Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What would the modern Baker Street Irregulars look like?

The Canonical Baker Street Irregulars were described as Street Urchins by Dr. Watson, first appearing in STUD, and then again in SIGN. We assumed them to be perhaps homeless. And if not homeless, probably from a very poor household, lead my a single mother or unemployed or alcoholic father.
And although they to have become a little romanticized in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes, they actually represent one of the more grittier sides of Watson's story telling.
Poor, dirty, unkempt, probably seldom well fed and, again, probably for the most part homeless.
They probably did not have much of a future ahead of them, with petty crime and lowly employment the only path that lie in their future. Not without energy, they would do anything they could to increase their collection of pence; holding horses, running errands, helping with loads of goods or baggage. (source).
Some may have gone off to wars, to return better formed men. Some may have died in those same wars.
None are mentioned as women, although that could well have been the case. And if women, their lot in life was probably less pleasant to think about than that of the boys.
Most of them probably spent the biggest part of their lives within a few small blocks.
Again, probably most of us romanticised about Holmes' influence on them, even going so far as to hope Holmes was their way out of their sad lot. (Who does not hope Holmes or Watson sent Wiggins off to school somewhere?)
Must of us accept Wiggins as the leader of the Irregulars.
Many of us probably assume Billy the page ascended from those ranks and found cleaner employment and perhaps a life long career beyond the streets.
But truth be told, we don't really know much about the individuals or what ever became of them. London streets were dirty and harsh, with little future. And although we may fantasize about the London of Holmes era, it was for most a very hard time and a hard place to live in.

Visually, for me, one of the best representations of the above image is the Irregulars is as they appear in the film "Without a Clue". Although played in large part for laughs, I think the habits and dress come pretty close to accurate.

Jump forward some hundred plus years to the modern incarnations of Holmes, "Sherlock" and 'Elementary", and we find a different set of Irregulars, if we can even call them that at all.

In the Canonical Irregulars we see a gang or group of boys. Assuming for the most part that the individuals are the same in each story. And as with most gangs, new individuals would come and go for one reason or another with a central repeating core.

While we have a substantial image of the Canonical Irregulars, one has yet to form within the two television shows mentioned above.

When doing a google search for the Baker Street Irregulars you first get a description of the Canonical Irregulars, followed then by the incarnations that developed from the original. 
When searching for minor characters within the Canon Wiggins shows up as an Irregular.
As of yet, no minor characters have been described as such, in my observations, within "Sherlock" or "Elementary". (James or Buddy2blogger, I am counting on you guys to correct me if I am wrong.)

Individuals have stood out in individual episodes as resources that Holmes uses at times to find needed information, but to my knowledge, none have been children, and if they have been none have been part of a group or gang.
Most have been more along the line of Langdale Pike or past clients with a skill set usable to Holmes, which is very Canonical in nature, but not the same as the Irregulars.

So, with all this above space wasted so far, can the Irregulars be relevant to a modern Holmes, and what would they be like.

In this day and age, in a modern society, I don't believe wayward children would have access to things the way they did in Canonical Holmes' era. The streets are not filled out the same way with a mass of people all suffering the same lot. Unkempt youths would not be accepted in most of the places the stories in the modern era take place. They could not move around unnoticed, nor is information gathered in the same way. (Unless all the stories took place in a Walmart or something.) Hygiene and attire that was acceptable in Victorian times would no longer go unnoticed.

If most of cases involving "Sherlock" or :"Elementary" took place in slum districts run by gangs, the scenario of child Irregulars mixing with the masses would seem possible. 
But with most stories taking place in more high-tech or suburban areas, the likelihood of child Irregulars as repeating characters seems unlikely, especially if seen as a group.

Again, can a group of children in a modern take on the Canon be convincing as a group called "Irregulars" and if so, what would they be like?

Could they indeed be children?
They would have to be street smart.
They would have to be somewhat tech savvy.
They would have to be mobile.
They would have to be able to gain access to more upscale types of places.
Would the gang be led by someone more like 'Q' in the modern newer Bond movies? 

Women would have to be part of the new "Irregulars".
They probably would require more funding.
Martial art skills may be required. (Teen-age-Ninja Irregulars?)

If we assume that even most high tech or high-society crimes have their germination in seedier parts of towns, we could see child Irregulars as a possibility. But I don't know if that is the case or not.

