Tag Archives: Season 3

An Apology to Steven Moffat and What Sherlock Holmes Has In Common With Jane Austen and Henry James

Was that an actual apology?

Was that an actual apology?

I owe Steven Moffat an apology. I may have been wrong about Dr. Who. I was talking with a friend about the season opener, introducing Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, and a piece I’d read by a Dr. Who fan complaining about the previous Christmas Special with David Tennant, Matt Smith, and John Hurt. My friend, a devoted Dr. Who fan, rejected my complaints about “Deep Breath,” and other recent episodes, being an amalgamation of popular Whovian plot devices and tropes assembled Lego-block fashion into a formulaic structure (And what does this have to do with BBC Sherlock, you ask? Patience. It’s going to connect in a moment.).

My friend then explained that this was what the Whovian fans expected, what they wanted — something familiar, something they recognize, with just enough difference to make it new. It was then I had an epiphany; Dr. Who fans were like category genre readers, or even Marvel Comics movie fans, wanting the comfort of  consistency — a recognizable structure, core characters, style and certain established tropes. I owe Mr. Moffat and apology for my critiques that his scripts and production for Dr. Who were hackneyed; the very things that I criticized in the series were, in fact, essential to the target audience for the series.

But the Dr. Who story structure is not the Sherlock Holmes story structure, which, given my criticisms with “A Scandal in Belgravia” and “His Last Vow,” makes the recent comments from Moffat and Gatiss even more frightening.

…Moffat said it is part of the overall appeal of the series: “An episode needs to be about something in their lives. It is not enough for it to be a mystery.”

Gatiss agreed, saying: “It is a series about a detective, it is not a detective series.”

— Quote from Digital Spy, Nov. 1, 2014

The truly ironic point missed by Mofftiss is that focusing on the personal lives of the characters is exactly what they’ve done with Elementary — and Castle and The Mysteries of Laura and, well, most every network detective or mystery show on the air. ELEMENTARY-liu-miller

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You’re Disappointed In Me — Sherlock Series 3 Review

…don’t waste your time and ours hooting at crap! Go after the good stuff, or leave it alone.”

— Daniel C. Dennet, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, “Sturgeon’s Law”

You're not the only one depressed right now, Sherlock.

You’re not the only one depressed right now, Sherlock.

Because Sherlock is not (was not?) “crap,” I am compelled to share this review, even though I know it won’t make any difference in what is going to happen in Series 4 and 5. I feel in all fairness, though, I must warn you, that, in the words of the divine Miss Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

First, before I go any further, let me say that even though my comments on episodes 1 and 2 are brief, it’s not due to lack of appreciation. I have not had television reception for 13 years, but purchased both a wide-screen plasma TV and installed minimal cable just to watch the episodes, and then held rather elaborate Sherlock Series/Season 3 parties for the event. I do not regret a penny spent. Sherlock Series/Season 3 Episodes 1 and 2 were incomparably wonderful, nonpareil storytelling in an expanding Sahara of television.

We’ll get to episode 3.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO DON’T REALIZE A REVIEW WILL HAVE SPOILERS

“The Empty Hearse”

I thought “The Empty Hearse” was a brilliant send up of all the post-Reichenbach Fall hysteria, in the original meaning of the word,  which was very reminiscent of the reaction of the reading public when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem.” (By the way, Holmes first fans had to wait 10 years for his return.) It was witty, thought provoking, and gave fans some much needed catharsis, as well as poking a bit of biting fun at the excesses it skewers. There was plenty of angst, but there was a great deal of good natured fun with the characters, and just enough mystery and deduction to  make it an actual Sherlock Holmes story, and not simply an homage to fan fiction.  (People forget that “The Empty House” also focused more on Holmes’ return then on the mystery.) Hearse, however, is not necessarily comfortable viewing for those who don’t like facing a bit of self-examination or non-traditional television. And not particularly satisfying, or undertandable, for “mundanes,” i.e., non-fans. But then freshness and originality is what made Sherlock such a success!

“Somebody loves you! If I had to punch that face, I’d avoid the nose and teeth too.”

—Irene Adler, Sherlock, “Scandal in Belgravia”

Fans of the series got John not just punching Sherlock in the face, but fans of the Canon got a nod to the John Watson originally fainting, when Sherlock reveals himself, in Freeman’s masterful performance of a man willing himself to stay standing and conscious. The acting was, if anything, even better than the previous episodes, and I was struggling for some decorum while inwardly bubbling at Benedict Cumberbatch getting to show off his comedic chops (little did I know then what was to come).

