Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OK, maybe you don't deserve this. . . .

But I'm on a roll and I ain't gonna stop.

Episode Review - Leviathan

So far this has been one of my favorite episodes.
Sure, things can still be changed and made better and be a little more Canonical, but I still liked it.

As has been mentioned on another blog I follow, it was nice to see clients come by 'Baker St' for a change, which all Sherlockians love.
It was a good touch to have the client show up as a recommendation from a previous client or someone who knows Sherlock.  We see that happen a lot in the canon, it lets us know that more cases have happened than the ones we have been able to observe, and maybe it also make us wish we know more about those 'unwritten' cases. This happens a lot in the Canon and has fascinated and frustrated readers for a very long time. (May we yet see a giant rat?)

As buddy2blogger also mentioned, we hear, a few times, one of our favorite quotes from the canon, "Once you have eliminated the obvious. . ..' and it was well bantered back and forth between Holmes and Watson during the show.

Another reference to a Sherlockianism that I thought was kinda cool was the discussion on the side- walk, after retrieving the stolen art work, about not reporting the crimes to the police. There would be nothing to gain from turning in an old man and destroying his reputation with his family. After all Holmes is not “. . .  retained by the police to supply their deficiencies." This happens in BLUE as well as a couple of other places I believe.

I think it is also kinda cool that this happens in an episode aired in Dec., again, Blue Carbuncle month, where, like in BLUE, this benevolence also takes place.
Maybe also a nod to BLUE is the keeping of stolen items till the case is completely resolved, in this case the painting, which has nothing to do with the stolen jewels, but is interesting in itself.
Also to be noted was that this episode about jewel theft aired right before Christmas, Blue Carbuncle month, with no new episodes till after the first of the month. Maybe the writers are paying attention to the Canon, at least to some extent.

This show also started to examine how Watson can be kept with Holmes once the time of his rehabilitation is over. And using Joan's family in that plot line was kinda cool. It gave us a bit of a background on Watson and opened a dialog for continuing the relationship with Holmes.

It would be nice if the addictions started playing less into the plot lines and maybe that will fade a little now that Watson's story can take a different line. When we first meet Watson in the books he is getting over some physical injuries and trying to find away to rebuild his life. In 'Leviathan' and in 'Elementary' the war aspect can not be used, so 'Watson's' injuries are of a more personal nature. Also in the reading, we learn, although frustrated by Holmes behavior many times, that this is a life that Watson comes to love and can't imagine at some point not having known or shared with Holmes.
I think, the conversation in the cab about Joan being unconventional and on some certain level enjoying the bizarre nature of Holmes' work really handled well an explanation of why in the end there would be no Holmes without Watson and no Watson without Holmes. I thought the way that was handled was very clever. In the Canon Watson had no purpose after his time in service and by a chance meeting at the Criterion his life (and ours) changed in a way he never would have expected.
Although meeting in a different way, but still a meeting by medical circumstances, Joan is now finding a new purpose after being adrift for a while after her personal war.

I also think Millers performance around 'Watson's' family was very much Canonical in nature; Holmes being able to put on a persona' when the need arises. It could also show that he is starting to realize the need he has for Watson in his life, and not as an addiction companion.

Holmes shows a lot more kindness in this episode; his treatment of Watson, while still not suffering fools very well; his treatment of 'Greenstick'.

Four out of five pipes from me on this one.

Hope you feel the same.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Would we expect it any other way. . . .

Star Trek: Benedict Cumberbatch is truly tantalising

With the debut trailer out, big questions remain about the bad guy Cumberbatch is playing in his first big Hollywood role