Or, in this day and age, are the new "Irregulars" more likely to be gadgets?
Is the IPHONE (or like device) the new "Irregulars", with "google' being the new Wiggins, and all the hackers out there being the rest gang.

Or would "Sherlock" or "Elementary" now use the term "Irregulars" not as a group or gang as such, but a mental collective of individuals, some tech savvy and some street smart, all unknown to each other, with the term "Irregulars" only a personal description of his network?

Are "Irregulars" irrelevant in the modern era of Holmes? What do you think?

I may have been wrong about those two. . . .

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
There,. . . that didn't hurt to bad.

Although I have liked "Sherlock" from the first time I watched in while actually in England in 2010, happy to break the news upon my return at our local scion meeting. But I must admit, I had not jumped on the band wagon for Moffat and Gatiss as some others (who, as it now appears, were much wiser than I) had.
I did agree that the show was the best thing that ever happened to Holmes and Watson since Brett and Burke/Hardwicke.
But being generally not a science fiction fan, and specifically not interested in following  "Dr. Who", I was reluctant to give credit to "Dr Who" writers and actors. I'd had a bad experience back in the 1990's when Holmes and Who clashed at a banquet with Brett and I definitely did not want to see the two mixed again.
Surely those two were just involved in some little way, but the actual work on the series was done by others who actually had strong Sherlockian connections and knowledge.

With all the attention being given to the upcoming showing of series three, I sat down and watched Moffat and Gatiss in "Unlocking Sherlock" the other night.
I sort of expected those two to sit down and explain in some convoluted why the theories they had about how Holmes could fit into the modern era, but to find out others were actually doing most of the grunt work.

I was, as it turns out, pleasantly surprised that that was not the case.

Instead I found myself watching two very sincere people who were very much in love with Holmes and Watson and had the knowledge base to do the work they do. Add to that all the others interviewed in the show and you had an excellent view of all that goes in to it.
"Unlocking Sherlock" elevated the show "Sherlock" even more for me. These guys know what they are talking about.
Sure, there are still things I find fault with on the show (my wife says that's just my nature), but now I at least look at those with a different perspective.

Good work gentlemen.

So I happily give "Unlocking Sherlock"

Admitting one error in perception, I hope this doesn't mean I will soon be agreeing with Brad!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Trivia; What is Watson holding in his hands?

Any thoughts?

Just in. . .

Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules

Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by Frederic Dorr Steele.Associated PressSherlock Holmes as portrayed by Frederic Dorr Steele.
In the more than 125 years since he first appeared, Sherlock Holmes has popped up everywhere from fan fiction set in outer space to screen adaptations like CBS’s “Elementary,” set in contemporary Manhattan. But now, following a legal ruling, the deerstalker-wearing detective is headed to another destination: the public domain.
A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works Arthur Conan Doyle published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law and can be freely used by creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate.
The ruling came in response to a civil complaint filed in February by Leslie S. Klinger, the editor of the three-volume, nearly 3,000-page “The Complete Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and a number of other Holmes-related books. The complaint stemmed from “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” a collection of new Holmes stories written by different authors and edited by Mr. Klinger and Laurie R. King, herself the author of a mystery series featuring Mary Russell, Holmes’s wife.
Mr. Klinger and Ms. King had paid a $5,000 licensing fee for a previous Holmes-inspired collection. But in the complaint, Mr. Klinger said that the publisher of “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” Pegasus Books, had declined to go forward after receiving a letter from the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., a business entity organized in Britain, suggesting the estate would prevent the new book from being sold by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and “similar retailers” unless it received another fee.
Arthur Conan DoyleAssociated PressArthur Conan Doyle
Chief Judge Rubén Castillo of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, rejected the estate’s claim that the characters and the basic Holmes story line themselves remain under copyright, since they were not truly completed until Conan Doyle stopped writing. The judge did caution, however, that elements introduced in the 10 stories published after 1923 — such as the fact that Watson played rugby for Blackheath — remain protected.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Klinger said he planned to go forward with “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” which he said carefully avoids any post-1923 elements. He also praised the ruling for opened the way to other creators, many of whom had paid licensing fees to the estate but rallied to Mr. Klinger’s cause under the Twitter hashtag #FreeSherlock.
“Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world, and this ruling clearly establishes that,” he said. “People want to celebrate Holmes and Watson, and now they can do that without fear.”
Benjamin Allison, a lawyer for the Conan Doyle estate, said it was exploring an appeal but asserted that the ruling did not imperil any existing licensing agreements or the estate’s separate claims under trademark law.
Mr. Allison also reiterated the estate’s claim that the “highly delineated” Holmes and Watson characters depend on elements introduced in the post-1923 stories, which remain protected.
“Those stories are set at a variety of points in Sherlock’s fictional life, not just the end of his life,” he said. “They develop the two men’s characters in ways that almost any use of the characters depends on.”

