General Open Thread – TV Shows
1 January 2014 at 22:43 #237941 January 2014 at 22:46 #23795
I know! A lot of that had me laughing my head off. Especially the “Slash Fiction” interlude between Sherlock and Moriarty. Brilliant fun, and very knowing about the internet speculation surrounding the final. Has the truth actually been revealed though?
Ah – apologies for that. I’d forgotten what gets on i-player global depends on what deals the BBC have with international broadcasters.
We were presented with 3 “solutions” of various levels of likeliness, all of which are probably figments of bonkers speculation. It’s very funny indeed, and hopefully will delight after the wait. The various re-introductions of Sherlock to his “team” are really well handled.
Some aspects of your number 2 showed up. You don’t want to know about the cold start solution, which featured a bungee rope, crashing through a window and a snog with Molly.2 January 2014 at 00:02 #23798
Thanks for that. I read the explanation(s) on the Guardian (but avoided the comments). Sounds like a hoot. Will be waiting (im)patiently for the DVD.2 January 2014 at 08:56 #23804Anonymous @
I’ve previously avoided Sherlock simply because I’m not keen on ‘modern updates’ and they very rarely, in my opinion, work. However, I’m happy to say I quite enjoyed last night’s episode. I may even watch the repeat on BBC3 tomorrow 🙂
I thought the code name given to the ‘fake Sherlock’s death’ operation was a nice little nod to Mark Gatiss’ appearance in DW.2 January 2014 at 10:00 #23805
@fatmaninabox Somebody on one of the Graun blogs has already spotted that ‘thirteen possible scenarios’ matches rather neatly with the ‘thirteen lives’ of the Doctor.
I thoroughly enjoyed it – particularly the scene when Sherlock explains how it was done. Only to have the insane theorist say ‘Well, that’s a bit… boring, isn’t it? I would have done it differently’. 😀2 January 2014 at 17:01 #23815
Derren Brown again, eh! And does Molly make anyone think of scarf geek girl in TDotD?2 January 2014 at 18:24 #23820wolfweed @wolfweed
Nods to The Web of Fear & The Wicker Man in Sherlock (With a bit of V for Vendetta thrown in)…
2 January 2014 at 21:35 #23823Anonymous @
I thought that Sherlock was pretty bloody good — a few jumps in logic/plot but I’m not really caring. The G forums on the show are depressingly full of the usual Moff bashing tho…. thank god for this place!3 January 2014 at 00:47 #23824
@jimthefish Gatiss is actually credited as the principal writer of The Empty Hearse so Moff bashing isn’t really the way to go on this one (although of course BBC Sherlock continues to be a collaborative Gatiss/ Moffat enterprise).
SPOILERS FOR THE EMPTY HEARSE
There’s a lot I could say about BBC Sherlock. I find it seductive television in many ways. It’s eye for establishment eccentricity and for the physical detail of that – Sherlock’s lovely coat, the Liberty wallpaper, the hailing of black cabs (that’s a very expensive way to get around London on a regular basis) Mycroft’s detailed knowledge of fine wines… definitely seductive. On the other hand, despite Sherlock’s network of “tramp informants” there is no real sense (unlike in the Conan Doyle stories) of the poverty of London which (today as then) co-exists alongside the intrigues of diplomats. That means this is a rather chocolate-box version of Sherlock. Perhaps especially regrettable given the times we’re living in. It could be so much grittier.
I think some of the acting is compelling. Martin Freeman was really excellent in this latest episode, Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson) has lovely comic timing, particularly when doing impressions of the Holmes boys. Amanda Abbingdon works a treat as Mary Morstan and Gatiss himself has really stepped up his acting game this season. The Mycroft/ Sherlock interactions crackled nicely, and icily, with sibling love/hate.
Some of the cinematography is fantastic. The way the camera cuts from Lestrade and Anderson’s coffee cup bottoms, just after the line “God rest his (Sherlock’s) soul” to a close up of Watson’s eyes (ergo by the power of visual narrative – ta da – John is Sherlock’s soul), the use of slow motion in the “dance” sequence where Sherlock arrives like a bad penny at Watson’s proposal dinner. Yes, some super visual story-telling.
Cinematography and character detail worked rather better than overall plot however. The tube bomb under the Houses of Parliament was a sort of Wachowski siblings’ V for Vendetta tribute and I didn’t like it the first time around. Terrorist bomb plots have become a tiresome contemporary TV drama cliche.
I’m not comfortable with the way the series continually has Sherlock and Watson “mis-recognised” as a gay couple in-show, has the show deliberately position them as an emotional “couple” on innumerable occasions (notice the way Sherlock’s parents finishing each other’s sentences is made a deliberate parallel for the way John and Sherlock speak together) and yet, then the perfectly reasonable, given the Moffat/ Gatiss source material, fan extrapolations of a sexual and or romantic love are shut down as ridiculous by Moffat (to be fair, not by Gatiss) in interviews:
Likewise, slash fans are made fun of in-show and by associated journalists. Caitlin Moran caused a bit of an internet riot by getting Cumberbatch and Freeman to read out some Sherlock/ Watson slash without the permission of the author, and to the discomfort of the actors apparently, for the purpose of taking the piss, at The Empty Hearse preview screening, something which allegedly earned her a backstage BBC bollocking.
Yet Gatiss himself has written, rather florid, gay erotic fiction under the pseudonym Christian Fall.
Overall, this gives the impression of a show somehow tittering behind its hand at the possible sexual and emotional intimacy of men, which it has done everything to stir up, whilst shouting “it’s all in your heads” at the audience. I don’t think that’s a great message for young LGBT people and I think it’s past time when gayness should be an on-going joke.
It’s actually the lack of bravery on the part of the associated cast, crew and BBC PR machine which make this more galling. One interview from Gatiss which at least acknowledged that a reading of his Sherlock and Watson as queer is perfectly plausible given his text (whether that’s queer platonic, bi-curious, closeted, or whatever), if absolutely not the only reading, would go some way to dissipate the on-going “no homo”.
