Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes - #37 - Jamie Fox

Well, I was going to do Bill Cosby (1937)

who took part in a film called "Mother, Jugs and Speed" (1976)

which featured Raquel Welch (1940)

But you guys will catch me out and go, "No way Mr. SHSSC, you have tried this before, and the only reason you are doing Bill Cosby, yet again, is so you can post another photo of Raquel Welch, whom you have already connected to Holmes several times!"

So, I am not going to do that.

Back to the drawing board.

The very talented, under used in good movies, Jamie Fox (1967)

took part in 2001's "Ali" 

which starred Will Smith (1968)

who also starred in 1996's "Independence Day"

which featured Margaret Colin (1958)

who is seen here as Jane Watson in 1987's :"The Return of Sherlock Holmes"

So, now you won't have to sit through me connecting Raquel Welch

with Sherlock Holmes again.

There you have it, there you are.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Two quotes from another review I enjoyed. . ..

  •  Cumberbatch does a yeoman’s work, though the speech itself outstays its welcome, and unfortunately, once again, we’re offered Sherlock as an uneasy balance of arch superhuman and floundering man-child.

  • That opener of Lestrade abandoning the case of the year to rush to Sherlock’s call for aid is indicative of one of the show’s least endearing facets. Lestrade’s later visit to Molly to discuss the toast is even worse—not only does this universe forgive Sherlock everything, but what percentage of everybody’s day is spent talking about him? It’s entirely possible to make a Sherlock Holmes adaptation in which there are times Holmes is merely tolerated by those around him. This iteration continues to play for laughs what feel increasingly like low-level hostage situations.

'Sherlock' - Season Three, Episode Two - 'The Sign of Three' - a review - no expectations.

I gave myself permission to watch The Sign of Three with no expectations going in.
Part of that was due to my disappointment in last weeks episode, and part of it was due to comments I had read on other blogs.
So I thought I would change my approach.

And I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun watching it.
Going at it this way, did I find it without flaws? Heck no.
But I found myself being less critical of it.

I couldn't completely not Play the Game and take a totally non-scholarly approach, but I did relax and put the pen a little further away.

Most of the episode focuses on John and Mary's upcoming wedding and the preparations Holmes is required to make as Watson's best-man.
Totally unprepared for the sentiment and the chores involved with the roll, Holmes is mostly at his wits end.

To distract Holmes and to take his mind off the preparations for at least a little while, Mary and John try to get Sherlock involved in some cases.

They end up getting involved in two. One which ends up getting called "the Bloody Guardsman"  involves one of the Queen's Guards who believes he is being stalked.
The other, referred to as "The Mayfly Man", involves women who seem to being dating the same guy, who they all believe to be a ghost.

As the episode continues towards to the end, it becomes apparent to Holmes the two cases are connected to Watson's old commander Major Sholto.

Because I want to save the things I liked about the show for last, I will, . . . therefore, um, well, start with the things I didn't like

As with most of the episode's, I still don't like the show jumping from slap-stick to serious as much as it does. At times I actually felt like I was watching a Stan Laurel movie with the antics of the main character. It didn't bother me as much in this episode mainly because of the theme and the fact that the story was trying to get across to us Holmes' discomfort with being placed in a position requiring the expression of deep emotion.

Although I can appreciate a little (or sometimes a lot) of irreverence in a story, 'Sherlock' still goes a little over board in that area for me. I think part of 'Sherlock's' approach with that is the fact that they still haven't chosen to have Sherlock mature into his roll yet. And if that turns out to be the case, that will be fine. But if it is just a case of poking fun at Sherlockian traits that have become the accepted norm, I will still find fault with this area in the show. My Holmes is not caustically abrasive.
I like my Holmes well mannered and socially well behaved. But I also realize that is on me.

The wedding dinner went on a little long, but that was pretty minor.

OK, so that isn't so bad is it. Two things I still don't like about the show. And one minor one. Am I alone in that?

Now for the things I really (yes I used the word really) liked about this episode.

First, Benedict Cumberbatch did an awesome job of acting throughout the entire episode.
Although, like I said, I didn't always like what Holmes was up to, it wasn't because of any lack of talent on B.C's part.
I think he portrayed every aspect of emotion Holmes was dealing with throughout the entire episode.
The gambit of emotion ran for sincere joy to a let down with sadness and just about everything in between.
I really appreciated Benedict Cumberbatch's range in this episode.

