Tag Archives: Steve Moffat

Sherlock Special…an apology?

17 Mar

I was very interested yesterday to see that Steve Moffat has said that the Sherlock special is set entirely in Victorian London and is not a part of a three episode arc.  It is a stand alone story.

To me this is very interesting.  As I have said before, I am a Sherlock Holmes fan first, and a Sherlock fan second.  With that in mind, I have to tell you that I was deeply disappointed with series 3 of “Sherlock”.  I loved “The Empty Hearse”, but I disliked “The Sign of Three” and “His Last Vow” intensely.  Both episodes went too far off canon for my liking. Mary Morstan was NOT an assassin.  In season 2, Irene Adler as a dominatrix rather than an opera singer was clever.  Both professions are/were a little dodgy in their respective time periods.  But Mary Morstan as a ruthless killer for hire?  No, nay, NEVER!  Holmes disapproved of Watson’s marriage and did not attend the wedding.  He sure as shit didn’t arrange it or was best man.  Too far away from the originals for my comfort.  Way too far.  I am not the only Sherlockian to feel like this.

The only thing that saved “The Sign of Three” and “His Last Vow” was the friendship between Sherlock and John.  That was as strong as ever, and as it is the core of the canon, it went some way to redeeming both episodes in my eyes.  Not enough that I will willing subject myself to watching them again, however.

In my opinion “Sherlock” is starting to head into “Elementary” territory, ie, using the character names, but the characters don’t have the spirit of the originals.  Nothing more than a drama using well known characters, but not respecting the spirit of those characters.

I think Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss are aware that they are now treading in dangerous waters.  Waters that could rise up and swallow them.

Hence the special.  A purely Victorian special. Something to make the hearts of all Sherlockians beat faster with excitement.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman bringing their special on screen chemistry as Sherlock and John to the more traditional Holmes and Watson.  From what we have seen from the setlock photographs, it is obvious that the special is something of a tip of the hat to past incarnations of the immortal duo.  Several shots I have seen recreate scenes from Granada Televisions wonderful adaptations staring Jeremy Brett and David Burke/Edward Hardwicke.  Other photos I have seen made me think of “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”, the Billy WIlder film staring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely that was one of the inspirations for “Sherlock”.  Indeed, the Mycroft of “Sherlock” is lifted lock, stock, and a cellar full of barrels, from the movie.

The special is a return to the roots of “Sherlock”.  To the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that captured the imagination of generations.

In light of this, I am wondering if the special is a form of apology.  An apology to the Sherlockians who came to “Sherlock” looking for a modern take on the icons, and were horrified by the direction season 3 took.

I can honestly say that I am looking forward more to the special than I am to season 4.

A Few Speculations on “His Last Vow”

7 Jan

There’s a lot of talk on Twitter, and such like internet sites, about the forth coming “Sherlock” season 3 episode “His Last Vow”.  I’ve had a few thoughts on this that I thought I might share.

The thing that is freaking more than a few “Sherlock” fans out is the hospital scene.  We don’t know what happens in the hospital yet, but exterior scenes were shot with John and Lestrade and, of course, rumour is running around like a hamster in a wheel.  Going nowhere fast and ultimately futile.

A section of the fandom seems to think that it is Sherlock who is hospitalised.  There is nothing to support this speculation at all.

Those of us who are Sherlockians, and have read all the stories more times than we care to count, do know one thing.  Don’t get too attached to Mary Morstan.  She didn’t survive long in the books.  A  few times Mrs Watson is mentioned, then *BOOM* – gone.  Over the years there has been lots of discussion as to the disappearance of Mary Watson nee Morstan.  Apart from the obvious one that ACD realised that she buggered up the action and so just quietly dropped the character, or given his cavalier attitude to continuity (DO NOT get me started on Watson’s Wandering War Wound) just forgot her, one or two ideas as to her fate have been discussed deeply.  One very popular theory is that Mary died either in childbirth or while miscarrying. 

Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and Steve Thompson are all Sherlockians.  They have not deviated from the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s immortal creations.  However, if they allow John and Mary to have children and allow Mary to live, that would be shifting “Sherlock” into the realms of “Elementary”.  Just another show that happens to use the names of famous characters.  The spirit of the original stories would be well and truly violated.

There are some good clues that Mary is deeply involved in “His Last Vow”.  The message she got at the wedding that was signed “CAM”. Charles Augustus Magnessun.  Somehow, in some way, Mary has fallen into his clutches.

Steve Moffat has written “His Last Vow” – I cannot see him being so damned obvious as to have Sherlock’s life hanging by a thread at season end. 

There are a few possibilities as I see it.

1. Mary Morstan is hospitalised after suffering a miscarriage.

2. Mary attempts to commit suicide, either because of CAM or because John discovers what it is CAM knows about Mary.

3. Mycroft has Sherlock committed to a psychiatric hospital.

4. Mycroft has a heart attack.

Of course, knowing Steve Moffat, I will be completely wrong on all counts.  I look forward to finding out.

A Study In Pink

21 Apr

Having got everything arse about face by writing about Reichenbach Fall first, I decided that I really need to write about each Sherlock episode and from this point forward actually be logical about it.

First off, I have to say that “A Study in Pink” (written by Steve Moffat) is one of my favorite Sherlock episodes.  I was hooked from the opening scenes of John’s flashback dream. 

The press conference scene started reeling me in.  Reporter: But if they are murders, how do people keep themselves safe? Lestrade: Well, don’t commit suicide.

You have no idea just how much the sheer absurdity of that scene delighted me.