  1. Star Trek Into Darkness
  2. Production year: 2013
  3. Directors: JJ Abrams
  4. Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine , Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
  5. More on this film
JJ AbramsStar Trek was something of a surprise treat three years ago, impressively reinvigorating a tired franchise that seemed to have nowhere to go, boldly or otherwise. It may have rubbed purists' noses up the wrong way with its space opera leanings and focus on intense action, yet it delivered a full-blooded vision of extra-planetary conflict like nothing seen before on the big screen while dropping a respectful nod in the direction of its predecessors.
Sequel Star Trek Into Darkness is out in May and the four-year gap alone would have been enough to suggest optimism, Abrams having pointedly refused to sign on until a decent script was in place. The recruitment of Benedict Cumberbatch to play the lead villain only adds to the tantalisation factor, this being the Sherlock star's first big Hollywood role (not counting CGI turns in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or a brief appearance in Spielberg's War Horse).
The debut trailer hit the internet today, and nine minutes from the film will be screening ahead of Imax presentations of The Hobbit. The discussion surrounding Into Darkness has centred on whether Abrams will head intoStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan territory; while Cumberbatch's as yet unnamed bad guy is unlikely to be the genetically engineered tyrant played by Ricardo Montalban in the 1982 movie (Cumberbatch appears to be wearing a Star Fleet uniform, after all) there are significant hints that something Khan-like is going down.
For a start, Cumberbatch is clearly intent on revenge, the same passion that drove his chest-thrusting predecessor into madness and beyond. On the other hand, so was Romulan meanie Nero in Star Trek: clearly, the reboot series' creators have decided that a little bit of genuine anger makes for a far more convincing bad guy. The suggestion that Cumberbatch might have good reason for his assault on Star Fleet and the Earth itself tallies with a comment from the British actor at a press conference in Japan this week in which he appeared to hint that his character was far from an out-and-out villain.
"He is very ruthless … He is not a clearly good or evil character," said Cumberbatch. "He is a villain but the actions he takes have intent and reason. He is a complicated character not to be judged by white-or-black, or good-or-evil. But this is the appeal of JJ's works and [why] I felt challenged as an actor." Abrams added: "The character is a villain and scary, but I was looking for an actor with humanity who audiences can sympathies with."
Another hint that the director is channelling Wrath of Khan only appears in the Japanese version of the trailer. Thanks to Cinemablend for this screengrab, that shows two sets of hands pressed against each other from opposite sides of a pane of glass. Anyone who has seen the earlier film will remember that this is the bit where Spock dies after being trapped in a radioactive chamber. Leonard Nimoy reputedly only agreed to appear in the sequel to the 1979's misfiring Star Trek: The Motion Picture because he would never have to play the Vulcan again. Of course, the second film turned out to be the best in the series and the powers that be were forced to resurrect Captain Kirk's pointy-eared sidekick for 1984's weaker Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Is Abrams planning to kill off Spock again? That seems pretty unlikely, with Zachary Quinto only one movie into an impressive run as the taciturn deputy. So what exactly is going on here? The fact that the Japanese trailer ends with Cumberbatch asking: "Is there anything you would not do for your family?" only further confuses the issue.
Elsewhere, I'm loving the glimpses of a future, silvery blue Earth metropolis threatened with destruction and the way it's contrasted with a strange, rust-orange, mossy alien landscape in the trailer. Britain's Alice Eve (playing a new member of the Starship Enterprise) has presumably been brought on board to give Chris Pine's Kirk someone to flirt with now that Spock and Uhuru are a public item.
But this one really does appear to be all about Cumberbatch: who is he playing, and will he be up to the task?


Monday, December 10, 2012

Elementary Review - 'Do it yourself'

Review of 'Do it Yourself' or 'The Problem at Thor Bridge'
Lots of things in common with the two.
An abusive relationship.
Revenge crime.
Not actually directing the blame towards the spouse, but instead the lover.
In both cases it was the jilted lover that plotted the revenge and setup.
Both were done with guns.

I really liked this episode, but missed Watson's involvement more, but I still believe that lack of involvement was because the writers are still trying to develop good back stories.

I am finding it hard to imagine why others are not liking this show very much. Yea, sure, it has it's faults and there  could be lots more canonical references, but over all I think it is a good show.

Throughout the canon we enjoy Holmes's deductions, and for the most part, those deductions are rather subtle and many times have nothing to do with the cases the stories are about. Many of them come in the opening pages, and usually at Watson's expense.
Very few of these deduction are grand and showy, but are observations made by Holmes of all the things he sees, that others miss.
I really think this show is doing a good job, just like in the canon, of making these deductions almost seem commonplace once they are explained to the viewer (reader). Millers delivery helps get this impression across.
And just like in the canon, Watson's medical knowledge often comes into play helping Holmes come up with answers.

I do agree that things still have room to improve. I would love to see each episode cover one of the cases in the canon instead just passing references.
I would love to see the drug addiction become less of a theme, but then again, until Watson finds another reason to tag along, they need that back story.

I think this show is as good as 'Sherlock' (gasp!!!), especially the writing (another gasp!!!) and here is why.

The performances of Mr. Cumberbatch and Mr. Freeman are what is carrying Sherlock at the moment,  (both I agree should get very high marks for this by the way). And I hope they get the writing to keep it going.
But because of the writing, the character of Holmes has almost become cartoonish. Moriarty is way over the  top and very un-canonical.
One big differences is that 'Sherlock' was always expected to be great, and started out with the promise, but because of the writing is not doing that and must now prove it deserves that expectation. While Elementary was never expected to be great, and is proving to be almost as good, and just needs to get a little better.

A number of years ago, when we hosted Brett in St. Louis, you could see vast differences between the Dr Who people and the Sherlockians present that weekend. And I think the same thing is happening with Sherlock.