Next, I thought the case was very well handled. Not being the brightest light on the shelf when it comes to solving mysteries, I really enjoyed how it all came together in the end. And how it flowed from John and Mary wanting to distract Holmes, to a case involving someone in John's life. The back and forth from wedding to court room grew on me as it went along.

I am liking Mary (Amanda Abbington) and the fact, unlike Mary in the RDJ movies, that she is liking Sherlock and his importance in John's life. She realizes they need each other and that she would be a fool to come between them.

I liked how the socially dysfunctional Holmes went about preparing the bachelor party and how it went bad.
And what was kind of surprising was that the writers/director did not play that as slapstick as they did many other things in the episode. Both characters looked like a couple of guys who are lightweights in the liquor department out on a bender. Did it go a little to far? Maybe. But not overly.

Now for the things I really, really (yes, two 'really's') liked.

Although we all felt the wedding toasts were going to go very, very wrong, it turned out to be the highlight for me.
While being very disjointed and meandering, it also proved to be the most poignant.

Here was the one time Holmes actually told Watson all the things we had wished he had said in the Canon.
This time Watson was, the kindest and greatest man he had ever known. Who of us has not wished Holmes expressed those sentiments more often. For once we truly see the inner Holmes and the progression from isolated thinking machine to an, almost, complete human being. Holmes, in Sherlock, really grew for me at this point. Whether it will last, we shall see. Will it slip again once Holmes and Mycroft are in a room together? Probably.  But I am going to enjoy it while I can.
It was a very well orchestrated scene.

One of my other favorite parts ended, unfortunately, rather sadly.
Throughout the wedding Sherlock has to interact with Mary's bridesmaid, Janine (played by Yasmine Akram). At first the relationship is rather cold with Holmes once again driving an emotional wedge between the two. But Janine doesn't just resignedly walk away, she forces the interaction to continue. And throughout the wedding dinner the relationship grows into an almost companionable friendship. Holmes goes from being very distant to opening up about things others do not know about him (dancing).
At the very end; the case is solved, the speech is over and Sherlock finally seems to be getting into the spirit of the occasion and actually wants to join in on the festivities. He turns to approach Janine, we get a moment when we see his resolve at his isolation dissolve, and for a moment we think he is going to enjoy the companionship of the opposite sex only to realize he has left it to late and that she has taken his suggestions and moved on. He has hurt himself.
We don't like to think of Sherlock as possibly being lonely. We want to think he is OK in his chosen isolation. But in this one fleeting moment, he wonders if it could be different. And it is gone. And he leaves, alone. But just for a little while he wanted to be different. That for me has been the strongest scene in any of the stories so far. The producers could have chosen to take that scene to far, but for once chose a little restraint.
A sad scene for sure. But a powerful one.

This show was about Sherlock's isolation and the effect his isolation has on himself and others.

I am glad I chose not to view this episode as purely a Canonical exercise, and went in to it with less Sherlockian expectation. Kind of the way we would with "Without a Clue".
And I ended up getting, Canonically more out of it than I thought I would.

Do I still have the same issues with the show, sure. But they are not as important. . .  at least for this week.

Because I know you are all waiting for it. . .

I give "Sign of Three"

because it really made me think.

I am no longer a virgin thanks to Scott Monty and Burt Wolder. . . .

Podcast virgin that is.

Just like I have never tweeted or tumbled, ( I love blogging, but am afraid adding more social media chores would really stretch my limited posting time), I had never listened to a podcast.

Didn't know how.

Did I need an IPOD?

Did I want to invest in another gadget?

I don't very often just sit down and listen to the radio. It is usually something that takes place while I am driving. So to actually catch a rather long program is usually not in my daily routine. If I do listen to a longer program, like Prairie Home Companion, I try to time it with a long drive out to the cabin or somethin'.

After this weekend, that may have to change.

I decided to explore the world of the podcast, more specifically how it relates to that great site 'I hear of Sherlock Everywhere.

I found I could listen to programs on my IPAD ( I love my IPAD), and I started there.

But I wanted to be able to listen where I don't get wi-fi.

ITUNES apps was more than happy to help out there with their pod cast app. ( I know, most of you are already old hats at this podcast stuff.)

I downloaded the app and found I could download and keep, so there fore, could take with me, any episode I wanted.