But, I’ll give them this, Mrs. Hudson does serve a mean aggrieved plate of biscuits 🙂3 January 2014 at 09:34 #23829
I did enjoy watching the new Sherlock but I’m not sure I like the 90min format. It seemed to drag out the howdunnit of Sherlocks suicide a bit too much. I hope that’s it done and dusted and can be filed away in the “never really know” pile.
The Underground Network was a good pun but the bomb on the train seemed a bit too big for Sherlock and Holmes to be so hands on with. I also think Holmes went too easy on Sherlock. The detective was quite cruel to his accomplice on several occasions. I know that is part of his character’s sociopathic-ness but he needed a few more slaps IMHO 😉
I just want to see a good mystery getting solved, not lots of meta references to the audience. It’s one thing for Doctor Who to shout “There are no rules!” as a slight wink to over-zealous fans but another for Sherlock to have a group of bonkers theorisers as a main part of an episode! The Doctor’s makes sense in-story whereas all the Sherlock nods seemed like a poke in the eye. It felt more like a Comic Relief special in parts. Maybe they’d be better off sticking all that bit in online minisodes.
Having saying all that, it was still a lot of fun and, as @juniperfish mentions, the cinematography is rather wonderful3 January 2014 at 14:27 #23846Anonymous @
Gatiss is actually credited as the principal writer of The Empty Hearse so Moff bashing isn’t really the way to go on this one
Yes, I’m aware of that, but many on the G don’t seem to be. But then I think the G has rather over-egged the Sherlock pudding this year I think.
Another couple of points I hope you won’t mind me nibbling at.
On the other hand, despite Sherlock’s network of “tramp informants” there is no real sense (unlike in the Conan Doyle stories) of the poverty of London which (today as then) co-exists alongside the intrigues of diplomats
Not sure I’d agree with this. I wouldn’t say that there’s much that’s particularly ‘gritty’ about the original stories. Aside from maybe the opium den in The Man With the Twisted Lip, we see next to nothing of life ‘on the streets’ in the stories. Even the Baker Street Irregulars when we see them are extremely crudely drawn. (Let’s face it their ringleader Wiggins makes Oliver Twist look like a nuanced character.) The London that Holmes and Watson walk is largely very much one of diplomats, nobility and the like.
And Doyle never really shows any particular inclination in pointing to the social causes of crime. Instead criminal intent is shown almost exclusively to be a character defect with otherwise previously unlikely ‘upright’ characters turning to crime — Moriarty, John Clay, Col. Sebastian Moran etc. Holmes is interested in the cause of social progress, like the new Technical Schools (‘Beacons, my boy’.) but these are almost always presented as ‘asides’. We never really see the seamier side of Victorian life.
In fact, I’d say that Doyle, like the good Victorian gentleman he is, rather sees the possibility of absolute social mobility via the ‘improving’ force of money and capitalism. There are numerous examples of rough, working class and potentially violent men ‘making good’ in the colonies and becoming part of ‘the quality’ — Black Peter, Col. James Barclay, Maj. Sholto and so on — only to be later undone by their own unchanged character and violent history.
You actually see more of Victorian street life in later adaptations — e.g. the Rathbone/Bruce films — and it is by and large awful. Witness Holmes and Watson go into a notorious dive of a pub in what is meant to be Lime House to find all the inhabitants speaking with thick Brooklyn accents.
I don’t think that’s a great message for young LGBT people and I think it’s past time when gayness should be an on-going joke
I agree that I don’t think the ‘I’m not gay’ joke was done particularly well this time around but I’d also dispute that any writer should have the burden of ‘sending out a message’ put upon them. As the mighty Sam Shepard once said ‘Story Itself’ should be the credo of the writer. And dwelling too much on the potential ‘gayness’ of Holmes and Watson would I think interfere or overshadow other aspects of the narrative. It would be too limiting for the series. Not to mention the fact that at the moment foregrounding such a thing would be pretty much handing the likes of the Daily Mail a colossal stick to beat the Beeb with and I suspect that’s the last thing they want.
The joke was probably only in there because another function of Wednesday’s episode was essentially to act as a ‘recap’ of the previously established dynamic of the show. Sherlock has been off our screens for two years and it was probably felt necessary to remind the more casual viewer of who all the characters were and how they all fit together. Thus we see Mrs Hudson being the emotionally invested housekeeper, Mycroft being the competitive sibling, Lestrade being the matey official police, Watson being a doctor etc. The ‘gay’ joke was just there to reinforce the point about Holmes/Watson’s sexuality that was first made in A Study in Pink.
People also tend to forget that in the original stories Holmes and Watson didn’t spend that much time living together in Baker Street and that for a great many of the stories Watson was happily living elsewhere with Mary and was dragged into mysteries, either by being visited by Holmes or upon his occasional visits back to his old lodgings to see his friend. It’s a ‘problem’ that’s a hangover from the movie and TV adaptations rather than the books themselves and I’m hoping that Mary doesn’t turn out to be some kind of ‘wrong un’ and that the show does in fact follow the path set by the books. I already like that they’ve bucked convention by making Sherlock and Mary like each other, rather than being bitter rivals.3 January 2014 at 15:25 #23851Anonymous @
Somebody on one of the Graun blogs has already spotted that ‘thirteen possible scenarios’ matches rather neatly with the ‘thirteen lives’ of the Doctor.
I didn’t see that, I gave up reading the comments after the first page. There was way too much negativity even for me, and I’m quite fond of having a good rant 🙂3 January 2014 at 16:04 #23853Timeloop @timeloop
Just here for a sec to drop this:
I really hope we will have a fold option somewhere in the future. I won’t comment this for the people who don’t get it. Found it on twitter. @TimelordsWife3 January 2014 at 16:57 #23859
I think the butt of the joke in Sherlock with regard to the “I’m not gay line” is Watson, who is consistently shown from A Study in Pink onwards to be the most sensitive one when the subject of sexuality crops up. Sherlock appears to treat it as an irrelevance, or just to enjoy Watson’s discomfort, and Mrs. Hudson is progressive to the extreme.
