos to use here on the blog, and since I still don’t know how to embed videos here, you’ll have to follow the link to see a long clip from the first show, including the opening credits, complete with the light-hearted type of music that signifies that this is going to be a comedy as well as a serious adventure. (And how can you not look at Sam Waterston in the image above and not at least smile?)
But when you watch too many episodes in as short a time as I did — just over a week — the music will also all but drive you up a wall, or into a moat, or some such more or less drastic means of trying to avoid it.
Sam Waterston — Professor Deverill. An engaging light-hearted performance that’s pitch perfect for the part.
A. C. Weary — Charlie Andrews. American newspaper reporter based in England.
George Innes — Phipps. Cockney taxicab driver hired by Deverill as a chauffeur, butler, valet, lab assistant, and cook.
Caroline Langrishe — Jenny Martin. Deverill’s secretary and secret admirer, although Charlie’s eyes are always fondly looking upon her. (She suddenly appears at the beginning of the second episode, not having been in the first, which ends with another young woman apparently having taken the job.)
Julian Glover — Dr. Stefan Kilkiss. Deverill’s nemesis, the man who would rule the world by various nefarious means, only to be thwarted several times over the course of the series.
Thankfully, though, Kilkiss’s role is dropped by the fourth episode, his name and face no longer appearing in the opening credits. There are, after all, only so many ways, someone can take over the world, even a diabolically clever genius.
Having been kept from firing rockets at London in the first episode and the pilot for the series, there is only one way to go from there, and that’s down. Assassination plots and the winning of motor races simply do not compare, either in magnitude or innate possibilities.
When I saw Deverill described by wikipedia as being a Sherlock Holmes type of mystery solver in Edwardian England, I jumped at the chance to obtain DVDs of the complete series, but alas! There is very little deduction, although the last two shows seemed be heading in that direction, but unfortunately, too late.
1. 03-23-82. Target: London.
2. 03-30-82. The Great Motor Race.
3. 04-06-82. Infernal Device.
4. 04-13-82. The 4:10 to Zurich.
5. 04-20-82. To Catch a Ghost.
6. 04-27-82. The Limehouse Connection.
In “To Catch a Ghost,” for example, Deverill and company are required to find the culprit behind the ghosts haunting Jenny’s aunt’s castle of a home, and perhaps it’s the best episode of the series. “The Limehouse Connection” is the grittiest of the six, taking place as it does in the opium dens of Limehouse, London’s original Chinatown, and the underground boxing matches of the era, but I’d also have to add that when you get down to details, the story itself doesn’t hold a lot of water.
In spite of the weak plots that contained too much filler for this fellow — the uniformly favorable comments by others on IMDB are due to a rather common combination of nostalgia and faulty memories — I grew fond of the cast over the course of the six episodes and ten evenings, and believe it or not — faults and all — I would have willingly watched more of them if I could have.