One reviewer commented on Millers' Holmes sitting on a toilet in the last episode and saying how unnecessary it was. While I would suggest that, in Sherlock, where Holmes goes to the palace in nothing but a sheet is far more out of line and un-

'Elementary' is not, at least yet, relaying on grandiose plot lines to get our attention, such as naked high price hookers, sword welding Holmes rescuing Adlers and leaps off of buildings ala' Reichenbach to keep our attention. Sherlock has almost fallen into a Guy Richie phase where we are not sure if it is going to be slapstick or mystery.

I was thinking the other day; 'Sherlock' is sort of for the highbrow Shelockians, the ones most likely to get printed in the BSJ, (maybe, almost,'I think it must be a great show, because everyone says it is').While 'Elementary' is for us Strand readers who wish we could get printed in the BSJ.

I really like 'Sherlock' and still have high hopes for it, but I also really like 'Elementary' and also have high hopes for it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lets hold our breath and hope it's true.

Young Sherlock Holmes Remake Will Probably Be Written By Disney’s Go-To Sequeler

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the past few years we’ve truly been left wanting for Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Why, since 2009 all we’ve had is BBC’s modern-day update Sherlock, CBS’ modern-day update Elementary, $215 million worth of big screen blockbuster versions courtesy of Guy Ritchie and, best of all, The Asylum’s low-budget mockbuster which featured Sherlock Holmes fighting a dinosaur and a robot (not at the same time).
Fear no more, readers, for the long wait is over and your thirst for more Holmes goodness will soon be quenched. Talks about a Paramount remake of Barry Levinson’s 1985 prequel Young Sherlock Holmes have been in the air for a couple of months, and it seems that the studio are finally closing in on a writer for the film.
According to The Wrap, said writer is Evan Spiliotopoulos, who is best known for writing every direct-to-DVD Disney sequel known to man. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but his previous credits includeCinderella 3: A Twist in TimeThe Lion King 1 1/2, The Jungle Book 2Tarzan 2The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, and the forthcoming Wanted 2. Admittedly that last one is not a Disney sequel, but I hope it will have extended musical numbers anyway.

Credit where credit is due.

And. . . Because it's Friday, you deserve it. . ..

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey (and who isn't!)

Hugh Bonneville will be on NPR"s 'Wait, wait, don't tell me' this weekend, Sat. and Sunday.
Check your NPR stations for times and listings.

And just for the fun of it. . . .

Slide show and scroll.

Oh, yea,. . . there is a Sherlock connection.
What is it?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nice piece. . . .