I think that is an honest reaction and does show a certain streak of “small c” conservative values in Watson that’s always been there. He was an Army Surgeon in book and TV and in that kind of environment people can get very sensitive about perceptions of sexuality full stop. He seems to be very old fashioned in many ways. Are there such people out there – absolutely. So I’d see it more as a joke at their expense.
I agree Doyle really wasn’t that much of a social commentator and your line about his belief in absolute social mobility well chosen. He was actually quite a mercenary character, aspiring to “live the Victorian dream” from very early on. I think Holmes as a creation as a consulting Detective inevitably led him more towards those who could afford to engage his services, with occasional offers of help to the less fortunate on a problem that intrigued him.
But then I think the G has rather over-egged the Sherlock pudding this year I think
Not half. The latest attempt by Mark Lawson seems tailor made for Moff Bashing, and is actually pretty inept for a few key reasons.
Lawson is one of the many writers on the G who is assuring us the future of TV is in the ongoing narrative that American TV/Netflix et al are promoting. All of a sudden, the latest episodes of Doctor Who and Sherlock are in trouble because they forgot those casual viewers. It’s not long ago he was celebrating as remarkable the achievement of Day of the Doctor (which played with more continuity issues) as watercooler moment TV with a simultaneous cinema release.
I think it’s the obvious lack of consistency across columns that is just highlighting now that these articles are not written with any particular philosophy in mind, they are written to simply promote the maximum “I agree”, “This is shit” “I need to excercise my moaning gland” comments. It’s probably OK for those with memories of a goldfish, but I can’t help thinking Lawson’s long-term credibility should take a nose dive.
I find it really easy not to bother commenting these days.3 January 2014 at 17:12 #23860Anonymous @
@phaseshift — Yes, I’ve taken a look at the Lawson piece and left a couple of comments (probably against my better judgement). And I think you’re right about Lawson’s commentary in general these days. His pieces on IPTV and Netflix and so on last year seemed so painfully behind the curve. He just doesn’t seem to be able to grasp the medium quite as well as he used to. As I said on the G, where he was once a spot-on commentator on TV, these days he seems more like your grandad moaning about not being able to use the remote.3 January 2014 at 17:23 #23861
Not only have I given up commenting–any attempt to inject civility into the G blogs is hopeless, I now believe; but I have given up reading the comments–there is only so much bile one can stomach.3 January 2014 at 17:35 #23862Whisht @whisht
I’ll admit I was going to post the Lawson link here on the forum, and was surprised no one else had.
Then realised my motivation was to get some of the more robust thinkers here to tear Lawson’s article to shreds as I couldn’t quite find the right place to start.
As that’s a rather crap reason to post a link I didn’t. In the same way I couldn’t be bothered adding to the comments.
The article lazily used poor examples to make an otherwise obvious point (don’t make programmes just for the hard core fans). Lawson didn’t even bother to wonder what hardcore fans even wanted (maybe that led to me not bothering to even comment).
I guess they got my click, so job done perhaps.3 January 2014 at 18:09 #23867
I think it’s a bit sad. There has always been that streak of comment fodder on the Guardian, but lately they just seem to focus on what’s trending at the moment and launch half a dozen articles on whatever it is. And then criticise focusing on a handful of the population? 😉3 January 2014 at 18:14 #23868
Talking of other TV, the Freeview channel “DRAMA” has the first Sally Lockhart drama The Ruby in the Smoke on at 10pm tonight, with Billie Piper and her companion Matt Smith. Worth a look.
And we have a new James May Toy Stories, in which they try to make a working motorcycle out of Meccano. I enjoyed the series they did, so I think I’m sorted for tonight!3 January 2014 at 19:24 #23874
What I find amusing is all these “critics” complaining how confusing it will be for “the casual viewer”.
Does that even exist? How can a critic speak on their behalf? I, for one, don’t expect to start midway through a series of anything and be able to get up to speed in a single episode. Its certainly not off putting if there are a few bits I don’t understand!3 January 2014 at 20:43 #23880
Yes, I’m not sure I could define what a casual viewer is any more. I think the BBC probably judge it right relying on a combination of vieweship and Audience appreciation index, and both are OK.
Increasingly though, it’s an international market. With the commercial arm divvying up money as well, they know what sells in what territories. Who is massively important financially, so if they perceived weakness they’d sort it out. Both Doctor Who and Sherlock are successes internationally as well as at home. I can’t help thinking there is a huge element of “tall poppy” syndrome creeping in to coverage of people like Moffat and Gatiss.3 January 2014 at 21:11 #23884Anonymous @
I can’t help thinking there is a huge element of “tall poppy” syndrome creeping in to coverage of people like Moffat and Gatiss.
Most definitely. Plus a large dollop of envy into the bargain.3 January 2014 at 21:27 #23885
Well, I finally managed to catch up on Sherlock. Not having watched any of the first 2 series, tho a long term fan of the original stories, I decided to experiment and jump straight into the most recent. I really enjoyed it, didn’t have any problem keeping up with what was going on and was very impressed with the acting – esp the leads, and Gatiss was paticularly impressive as Mycroft – and direction/production. (There’s a high quality look to everything coming out of BBC Cymru studios these days). I then watched Reichenbach Fall (this timey wimey thing is catching). Overall I preferred RF f0r its internet/smartphone storyline, but I like the way they’ve brought SH bang up to date. I’ve never thought of Holmes in any incarnation as being particularly gritty realism, so I don’t have a problem with him glossing over the lower orders. Doyle wasn’t trying to be Dickens – tho both were very popular writers (hence Holmes’ original unplanned resurrection).
The similarities with Who are quite striking if you look at the basic outlines and there is a danger of being too selfconsciously self-referential re fans etc, but for the moment I think both are managing to keep on the tightrope. The 50th was a particularly special year for DW and I can happily forgive it some indulgences. Ditto re the Xmas specials.