Speaking of BLUE


Well done Mr. Monty

Should be your new Blue Carbuncle tradition.

Happy Blue Car Buckle Day!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Had never heard of this place before. . . .

Baker St. Studios

But I like the card.

Blackwood and Holmes together again,. . . . sort of. . .

The Imitation Game

Holiday Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes - #34 - Jimmy Stewart

Once again sticking with Holiday themed movies and actors, I get to do one of my favorite all time actors, and war hero, Jimmy Stewart. Who of course starred in the wonderful movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946).

So here goes.

Jimmy Stewart (1908 - 1997)

had one of his first screen credits in a film called "The Murder Man" (1935)

which also featured Lionel Atwill (1885 - 1946)

who's name, if you look closely, can be seen on this poster for 1939's "Hound of the Baskervilles"

He played Dr. Mortimer.

Lionel Atwill had appeared a least two other times previous with Basil Rathbone in other movies.
He was also with Rathbone in "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon."

Jimmy Stewart's connection came real early in his career.

Compliments of the Season!

Friday, December 20, 2013

If you are tired of seeing "artists" putting Sherlock and John together. . .

Try this. Some of them are fun..

I am a little surprised. . .

. . . with all the talk lately about this show or that show not being Canonical enough or that "Elementary" is so bad that it shouldn't even be on the air (much less use the names Holmes and Watson), that "How Sherlock Holmes Changed the World" (HSHCW) is not getting much chatter.

Or even with "Sherlock"  being lauded as the greatest thing in Fandom ever, HSHCW is still not being talked about. Especially sense it also focuses on how well "Sherlock" captures Holmes' methods.

I mean, come on, it is totally Canonical and all about Doyle's creation and not abominations done by other writers. It shows how relevant and timely the writings were. And dare I say, perhaps a little ahead of their time.

Do all other Sherlockians other than myeslf know all the stuff  HSHCW talks about?

I don't think you could ask for a more complimentary show concerning Doyle's works. It is totally about how good the books and Holmes were. And I came away understanding his methods a little bit more.

And the timing is perfect. Right before "Sherlock" season three is to air.

I have watched all but about the last half hour or so now, and hope to finish it tonight.

There are a few times it gets just a hair long winded, but not very often.
Sure we could argue over whether or not they picked a good actor as representation of Holmes, but that is rather subjective anyway. (Although I do love some of the facial expressions of Lestrade).

Will it get lots of people more interested in Holmes? I don't know. Although I think it will get a few.
But it will get them for all the right reasons, Holmes and his methods. Not how sexy he is or isn't.

So with all that said, I hope you check it out and I give it easily

Once again, are the 'fans' spoiling 'Sherlock'


Thursday, December 19, 2013

In case it gets busy over the next couple of days. . . .

Compliments of the Season from SHSSC!

Finished the first episode of 'How Sherlock Holmes Changed the World.'

And it was very well done.
Very respectful of the creator of Holmes and his methods.
The show took the methods and habits of Holmes and is showing how, today, those methods and habits are being applied to forensic science.
The show is also including interviews with Doyle and doing some nice discussions on Dr. Bell.
Also included is a look at the TV series Sherlock and how it is capturing these methods well.

Any lover of Holmes or forensic science should enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And while we remember Peter O'Toole. . . (1932-2013)

as the voice of Holmes in the 1983 cartoons. . .

Let's not forget that he played Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Fairy Tale: A True Story

How Sherlock Holmes changed the World

Only got to watch a little of it last night on our local PBS station, but what I watched look really good. A well done show that I look forward to watching.

Will the young actor playing Holmes now be considered the latest cinematic incarnation of  the Great Detective?

