I Am SHER Locked

Well after reading what he did to my hero in the Houdini biography, I thought I’d never read nor watch a thing by Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle. Nevermind that House was based on Sherlock Holmes (House=Homes; Wilson=Watson; Vicadin=Opium). Nevermind that one of my top-ten actors played Holmes in a recent series (Robert Downey Jr.). Nevermind that I’m an addict for anything resembling a mystery or a noir. Nevermind that I’m attracted to the pragmatics of abductive reasoning even though I hate it as a philosophy. BBC, I love you, but I was sticking to Downton.

But then you threw a Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch at me–he who played William Pitt, William Carey, Paul Marshall, Peter Guillam, and Major Jamie Stewart. Not to mention Martin Freeman (soon to be Bilbo). You piqued my interest, but no–I would refrain. We have Houdini to think of…

Then you put Mark Gatiss on the screenplay (who wrote some Dr. Who, also supported as Mycroft) along with Steven Moffat (most recently the Adventures of Tintin). Intriguing, but you’d have to do better than that…

But then you people throw the whole thing into modern day London and of course my gilded age sensibilities are offended. That was the death blow to the mere thought that I could ever ever watch Sherlock Holmes on TV.

So there I am, watching the season finale of Downton season one and what comes on but Sherlock? I go to change the channel and… and…

And you know what? I loved the music, and the typeface Johnston Sans which London uses for its underground…

So I keep watching and the brilliance of the show astounds me. Instead of Doyle’s inconsistency with Watson’s military injury, they give the man a psychosomatic illness–therefore it has to move around. The injury came not from the Second Anglo-Afghan war but rather from the current “war on terror” in Afghanistan–convenient and wonderful. Instead of journals, they gave John Watson a blog. Instead of his pipe, they gave him nicotine patches and so stuck their tongues out at London’s current non-smoking legislation. A Study in Scarlet became the Emmy-nominated A Study in Pink, but his address is still 221b Baker Street.

In addition, I found the spacial text-overlays enchanting. Why? Because it’s one of the few ways I’ve seen something like inner monologue or voice-over work in a show-don’t-tell sense for film. Sherlock and Watson can be in the middle of a fight and Mycroft will add conflict to the whole scene simply by sending a text and that text appearing upon the screen. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of the shooting screenplay for this one, so if you find one, let me know. Pretty please. With Baskerville sugar on top.

I’ve finished the series now, all caught up and anxiously await the next installment. So fine FINE! I’ve picked up the copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes and started reading. I still disagree with the applications of abductive reasoning but…

I like it. It’s a good story. Don’t rub it in.

Dear Houdini,

Please forgive me.



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  1. Excellent blog-post on my one of my all-time favorite shows, Lance you need to watch Season 2. It’s amazing… I love this show.

  2. I love BBC and have watched Masterpiece and Masterpiece mystery for years. It is awesome how Downton and Sherlock are getting new BBC and Masterpiece viewers and I hope people watch other Masterpiece productions as well not just those two trendy ones. I have been a huge fan of the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories since I was a kid. I think this Sherlock, for all of the modernizations is the best adaptation of the the character of Holmes. Blah, don’t pick on adductive deductive. It is a popular crime series from the late Victorian era that everyone could afford to read or have read to them, don’t pick on it! People love Sherlock Holmes. Also, as much as I love Robert Downey Jr. The second movie…what was that bizarreness? It wasn’t very much like Sherlock Holmes, it was more like a spoof.

    The stories will make you notice more of the little “in jokes” in the BBC Sherlock series, so I am glad you are finally reading them. Although my friends and I thought Irene Adler was rather ahhh weird, that episode and the final one were top favorites.

    Theories about how Sherlock pulled the last stunt are a popular internet topic! Obviously it was all carefully planned with (most likely) 2 other main characters helping.

    1. Us too. Often when Kiddo goes on one of her cleaning rampages, she’ll turn on the old 8-hour Pride and Prejudices and let it run all day long. Looking forward to checking out Jekyll at some point. Any recommendations?

      Also, public television kicks private television to the curb.

      I’d say House was pretty dang close to Holmes. It’s not the stories I’m dogging–I love the stories. It’s the man who wrote them that upsets me. He maligned my hero and promoted a philosophy in the stories contrary to his own convictions. Not a fan of that. But yeah, the stories are great, Holmes is the most rehashed fictional character in history for good reason and his struggle for meaning, feeling and a soul is our own.