I first recorded episode sixty and also added the interview with Brad. (Haven't got to the latter yet.)

I shouldn't have been surprised at how professional the programs were. I felt I was listening to an NPR program or at the very least, a good sports chat program. Entertaining and a good pace. Informative and easy to listen to. The two hosts played well off of each other.

I did not hear a single valley-girl 'um' throughout all I listened to. I takes a lot of practice and skill to do that in a long program.

I will never forget my first time and look forward to doing it again. Thanks gentlemen, keep up the good work.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Because it's Friday and you deserve it. . . .

It's been a while, but I have not forgotten.

Our 'Elementary' question of the day. . . .

Since Miller's Holmes has already had to deal with the, it seemed, loss of someone close to him, Irene Adler/Moriarty, if the time comes and there is a 'fall' in 'Elementary' (and I mean other than the ratings), how will the show handle it and how will Holmes expect Watson to handle it? Can we expect him to treat his Watson the same way, that is, to let her think he is dead for a period of time, then coming back.
Will they have to find another way to deal with it, or skip it all together?

What do you think?

This design can be found here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And if you are in the mood for voting. . .

Parade magazine has a poll.

The results so far are a sign of the times and not Sherlockian knowledge I believe.

And better yet.


And speaking of falls. . .

'Fans' can get it here.

Why I am OK with the Natalie Dormer 'Moriarty'

Well, at least I can imagine a scenario where it can work.

While most Sherlockians would not suggest either of the present day incarnations of Moriarty as an accurate interpretation of a Canonical master criminal, I am actually more comfortable with the 'Elementary' version than the 'Sherlock' one.

And none of it has to do with how attractive Natalie Dormer is. (Well, not much of it anyway.)

The 'Jim' Moriarty as played by Andrew Scott in 'Sherlock' is way to out there for me. His character in my mind is more suited for a role as demented killer than a mastermind of a vast criminal network.
And Moriarty with a death wish (we don't really believe Moriarty went to the falls expecting to die, do we?), . . . nope, it just doesn't work. Not even a good take on Thor Bridge.
If Cumberbatch's Sherlock had wrestled with James (is it OK if I call you Jim?) on the edge of the roof and both went over  ("I would gladly accept the former if the latter was a guarantee"), and then Sherlock was able to fake his death, then the outcome would have been more acceptable. Although I still don't think I would have been comfortable with that particular portrayal of Moriarty.

But my dislike of 'Jim' is not the reason we are here today.

It is Jamie Moriarty.

This Moriarty is a master criminal and an incredible artist. Canonical Moriarty was not only a master criminal, but also a professor at one time. Which suggests he had an outlet for his mental energy other than his criminal occupation or at least something that preceded his criminal activity. (RDJ's movies suggested this was still his cerebral outlet.)
I would think anyone as intelligent as Moriarty, Canonical and otherwise, would have a 'hobby' of some sort of a creative or intellectual kind.

We know that she is able to control a vast organization by references in several episode's. We she her still being able to control things while locked up.

But the key factor for her being able to work as this Moriarty is the way they are portraying Holmes in "Elementary'.

'Playing the Game' with 'Elementary' we have to accept that this Holmes is not quite as one dimensional about women as the Canonical Holmes is.
While most of the time it is suggested that his requirements in that area are more physical in nature than emotional, it has not been suggested that it is totally against his nature to not ever become emotionally attached.
And even in the episodes outlining the beginnings of the relationship it seems clear that the original attraction by Holmes was as much cerebral as physical. In other words he liked her for her brains before or as much as her body. The fact that he was eventually able to look at her otherwise suggests he finally found someone he thought to be his equal.

So here is where we have to buy into how smart 'Jamie' Moriarty really is.

At some point prior to their meeting, Holmes had started to interfere with Moriaty's grand schemes.
And while finding this annoying, she was also intrigued by the fact that someone was able thwart many of her plans. And not being of a nature (this seems a trait in master criminals) where just having him killed would be enough she chose to find out what made her advisory tick.
And what better way to understand his methods than to form a relationship. And what better way to know his whereabouts, than to be with him. Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.
And let's face it, most minions working for master criminals aren't of the type to have stimulating conversations with.

And once you have all you need to know about him, ( or maybe he has started to get too close to figuring out one of your plans ) what better way to devastate someone ( again, that is if you are a master criminal who enjoys toying with your victims more than killing them, ) than to break their heart.