What makes a 'fan' and what makes a Sherlockian (or Holmesian if you prefer)

I recently read a post on another's blog where the author believed 'Sherlock' was written by fans for fans.
Now I think it could easily be said that probably most people who follow 'Sherlock' are not Sherlockians. They are fans of the show a certain Benedict Cumberbatch stars in, and probably follow the show because of him and not Holmes.  I don't think there is any wrong in saying that, nor is there anything wrong if that is true.
I also think that there are plenty of long time Sherlockians who are fans of the show, and many who enjoy 'Playing the Game' with the show.
It is also true that because of 'Sherlock' our ranks of Sherlockians will swell. And that is the really good news. New people will have discovered Holmes and continue to enjoy his original works.

If I were to describe a Sherlockian it would be someone who is grounded in the original works by Doyle and uses that platform as the starting point when examining and enjoying other works or incarnation of the great detective. Such is the point of 'Playing the Game." They may have come by the books first and then started to participate in the study of other sources. Or one of those other sources may have lead them to the books.
The relevance of other works, for them, are going to be judged on how well the other works respect and follow a few certain parameters when dealing with the world of Holmes. The further something gets away from those parameters the less relevant it becomes.

With that said . . . .
Do we agree that 'Sherlock' is written by fans for fans? Which would mean it is not written by Sherlockains.
And if we do believe that, where does that place Nicolas Meyer author of Seven Percent Solution?
Was he a 'fan' or a Sherlockian or neither?

How about Anthony Horowitz? Is he just another writer using Holmes or is he a Sherlockian?

Are the Baker St. Babes Sherlockians or fans? Some of the stuff they talk about on their pod casts  ranks right up there with the lowest of fan fiction.

Does one need to do serious scholarly works (which would leave many of us out) to be allowed the title of Sherlockian?

To me it seems a lot of what is going on with the recent events surrounding series three of 'Sherlock' is akin to what took place around the Beatles in the 1960's (but not to the same degree, yet). Star struck, yes by talent, but also by good looks. There is a fanaticism surrounding much of it, and lost some where inside is a small, but hopefully growing, group of Sherlockains.

And you know what? It's OK. We have all had something in our lives that just made us want to scream and shout.

It's just a shame that the rest of the media takes it so seriously. Oh, wait. Isn't that good for the show?
Well, at least for the short haul.
Or will 'fan' behavior keep both stars from wanting to return to the world of Sherlock Holmes? Both of these actors are two of the best things that has happened to the world of Holmes in a very long time, and that fact will not diminish. But instead of being typecast will they become fearful of the fanaticism masking their stellar work?

And why would anyone with the last name of Moran be allowed to interview 'Sherlock Holmes'.? You gotta know that is plot of some kind.

Maybe we can reward a title of part-time Sherlockian or a temporary badge like a working visa until you are allowed citizenship or something.

Or maybe we just shouldn't worry about it. It will straighten itself out in the end.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes #33 - Christmas addition - Tim Allen

Ho, ho ho!

Holiday additions of 7 Degrees coming up for the next couple of weeks. Actors in Holiday Themed movies.

So let's begin.

Funny man Tim Allen - (1953)

was in a film in 1999 Galaxy Quest

which the talented Alan Rickman (1946) also took part

who was in a BBC television production of Romeo and Juliet

with Sir John Gielgud (1904-2000)

who participated in 1956's Around the World in Eighty Days 

of which Melville Cooper (1896 - 1973) also took part

who also took part in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1933)

in which we already know one of the top Sherlock Holmes actors, Basil Rathbone, took part.

So there you have it, there you are.
Compliments of the Season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dress up your own Rathbone . . .


Another good line from BLUE

“After all, Watson,” said Holmes, reaching up
his hand for his clay pipe, “I am not retained by
the police to supply their deficiencies."

This is one of the lines that is made in connection with the discussion a couple weeks ago about 'Elementary', and whether or not Holmes can in this modern age act above the law as he could in the stories in the Canon.

This discussion also made me think a little about Lestrade's involvement, or lack there of, in HOUN.
We had seen Holmes work with other local members of the police force, so why was Lestrade called down to Dartmoor?
Lestrade appears in 13 Canonical tales. Not a lot when considering the total number, but more than any other police officer.
I think Holmes needed someone who would allow him to work his methods without question or interference.
Someone who would go along with what ever explanation Holmes would use to explain the solution of the case. After all, what did Lestrade actually do in HOUN?

Did Holmes use Lestrade to return the stone in BLUE, or did he return it on his own, offering an explanation that it was indeed not stolen, but mislaid?

Had Holmes handpicked Lestrade as his Scotland Yard connection because Lestrade was easy to manipulate and control?