Designing Sherlock: The Influence of Sidney Paget
Who’s this?
You knew at first glance, didn’t you? Even without facial features or a corresponding story, it’s clear that this is a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes.
Full disclosure: I’ve never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories or novels. I’ve read Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald.” I’ve seen the first Robert Downey Jr. film, and plan on seeing the second. And, of course, I’ve seen the wonderful TV series written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Yet, despite never having read a single word of Conan Doyle’s, I can describe what Sherlock Holmes looks like. Deerstalker cap. “Inverness” cape. This image of Sherlock, literature’s most famous detective, has come to be used like a proprietary eponym; as a symbol for detectives in general, or as an icon on the spines of books indicating that they are in the mystery genre. It could be argued, and has, that the person responsible for the look of Sherlock is as responsible as Doyle, if not more, for the character’s longevity in the pop culture consciousness.
Well, if that’s the case, I guess we’d better shine a spotlight on him during Sherlock Holmes week, huh? Let’s get to know famed illustrator, Sidney Paget.
Sidney Paget wasn’t even supposed to get this job. The Strand, the British magazine that first published Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in July 1891, mistakenly sent him the letter of commission for the illustration job rather than send it to his brother, Walter Paget, also an illustrator.
Oooh! Burn! Then again, Walter Paget has been called the “least talented” illustrator amongst the Paget brothers, so had he gotten the job, the Sherlock Holmes illustrations might not seem as prestigious as they do now. Who knows?
What we do know is that Sidney Paget studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and had a successful career outside of his work for The Strand. He was well-regarded in the industry for his work in such publications as Pall Mall Magazine, the Illustrated London NewsThe Graphic, and The Sphere. He also provided illustrations that popularized another detective series: Arthur Morrison’s Martin Hewitt character was sort of the anti-Sherlock (in much the same way that Artemis Fowl is the anti-Harry Potter), and Paget’s illustrations were responsible for popularizing that series of stories in its time. But there are benefits to being the character that came first, and Sherlock came first, meaning that Paget’s illustrations were able to launch an already novel character into the stratosphere by providing an indelible image that would not only be popular to readers at the time, but would become associated with the character long after the writer’s and illustrator’s deaths.
Sidney Paget was not the first person to draw Holmes. That distinction goes to David Henry Friston, who illustrated A Study in Scarlet which, along with the novel The Sign of the Four, came before Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock story in The Strand, “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Paget’s ultimate success with the character is interesting when considering Friston’s original illustrations. Here’s one of Friston’s illustrations from A Study in Scarlet:
The silhouette is very similar to the one we know, but it’ somehow. Sherlock’s hat is curved, sort of like a deerstalker cap, but it seems to be more of an overstretched bowler. His coat is kind of like a cape, but it’s more an elongated trench coat. It’s as if Friston had an instinct about the character, but chose to ignore it in favor of clothing that Victorian readers might be more ready to accept on a protagonist.
But it wasn’t this look that caught fire. It was Paget’s take on the character that did. But why? Here’s an illustration from “Silver Blaze”:
Whereas the Holmes of Friston’s illustration seems as blocky and bumbling as the police officers with which he’s surrounded, one could never mistake the Sherlock of Paget’s illustration for a mere police officer. In the stories, Watson describes Holmes as “bohemian” and “eccentric,” but he is also clearly an upper-class, university-educated man with a sense of fashion and propriety. This may be why Paget only depicted Sherlock in the deerstalker cap and Inverness cape in appropriate situations, like when he was working out in a rural setting, or traveling cross-country like in the above illustration, or the first time he dons the get-up in “The Boscombe Valley Mystery.” However, the choice of garb also suggests something about the character that I think was intentional. Sherlock isn’t just a consulting detective. He’s a hunter — methodical, patient, and constantly springing back waiting to pounce or come out from behind something and yell “Ah, HA!” The Sherlock of Paget’s illustrations seems comfortable in or out of the hat and cape, which speaks to his bohemian nature. Whether in a Victorian drawing room, or wandering around the grounds of a country estate, Sherlock is always at home and always entirely himself — as long as he’s on a case.
In this essay on the illustrations for “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the author (sadly, I couldn’t find his/her name) says “[‘A Scandal in Bohemia’] was the first story illustrated by Paget.  In it he established not only recognizable features that would become synonymous with Holmes and Watson, but he also established an air of confidence and sureness of action that would be the foundation of their relationship and their cases. Paget makes us see the English in the characters. And therein lies the magic.” It isn’t just the hat and cape. Paget’s illustrations capture the dynamics of Holmes and Watson, both in relation to each other and to other characters in a way that illustrators after Paget tried desperately to imitate. The choice of deerstalker cap and Inverness cape also emphasize the Britishness of the character, which may be another reason why that particular image is so indelible. Paget’s choices make the character specific. Sherlock Holmes isn’t just any consulting detective. He’s a resolutely British one, and Paget chose to emphasize those things, rather than try to make him “universal.” It is that kind of specificity that makes a work of art survive the test of time.
I first learned about Sidney Paget at Geek Girl Con back in October, when I went to a Scott Westerfeld panel and he did an amazing presentation about the importance of illustration. Using Paget as an example, he showed how important an illustrator could be not only in creating a work of fiction, but in sparking the imagination of the reader. He regrets that, for some reason, we’ve gotten it into our heads that illustration is the sole purview of children’s books and comics, and that the common argument against “pictures” in books is that it stifles the imagination, when illustrations used to accompany most books for adults! Meanwhile, I regret the fact that short fiction, which once had a permanent home in mainstream publications seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur (or worse, the way of the underperforming short story collection). Perhaps, remembering successes like Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and Sidney Paget’s timeless illustrations might help us remember what it is that people love about fiction. Not all stories with pictures are for children. We’ve started to accept this with comics and graphic novels. However, that medium is mostly pictures with fewer words. There is a way for prose stories to benefit from the use of well-placed and beautifully-drawn illustrations. Here’s hoping that, by remembering the work of Sidney Paget, we remember how to go about doing that.
And now, I’ll leave you with a photo of Sidney Paget in a deerstalker cap. It seems appropriate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A review - 'Steampunk Holmes'

Steampumk Holmes is sort of an ongoing web book project that will take Holmes and Watson into the Steampunk world involving them in adventures with the likes of Cap. Nemo and Frankenstein and supposedly many others.

I have just finished reading the Kindle addition of 'Steampunk Holmes, the Legacy of the Nautilus'.
The book is written by P.C. Martin and is an admitted redevelopment of 'The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans' with Steampunk contraptions and atmosphere and devices added.
Martin writes very good Sherlockian style and is very easy to read and sets a good Sherlockian scene.
It would be nice to see her write some original pastiches with original plots.