Re the Guardian link, there was a similar article in the Indie today. I agree with those above who say these articles are just clickbait. Below the line comments are becoming mindnumbingly predictable, with no real discussion being generated. Both DW and SH are SERIALS FFS!!! Surely the audience figures alone give the lie to the claim that both are being made for a “small” group of obsessives.
RIP Intelligent Journalism3 January 2014 at 21:34 #23886
Yeah, what is this ‘casual viewer’ nonsense? On the occasions when I sit down with my daughter to watch a bit of Hollyoaks (in the interests of mother-daughter bonding, you understand), she has to pause the recording every few mins while I ask idiotic questions about who /what/why. So on that basis, Hollyoaks is unfairly alienating to the casual viewer and should dumb its storylines down a bit to make them more accessible for someone who wanders in randomly part way through…3 January 2014 at 21:41 #23887
Agree completely with your “tall poppy” comment; I find it thoroughly depressing; especially as it tends to be contagious.
And with @thommck‘s comment re the “casual viewer” – see my comment above re starting off with The Empty Hearse. What IS a “casual viewer” anyway? How many of the 8-9m viewers are casuals, and how many are the “obsessive “minority” fans”?
Anyway, am looking forward to this Sunday’s The Sign of Three (Directed by Colm “Bells of St John” McCarthy)3 January 2014 at 21:45 #23888
Haha – been there exactly with Hollyoaks, for the same reason! (Ditto XFactor (I can’t tell you how happy I am that it seems to have slipped in favour, at least with my teenager, the last couple of years)) The things you have to do, eh? I reckon I’ve more than earned my time with the Doctor – even if it’s sometimes seriously timeshifted to get peace and quiet to watch.
🙂3 January 2014 at 21:53 #23889
@scaryb – can’t complain that much, family watching chez Annabel has included not only Who, but also Walking Dead and Misfits (so inappropriate!), and have been spared X Factor or any programmes of that ilk. And at least now she’s older she doesn’t take umbrage when I mock a little bit…3 January 2014 at 21:57 #23890
I have really tried, when commenting while on the web, to make a point of avoiding making critical comments on those drongos who engage in ad hominen attacks (whoops, I have already broken the pledge!), but the current culture of incivility and “tall poppy” envy-fuelled hate (agree entirely on that point) on the web, is, I confess, starting to get to me in my weaker moments.
I am sure there are sound sociological reasons for it, to do with the nature of social media in a mass society, or…
perhaps we are just dealing with lots and lots of horrible mean-spirited gits who have “sh*t on the liver” as my old gran used to say. God, she had the gift of the gab!
ok, with that off my chest, back to being blenkinsop.3 January 2014 at 22:28 #23891
As you say, fish friend, the original Sherlock and Watson are Victorian gentlemen and Sherlock’s clients are generally upper or middle class.
However, Sherlock’s investigations do take him to parts of London other than the West End. For example, he visits an opium den in the East End in The Man with the Twisted Lip (a contemporary equivalent would perhaps be a crack den or “shooting gallery”) and in The Sign of Four he and Watson visit the “questionable and forbidding neighbourhood” of Cold Harbour Lane.
My point being that the Moffat/ Gatiss Sherlock, so far, has spent a lot of time in fine restaurants, gentlemen’s clubs, art galleries, the well-heeled homes of high end dominatrices, Buckingham Palace…
@phaseshift, @thommck, @jimthefish, @cathannabel, @scaryb, @whisht – I also commented on the Lawson article because its complete lack of depth or research (writing professionally about television should require more than simply watching it) really annoyed me, so it definitely is doing its job as “click bait”.
Open access online newspapers are in a bind, because they are advertising funded and advertising revenue comes from numbers of eyeballs, so the nature of journalism is changing. Sadly, pieces designed primarily to create controversy/ high blood pressure are one result.3 January 2014 at 22:41 #23892
I am sure there are sound sociological reasons for it, to do with the nature of social media in a mass society, or…
More like unsocial media sometimes!
It is interesting though. And it’s easy to hit out at Twitter (make a coherent point in 140 characters or less) and the general anonymity of posting online. And the proliferation of supposedly witty cod-philosphy pictures that circulate on Facebook etc – increasingly with advertising embedded. (Embedded advertising is a particularly sore point at the moment – just managed to scrape something called Friends Tracker off the inner bits of my computer. It came in legitimately, except it didn’t ask my permission, with a Firefox update. Suddenly, including on this site, there were double underlined links everywhere, some more relevant than others. It seemed to struggle with words like Dalek, but it did try (not very successfully)).
perhaps we are just dealing with lots and lots of horrible mean-spirited gits who have “sh*t on the liver” as my old gran used to say.
Love your old gran – she sounds great. I come back to the example of this Forum. There is definitely something going right with it, in that it seems to encourage the opposite kind of behaviour, largely, I think, because the majority practise what we claim to represent ie tolerance for everyone’s opinion. If you go on the Graun these days, you expect to be challenged in a not particularly nice way. You become defensive, which is a small step from becoming offensive yourself. The smartass put-down rules, and comments are interpreted as being antagonistic when they may be at best ambiguous/misplaced humour.
People tend to conform to expectations.
Or your old gran may just have hit the nail on the head!3 January 2014 at 23:05 #23893
You are absolutely right in your comments about articles designed to increase the blood pressure. And the more squabbling they get below the line the more clicks they get. Does it matter when the subject is popular entertainment? Or is it a massive big warning sign about the pressure on media writers? I don’t believe any of the established newspaper heavyweights has found a way of making online publishing work financially – hence the reliance on fast turnaround, poorly researched, clickbait articles like the recent Lawson one, whose viewing stats presumably impress the advertisers. And sales of actual newspapers are plummeting faster than ever. So how is the next generation of journalists ever going to learn the trade properly when this sort of cr*p is what’s rewarded?
