Tag Archives: Season 4

Sherlock: His Last (Abominable) Season

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes looking shocked and horrified with hands covering mouth and nose

Oh, the humanity… Honest, it’s just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage.”

Some folks have asked if I’m planning to review Season 4 of the BBC’s Sherlock.  the caption above is a quote from the Hindenburg Disaster broadcast. I thought it appropriate…  I’m going to borrow from a comment I just posted on the Timey-Wimey-Wibbly-Wobbly post:

I haven’t seen Season 4. I have not even read any fan reviews, though a friend did tell me she was underwhelmed and confirmed two of my guesses as to what happened in episode 1. I do have a recording of the episode, but I’ve not been inclined to watch it given the condition of the world right now (including the Brexit and U.S. election votes). I suspect this will be the last season until Freeman and Cumberbatch decide they need the money and some suit at BBC wises up. Though by then, there will probably not be a PBS broadcasting in the U.S. any longer and any corporate suit who is looking for a surefire nostalgia success will want to reboot with younger actors.

You’d think Moftiss would realize that what people really want is the Hope that the original Sherlock Holmes stories brought, that smart, good individuals did exist, cared, and could bring about justice for even the poor. We can already see the stupid, cruel, and rich crushing the middle- and poorer-classes while making an obscene gesture to the altruistic and enlightened concepts like “Truth, Justice and the American Way”, as the old Superman TV series put it. Though, in fact, it was also the British Way first.

Yes, I am depressed and despondent over the political and social climate, and the descent of Sherlock into soap opera Shock schlock. In our unenlightened, racing-to-the-Dark-Ages, post-fact, (i.e. stupid and ignorant) society we’ve also devolved into a brutish, cloddish, crude, rude, adolescent male, post-taste culture, if it can be called “culture” except in the social science sense.

As for my review of Season 4, I’ll copy my comment in the You’re Disappointed With Me post on the Season 4 pre-release Christmas episode:

I confess I’m not certain I’m going to bother with my review of “The Abominable Bride” because it was so…abominable. The short review is that Moftiss have made it clear that they are no longer interested in doing what made “A Study in Pink” such phenomenal television and storytelling, capturing the spirit of the original Sherlock Holmes stories while updating them to contemporary mindsets and technologies. This is too bad because the first half presented a lovely re-creation of the Gothic story still in vogue in Victorian England about the time Sherlock Holmes first appeared. Alas, Abominable Bride was a very unfortunate look into the Medieval Gothic minds of Moftiss while using the formula of Dr. Who. As the friend I was watching it with said, “I liked the first half when it was spooky Sherlock Holmes and then it just became this excuse to explain away everything that happened in the first half by making it all a dream, or rather a drug-induced hallucination. All the clever lines and bits were int he first half.”

Which, as some know, is my complaint with Dr. Who where something is set up in the first half and the second half is just emotional manipulation before coming up with a timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly “solution” to the problem (often involving a likable character’s not-real or temporary “death” — and Sherlock has now “died” at least 3 times). My friend later sent me a link to a Tumblr(?) post arguing that the symbolism in Sherlock’s “Mind Palace” sequences explains away everything else, including the sexism inherent in the episode, as being not real and simply representing Sherlock’s own messed up interior perceptions. I replied with a link to a review that stated that the “mansplaining” (a really horrible term for so many reasons) wasn’t the most abominable thing about “The Abominable Bride.”

Both Moffat and Gatiss have stated that they don’t feel that Sherlock is about re-telling the original stories or even solving mysteries, but about the characters, thus freeing them to do whatever they wish. Unfortunately, what they wish is not to tell good, let alone great, stories but to show how clever they are at manipulating plots and pandering to the interest of a small group of people. And by pandering, I’m talking about repeating things that were fresh and popular before, such as Andrew Scott’s Moriarty, the little boy from “Sign of Three”, Janine, the cute-meet of Holmes and the riding crop, the cruel banter relationship between Mycroft and Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson complaining, Molly Hooper, Mary Holmes being smarter than her husband, and so forth. Rather than put their minds to it and work to create something fresh, they simply repeat what was popular before as they do on Dr. Who. (And yet, when they do bother to create something fresh and entertaining on Dr. Who, it becomes a big hit…whereupon it is usually done to death in subsequent episodes… This is called hack writing.)