This story is however just a retelling of BRUC without very good Steampunk additions.
The steampunk devices and contraptions used in the story are not done well enough to convincingly take Holmes and Watson into a Steampunk world.

Steampunk devices are suppose to inhabit the Victorian world in a seemingly natural way as to make them seem not to out of place. Jules Verne did that well in his Capt. Nemo books and they should have been a model for this work. Here however we are left feeling like the book should be called, "Holmes meets the Bionic Man.'

The art work is not good enough to make me like the individuals either.

I doubt if I will follow the other books as they come out, but I would like to see P.C. Martin write some of her own Holmes books.

Steampunk Holmes

Fun, if not quite complete. ..

A brief History of Holmes

Monday, December 3, 2012

I have to say I agree. . .

"Well Played!" I mean said. . . . .

Great Scott: Sherlock Holmes's arch nemesis refuses to be typecast

Scott played Holmes’s arch enemy Moriarty with such memorable mischievousness, he became the nation’s number-one villain – and caught the attention of Hollywood. Now he's set to star in new ITV1 drama The Town.


Kalpesh Lathigra
view gallery VIEW GALLERY
The makers of BBC1's Sherlock may have raised Benedict Cumberbatch from the dead after Holmes's apparently suicidal rooftop jump in last season's finale, The Reichenbach Fall, but that really was, it seems, the end of Andrew Scott and his deliciously deviant Moriarty. Holmes's great adversary shot himself in the mouth – just desserts, you could say, for all those wheedling comments, such as his greeting to Holmes in The Great Game in 2010 (the first time we met Scott's interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's arch-villain): "Is that a British Army L9A1 in your pocket are you just pleased to see me?".
"They've resurrected Sherlock so I think it would be a bit weird to resurrect Moriarty as well," says Scott when we meet. "It would be sort of Bobby Ewing in the shower." And so in January, when the cast reconvene in Cardiff, the Dublin-born actor won't be joining them. "I know absolutely nothing about the new episodes," he claims, as I fish for clues as to how exactly Holmes manages to fake his apparent suicide.
Unless, of course, he is lying and Jim Moriarty is going to make a surprise re-appearance – but then that would be to credit Scott with the deviousness of his slippery, shape-shifting character, and the two could not be more different. Scott is not without nervous energy (at one point his legs start jittering like a murder suspect being given the third degree), but he doesn't have Moriarty's febrile intensity (thank goodness). He's friendly and likeable, shy rather than sly – although a bit of an interviewer's nightmare with his habit of fading out midway through sentences.
Anyway, the upside of his departure from Sherlock is that, while the 'Cumberbitches' (as Benedict Cumberbatch's female admirers are charmingly known) have to wait at least a year until they see their heartthrob back on television, Scott's own band of followers ("They do have a name, but I keep forgetting it," he says with genuine frustration) need only wait till early next month to see their man on the small screen again.
In the three-part ITV1 drama The Town, he plays 30-year-old Mark, who, after 10 years in London, returns to his home town, 'Renton' (it was actually filmed in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire), following a shocking family tragedy. I won't divulge more for fear of spoiling some early and nicely-worked surprises; suffice to say that Scott heads a cast that includes Julia McKenzie, Charlotte Riley, Gerard Kearns and Martin Clunes.
In any case, the most eye-catching element of The Town is that it is the first work for television of acclaimed playwright Mike Bartlett, who wrote the Chariots of Fire adaptation currently running in the West End. Scott and Bartlett's association goes back to the Royal Court, where Scott won the second of his two Laurence Olivier Awards in 2010 in Bartlett's Cock, playing a gay man angry and confused by the fact that his boyfriend (played by Ben Whishaw) has fallen in love with a woman.
"My interest in The Town was because of Mike," says Scott. "What I like about him is that he can do plays at the Royal Court and he can write drama that's accessible… he's not a snob in any way." In fact, raw material like this could have been fashioned into the sudsiest of melodrama, whereas Bartlett has crafted something fresh and intriguing.
After Sherlock he was offered endless variations on Moriarty-like super-villains. "It's absolutely to be expected," he says in his soft Irish accent (playing back my recording, he sounds just like Dylan Moran). "Everybody was so shocked that I would be playing a bad guy three years ago; now it's completely the opposite. One could increase one's profile by doing more and more of that stuff, but I've done a lot of different sorts of stuff without a lot of scrutiny and so I know what I want to do."
And one of those things, unexpectedly for such an intense screen presence, is comedy – it's a bit like hearing that Daniel Day-Lewis has just done a sitcom. I'm sure he'll be great, though, and Scott returns to his native Ireland next month to begin filming The Stag, written by his friend Peter McDonald, whose short film, Pentecost, was last year nominated for an Oscar. "It's about this guy – like a lot of guys – who doesn't want to have a stag party," says Scott, who visits Dublin regularly to see friends and family, but has never before been back to work.
Born in 1976, the middle child (his older sister is now a sports coach and his younger sister is a fledgling actress), his father, Jim, worked for a youth employment agency and his mother, Nora, was an art teacher – a talent passed on to her only son. "I draw and paint and all that stuff," says Scott. "I was going to go to art school, and I could have made a living. I mean, I won a bursary to educate myself in art – very strangely on the same day that I got cast in my first film, when I was 17. It was a very strange crossroads and I very definitely did choose [acting], so I have a perpetual sense of guilt about it."