For some reason I am reminded of the thick greasy yellow fog that was spreading out from London at the beginning of Bleak House 🙁
(Not caught up with the rest of the Sherlock series yet, but presumably the writers write what they know about. An argument for developing a bigger pool of writers from diverse backgrounds perhaps?)3 January 2014 at 23:11 #23894
I am sure you are right about the ways social media, and the media generally these days, encourages or exacerbates the type of bad behaviour that we are talking about, but to take this site as an example, it came about precisely because there was a core of us who contributed to the G talkback who craved civility and wit, and…friendly enthusiasm. The posting format did not turn us into trolls, we consciously resisted that. Why? Because of who were in the first place, I suspect. In terms of the old nature/nurture divide I wonder if media outlets like the G (and a host of others) really turn people into mean-spirited gits, or if mean-spirited gits, along with people who have always craved civility and tolerance, go to those sites because that is all there is for them? We set up an alternative–where civility was encouraged and ad hominem attacks were rigorously policed by our wonderful Time Lords. Now that there is an alternative, we are discovering lots of lurkers who realise that this site reflects the values they already admire–civility and tolerance, and humour (usually self-deprecating).
But it is way past time for the screw top to be removed from the bottle of shiraz here in Canada. It is probably bed-time in the UK. Sleep well, my friend and we shall continue to share our enthusiasm for all things Who (including the Colin Baker years!) on the morrow.3 January 2014 at 23:23 #23895
Ummm… @juniperfish – the first episode included an empty house, a collection of murder victims that included a businesswoman and a student, and the villain being –
– well, I won’t say, in case someone hasn’t watched it yet. But definitely not well heeled.
The second episode involves Chinatown, a graffiti artist and a fringe circus. Also some bankers, who are not. liked.
The third episode involves a lot of work in a lab at an NHS hospital (Barts), a car rental agency, the Baker Street Planetarium, and a swimming pool. I grant you that there is an art museum; we also see the homeless network.
The fourth episode is directly taken from A Scandal in Bohemia; so instead of being a story about the ex-mistress of a member of the Royal Family (politely bowdlerised to some minor Bohemian princelet), it becomes a story about the dominatrix used by members of the Royal Family.
The fifth episode is directly taken from The Hounds of The Baskervilles. Sir Henry actually gets downgraded to being merely well-off, instead of the titled baronet owner of a stately pile. We also have an extensive tour round an army base.
The sixth episode includes the Diogenes Club (directly from Doyle), the Bank of England, The Tower of London … and Pentonville Prison. 🙂 Also, the NHS hospital (again).
So saying Sherlock has spent a lot of time in fine restaurants, gentlemen’s clubs, art galleries, the well-heeled homes of high end dominatrices, Buckingham Palace… is a bit unfair.
Mostly, those places are directly from Doyle. Or justifiable within the story: is Watson really going to take Mary to the local chippie when he’s planning to formally ask her to marry him? No. He’s going to take her to the best restaurant he can afford. The joke is that, because of Sherlock, they eventually end up in a kebab shop.
In fact, we see a lot of local chippies. And lunchrooms. If I was asked to characterise the London of Sherlock, I’d say it was the sort of middle-class, slightly arty London which is likely to be familiar to two middle-class writers. Which is fine, because as @jimthefish points out above, the London of Sherlock Holmes was largely the middle-class London familiar to a young Dr. Doyle.
Doyle did occasionally wander into telling stories about the more picturesque and touristy areas of poverty stricken London (yeah, Victorian Limehouse was wall-to-wall opium dens – not). Moffat and Gatiss seem, if anything, to be a bit more careful; sticking to what they know and not sensationalising what they don’t.3 January 2014 at 23:34 #23896
Actually, I rather like Martin Freeman’s joke (quoted in this week’s Radio Times, other listings magazines are available).
we were standing in two inches of freezing water on the coldest January since records began .. fantasising about where future episodes could be. Murder in a Palace? The Adventure of the Dry Room? The Sunshine Killings?
It’s such a glamorous life, being an actor. 😀4 January 2014 at 01:14 #23898
@bluesqueakpip I fully admit that in the original stories there are many well-heeled homes with butlers and maids.
However, there is also a grimy atmospheric poorer London in evidence. For example:
“In rapid succession we passed through the fringe of fashionable London, hotel London, theatrical London, literary London, commercial London, and, finally, maritime London, till we came to a riverside city of a hundred thousand souls, where the tenement houses swelter and reek with the outcasts of Europe. Here, in a broad thoroughfare, once the abode of wealthy City merchants, we found the sculpture works for which we searched. Outside was a considerable yard full of monumental masonry. Inside was a large room in which fifty workers were carving or moulding.” (The Adventure of he Six Napoleons)
“Mrs. Warren’s house–a high, thin, yellow-brick edifice in Great Orme Street, a narrow thoroughfare at the northeast side of the British Museum. Standing as it does near the corner of the street, it commands a view down Howe Street, with its more pretentious houses… When we returned to Mrs. Warren’s rooms, the gloom of a London winter evening had thickened into one gray curtain, a dead monotone of colour, broken only by the sharp yellow squares of the windows and the blurred haloes of the gas-lamps.” (The Red Circle)
“The man is by trade a conjurer and performer, going round the canteens after nightfall, and giving a little entertainment at each. He carries some creature about with him in that box, about which the landlady seemed to be in considerable trepidation, for she had never seen an animal like it. He uses it in some of his tricks according to her account. So much the woman was able to tell me, and also that it was a wonder the man lived, seeing how twisted he was, and that he spoke in a strange tongue sometimes, and that for the last two nights she had heard him groaning and weeping in his bedroom.” (The Crooked Man)
It would be very possible to create contemporary equivalent glimpses of London’s tremendous diversity of income, nationality and locale. I just find the London of Moffat and Gatiss ‘ Sherlock a little too shiny.4 January 2014 at 04:56 #23908nicelyuseless @nicelyuseless
I read Mr. Lawson’s column during lunch whilst at work, and it got me worked up. I knew there would be calm, reasoned, and intelligent responses to said column awaiting me here, to ease my blood pressure back down. Mission accomplished. So I’ll just let his premise, that the Christmas episode has been influenced by fans, roll on by, like water off a duck’s face, or whatever that expression is, because you have all expressed my feeling better that I could. (Or can? You see one of my problems.)