I didn’t bother to go see “The Abominable Bride” on the big screen and even though I have a DVD with the aired episode, I haven’t watched it again, and doubt I ever will.

Though, if I thought it would help return Sherlock to its original genius, I’d consider donning a tasteless purple Klu Klux Klan outfit and, for no apparent rational reason, meet “secretly” with other fans at an abandoned, de-sanctified church lit by bonfires viewable throughout the countryside in the wee hours chanting nonsense words (rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb). It says something when I found the psychopathic young woman pretending to be an abducted child episode of “Elementary” not only more faithful to the spirit of Sherlock Holmes but more enjoyable (even with the unnecessary Watson soap opera subplot).

Oh, and I used to do reviews back in the 90’s of a couple of other shows in the voice similar to the one used by “Joe Bob Briggs.” Mofftiss should be glad I’m no longer using that voice to show my disdain for condescending to their audiences. 😉

I’m still working my way up to some reviews of the Sherlock Holmes pastiche novels I‘ve been reading, but work and life have been getting in the way. And to be honest, what’s happened with BBC Sherlock, Elementary and the news of a re-boot of the Robert Downey, Jr.-Jude law version (something completely unnecessary except for greed and the short attention span of much of today’s audience), combined with some of the appalling fiction using characters named “sherlock” and “Watson” but bearing no understandable connection to Doyle’s creations, has left me disinclined to spend much effort on the site. Sorry about that. Perhaps I’ll feel better after I get through re-reading the Canon this year.

I do wish you a New Year filled with Peace, Prosperity, Joy, Good Health, Happiness, and some stimulating puzzles to solve.

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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More Sherlock Season 4 Spoilers Reported

The International Business Times offers more spoilers for Sherlock Series/Season 4.  [Do I actually need a SPOILER ALERT here? Really? ] The article quotes Steven Moffat alluding to Moriarty’s returning as a major character and an increase in romance as well as more screen time for Molly and Mrs. Hudson.

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Sherlock Season 3 Starts Filming and Season 4 Confirmed by Cumberbatch

I’m afraid Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be in a spot of trouble with Steve Moffat, Mark Gatiss and the BBC. While Sherlock Season 3 begins shooting on Monday (with the read-through producing some lovely pics),

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman mugging for the camera at the Sherlock Season 3 read-through.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman look like a couple of my relatives after a few drinks at the reunion. Well, I guess it is a reunion for them.

Mr. Cumberbatch inadvertently let slip that he and Martin Freeman are committed for a Sherlock Season 4! According to various reports (see below), Benedict Cumberbatch is reported as saying: “All I know at the moment is that I’m doing these three and another three.”

When asked about the future of Sherlock after Season 4, Mr. Cumberbatch reportedly replied:

“It just depends on Martin and I’s availability, how long we can keep it going. It depends on Steven’s ability. I’d love to keep it going.”

[jwplayer mediaid=”1840″]

Celebrated with kippers and toast for breakfast! Am throwing myself at cleaning up workload enough that I can finish another story and get some more Sherlock fun done. (I have some thoughts on the suggestion running around the net that Sherlock Season 3, Episode 3, will be The Adventure of the Three Garridebs. )

Meanwhile, let us all bow down before our lords and masters, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss for getting Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to sign a contract for Sherlock Season 4 as well as Season 3 (not to mention the wise folks at BBC who approved the contract).

To read more check out the Den of Geek article or this one on BBC America (so it must be true).

Oh, and if you find this site and information useful, do me a big favor and share it. Thank you kindly!