Go to Homepage   The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne: Stilton, Anyone?

  Crescent Blues Television Views

Image: four moon gifSciFi Channel

Attention science fiction and fantasy mice -- there's a new kind of cheese on the block. I'm talking steam punk fantasy at its cheesiest. But hey, I love cheese, and it doesn't get finer than this. Forget about plastic-wrapped American lunch slices. Think a big wheel of the finest Stilton, a most meltingly delicious chunk of Brie, a tart and nutty slice of Swiss.

The food analogy aptly describes some of the cast of The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne too. Michael Praed, the man I vote to most likely have Godiva's stamp of eyecandy approval somewhere on his very fine self, ably fills the role of Phileas Fogg. Phileas, adventurer, gambler, lover and owner of the Aurora (a large steam-powered dirigible) leaps to the rescue of his cohorts -- at least when not distracted by a hot poker game.

Co-star Francesca Hunt gets my vote for BKC (Butt-Kicking Chick) of the millennium. No crotch revealing costumes for Phileas's cousin Rebecca. This deadly lady hides boots, breeches and a variety of unusual weapons under her hoop skirt. She also boasts a considerable repertoire of witty bon mots, forcing this reviewer to wonder if Emma Peel's maiden name appears somewhere among the branches Rebecca's family tree.

Michael Courtemanche and Chris Demetral round out the ensemble cast as Passepartout and Jules Verne. Courtemanche's Passepartout shines as brightly as the beacons that bedeck the Aurora. In fact, the whole ensemble cast mesh together as smoothly as the gears on one of Passepartout's and Verne's outré inventions.

The show's creator, Gavin Scott, said the inspiration for the show came when he read that Verne's original version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starred a Polish nobleman who built a submarine to take revenge on the Russians who massacred his family. Unfortunately, Verne submitted the manuscript shortly after Napoleon III signed a treaty with Tsarist Russia. Given the political censorship of the time, Verne's publisher knew that both he and Verne would go to jail if he published Verne's original version. Since Verne wanted desperately to be published, he quite willingly changed his manuscript to the one we all know and love today.

But, Scott said, that small historical tidbit got him wondering. What if Verne actually lived the adventures he wrote about? What if Verne actually met Phileas Fogg and Captain Nemo and tangled with the League of Darkness?

If you like witty dialog (Phileas faces a Chinese ninja getting ready to do some kung fu fighting. Drawing his pistol, Phileas shoots the ninja and drawls, "I learned that in Indiana."), great special effects, and a wonderful ensemble cast, then you'll love The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. As for me, I am extremely glad that Gavin Scott said, "What if…"

Teri Smith

Readers Respond

Hi, I think and know that the show The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne is the best, most inventive show that has ever been on. It is terrible that it got cancelled, as it is fun, different and the actors meld as if they have been together forever -- the whole premise is quite believable, and so much fun to watch. It is so interesting and the effects and the whole concept is perhaps the best seen. Thanks.

Geraline K. James

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