However, here’s what still gets me: Plot twist. He referred to (the apparently insignificant detail of) The Doctor’s limited number of regenerations as a “plot twist”? Who in Britain doesn’t know that The Doctor regenerates, or that they were limited? I live in America, and my octogenarian mother knows that (ok, she knows because I made her watch all the Tom Baker episodes when I was in high school 30 years ago, and I made her knit me a 20′ scarf, even though it was purple and in no way resemb…sorry, off topic). Plot twist? For me, going into this episode, that was the fundamental quandary to be resolved. I didn’t realize I was a member of a narrow band of obsessives; that makes me rather proud.
In any case, that was not the primary reason I was watching. I was watching because I love the character of the doctor. And the ethos of the show. Probably the two most compelling reasons for the majority of viewers to watch the show, although I am hesitant to say that on this forum, because I think you embody the best and brightest of Whovians, and I’m only here because @craig let me slip through, and you probably have better reasons.
But plot twist? PLOT TWIST?!? Ugh.
Sorry, rant over. It wasn’t nice, but it was useless.
Oh, and Clara. I was also watching because I really like Clara.4 January 2014 at 12:31 #23913
@blenkinsopthebrave Lots of harrumphing from me last night. Thank you for your calming words. It was a bit late but I opened a tasty bottle of Sauvignon anyway. And felt a lot better, as I raised a glass to your good self.
The posting format did not turn us into trolls, we consciously resisted that…
That’s true, but a lot of us, myself included, are more antagonistic on the G, because you feel more defensive (of your own opinions and of the show/subject matter in general). Venturing on to the Graun CiF as a DW fan sometimes feels like walking into a Cybership carrying a detached (but friendly) cyberhead. Or walking through the Papal Mainframe and suddenly realising that everyone’s foreheads are glowing blue.
We shall resist!4 January 2014 at 12:38 #23914
I was watching because I love the character of the doctor. And the ethos of the show
Can’t think of a better reason to watch the show or for you to be on here and commenting. (Unless it’s your cat’s regeneration, LOL (great avatar). And a 20′ purple scarf)
🙂4 January 2014 at 22:48 #23942Anonymous @
@scaryb — I rather look on commenting on the G these days to be rather like Indiana Jones being slowly lowered into the Well of Souls with its slithering floor of spitting serpents. But I do definitely think that the G’s version of JimTheFish has become something of a dick these days sometimes just because of (as you say) an automatic sense of defensiveness the minute you go there. I keep meaning to swear off it altogether. It’s amazing just how combative it has become just over the year we’ve been in operation here. And I’m so glad that this place brings out the best in all of us. Long may it continue.5 January 2014 at 05:30 #23948nicelyuseless @nicelyuseless
@scaryb Aww, thanks.
A 20′ purple scarf is a commitment. Still got it. And my cat, who I now call ‘Kidneys’.5 January 2014 at 17:39 #23966WhoGirl @whogirl
I thought Sherlock was BRILLIANT!!!!
So great to see it back on TV, don’t think I moved from my position on the sofa the whole episode for fear of missing the slightest thing! Liked that they threw us in with a theory that was completely wrong straight away, then teased us with another halfway through. Loved that the bloke was like, ‘was that it?!’
After speaking to a few friends, it seems I was the only one who wasn’t confused by which was the real one. I thought it was obvious that Sherlock’s was the real one, seeing as it was him who told us? I was slightly bemused by this! Also, I read a few articles online, and the Daily Mail was causing trouble by saying all Sherlock fans were left confused by which was the real answer. I was screaming, it’s obvious!! Didn’t they watch it properly? Or is this just me?
Looking forward to tonight’s episode, can’t wait for the Best Man’s speech…5 January 2014 at 18:40 #23968The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman
I wasn’t really that interested in how Sherlock faked his death. Any answer, no matter how clever it is, couldn’t possibly live up to the expectations the fans have had for the past 2 years. Also its never explained how Holmes survived his “death” in the books, so Conan Doyle didn’t think it was that important either.6 January 2014 at 14:22 #23997
SPOILERS for Sherlock The Power of Three !
A knowing opener in which the banks keep getting robbed from within over and over again, and then we were off…
I found myself tremendously moved by this episode. I thought the acting was superb (it is really hard to act drunk well), some beautiful cinematography, as last episode (I particularly liked the time-speed devouring of the wedding feast) but the meditation on friendship, love, feeling different in the world and the passage of time was what made me laugh and cry, cringe in empathy and watch with my heart sometimes really squeezed in my chest.
There are some interesting discussions online about the Moffat/ Gatiss’ Sherlock’s self diagnosis as a “high functioning sociopath” and his possible “diagnoses” as either on the autism or Asperger’s spectrum. This one from someone who says they have asked the opinions of four psychiatrists (although, as many who’ve encountered them report – what do psychiatrists know!) is worth a read:
The point being, that it’s important not to take dramatic narrative as diagnostically accurate (any more than it usually presents accurate forensics) and any labelling of Sherlock’s “difference” is something to be treated with extreme caution.
However, the depiction of his experience of living with “difference” (as well as the experience of those around him) is at the heart of The Power of Three and it is painted in visual and emotional layers of love and lavender.
Feeling “outsider” is something many people have experience of, whether temporary or longer lasting, and it’s painful. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock’s permanent experience of living with “difference” may have been treated to a degree of extended sentimentality of which the detective himself would assuredly not approve, but the episode’s portrait of friendship, as an admixture of admiration, irritation, exasperation, and loving the heck out of someone because of all of it, was damn sweet.
“A sentimentalist,” said Oscar Wilde, “is one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it”. But have no doubt, pay we will. This love-fest of an episode contained plenty of signs that terrible things are on their way.