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Telegrams, Sherlock.

“Only they’re not really telegrams.” — Sherlock Holmes, Sign of Three

Very brief post to a couple of terrific articles you might like. The first comes from Wired Magazine where the geeks have created a list of all the “shout outs and references you missed” in The Empty Hearse. (And yes, I did miss a couple, so I guess I’ll just have to watch it again. Darn. “Saracasm.” “Yes.” )

Rolling Stone Magazine has a nice piece on “How ‘Sherlock’ Made Holmes Sexy Again” (showing that either Rolling Stone has finally started hiring women, is comfortable in its masculinity, or as decided to “pander” to a wider audience than it did in the 20th Century when sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, and misogyny ruled the editorial board). They’ve also got a linked piece on why Benedict Cumberbatch is “The Bitchiest Holmes Ever” (not my word choice, dearhearts).

Must go. Work, work, work. “How dull.” So true, Sherlock, so true.

Laterz!

 

If Someone Could Move Watson’s Glass Slightly Out of Reach That Would Be Lovely

5136753-low-sherlock-6442890Horribly depressed, And it’s not just the champers. Or the Seasonal Affected Disorder. (Are we ever going to have sunshine again?) All the papers are raving about “His Last Vow,” calling it the “perfect” ending for the series. I think the shark has been jumped. I think we’re seeing the Dr. Who plot formula migrating to Sherlock, complete with inchoate plot lines and schizophrenic characters and a general assumption that all the viewers suffer from short-term, and definitely long-term (assuming you consider 4 years long term), memory loss. Weeping angels are a hit. So let’s have more weeping angels.  Someone blinked. Alas, I can’t. Am going to finish the bottle of champagne from the Sherlock Party on Sunday and curl up with a good book (perhaps The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) and try not to think about all the many plot holes, continuity issues, and cheap pandering in “His Last Vow.” Maybe I”ll watch “Sign of Three” or “The Empty Hearse” again. Those were good. Perhaps I can treat “His Last Vow” like the Star Wars Prequels and just ignore it.

I’ll have so more champers and maybe I can kill enough brain cells to watch Vow again without a running commentary of the plot problems… or maybe I could drink enough champers to become a Romanticist and not care about the plot and character problems… No. There’s not enough champers in France and California combined for that.

 

 

Oh, What a Night!

No spoilers really. But I may have to reconsider my thoughts on the efficacy of prayer. I’ve been asking for no major plot or character holes and for Mr. Cumberbatch to be given a chance to demonstrate is comedic capabilities. My prayer has been answered in spades — so far. Granted the tissues do get passed around, but in a good way, at the end of the evening. (And do not think I am slighting Martin Freeman’s comedic turn either, but he gets more opportunities so it isn’t quite as comment-worthy.)

Of course, His Last Vow is from Mr. Moffat, so the atmosphere will turn and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I am certain.

http://youtu.be/INCOgyH5IC0

I just realized I should mention that I’ve updated the Guesses and Spoilers posts with my thoughts on His LastVow (Sherlock Series/Season 3, Episode 3). Without giving anything away,because we’ve all seen the trailers, let’s just say I think John is going to be a lot more grieving (which is too bad because I really like Mary) and I’m also concerned about Molly’s health. This is Moffat, after all, and he’s run out of Timelords and their companions to kill for the moment. And we all know Moffat Must Kill Someone. (Imagine a series where Moffat and George R.R. Martin collaborated. Shortest series in history. Everyone killed off by the end of the first episode!)

Punch Me in the Face: Some Sherlock Series 3 Spoiler Notes

Right. Swore to myself I wouldn’t do this but the insanity has begun. For those looking for spoiler links, keep reading.

 Update: Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

It has come to my attention I need to warn some fans about the Dark Side of the Internet. Do NOT follow the “Full Episode” links, and whatever you do, DO NOT give these sites your email address or a credit card. They are bad guys. Really bad guys! They are going to fleece you. You will entering hell on earth. If you want to read about what you are getting yourself into, here’s a link to The Atlantic article on the Emperor Palpatine  of the Internet empire. These folks who are putting up lures and hooking the unsuspecting fans are just as psychopathic and lacking in any morals, ethics, or scruples. So please, please don’t  fall into the trap.