"Play the Game' and tell me what you think.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thank you for the plug on the Weekly Sherlock Links Compendium

Always an honor to see something I have done posted there.

Always 1895

Elementary Season 2 - episode 11 - 'Internal Audit'

Holmes and Watson are called in to help investigate the gruesome murder of a high stake financier who has embezzled lots of his clients money.
Holmes notices that prior to his being shot, the victim was about to commit suicide and was interrupted by the murderer.
The episode also continued to explore the ramifications of Holmes actions that lead to Det. Bell being shot.

For me, the episode once again fell into the habit of bringing an issue about Holmes up one week, which I think was really done well last week, and then milking the same theme too much the next week.
That would be OK if on that second week, the deductions and observations, the things we love most about Holmes, were a little stronger within the case. Not that there were not a few.

I like the fact that Holmes is going to wrestle with this issue about Bell, but that can not be the main theme two weeks in a row without having stronger Sherlockianisms included.

It is good that Holmes is not allowed to resolve the issue with Bell in just one week (even when I don't always like the characteristics Holmes develops at times when wrestling with the issue) It is showing growth in the character. And I like the fact that Watson is holding her ground on the issue also.

It is going to be interesting to see over the rest of the season if Bell's new assignment involves Holmes in international terrorism.

The mystery in this episode was a good one and had some good twists. Richard Masur is one of the best at playing slimy hidden under a likable character.

Although there were a few Canonical references I think they were a little weak and had been done a few times before. I like how he discovered the suicide hidden in the murder.

References I caught ( and I am counting on Buddy2blogger to find more).

- His knowledge of botany
- His knowledge of geology
- How he hates distraction when working on a case

Quick question; Is technology becoming the new Baker St. Irregulars?

To give the show a little credit, it is having to build themes over several weeks to complete the back story of Holmes personality over, hopefully, several seasons.

Although a good episode, and definitely no one of the weakest, this week, for me, because it lack good Sherlockian habits, I give it

out of five. At least he didn't throw away any more Yorkshire Puddings.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

From here to there and back again, sort of. Baker St. to the Alpha Inn.

'It was a bitter night, so we drew on our ulsters and wrapped cravats about our throats. Outside, the stars were shining coldly in a cloudless sky, and the breath of the passers-by blew out into smoke like so many pistol shots. Our footfalls rang out crisply and loudly as we swung through the doctors’ quarter, Wimpole Street, Harley Street, and so through Wigmore Street into Oxford Street. In a quarter of an hour we were in Bloomsbury at the Alpha Inn, which is a small public-house at the corner of one of the streets which runs down into Holborn.'

It is quite impossible to trace completely the path Holmes and Watson took in BLUE when they left 221b and headed to the Alpha Inn to inquire about geese. As with every walk we take, we don't always follow the shortest route, but sometimes the most scenic or the most familiar.
But we can come close.
There are several different routes they could have rambled, all of which could touch upon the streets mentioned in the quote.
And we have to realize that some of the street names have changed or been rerouted.

The walk would have been right around two miles, so when Watson said, 'In a quarter of an hour. . .', he must have meant from when they hit Oxford.

If you do a google map route, it misses Oxford street all together, but does hit all the other streets.

However, if you were to turn south on Harley Street  and connect with Holles St. you would hit Oxford. After Harley St. we could also turn south on several streets to get to Oxford.
After about Regent St., the further east you go on Wigmore the more your path would start veering away from the Alpha Inn.
And we must remember, the quote does not actually say they went to Holborn, just that the Alpha Inn sets on a corner of a street that runs into Holborn.

These would have been familiar streets to Holmes and Watson. They would have traveled them a lot.

It would be a wonderful walk to take sometime.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Next great line from BLUE

 “He brought round both hat and goose to me on Christmas morning, knowing that even the smallest problems are of interest to me. The goose we retained until this morning, when there were signs that, in spite of the slight frost, it would be well that it should be eaten without unnecessary delay. Its finder has carried it off, therefore, to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose, while I continue to retain the hat of the unknown gentleman who lost his Christmas dinner.”

OK, one last one. . . . for now.

Sorry Sherlock Peoria, someone else likes it also.. . .

I do not agree with the writers assessment of Doyle's writings, but I do think he is right on about 'Elementary'.



