The 6 Worst Attempts to Drag Jack the Ripper into Your Television

With the true identity of Jack the Ripper apparently being confirmed over the weekend as a 23-year-old schizophrenic hairdresser named Aaron Kosminski, who was later committed and died in an asylum, the insane theories of countless campy TV shows have been thrown out the window.

Here’s a list of the six dumbest appearances of Jack the Ripper in TV shows that should have known better:


6. Smallville

As fun as it is to see Tom Welling beat up TV’s worst Superman Dean Cain, having Cain’s Dr. Curtis Knox (who teams up with Lex Luthor to experiment on humans who have gained superpowers from Kryptonite) casually mention that he was Jack the Ripper elicited nothing but groans and eye-rolling.

5. Kolchak: The Night Stalker

In his regular series debut after two TV movies, Kolchak goes straight to the granddaddy of all murder mysteries, finding Jack alive and well and murdering in modern-day Chicago. Jack turns out to be some sort of immortal super-strong creature who still dresses like he lives in Victorian London, but exactly what sort of creature and why he’s killing women is something the show didn’t care about and didn’t think you would either.

4. Star Trek

Perhaps the most famous–and preposterous–example. Through a cringe-worthy string of deductions and the help of an all-knowing computer, Kirk and Spock are able to piece together that the alien creature that has framed Scotty for murder is none other than Jack the Ripper, a being of pure energy that feeds off the fear of young women before they die.

3. Babylon 5

Come on, Babylon 5, you saw Star Trek make this mistake and you went there anyway? This time Jack is a normal human, but he’s been cryogenically preserved by the Vorlons, who pull him out of the freezer to torture people whenever they need his services. Seems a bit convoluted to me, but I’m not a secretive, nearly omnipotent race of alien overlords.

2. Sanctuary

Like Kolchak, this Sci-Fi series dove straight into Jack the Ripper lore in its debut, deciding that he’s a teleporting human who uses vampire blood for longevity. Later, the show went the full Star Trek and decided Jack was actually an immortal energy being possessing the human teleporter.

1. Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island sent an obsessed (and comely) criminologist back in time to test her theory that Jack the Ripper was a doctor named Albert Fell. Our real life sleuths took the much safer route of DNA testing.

Honorable Mention #1: Although Jack never appeared in the show (yet), Doctor Who’s Madame Vastra (the unfrozen prehistoric lizard lady turned Victorian consulting detective) claims to have eaten Jack the Ripper. “Stringy, but tasty all the same.”

Honorable Mention #2: Jack never appeared in NBC’s Dracula either, but the vampires explain him away as a myth they created to hide their feedings.

Tag: Doctor Who

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