Do really need to put a spoiler alert on this link?

For those in countries prevented from viewing BBC Player, here’s a link to a bunch of (safe) clips from The Empty Hearse: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAPW-8BTxHhMY3P2neDazlw/feed?filter=2
(Courtesy of BW whom I introduced to Tumblr yesterday and who hasn’t gone to bed in over 24 hours now…) I can’t guarantee how long they will remain up so catch them while you can.

One friend went absolutely bonkers yesterday and fell in full ravenous fan frenzy, calling me up and saying — okay shouting — “I JUST REALIZED THAT SHERLOCK EPISODE 1 HAS JUST FINISHED AIRING IN BRITAIN! DID YOU MASK YOUR IP AND WATCH IT ON BBC PLAYER? WHAT HAPPENED? DID YOU MAKE A VIDEO?”

I awoke to a few hundred Sherlock related emails and a few hundred more Sherlock news alerts.

Breaking the news that, while I could have masked my I.P. and watched it on BBC One streaming, I didn’t. Nor did I hop over the border to Canada to catch it. That in actuality I was enjoying the anticipation, per the principles of Happy Money and behavioural economics, and savour it with the folks attending my Sherlock Series 3 Parties (starting this Sunday when we watch Series 1 again).

I’ve already had 3 phone calls from Sherlocked friends wanting to discuss what is being discussed on the internet and have had to promise one I’d call her as soon as I watched the clip she wanted to dissect in detail.

I honestly must get some work done today, but I suspect it will be limited in scope given the state of the Sherlock Fannish Nation.

An Hour Later…

I give up. It’s obvious I am not going to get much work done today. The interruptions are not entirely Sherlock S3 Episode 1 related, but they constitute at least 90%. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to the 19th of January.

Oh, and regarding “how he did it…” I know I never posted my solution on the site, but did discuss it with several other people and to the person in L.A. who owes me £2, I forgive you. And to anyone who is buying the Moriarty kiss (or the other one), seriously? I do, however, expect to see the fan music video to Call Your Girlfriend uploaded on Youtube very soon, no matter what John said to Mrs. Hudson. Some people simply won’t accept reality. And isn’t that what makes life so interesting?

 

OOh, Look, Sherlock! Lots of Treats For Fans

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock in black coat for series 3

Where the hell is that bloody cable installer? I’ve got to hook it up to the hard drive and test the video feed before John gets back.

Just a quick post of links to some yummy things to keep us going and as compensation for those of  us who do not live in an area where we can watch the BBC Sherlock Series 3 on New Year’s Day. (After 13 years with no TV reception, I am waiting for the cable installers to arrive and give me Local Basic Cable for obvious reasons. Please, don’t tell them that I’ll be canceling it after February…)

First, if you think we’ve been inundated with Sherlock Holmes recently, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! A U.S. judge has ruled that most of Sherlock Holmes canon is now in the public domain (not including John Watson’s second wife, however…). The ruling came as the result of a civil action brought by author and editor Leslie Klinger (the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes) and states that elements of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Doyle prior to 1 January, 1923 are now in the U.S. public domain. There’s a very well-done article in the New York Times here.  

There’s another one that makes a nice distinction between the stories being in the public domain and the characters and story elements being in the public domain at the Wall Street Journal (which makes sense given the financial implications). And if you’ve a legal frame of mind, the blog TechDirt dices the ruling into judicial slices for you. There’s another article at The Hollywood Reporter that also digs into the ruling and its implications for creatives (writers & filmmakers, natch).

The Doyle estate argument definitely was a weak one for the U.S. courts where a fine distinction between “flat entertainment characters” and “complex literary characters” is not likely to be recognized. (I’m writing that with a straight face. No, really, I am… Okay, there was a little sarcasm in my head and there was maybe a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge going on when I typed “recognized.”) While I expect a veritable flood of Biblical proportions of Sherlock Holmes creative (and I use that term in its loosest sense) to deluge my in-box and the internet, it should be noted that an appeal of the ruling is possible (I’d say likely since otherwise the Doyle estate has basically lost all of its U.S. licensing income immediately, as opposed to at least delaying the loss by another couple of years).

But don’t expect to see a flood of BBC Sherlock fan fiction getting published on Amazon any time soon (well, not unless they pull a 50 Shades of Grey and scrub the serial numbers off with different names, et al). BBC and Team Sherlock made it clear when Elementary was being bantered about that they intend to “protect the interest and wellbeing of our offspring.” A reasonably polite way of saying they’ll sue the trousers and pants off anyone who tries to cash in on their work.