And once he is on the road to recovery, and maybe starting to incommode her again, what does she do but return and cripple him again. At least for a while.

I am not of the mind, yet, where I think 'Elementary's' Moriarty actually has any emotional attachment to Holmes, other than on, maybe, some cerebral level. She still enjoys toying with him, keeping him just out of reach, knowing he will, sadly, still coming running to her when she needs him.
In every episode where we think he is ready to move on, the show ends with Holmes still attached in some way to his need for her. Sure, outwardly he seems to reject the effect she still has on him, but in his quieter moments he pulls out the correspondence.

For her purposes she still needs the mental stimulus Holmes provides and is having more fun keeping him supposedly on a string. When that is no longer the case, this show may have it's own Reichenbach Fall.

I like the way 'Elementary's' 'The Woman' as still having an effect on Holmes. Canonically, it is suggested that the mark Irene left on Holmes was not something that disappeared at the end of the case. And although 'Elementary's' 'The Woman' turned out to be a criminal, her 'photograph' is still tucked inside Holmes desk drawer.

The plot line so far in 'Elementary' does not suggest Miller's Holmes is done with Moriarty yet. There is more to come.
And as long as it keeps going the way it is, and the baby doesn't really turn out to be Holmes', I think a lot can still credibly be done with this story arc.

"Elementary's' Moriarty is still proving to be a master mind, and at some point Holmes may yet have to have 'his' Reichenbach.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes - #36 - old movies again, Pamela Brown

Well, I am still on my Roger Livesay movie kick and catching up on his early films, so I am going to still go with his lead.
I am picking an actress who appeared in 'I Know Where I am Going' with him, but was not his co-star.
I was mesmerized by her presence in the film, and although only a small part, she left an impression.
I am also making a connection for her not involving Roger because, well, we just did his.

Pamela Brown (1917 - 1975), who died way to early

(this picture is of her in 'I Know Where I am Going)

was in the epic film 'Richard III' 1955

which also starred Sir John Gielgud (1904-2000)

and Ralph Richardson (1902-1983)

who worked together as Holmes and Watson in the 1950's on BBC radio

So, there you have it, there you are.

'Sherlock' season three - a review of 'The Empty Hearse'

I sat down over the last couple of days and watched  the beginnings of season three, twice. I wanted to make sure I was able to give it a fair, in my opinion, assessment.

I think it is fair to say that both 'Elementary' and 'Sherlock' are now falling prey to the same problems. The lack of good deductive cases and a presentation of a modern Holmes that in all ways possible measures up to Doyle's creation.
While I believe 'Elementary' is coming by those problems honestly and is making a strong case for it's methods, I feel 'Sherlock' in some ways is enjoying the mockery it's methods are thriving on.

I feel at this point 'Elementay', of the two, if either indeed can claim the distinction, is being more faithful to Sherlockians than is 'Sherlock'.

Sunday's episode, 'The Empty Hearse', had, as we have come to expect from 'Sherlock', some moments of brilliance. But each one of those moments of brilliance has at least one matching moment of camp, slapstick or disappointment.

Arguably the Canonical references far out number ones placed in  'Elementary' (and if you want to see the best reviewed list of references check out Buddy2blogger's site.), and to be honest are probably played better.
But 'Sherlock', just as 'Elementary' is accused of, is now injecting those references seemly more to meet a quota than move the story along. (What is the required quota of references per episode?)

I thought Martin Freeman as John Watson did some of his best work yet in the show. I just loved his portrayal of the injured Watson when he first encountered Holmes again in the restaurant. He plays the 'everyman' very well.

But then the moment was spoiled with the almost comic way they had Holmes handling the situation and with the way they filmed the fisticuffs between the two.

Martin Freeman had several other wonderful scenes through out the episode, and although the writers let down his character a bit, Freeman was spot on.

However. . .  the relationship between Holmes and Watson has almost become comical in it's co-dependency.
While Holmes chastised Mycroft for allowing him to suffer under the Serbs hands for so long, Holmes as played in 'Sherlock', has no problem putting Watson through emotionally the same treatment over and over.
And Watson has no problem each time with going back for more.

It almost became sickening to watch how many times 'Sherlock's' Holmes required gratification from Watson while being only minimally sincere with his own feelings towards Watson.