      Yeah, haven’t seen thte new Downey Jr. flick so I can’t speak to that one just yet.

      Yeah, Adler was well… Let’s say I find the new trend of BDSM revolting. It’s the most inhumane perspective on sex we know and it made for a love/hate episode. But then again, that was the point.

      Lots of theories out there. Curious to see which ones win out…

  3. I agree about House, it was planned that way. Impossible to disagree actually. I thought that the big mistake they made with House was Cuddy. Now, this is the only long-running show where I watched the whole series, so I could go on and on. Bit will spare you.

    Still think Cumberbatch beats Laurie though.

    Oh, the old feud for/against “spiritualism”. Yeah, that was a big issue following WWI but also stir in the Victorian obsessions with death, creepy. Wasn’t Houdini Jewish?

    If Kiddo loves the old P & P she’ll like North and South! Yay!

    A big issue that has nothing to do with this topic is the obsession in popular culture with supernatural “beings” for the past 10-14 years in mainstream culture. Why vampires, werewolves, zombies, wizards, fairies, witches, shape-shifters…the list goes on. It seems as though these wer once niche topics that appealed to devotees of specific genres…but now it has exploded. I think comic book heroes ,although always popular are now making out-of -this-world amounts of money. I think maybe our era may be looked upon as a bit odd as far as most popular entertainment. But who knows.

    1. Yeah, Cumberbatch is the freaking man, as indicated by my list of the roles I loved him in. Agreed-much as I love me some Laurie, it’s like comparing Oreos to my grandma’s white pie.

      You don’t mess with Gma Schaubert’s white pie.

      Yeah, Houdini was Jewish. You should totally read that biography if you’re into magic. He hated the spiritualists because they preyed off of the poor and widows, something Torah forbids and something he considered “ungentlemanly.”

      What’s north and south?

      I attribute it all to the shared text of JK Rowling in our generation. She’s responsible for the emergence of writers like Meyer, Collins, Pullman, etc. In about ten years, we will see a massive reaction the other way and TONS of scifi and literary works will come out. Mark my words.

    2. North and South is a BBC mini-series adaptaion of a popular Victorian novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. Set in the 1850s it is a great romantic story, but with social commentary. A genteel woman from the South of England relcates with her parents to “Milton” a fictional Manchester. In this new industrial environment she has no social role as a Vicar’s daughter.

      The leading man is a cotton mill owner (the dark and striking Richard Armitage) and the struggle between social classes on various levels…mill workers, mill owners “lower gentry” all make for a great miniseries. This actually beat the Colin Firth P & P for favorite BBC mini-series by one vote last year on the BBC America website. It aired in 2004 but I only watched it a couple of years ago. Beautifully filmed! John Thornton and Maragret Hale’s romance is rocky but rewarding.

    3. What exactly is white pie? Out here it is a pizza that I don’t like. Is it almond flavored or vanilla? What is it? Nomnomnom.

    4. Elizabeth Gaskell… loading… loading… ah, okay. Unitarian, helped by Dickens, etc.

      Sounds like an interesting story–I could see myself watching that one. Wow, beat Colin Firth? That’s like candy for me. We loved him in Love Actually & hated the American attempts at something similar (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc). Sounds great. I’ll have to look up the filmmaker.

      You follow Julian Fellows beyond Downton?

    5. No, not pizza. “Pie” for pizza only works in Chicago and sometimes in Rock City as far as Midwest goes–that’s the grammar I was using.

      Almond flavored or vanilla? Why yes, yes it is. I’ll probably do a “Like Grandma Schaubert Used to Make” on it sometime, but I want to make sure I have pictures to share.

      Definitely Noms. The pictures of us eating our wedding pie (as opposed to wedding cake) is white pie. A. Maze. Ing.

  4. Julian Fellowes also wrote Gosford Park. But the superstar of BBC screenplays is Andrew Davies. He practically had (has) a monopoly on BBC adaptations and he is brilliant at it.
    The screenplay for North and South, however, was Sandy Welch. All three are excellent screenwriters.

  5. Have you tried getting your ‘batch on YouTube yet? May I make a suggestion, for those who haven’t tried the mix yet, plug in some “WhoLock” or for the VERY daring, “WhoLockWood”. Ianto and Moriarty… the possibilities are delicious!

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