Before that he attended a Jesuit boy's college in Dublin. "I feel very lucky to have gone to a Jesuit school actually because," he says, pausing and then exploding with laughter, "I could have been massively bullied if I didn't." Why? "Well, being a, I don't know, a sensitive chap… shy."
So shy, in fact, that at his 21st birthday he made a speech that "sounded like I was giving a eulogy at a funeral". The Jesuits, however, recognised and encouraged Scott's artistic nature. He joined the school theatre, and made a couple of TV commercials, as well as a movie debut (the 1995 Irish film Korea), before studying drama at Trinity College, Dublin – a degree he abandoned after six months ("I was in a semiotics lecture and the lecturer was saying 'When someone is beside us and they are rustling sweet wrappers – we call that noise'."). Instead, aged 18, he elected to learn on the job at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's nationalf theatre, which was co-founded by WB Yeats, and where John Synge and Sean O'Casey premiered their respective classics The Playboy of the Western World and The Shadow of a Gunman. "It was incredible when I think of it now, playing proper, good parts."
That apprenticeship led to London, where he has lived for the past decade, assembling an impressive body of theatre work. He won his first Laurence Olivier award in A Girl in a Car with a Man at the Royal Court, making his Broadway debut opposite Julianne Moore in Sam Mendes' production of David Hare's The Vertical Hour (for which he was nominated for a New York theatre award) and in the 2010 Old Vic production of Noël Coward's Design for Living. Meanwhile, in 2009, the Olivier award-winning playwright Simon Stephens wrote a one-man show, Sea Wall, especially for Scott.
On screen, he had a small part in Spielberg's Band of Brothers, and then rather larger roles in the Bafta-winning Longitude and the acclaimed HBO history drama John Adams. He played a failed actor in The Hour, while his puppyish brown eyes lent themselves to an uncanny portrayal of Beatles-era Paul McCartney in the BBC John Lennon biopic Lennon Naked.
But it was with Jim Moriarty in Sherlock that Scott finally drew public attention. Has it changed things within the industry? "I think you definitely get the benefit of the doubt," he says. "To get really good parts executives need to go, 'Which guy is that? Oh it's the guy from that thing'. Any actor will tell you that you go for a job you're massively suitable for and they give it to someone who's got more of a selling point. That's a very dangerous thing – that's how exciting projects are totally destroyed by some miscast actor who's got a profile."
That profile now brings legions of fans (Scott still can't remember the collective name for them), who send him birthday presents and accost him in shops. "I was in Marks & Spencer and the cashier said, 'Hello, Mr Sex', which is nothing to do with me… Moriarty is called 'Mr Sex'. I went red as I'm going red now. I get a lot of 'Mr Sex', but it's better than being called 'Mr Fuckwit'.
"Then you get weird sex videos of me and Benedict doing these terrible bizarre things with each other. Someone's mashed them up and edited bits and things… Oh, I can't tell you… Every day I'm surprised by the imagination. Anyway, it's all a bit of fun… it's all a bit of fun. Some of it's creative and some of it's creepy. But for the most part fans aren't intrusive… For the most part they sort of know that I keep myself to myself."
Keeping himself to himself extends to not discussing his private life with journalists. "I feel protective of my private life," he says. "I'm in a relationship which I'm very proud of, but I don't want to talk about it because it's mine, you know. That's what I find difficult in an interview situation like this – it's a one-way street. There's any number of people in our culture today who will tell you absolutely everything about themselves but I'm not sure that works well for actors – just because you're pretending to be lots of people. If I think of the actors I really admire I don't know that much about them." In fact, the most I can get from Scott is that he lives in south-east London and that, "No, I don't have any pets".
Scott enjoys talking to his fans, and is happy when they are introduced to other aspects of his work – like the Chinese teenager who saw him seven times in the three-and-a-half hour Ibsen epic Emperor and Galilean at the National Theatre. "That's what's extraordinary is that Sherlock brings in certain people," he says. "I like it. Sometimes when I go to the theatre – you look around and you see a lot of middle-class, middle-aged people… that really bores me to death."
He is more ambivalent about Hollywood. "Actually this week I've just signed with a new American agent, so it does interest me," he says. "But a couple of years ago I did go over during the pilot season, I had a few meetings and I found it massively depressing. Things are sold to you as an opportunity, but an opportunity for what? There's an opportunity to be on television for seven years, but the actual day-to-day – and I think this is what people forget in this drive to go to Hollywood – the actual day-to-day, no matter how much money you're going to earn, is actually kind of valueless if you don't believe in the project.
"The culture over there is not about being discerning… I did an audition with girls in bikinis going for lawyer parts, with a blazer over the bikini. And there was one day when I went up for three different types of vet and you think, 'Even if this works out, it's a very dangerous road to go down'. Sometimes I think the people I've found most unhappy and difficult to work with as actors are people who are considered safe, because there's no outlet for them… they're [always] playing themselves."
And what would Scott playing himself be like? Is there any Moriarty in Scott? "There is a Moriarty in me," he says. "I do mean that… there is a dark side to me, although I am a good person, I hope. Meryl Streep, I think, said that just because someone doesn't look like the part, doesn't mean they aren't suitable for the part. It's much more about what the essence of someone is."
'The Town' begins on ITV1 on Wednesday 5 December