The final scene that frankly had me landed and gaffed was the scene in the mortuary with Sherlock beating the corpse.  As a Sherlockian since the age of 10, seeing the scene that is mentioned in passing in “A Study in Scarlet”, actually acted out on screen was the icing on the cake.  I knew then that this show was for me.  Clever, witty, and loaded with treats for Sherlockians.

The chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman was immediate and electric. They are just pure joy to watch together on screen.  I think the scene in the taxi on the way to Lauriston Gardens is one of my favorite scenes across the entire series.  Sherlock explaining his deductions and John’s stunned, awed reactions.  And in that scene there is the moment when you know those two characters are bonded for life.  Sherlock: That’s not what people normally say.  John: What do people normally say? Sherlock: Piss off!

Watching again for about the fifth time, one thing struck me about the first scene with Donovan and Anderson.  If our Sherlock is a virgin I’ll eat Benedict’s coat!  Sherlock’s comment on the state of Sally’s knees could be construed as innocent.  Except for the sarcastic tone and the snide expression on his face!  How many virgins do you know that know about blow jobs?  All answers in the comments section below please.

The scene where John meets Mycroft is pure perfection.  I guessed that the character was Mycroft not Moriarty.  Mostly because something in Mark Gatiss’ body language immediately put me in mind of Christopher Lee in that role in “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”.  Best exchange in that scene: Mycroft: You don’t seem very afraid.  John: You don’t seem very frightening.

Also the text messages from Sherlock to John in that scene are canon.  They comprise a telegram sent by Holmes to Watson in one of Conan Doyle’s books.  Not telling you which one.  Chasing around looking for the reference will do you good.

The scene in the restaurant is good too.  Even if our Sherlock slips up.  He misinterprets John’s comments, showing a rather sweet, naive side to him.

The drugs bust at 221B Baker Street shows Lestrade has an edge which makes him a more interesting character than one immediately supposes from his first appearances.  Lestrade is more than a generic police character.  Rupert Graves was the perfect choice for Lestrade.

The scenes with the cabbie.  Okay.  Those were just damn creepy, though not without a sort of macabre humour. Jeff Hope: I’ve out lived four people.  Most fun you can have with an aneurism. 

The very best scenes of the episode come right at the end.  Sherlock realizing that it was John who saved his life.  The grin on Lestrade’s face as he turns away from a blustering Sherlock says clearly that he, too, knows who killed the cabbie, and has no intention of doing a damn thing about it.  Best exchange comes from this scene.  John: We can’t giggle at a crime scene! Sherlock: You’re the one who shot him!

The revelation that Mycroft is Sherlock’s brother and basically the entire British government sets the tone for the future, as he intones their names as they walk away towards the camera.

Absolute perfection.


The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

1 Apr

This movie, written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond, and produced and directed by Billy Wilder, is one of my all time favourite films.  It’s also a favourite of Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat.  Which shows when you watch it on dvd two days after watching “A Scandal in Belgravia”.  I kept finding small points of correlation between the two.  I won’t bring them up.  I’ll let you watch the dvd and discover them for yourselves.  More fun that way.

The cast was pretty impressive.  Robert Stephens played Sherlock Holmes.  His Holmes is damaged, cold, and borderline misogynistic.  Though he denies it.  Holmes: I don’t dislike women, I merely distrust them.  The twinkle in the eye and the arsenic in the soup.

Colin Blakely’s John Watson is less successful.  Whilst not written as a buffoon, that is, unfortunately how Colin played him.  A womaniser, and obviously less intelligent than Holmes.  I had a hard time believing this Watson had ever been an army officer or qualified as a doctor!  Thankfully, the portrayal does not greatly detract from the movie.  But don’t watch it expecting the warm relationship that is apparent in Sherlock.  This Holmes appears at times to almost despise his Watson.  Holmes uses Watson to get out of an awkward situation by intimating that they are a gay couple, without caring how much it would hurt Watson.  An angry, upset Watson tries to work out ways to still any forthcoming gossip.  Watson: Maybe if we got married.  Holmes: Then they’d really talk!

The real comic relief was supplied by the great Irene Handl as Mrs Hudson.  Her relationship with Holmes is almost adversarial.  He enjoys annoying her and baiting her.  Watson: Maybe Mrs Hudson’s entertaining?  Holmes: I’ve never found her so.

The plot is convoluted and intricate, and at times appears to be disconnected.  Involving as it does, Swan Lake, the Loch Ness Monster, and six missing midgets.  Trust me, it all works out in the end.

Of course, there is a Woman.  Not Irene Adler, but Gabrielle Valladon played by Genevieve Page.  Naturally, she isn’t what she is supposed to be.  There are a couple of scenes involving the character that I felt jarred.  Her running naked into Holmes’ arms didn’t worry me, but Watson’s reaction to finding her naked in Holmes’ bed was way off beam.  They are supposed to be friends, but Watson immediately thinks the worst of Holmes! And Holmes sneeringly lets him!  Holmes: If you must know, I found her body quite rewarding. Watson: You cad! Holmes: Especially the palm of her right hand!

First couple of times I watched the movie I completely missed that double entendre!

One of the high points of the film is Christopher Lee as Mycroft Holmes.  He is absolutely perfect (though Mark Gatiss’ Mycroft is my favourite).  The chemistry between Robert Stephens and Christopher Lee just sparks.

Mycroft is coldly condescending to his brother.  He also makes Watson as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  Mycroft eventually gets his comeuppance at the hands of Queen Victoria.  Holmes: Well Mycroft, it seems like we’ve both been undone by a woman.

If you are Sherlockian, I think you will love the movie.  There is just so much to love about “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”.   I know a lot of people didn’t like it when it was released, but really, in my opinion, the good outweighs the bad.

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