Shooting most effectively on so many cylinders is Robert Doherty's "Elementary." It's the smartest, most intimately passionate iteration of Sherlock Homes around, and that's saying a lot, considering that we're in the midst of a bull market for all things Holmes. 
The new wave of stand-alone episodic TV disproves the notion that long-arc, cable-style storytelling equals excellence. Stand-alones are, in their resemblance to short stories, more nimble, more likely to rip to the gristle quicker—and the retooling of stand-alone-driven series demonstrates that programs made in this vein needn't depend on eternal stasis, or hitting the reset button each week. There's the oft-brilliant, mythos-heavy "Person of Interest" and new wave of globe-trotting, green screen TV, represented by the politically explosive comic book that is "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." And  there's "The Blacklist"'s excuse to show James Spader be deliciously almost bad to the bone. Ana Faris and Allison Janney take five-camera comedy more darkly Oedipal as than most indie joints in "Mom." These shows all have ongoing stories, but those stories are mostly buried. The real action is week-to-week and in the moment.
The secret to the Holmes craze is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's crime buster is little more than an assemblage of data points in search of a human to hang them on: the pipe, disguise skills, the love of a seven-percent-solution of cocaine, the seething contempt of women, the superhuman deductive reasoning. He's so under-written that revisers can't resist him. And so Guy Ritchie rendered him an action hero his Sherlock Holmes films. Steven Moffat's "Sherlock" gave us a short-run take on a tech-hip, maybe asexual, couture rock star-style version of the detective. Putin only knows what the Russians are doing  in their own remake, but with American cable TV's import craze being what it is, we may find out soon.
"Elementary" has proven that trad TV is by far the best fit for our strange detective. Like basic TV narrative, Doyle's stories, in form, style, narrative and resolution, offer the guaranteed pleasures of absolute, unchanging familiarity. There's some surprise in who did it, and even more in how and why, but what you're here for is old friends doing the same old things the usual way. (One wonders how much pleasure Doyle took at hiding the utterly queer relationship between these gentlemen in plain sight. Whatever the case, read today, the stories often come off as pre-emptive 'shippers.)
"Elementary" makes big changes in its source: London becomes New York. The queer element becomes the basis of endless future gender studies papers asJohn Watson becomes Joan (played with born-New Yorker charm by Lucy Liu). Doyle's cross-dressing, weird cowboys, Mormon freak-outs, forced wig-wearing and other bits of kink are dumped in favor of sundry despicable 47-per-centers and Ayn Rand fans. Most radically, Doyle's stick figure of a detective is made a fully fleshed human, in stories free of the ultra-violent problem-solving and standard-brand cynicism that soils the likes of "The Blacklist." Not many shows—cable or network—have the courage and heart to end an episode as "Elementary" did, leaving quandaries unresolved as its characters notice, together, wordlessly, the healing beauty of the East River at sunset.
The show's triumph starts with the casting of Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes. Frail, tattooed and muscularly stringy from anxiety-control calisthenics, Miller's the most physical iteration of the detective, an ex-addict whose deduction obsessions are most valuable for keeping him focused on the straight and narrow. He shares an un-renovated Brooklyn brownstone with Dr. Watson, at first merely his 'sober companion', but quickly an intellectual peer whose insights he quickly comes to respect and utilize. 
But the most radical rewrite in "Elementary" is the way the wrapper says "Sherlock Homes" while the actual item is a twofer. At its core, "Elementary," is the story of two people who met just after hitting bottom, and what happens after that. For Holmes, it's an end to unbearable loneliness. For Watson, it's surviving the purgatory years of self-recrimination after a botched surgery killed a patient.
As the first season came and went, something unique was in the process of developing, something I've come to call 'additive stand-alone' storytelling. It's a form that remembers the long story but isn't about it, a form that instead deep- focuses on current details, textures, emotional peaks and valleys, and themes that grow in emotional value over time and in memory, motivating character action as the show progresses.
Looking at Doherty's resume, I couldn't help but notice his work as a writer on "Star Trek: Voyager," which for seven seasons used the same additive technique to tell the very slow but steady growth of the human-turned-Borg, Seven of Nine, from heartless semi-automaton to full-fledged human—without explicitly telling that story, but via the steady accumulation of incident and growth. It was a story told via the narrative of memory: Seven's and ours.