Unfortunately, those terrible things look as if they are coming for the women in particular…
Molly’s boyfriend is obviously a wrong ‘un, and Mary received a wedding telegram which made her blench from someone who signed themselves CAM, Charles Augustus Milverton being a notorious blackmailer in the original stories. We already know Mary’s hiding something (Sherlock’s speed deduction of her character in the previous episode contained the word “liar”). Hold on to your top hats and tea cups for next week…7 January 2014 at 00:29 #24008
SPOILERS for Sherlock The Power of Three ! And for the Sign of Three too
Power of Three
It was a bit. (I’m assuming deliberate ref on your part). Power of Three is when the Doctor decides to try out life in the slow lane, and share his friends’ (normal) life for a while. Sign of Three shows Sherlock equally out of his depth as he tries to support his friend – and the friend’s partner 🙂 It was incredibly funny (the “time-speed devouring of the wedding feast” was brilliant – it was the accompanying sound effect that did it for me, made it slightly off-kilter) and yet, as you say, incredibly moving. You really feel for both Sherlock and John as he starts the speech – the embodiment of social ineptitude. You’re laughing at it, but at the same time I’m sure most people have been there; there’s a really warm heart to it. And a pregnancy. Yup, Power of Three. No Shakri tho… or was that the photographer?
It was written by Stephen Thompson who wrote Reichenback Fall, which I thought was great, also redolent with undercurrents of emotions (not seen any earlier ones tho so can’t compare) and directed by Colm (Bells of SJ) McCarthy. I thought he did a great job, quirky with panache, but subtle when required. Bullet time confetti indeed.
Online reaction is fearsome. While most of the critics gave it 4 or 5 stars, some of the below the line comments are vitriolic. Maybe 60-70% very positive but not much between that and ARSE. There’s a lot of serious Moff hating out there. The fact that Sherlock has a dysfunction that can’t be text book described is just another thing to batter the creators with. Sloppy research, lazy writing, it’s a soap, it’s not Daffy Duck blah blah….
But you’re right. All this fun stuff doesn’t bode well at all. Was that Charles Augustus Milverton at the end of Empty Hearse? Not to mention Sherlock – “I never make vows” – making a vow (his first and last) at the end, to always be there for (that’s approx – may have misremembered the exact words) both John and Mary.
Oh, and apparently there’s masses of v funny footage of Sherlock and Watson being drunk, that they didn’t have time or space to include7 January 2014 at 11:48 #24027
SPOILERS for Sherlock – The Sign of Three!
I agree that the happy atmosphere of this episode – which is in fact an Everybody Lives! episode – bodes. There is much boding, especially in the fact that someone who’s read the original stories will know that Mary dies.
I remember thinking in The Empty Hearse that, while we were meant to presume that the mysterious figure was concentrating on Sherlock’s reaction, he wasn’t. The part being continually replayed was Mary crying ‘John!’. The target is Mary. For some reason possibly connected with her knowledge of skip codes.
Um… witness protection programme? Is that why she’s an ‘orphan’? Was that the reason for the shennanigans with the bank gang – it was really obvious that the reasons they were getting off/knew of raids in advance was that the police are compromised.
Mary dying will also provide a through-line for the three stories. Sherlock starts – in The Empty Hearse – not understanding John’s grief in the slightest. He thinks John will be happy to see him back and doesn’t understand that John might be angry that his best friend put him through such needless pain.
In The Sign of Three we see that Sherlock, in fact, had no idea that he was John’s best friend. He ends up working with John and Mary on something entirely human – organising a wedding.
So if Mary dies, we can suspect that Sherlock might well grieve for Mary’s loss – but he’s also going to learn exactly what he put John through, because he’s going to have to support John this time. That’s His Last Vow; he swore he’d always be there “for all three of you”.
Now then – some bonkers theorising*. We had a nod to the character of Billy the Page Boy this week, with little Alfie(?) the page boy. That established that, surprisingly, Sherlock is good with kids.
While I have a horrible suspicion that they might well follow Doyle and have both Mary and the unborn baby die – they might not. Billy appears in more than one story, all the plays (Charlie Chaplin’s first role was as Billy) and many of the films. That means the later Baker Street dynamic is Holmes, Watson, Mrs Hudson – and a child. And they’ve had Sherlock vow to be there for the child, as well.
It follows on from the running gag of Holmes and Watson as effectively a couple; moving to the next stage of being a ‘couple’ with child. It makes sense within the Sherlock world because Watson doesn’t have any reliable relatives – as a newly single Dad, it’s going to have to be his friends (Sherlock, Mrs Hudson) who rally round. Moving back to Baker Street could make sense – because Mrs Hudson might offer to do the child-care while Watson’s working.
The producers also don’t have to worry too much about the technicalities of baby-wrangling. If they ever manage to book Cumberbatch and Freeman for Series 4, it’ll be a couple of years down the road. They’d be needing toddlers by then – and if there’s a Series 5, child actors.
*Might as well live up to our motto, even if there is only one upcoming episode to theorise about. 🙂7 January 2014 at 12:10 #24028
Sherlock SPOILERS and probably a bit of ARSE, sorry.
This episode had me on the edge of my seat. Not because of any plot line but because I was thinking, “something better happen soon or my wife is going to switch this off never to watch again!”.
I don’t mind the odd bit of plot relating to the personal lives of the Watson & Holmes but what we got in this episode really isn’t what I’m paying for 😉
As last weeks ep was, this seemed to be more behind-the-scenes, internet minisode fodder that detracts from the core of the show i.e. some sleuthing! It really does seem to have turned into a buddy comedy. I almost wish that the actors weren’t such A-listers as I think that also detracts from the shows mystery.
My wife spotted the soldier’s belt similarities as soon as she saw them being put on and I said “The Cameraman did it” as soon as the first wedding photo was taken! The whole story seemed as predictable and formulaic as an episode of Sarah Jane Adventures (no offense SJA team). Who wasn’t thinking, during the opening scene, that Sherlock summoning Lestrade wouldn’t be anything but a trivial matter?