Photo Spoiler Alert: Stop Now If You Don’t Want to See ANYTHING from BBC Sherlock Series 3

Second, there’s a lovely bit of fun on PBS to attempt to quell the riots until the 19th January. It’s called Unlocking Sherlock, and if by chance you haven’t seen it, you should. Mark Gatiss has quite a lot of fun chewing up the scenery as he reads excerpts from Arthur Conan Doyle’s original work, and Steven Moffat is rather charmingly mellow and candid as he talks about Sherlock Season 1 & 2, particularly A Scandal in Belgravia (he admits that his Irene Adler is not a nice person and does some incredibly horrible things during the episode — and that Sherlock is chillingly cold-blooded when he saves Mycroft’s bacon and roasts Adler at the end). And then there are all of those behind-the-scenes clips we hadn’t seen before and the bits with Cumberbatch and Freeman (my gosh, Cumberbatch looks so thin in those clips (and pale)! I want to make a giant pot of Tom Kai Gai (Thai chicken soup) and an entire bakery of goodies and go feed him! Eat! Eat!  Take a little nosh, bubeleh! )

There’s a nice interview with Moftiss (Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss) about Sherlock Series 3 on ScreenRant.

There’s a whole slew of new official pictures from Sherlock Series 3 released. YOu can see the complete gallery on PBS here. But I’ve grabbed a few faves and posted them below just because the boys look so fine. Continue reading

BBC Sherlock Interactive Trailer Like a Multiple Prezzie

Here’s the new non-interactive Sherlock Series/Season 3 trailer:

It’s also a massive SPOILER! So unless you want to be a complete Sherlock Series/Season 3 virgin, head off to BBC One’s new interactive Sherlock trailer.  Meantime, here’s a starter of some shots from the video.

(Yes, Virginia, there is a Hogfather and yes, he has done a capture of the video, but he’s also good and isn’t going to post it because there’s no reason for all the good little boys and girls NOT to go to BBC One’s site to watch.)

A big tip of the deerstalker to Anne Zanoni of Ariel’s Miscellany… a la Sherlock blog and Sherlockology for the tweets announcing the BBC announcement. There’s a nice little report of some Cumberbatch snark when Madonna makes the mistake of attempting to diss Mr. Cumberbatch (either that or she was caught in the Stupid Zone (the mysterious force field some people exude that causes others to suddenly lose a 100 I.Q. points — or more — thus rendering them utter morons and incapable of coherent thought, let alone conversation; it is, fortunately, a variable Superpower). And yes, John Watson’s blog has new content as reported the official BBC Sherlock blog, and if you haven’t checked out Mark Gatiss’ official blog, I recommend it highly.

By all means, Share This. Let’s blow away the internet by the time Sherlock Series/Season 3 premieres!

Have almost achieved velocity to escape Black Hole project. Re-cutting bad narration, missing video, and soundtrack today.

The BBC and Moftiss Have a Christmas Prezzie for Sherlock Fans

Just in case you haven’t heard, BBC One is offering a Sherlock mini-epsiode on Christmas Day!  Mini-episodes: a GREAT idea borrowed from Dr. Who. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Sue Vertue, and the rest of Team Sherlock!

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock looking through cafe window at Martin Freeman as John Watson

Sherlock: Oh, thank goodness he doesn’t have that 1970’s mourn-stache crawling on his upper lip! I wonder if he’s figured out I’ve been drugging his coffee to make him think I’m dead?

The mini-episode is entitled “Many Happy Returns” (yes, there will be) and is a prequel to the official BBC Sherlock Series 3 launch on 1 January, 2014. According to the synopsis, it’s been two years since John saw Sherlock die (well, yes it has), but “someone isn’t quite convinced that’s he’s dead.”

I am assuming that, like the Dr. who specials and mini-episodes, the Sherlock Series 3 mini-episode will be posted on YouTube and/or available through iTunes the following day. (Of ocurse, it will be on YouTube, but I mean officially released.) Something else to look forward to on Boxing Day.

I am trapped in the Black Hole of projects but will escape the vortex by next week if I have to start drinking Cuban coffee while nibbling dark chocolate(a precursor to “energy drinks” and much tastier). So fresh fodder will be coming. Honest.