Bill Cochran in his wonderful book about the 'Great Hiatus' suggested that Holmes returned to Baker Street after his big fall more a complete man; more in control, kinder, less critical and more introspective.
The Holmes of 'Sherlock', if anything, came back with a bigger ego, less compassionate, less understanding and perhaps even relishing more in his sociopathic tendencies.

He requires help from Molly and Lestrade but it is clear, they also are very co-dependant on the relationships. We expect it from Lestrade because his career depends on it, but Molly is definitely co-dependent. (And at least they are not shying away from that.)

The case, as is the case sometimes in 'Elementary', was unimportant to what he episode was really about. And I think we expected that. But unfortunately the resolution of the 'Great Hiatus' was more of let down the the solution of the case. (I still am not clear on it was done, or why Watson didn't need to know.)

More so in this episode than all the others for me, the Holmes that Benedict Cumberbatch is suppose to portray seems to be almost a mockery of the treats and habits Sherlockians are so fond of.

The episode with his parents was appalling.

The conversation over the 'Operation' game board was an intended mockery and childish.

'Elementary' has become a show about Sherlock's and Watson's back story, at least for the time being.
"Sherlock' was expected to be a show about a brilliant detective in the modern era, and while the promise is still there, 'The Empty Hearse' came no where near meeting that promise.

I have to admit I am probably a little denser than many reviewers of the show, and probably miss a lot of the hidden meanings. And not being a Dr Who fan, I am not familiar with the style of Moffet and Catiss. And although I once praised them for their seeming sincerity towards the show they are also very much missing the mark in the sincerity department with 'The Empty Hearse'.

'Elementary' was criticized for the relationship between Holmes and Mycroft, but the relationship between the brothers in 'Sherlock' to me is even more dysfunctional. While we are always being told Mycroft is the smarter of the two it is not being shown in actual deductive work. Yes he is more controlling, but smarter. . .?

Most of the time watching this episode, especially when Sherlock was interacting with others, and definitely when interacting with Mycroft, I felt I was watching a 'Mad' magazine version of Sherlock Holmes.

I was hoping Watson would deck Holmes again in the subway car. That scene, setting up Watson, knowing the bomb could be shut down, having called the police, all played to Sherlock's ego and not to his return from the brink.

It was very disappointing when Holmes would go into his Volcan mind melt routine. I think these were suppose to infer that he was deep in thought while deducing a clue of some kind. Way over done this time.

I am sure, or at least hope, many of the things I found missing in the episode will be explained in upcoming shows. We will see.

There were however many things I liked about the episode.

As stated earlier, Martin Freeman's performance as Watson.

So far I very much like Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan.

I was surprised I found the references to 'fandom' a nice nod to the loyal 'fan-atics' while not really taking their input all that seriously. Although Anderson was a little over done. I really liked the scene where all the 'fan-atics' learn Holmes is alive. A good nod to all the societies that play the game. Even to the one who wear the hats. ( I loved the gals line about thinking they shouldn't wear the hats!)

I loved some of the lines Mrs. Hudson got to deliver.

I also loved most of the tit-for-tat over the hat.

Many bloggers have often stated that it is unfair to compare 'Sherlock' and 'Elementary' to each other.
I have never thought that the case, and with 'The Empty Hearse' I find those comparisons very relevant.

Some of the Canonical references I came up with, (and go look at Buddy2blogges list while you are at it.)

- Mycroft hating field work
- Suggested Holmes would have made a good criminal
- London as a cesspool of crime
- BLUE with the deduction on the hat
- monographs (and I loved Mrs. Hudson's comments about that)
- monkey glands
- step dad keeping step daughter for her money
- returning to Watson in disguise

and of course all the other regular nods to his behavior.

This would have been a great April Fools episode.

I can, based on my expectations of 'Sherlock' only fairly give this episode;

Oh, yea, I also found it a statement on this episode that a certain blogger who rails on 'Elementary' has as of yet commented on this episode more than just saying he is glad to have it back. ?????

Thursday, January 16, 2014

As Sherlock Peoria pointed out - Russell Johnson of Gilligan's Island passed away today.

But not without leaving a Sherlockian connection.

Russell David Johnson 1924 - 2014.

Is 'fandom' the next four letter word?