It's a mode that assumes viewer attention, a respectful mode. A perfect example of additive stand-alone storytelling is this show's means of showing hog Holmes is coming to respect Watson, without any obvious signals or landmark moments. At a certain point, for instance, Sherlock chooses to notgreet Watson's arrival with the sexually charged provocation of his sweaty, post-workout, half-nude body. He instead answers the door in a button-up shirt and offers tea.
This Watson is not the shrinking violet of Doyle's male version. She has a network—a world—of friends, old colleagues, a shrink, a separate reality principle against which she tests her increasing fascination with detective work. There's sexual attraction galore, but these are adults with more important things to do than paw each other.
Of course, purists will loudly call foul. But not to worry—that's just what purists do. Doherty, on the other hand, is a lover of the original texts who's nonetheless willing to try to fix its most glaring flaws. So it's to women-hate and Irene Adler we must go.
Doyle's Sherlock pretty much despised women. The one exception was Irene Adler, first glimpsed in "A Scandal in Bohemia." An early modern fatale and a doozy at that, Doyle's Adler is a former opera contralto from New Jersey committing blackmail. But what matters is that she accomplishes the inconceivable: she outwits Holmes, several times, and then disappears.
An 'Irene Adler' shows up on "Sherlock" as a standard issue dominatrix (Lara Pulver), and in Ritchie's action movie as a fatale played by mystifyingly miscast Rachel McAdams who has sex with Holmes because he's played byRobert Downey, Jr.
"Elementary" refuses to let Adler strangle on old tropes. It boldly remixes bits of Holmes mythology to help us understand the wounds behind this hetero Holmes' pained aversion to most women. We learn that the reason for Holmes' recent near-self-obliteration with opiates was tied to his inability to stop Adler—whom he loved utterly—from being killed by a serial killer named 'M.' (Nice shout-out to Fritz Lang). In a series of fizzy Doyles-ian flip-flops, 'M' turns out to not only be Irene Adler, but an Adler who's a sociopathic criminal (Natalie Dormer) who's also his arch nemesis, Moriarty.
And so Holmes is stripped of everything in his life that he thought he loved andhated. It's Watson's work that brings Adler down. After, Sherlock must learn to find meaning, as he puts it, "post-love."
Doherty, however, reasons that man does not get by on Adler alone, and so in the recent and devastating "Poison Pen" episode, Holmes is hurled back to deal with the girl he's spent his life trying to forget because it reminds him of the shockingly violent wreckage of his upbringing. This episode's murder case has our recently devastated hero meeting again with a murder suspect namedAbigail Spencer (Laura Benanti), a women who in her teens was also accused and exonerated for the killing of her monstrously abusive father. It was a case that caught a young teenage Holmes' attention, so much that he became pen pals with Spencer: she because of the invasive crush of tabloid fascination, Sherlock to escape the terror and physical pain of daily bullying.
We also learn how the guilt born of Sherlock's eventual teen betrayal of Spencer has misshapen the character we've been watching all this time. In every way, Holmes needs Spencer to be innocent but does Abigail want to be forgiven?
To just speak of the Sherlock Holmes component, "Poison Pen" ends in the finest "Elementary" way—with an act of surprise kindness that has nothing with the idea of closure. Grown-ups know that no such thing exists, but time spent with a friend watching the East River flow does.

thanks TO

Thanks Sherlock Peoria for the lead. . .


I like how the photo got all three principles in.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

And this is an interesting way to look at BLUE

How to write like Dr Watson

Another good line from BLUE

"No, no. No crime," said Sherlock Holmes, laughing. "Only one of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you have four million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity, every possible combination of events may be expected to take place, and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal. We have already had experience of such."
"So much so," l remarked, "that of the last six cases which I have added to my notes, three have been entirely free of any legal crime."

Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes - #32 - Roland Young, then Greta Garbo

OK, as one last tribute to the Watson's, it was going to do Roland Young, so here goes. . .

Roland Young (1887-1953) was Watson to Barrymore's Holmes in 1922

But it turned out to easy. You see, in 1930 he was in a film called The Bishop Murder Case

But who do we see playing the detective in the movie? Why, Basil Rathbone  (1892 - 1967)

So I decided to stop doing Watson's and go back to the normal game.

So I chose Greta Grabo (1905 - 1990), even if she wants to be alone.

In 1932 she was in a little film called Grand Hotel

In which Roland Young's Sherlock, John Barrymore (1882 - 1942) also starred.

So we have come full circle.
There you have it, there you are.