Review - 'Elmementary' - The Long Fuse.

For some reason this episode doesn't seem to have created the chatter, at least on the blogs I visit, that the other episodes so far have.

Although there were still lots of Sherlockian-isms, there did not seem to be any new ones that I caught.
It seemed to play on several we have already spotted throughout the run of the series so far; drug habit, mental lumber room,etc.

One I did catch, and it may have been used before and I just missed it, was the dating of a crime by the newspaper that was used in the bomb wadding. And also the name of the paper used by the type face.
We saw this in the Hound and a few other cases.
What was really fun about this episode was once again 'Watson'. I love the fact the Lucy Liu's Watson seems to be getting bored with 'Sherlocks' immaturity and lack of communication, and this lack of growth on his part seems to be more the reason she is ready to move on than the fact the he is beyond the need of a companion. They both seem to show a need for each other, but don't know how to say it. I think this could make the next several episodes rather fun to watch.

I think the supporting cast was once again excellent.

I also believe the show has reached the point where it is no longer being compared to 'Sherlock' and is being looked at as hoping it will stand on it's own.
For Sherlockians I think we have started to develop an attachment for the players and are hoping it comes up with the needed formula to continue. If they can keep adding more Sherlockian-isms and keep giving us some canonical comparisons I believe it will continue.

I do believe the show needs some big bump in the next couple of episodes to keep people interested.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Add to your BLUE list. . .

English Tea Store

Inspired by the RDJ movie.

I have bought a lot of tea over the years from these people, always with good results.

Do you agree?