Being a 'fan' about something has been around for a long time.
And it never had, really, any bad connotations to go with it, to my knowledge. Well, at least not till recently.

Matter of fact, I never felt bad admitting that is was a fan of John Denver music (although I was careful to chose my audience).

But it seems in this age of cos-play and 'Sherlock' the word 'fan' and by extension 'fandom' has almost taken a meaning that I am not sure I would like to have tagged on me.

Many of the recent comments having to do with Season Three of 'Sherlock' have been about how the show seems to have caved to the whims of it's 'fans', and, for the most part, what I have read about this has not been good. (Note, the show caved to fans of Sherlock, and not fans of Sherlock Holmes, or, in other words, Sherlockains.)

While a new visitor was in our house the other day he was commenting on how many books we have. And we started to discuss how many Holmes related books I had. "Yea," I said. "I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes."
I didn't, in my own house, feel embarrassed with that term.

Now that's fine in my house, but I am not sure I want to be lumped in with 'fans' in general. And definitely not 'fandom'.

When we have been interviewed by our local papers concerning our scion society over the years, we have usually taken a little umbrage when we are described as 'fans'. We always wanted to be called something that seemingly had more scholarly connotations. (Although for the likes of me I don't know what that would be, especially if you knew our group.)

In our Sherlockian circles we still go by 'Sherlockians'. And I guess, when not in such august circles I do say 'fan', but wish I didn't have to. (Again, looking for the perfect word.)

A fan at one time use to be described as it is in Wiki, 'fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something, such as a band, a sports team or entertainer'

And that doesn't seem so bad. (Except the word 'fan' kinda lumps us in with Trekkies and followers of Dr. Who.)

But unfortunately 'fan' in many instances is now more related to 'fanatic'.

I guess before long we will have to do like soccer has done and keep calling the well behaved lovers of the sport 'fans', while calling the bad examples of fans 'hooligans'.

So, when I reach the point of becoming a 'Sherlockian' hooligan please let me know. (And no, I am not, yet, using Sherlockian hooligan to describe Brad.)

For now I am going to invent a word to describe us, and I hope it catches on.
The new word will be 'ENDEV', a concocted word from 'enthusiastically devoted'.

So when asked way I have so many Sherlock Holmes related books I will from now on just say, "Because I am endev to Sherlock Holmes."

I guess if we were devotee's, we would now be endevee's

Please help me popularize this new word so we can all move away from being 'fans'.
Fans are people who wave flags and banners and wear team logos on their clothes.. None of us do that, . . . right?

(NO. . . . this is not me.)

REDC quote of the day.

"Our official detectives may blunder in the matter of intelligence, but never in that of courage."

It makes you wonder how the official police force took comments (and this wasn't the only time) like that when Doyle wrote the stories.

(And look at that Hansome Cab right behind the officer!)

And this could be fun, Tony Davies.

An interesting note on REDC

A radio adaption starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce (titled "Mrs. Warren's Lodger") aired on December 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The East Coast broadcast was interrupted by a radio announcement that President Franklin D. Roosevelt would be addressing the nation at noon the following day.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some favorite lines from January's REDC

Although not a great story, there are some good lines in REDC.

- "Dear me!" said he, turning over the pages, "what a chorus of groans, cries, and bleatings! What a rag-bag of singular happenings! But surely the most valuable hunting-ground that ever was given to a student of the unusual!

- So it proved; for in the morning I found my friend standing on the hearthrug with his back to the fire and a smile of complete satisfaction upon his face.

- "What, indeed? It is art for art's sake, Watson. I suppose when you doctored you found yourself studying cases without thought of a fee?"

It is interesting that Holmes used the past tense in the above quote; "I suppose when you doctored. . ."
Not when you doctor, or when you see clients.  Had Watson retired?

- "Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons with the greatest for the last.

- "Education, Gregson, education. Still seeking knowledge at the old university. Well, Watson, you have one more specimen of the tragic and grotesque to add to your collection. By the way, it is not eight o'clock, and a Wagner night at Covent Garden! If we hurry, we might be in time for the second act."

And, because we care. . . .

And, by Ted Friedman

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Seven degrees of Sherlock Holmes - #35 - Roger Livesay

I have been remiss and missed a week, . . . and none of you reminded me.
But we are back, bigger and better than ever.
Well, at least we are back.

Watching one of my favorite movies this past week, I decided to use it as the starting place for this weeks SDoSH.