I enjoy the visuals but it is possibly going a bit over the top in some cases, like the “I’m dating a ghost” web chats. Why did he need so many laptops, he could have done all the chats on one! Plus I didn’t buy the bit with Mycroft demanding Sherlock to think harder. I doubt Sherlock really needs that kind of ‘encouragement’ in his mind.
I’ll be watching the next episode but probably not so urgently as previous ones.7 January 2014 at 15:57 #24033
SPOILERS for Sherlock The Sign of Three
-it did remind me rather of Dorothy L. Sayers description of her own ‘Busman’s Honeymoon’. From memory, she said that normally people expect a detective story with love-story interruptions. This time she’d found herself writing a love-story with detective interruptions. 😉
I think the bit with Mycroft demanding Sherlock think harder and more logically will turn out to be important: it may mark the moment when Sherlock turns away decisively from his brother’s approach of ‘isolate yourself from other humans and apply pure logic to solve the puzzle.’
The image of Mycroft is replaced by the image of John – who represents being part of humanity, recognising feelings, and prioritising the saving of life. It’s later reprised by John telling Sherlock ‘You’re not a puzzle solver! You’re a drama queen!’ 😀7 January 2014 at 20:44 #24051
SPOILERS for Sherlock
PowerSign of Three 🙂
@bluesqueakpip I like the witness protection programme idea.
I think they’ll go with canon insofar as CAM will be a blackmailer, but I doubt Mary’s issue will be some indiscreet letters.
It would be a terrible shame if Moffat/ Gatiss kill Mary off so quickly, because she’s great, but alas, they probably will. Not sure they’ll go for “two men and a baby”, except that Moffat is rather fond of writing about families.
Now that I know that his wife Sue Vertue has a very distinguished producer mother Beryl Vertue, I begin to understand that the whole Amy Pond mother-in-law dynamic in Who was either a family in-joke or some interestingly Freudian creative leakage!
I don’t know if there are even plans for a fourth series of Sherlock, as both actors are probably, by now, taking far lower fees than they could get across the pond out of affection for the show. Maybe Sherlock will die in Watson’s arms having taken a bullet to save Mary’s life, just to complete this season’s fan fiction inspired romantic flourish.
Apt you should mention Dorothy L. Sayers and Busman’s Honeymoon. Whether you liked or hated The Sign of Three does indeed all depend on whether you like a heavy dose of romance with your detective fiction. Sayers admitted she fell rather in love with her own detective creation, Lord Peter Wimsey. Personally, a much younger (but still hopelessly romantic) me, really loved Busman’s Honeymoon.
Critical reaction to The Sign of Three is actually radically different in different spaces online. British newspaper professional critics may have carped, and the Guardian comments were largely inchoate. I am always confounded by people who just write “It was shit” or words to that effect. Tumblr however loves and adores this season (not that it speaks with one voice – there are very thoughtful criticisms there too). Tumblr, being populated by an international younger generation, is the future, so festivities there, plus very healthy viewing UK figures and I think the Beeb will be celebrating overall.
@scaryb If there is extra drunk footage I’m sure they’ll put some of that on the DVD 🙂8 January 2014 at 17:54 #24072
Probably a bit of an echo, but I enjoyed The Sign of Three (potential spoilers to follow) as well.
I think as others have said on the Gs board, just what would be the point of remounting the tales of ACD once again, and I can’t fault the production team of Sherlock for taking a very different path (I’m just going to acknowledge here, I’m finding it easy to load the profiles of regular commentators like @jimthefish. @scaryb, @bluesqueakpip, @juniperfish, and a few non-forum names on the G, just to avoid having to wade through some really predictable shit and save hours of valuable time).
These are really character driven pieces, and hats of to the two leads and supports who are really having a good time with the material. I think I can understand some level of wailing from those who are expecting the usual, but surely there are options for those who want the taste of reassuring olds, rather than the new?
I think this latest trio is handling the return of Sherlock and his attempts to integrate his life back into his circle of “friends” really well. He’s been shown to be attempting to capture the old magic of the relationships, and you can see it’s not working. As a result he isn’t really firing on all cylinders, hence I think the points about internal conflict (Mycroft v. John) and potentially missing certain clues (I hadn’t really noticed the observations about the now Mrs Watson, so thanks to those who did).
There are laugh out loud moments, and moments of sadness. Much of this is hilarious, but hats of to Cumberbatch for the end. I think his shock at realising Mary’s condition was well played. I think for someone trying to recapture the old magic that would have been confirmation that if marriage would take John away from him, a child would be an even more significant change. His slow walk away from the party, someone observed, reminded me of Pertwee leaving Jo’s party at the end of The Green Death. It highlights the “alien” qualities of these characters in how they are perceived.
I’m really looking forward to the concluding part.8 January 2014 at 18:51 #24076Anonymous @
These are really character driven pieces, and hats of to the two leads and supports who are really having a good time with the material
Agreed. And I think it was necessary to foreground the relationships more in this series primarily because Sherlock himself has taken an extreme psychological knock even before the jump. And then we’ve Watson’s psychological shock of dealing with the loss — and return — of his friend. I can understand why the change in approach and tone has unsettled some but I think the decisions made have been the right ones.
I think they’ll go with canon insofar as CAM will be a blackmailer, but I doubt Mary’s issue will be some indiscreet letters.
Also agree with this and I too like @bluesqueakpip‘s witness protection idea. Could it be that Mary is a former part of the bankrobbing gang who has fled them? That would tie in with more than a few ACD stories.
I also like that CAM seems to be based at least slightly on Robert Hardy’s portrayal in the Brett series — for me The Master Blackmailer was the high point of that series and it’ll please me of they pay some kind of homage to it. And I agree that CAM will be a little more than a blackmailer now. Perhaps an NSA-style operative with his own Operation Prism outfit (which could filter back in to Mycroft perhaps?) or a phone-hacking journo maybe?
But I am very much looking forward to Sunday, expect it to go quite dark but have in general enjoyed this run a lot more than some seemed to.
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