The top 10 list of Sherlock Holmes influencers

Which ten persons – apart from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself – have had the biggest influence on the 125 years of Sherlock Holmes? Persons whose decisions – positive or negative – and deeds have changed the future of the detective.
The order is just approximately chronological. And this is of course my personal list. Please comment – or why not write a blog post – if you are of another opinion.
1. William Gillette. It can’t be underestimated what he did for the future of Sherlock Holmes. In a time when the detective actually had ceased to exist (because of that Reichenbach incident), he spread the word of Sherlock Holmes in the US and his 1899 play “Sherlock Holmes” went on to be a success in many of the European countries. He was also the one who made Moriarty into a really known supervillain and not just a character in one single short story. And when the Royal Shakespeare Company played Gillette’s “Sherlock Holmes” in 1974, it was the start of a new Holmes boom.
2. Ronald Knox. His 1911 essay “Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes” started the world of Sherlockiana. He didn’t mean to do exactly that, he just wanted to do a satirical attack on the higher criticism of the Bible. Which is also the reason why Sherlockians e.g. use the word “Canon” when they talk about Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories.
3. Christopher Morley. When he founded The Baker Street Irregulars in 1934, he formed the base for worldwide continued interest in Sherlock Holmes. Thanks to the many Sherlockian societies, people have had a chance to get together with a common interest, which among other things has stimulated the writing of a lot of books, both non-fiction and fiction. There had certainly been literary societies, but they had probably been concentrated on Conan Doyle, since such societies normally circle around the author.
4. Basil Rathbone. It wasn’t Basil Rathbone’s decision to make the films in which he plays Sherlock Holmes, and maybe another actor could have played the detective. But the way Rathbone played Holmes made the detective even more an icon, for many years to come. From the ’40s to the mid ’80s this was what Sherlock Holmes looked like. And sounded – we should not forget all the radio plays!
5. Adrian Conan Doyle & Denis Conan Doyle. Okay, I know they are two persons, but they together represent an era, when they ruled – or at least tried to rule – over everything Sherlockian. They made life difficult for pastiche writers and they decided who was to make Sherlock Holmes films and such. In their decisions they of course made many good things, but in guarding the copyright (and their own fortunes) they stopped a lot of interesting Sherlock Holmes projects.
6. Princess Nina Mdivani Conan Doyle Harwood. The widow of Denis Conan Doyle. She really messed things up in the ’70s. I don’t know about all the legal things, but the copyright issues regarding the Sherlock Holmes stories became very complicated because of all her affairs. And regarding “princess” – well, she wasn’t really one, but that’s another story…
7. Dame Jean Conan Doyle. After Adrian Conan Doyle’s death in 1970, she was the only surviving child of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Her feelings towards the pastiches and film/tv productions were much warmer than the ones expressed by her brothers – even if she absolutely had opinions about certain books. She died in 1997. As Christopher Redmond put it in a tweet to me: She re-established a “Doyle estate” with some copyright control; encouraged the growth of ACD studies.
8. Nicholas Meyer. His 1974 book “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” started the Sherlock Holmes pastiche boom – and he sold two million copies. His pastiche style was a new one – he was the one who started the tradition with an “editor” (i.e. the author himself) finding an old Watson manuscript. And he was also one of the first who let Holmes meet famous persons of the late 19th century and early 20th century.
9. Michael Cox & Jeremy Brett. The Granada tv series about Sherlock Holmes was of course a team effort, and there were many more important persons in the production. But in the centre were the producer Michael Cox and the actor Jeremy Brett. And it’s impossible to separate Cox and Brett at this top 10 list. As Trevor Hancock wrote in a tweet to me: Brett was the heart, Cox the brain.
10. Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss. Of course Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are important – and absolutely essential – for the success of the BBC series “Sherlock”, but never before has the persons behind a Sherlock Holmes production been so much in focus. Which they absolutely deserve! They have reinvented the detective. Thanks to “Sherlock” there is a huge new interest in Sherlock Holmes, maybe bigger than ever before.

And 10 runners-up
Dr. Joseph Bell (the model for Holmes), Herbert Greenhough Smith (editor at The Strand Magazine), Sidney Paget (British illustrator), Frederic Dorr Steele (American illustrator), P. G. Wodehouse (invented in 1915 the expression “Elementary, my dear Watson!”), Vincent Starrett (author of “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” and one of the first real Sherlockians), Edgar W. Smith (key Sherlockian in BSI), Sheldon Reynolds(producer of influential TV series in the ’50s), William S. Baring-Gould (author of “Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street” and editor of “The Annotated Sherlock Holmes”), John Bennett Shaw (the world’s greatest Sherlock Holmes collector and one of the most famous Sherlockians).
Thanks to Christopher Redmond, Vincent W. Wright, Lasse Lohse, Kathryn Davies, Trevor Hancock and Per Olaisen for great input on Twitter and Facebook when I prepared for this blog post! Especially Christopher has suggested many of the names for the runners-up – and how to squeeze 13 persons into the top 10 list…
(The photos in this blog post are unfortunately used without permission… Please, let me know if you want me to remove any of them.)

Good sketch. . .


If you've never heard of it, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, and if you're not watching it, what the hell is wrong with you?

I am obviously referring to Martin Gattiss's and Steve Moffat's 'Sherlock' of BBC fame, not the ridiculous, clunking behemoth travesty that is Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes' franchise.

Emphasis on the inverted quotation marks. It's not that I have a problem with Robert Downey Jnr or Jude Law, what I have a problem with is the shameless sexing up of a literary character combined with absoloutely no regard for the original source material whatsoever. They could've called it anything at all given the relativity to Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories, but 'Sherlock' is obviously a recognisable cultural character, thus, less of a gamble than say - gasp - making anoriginal film.
Rant over.

The BBC adaptation draws far more from the original Sherlock, albeit with the necessary sexing up, and works fabulously for it. Benedict Cumberbatch has the most amazing, alien-y (in a good way) face. Thus far he has succeeded in eluding my attempts to pin him to paper, after 'Tinker, Tailor' last year I tried in vain for days to get a likeness I was happy with, to no avail. It's the mouth. I'm never very good at mouths.

So I've just spent a morning off work doodling carelessly away, until I've finally got close-to-happy-with. It's not terrible, anyway.

This ridiculous Sesame Street-ish cartoon, however, I have no defence for.

Credit where credit is due.