So, hang on and here goes.

Roger Livesay (1906-1976)

 was in the great 1943 movie 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' (which has several great nods to Doyle).

well. . . Roger also starred in the 1965 British comedy 'The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders

which also featured the incomparable Angela Lansbury (1925)

who also took part in 1956's 'The Court Jester'

which of course had Basil Rathbone (1892-1967) at his swashbuckling best.

And we know who he played. . . right?

So, there you have it, there you are.

Friday, January 10, 2014

'Elementary' Season Two - Episode 13 - 'All in the family'

'Elementary' seems to have fallen into it's usual pattern. That being; Have one fairly bad show (last weeks) and follow it up with a better than normal show.
This weeks 'All in the Family' was a vast improvement over last weeks, but still not a great episode that makes you say, "Hey, I think they finally got it right." However, I think most of that has to do with our expectations.

The episode opens with Holmes and Watson in the interrogation room with I believe Detective Nash and a suspect named Riley. Holmes and Watson are about to prove Riley is behind a rash of thefts from an art auction house.
The main purpose of this scene was to show how Holmes and Watson are not working well with other detectives in the NYPD, and to also throw us a bone (leg bone, sort of) of a Canonical reference.
Once we find out that Holmes and Nash aren't going to get along well the main plot of the story takes over.
And the main plot is the return, thankfully, of Detective Bell.

Bell is sent to investigate a suspicious man observed entering a recycling center after hours, where he finds a headless, hand-less body inside of a barrel. At this point it becomes a homicide investigation and Holmes and Watson are called in.
Watson, because of a childhood fascination with mob crimes, identifies the body of as that of a long missing mob bosses son.
Thus starts the race by Gregson to head off a mob war.

Mostly the episode was about getting Bell back into the NYPD, and this was hidden under a back story of good cob going bad. The interactions between Holmes and Bell and their final confrontation was well done.

The episode was strong in the acting department. But again weak in the deduction/observation department. And, again, a little to over done (for me) in the "Watson being the detective" department.

I love the fact that Paul Sorvino was present as crime boss Robert Pardillo. Any show he takes part in is always upped a notch in my book.

It was good to have Bell back again.

Canonical references I caught were;

- The jewels in the artificial leg is a nod to SIGN.
- Trying to find the effects of an instrument or weapon on an animal carcass is a nod to BLAC.
- Holmes willingness to cut off a conversation because the other participant is lying (the Federal agent/web designer) shows up in several cases.
- Leaving late at night and not intending to return before dawn is a common Holmesian trait.
- Having a female accomplice in a jewel heist happened in BLUE
- Chemical experiments

I hope I missed some others.

Although this episode was a much better on than last weeks, it failed to have much appeal for me. (I never have liked mob connected shows that much anyway.)
Part of the problem lies with us expecting fantastic Holmesian deductions every week. (and we probably should). The mean problem lies in the fact that there is only so much Holmes can show us as Sherlockians that we have not already seen.
If we look back at the Canon, and this is going to be a research project for me soon, would we find that Holmes finds a vast assortment of varied observations or clues by the end of the books, or would we find that Holmes has found the same observations or clues in all the cases, but it is who leaves them or where they are found that really changes? In other words, how many times are foot prints used as clues? Or messages in newspapers? The mysteries change in every case, but does the type of clues or Holmes methods? Knowledge and observations are his greatest skills, and over the past hundred plus years, he has passed that knowledge and methods on to others.

What 'Elementary' is failing at, in my opinion, is making the finding of these clues and observations and deductions unique in a modern era of detective work. The Holmes of our beloved Victorian period has already taught our modern police forces his forensic methods, so now, the modern Holmes has to step up his game. Or should I say, the writers need to be more creative. All modern police forces now know to measure someones stride, or examine crime scenes for chemical clues. And, so far, 'Elementary' has not found a good way to do that. 'Sherlock' has managed to find away of presenting Holmes' methods as unique and different from his official contemporaries. Brett and Granada also found away to make each show unique, (and they did have the Victorian era).
'Elementary' has yet to find a way to do that.
I applaud the fact that 'Elementary' is exploring more of the man (even if we don't like the man they are exploring) and what makes him tick than some other adaptions. But they have yet to find the common ground between man and method and how to deliver what we have come to love about Holmes.
The show needs to move away from Holmes' personality and find a way to highlight his methods that are beyond those he works with.

And as far as Lucy Liu's Watson goes ( and I love Lucy), Holmes needs a sidekick, not a partner.

It is time, at least for a little while, to leave the back stories alone and get on with some really good 'Holmesian' stuff.

Although this show was a step up, I can only fairly give it 3 pipes out of 5. (Blogger is not uploading pictures for me right now, so I will add the graphic later.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January reading - The Red Circle

Let's examine the Red Circle in parts this month.

It is just. depending on where we think Great Orme Street is, near three miles from Tottenham Court road to Hampstead Heath.

Any thoughts on the location of Great Orme Street?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Reading list for January

REDC  1885
VALL  1888
CHAR  1891
BLAN  1903

Trivia question of the dayweekmonthyear for today.

With most of the north covered in freezing temps, and us buried under nine inches of snow, and the rest of the Sherlock Holmes world trapped in that no-mans-land of half the bloggers having seen 'Sherlock' Season Three and the rest of us still waiting (and avoiding spoilers).. .. . .  I though I would through out a little fun to get us over the wait, at least till 'Elementary' comes back on Thursday.

So here is the question; How many Sherlock Holmes stories in the books take place in snow?

Let me know.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Elementary Season 2, episode 12 - "The Diabolical Kind"

Looking forward to the return of "Elementary", I must say I was a little disappointed in the fare provided.
The episode opens with Watson heading for a date, while Holmes heads for letters he has been receiving from Moriarty, which he keeps in his bee hives.

Soon a murder/kidnapping takes place involving a wealthy Englishman and his daughter.
The kidnapping is perpetrated by one of Moriarty's henchmen whom Sherlock realizes was the 'voice' of Moriarty when communicating over the phone.

Everyone believes Moriarty is involved in the kidnapping, but that turns out not to be the case.

Although Millers acting was very strong as was several of the other players, I overall found the episode a let down from where the show seemed to be going.

I was looking forward to the return of Moriarty as Holmes' nemesis, but instead the episode returned to the over used co-dependent theme.
I like Natalie Dormer as Moriarty, and was hoping her return meant she was back to take revenge on Holmes and/or Watson. This was not the case. While her character often stated how intelligent she is and how capable she could be at controlling any situation she found her self in, there was very little substantiated proof of that being true. Really more 'all talk and no show'. Several times it is stated how she was at the controls of a vast criminal empire, and she argued continually how she was smarter than Joan (although allowing Joan her due) and Holmes for that matter, but that intelligence never bore fruit. We see that she is obsessed with Joan (the rather large painting), but the obsession is never dealt with.

It would have made an interesting episode if Moriarty had in some way been shown trying to manipulate, from behind locked doors, Holmes into helping her, put that did not prove to be the case. After all, she seemed at some points in the episode of having outside influence, but not at others.

Andrew Howard played a good Devin Casper, his coolness and perceived kindness well masked his darker side. Towards the end, when we found out the kidnapped girl was Moriarty's daughter, his 'wanting to get to know her' may have suggested that he was the father. (and it was not done in a way that made you think his intentions were perverted.)

Lucy Liu's Watson was more sidekick this time than partner, which I think was better, but the case really wasn't strong enough to show off Holmes' skills.

I completely missed why Casper was framing Moriarty. She seemingly was not completely out of the picture of controlling her empire. His role seemed to be that of Sebastian Moran, who probably would not have turned on Moriarty if he had survived his fall.

Although the episode was played for less quarks than usual it did not move far enough away from, once again, Holmes' personal issues for me to enjoy it very much.

Canonical references I (think) caught.

Bees, once again.
Holmes having other 'hides' around New York.
Moriarty at the center of a large criminal association.
Codes and symbols used for messaging.
Reference to Norway.
Use of newspaper classifieds to pass on information.
Holmes asking for all the recent editions of certain newspapers.
Moriarty's reference to 17 ways she had devised to escape may be a reference to 17 steps.
At the end of the case, Holmes setting around his fireplace.

Because of the return to the co-dependent theme once again, and lack of deduction and observation, I can only fairly give this episode;

I was hoping for more.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And least we forget. . .

The real Holmes and Watson return (in the USA) tonight!

OK, I'm kidding about the "real" part.

But "Elementary" is back tonight.

You know you are looking forward to it.