In case you’ve missed the news, both Sherlock and Dr. Who, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith, are going head to head in the National Television Awards competition. The winners will be announced on 23 January, 2013. I confess as much as I like Matt Smith and The Doctor from time to time (no pun intended), I’m rooting for Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch (although, I have some friends who are in a real fehklumpt (I was going to use “feshmeckle” but can’t find out how to spell it correctly in Yiddish), because they are true fans of both the shows and the men).
My reasons for supporting Sherlock are beautifully explained in a Los Angeles Times article for which I’ll simply include the following excerpt:
For the generations of men who have wondered what it is women want, this year has made it fairly obvious. We want a man of devastating intelligence, cerebrally and physically nimble, whose vast store of arcane knowledge is foundation for a super-human ability to solve problems and the fascinating, frustrating wall that protects a tender heart.
What do you mean my Christmas gift was also my birthday gift?
Ooh, you are in trouble now. People with late December and early January birthdays hate combined gifts! Trust me/ (I have a friend born on Christmas Day and you’d better make certain there are two gifts and one isn‘t wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper…)
For those who don’t know, Sherlock Holmes birthday has traditionally been listed as 6 January, 1854. The date of 6 January was never actually specified by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the canon, however, through a bit of specious logic, the Baker Street Irregulars members agreed upon the date and hold an annual party in celebration. As for the year, Sherlock Holmes centennial was celebrated in 1987, the year he first appeared in print, however in the story His Last Bow, set in August 1914, Sherlock is said to be 60-years old which would mean he was born in 1854. There’s a nice little piece about all of this in the New York Times, along with the argument that Sherlock’s birthday should be 2 December because that is Dr. Joseph Bell’s birthday (the actual man on whom Sherlock Holmes is based).
Personally, I like the 6 January because it is the 12th Day of Christmas known as Epiphany (celebrating the arrival of the Magi or Wise Men with their gifts for the 3-year old Jesus; which is why my family did not put out the Wise Men in the Nativity until 6 January). I like the idea that Sherlock was born on Epiphany which means a moment of sudden revelation or insight. So very Sherlock!
The Seattle Sherlock Holmes fans seem to agree with a gathering on the traditional 6 January and will be gathering this Sunday for celebration (and more than a bit of fun). I look forward to seeing some of you there.
I’d hoped to get something extraordinary done to post for Sherlock’s Birthday, but work is interfering so I may be running a bit late. Meanwhile, everyone should plan on celebrating one of the world’s most beloved fictional characters in an appropriate style (I will, however, eschew the often suggested 3 pipes of tobacco or 7% solution in favor of some bubbly (perhaps not a case) and some good reading and viewing.)
May your New Year be filled with Health, Happiness, Joy, Peace, Prosperity and Plenty of Sherlock Holmes!
Meanwhile, there’s news on the RDJ Sherlock Holmes front. Apparently, the script for movie #3 is being ironed out, but there will definitely be a movie #3 with Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. reprising their roles. They do have lovely chemistry together, although it’s rather explosive (double entendre intended). The current word is that the filming will be somewhere we haven’t been yet, so not strictly set in London.
Oh, and I should mentioned that I opened one of my Christmas gifts early and found out a friend had sent me the set of Baring-Gould Annotated Sherlock Holmes, so I’m having a very hard time concentrating on everything I else I need to do before Tuesday. Thank you, BE Warne (she has several sites including West Wing and House fandoms).
‘Fraid so, Molly. Easy on the Holiday Spirit. But don’t worry, it’s no where near as embarrassing as what some folks post on Tumblr and Twitter.
All I Want For Christmas
Dear Santa Sherlock (aka Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue & Team Sherlock),
I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need (this isn’t going where you think it’s going, by the way). All I want for Christmas is for you to go through Season 3 Sherlock scripts with a magnifying lens and make certain they don’t require me to willingly suspend my disbelief more than once per episode. In other words, iron out all the bits that don’t make sense when you think about them but were shortcuts. What John Scalzi calls “lazy writing” in his novel Redshirts. (I did seriously consider sending a box of the book to the production office, but was afraid you’d take it the wrong way and not understand that my concern is because, for the most part, the writing is breathtakingly phenomenal).
I’m talking about those bits in the script that force me to turn off my brain, where the writer sublimates logic, reason, plot coherence, character integrity, and even fundamental knowledge to push the emotional impact. In other words, emotional manipulation is given precedence over plot and character consistency — or even believability.
And I’m sorry, Mr. Moffat, I know you don’t like critics and criticism, but if someone doesn’t mention the quibbles, how will you ever know they are there? I love your writing when it’s witty and sharp and bright, which is why shortcuts that cheapen and tarnish the sparkling brilliance are so blatant and maddening.
I am aware that we’re in another Romantic Revival period (made even more obvious by the concurrent Gothic Revival) and that in the Romantic Movement it’s all about heightening the emotional response to the art, however, as Mr. Moffat pointed out, brainy is the new sexy.
Season 2 Sherlock is exceptionally fine television from every standpoint: acting, production, directing, set decoration, music, even costuming. And yes, there’s some damn fine writing in it. The dialogue is phenomenal and the updating of the classic tropes from the original material is spectacular. Which is why the large — and entirely unnecessary — plot holes drive me mad. My inner Watson has a great deal of trouble controlling my inner Sherlock from doing a high-speed, 10-minute rant of the plot and character continuity issues.
I won’t bore you by going through them all (although I must mention that the oft-cited “instant acting drug” followed by Adler’s escape in Scandal requires at least three “willing suspensions of disbelief” in one scene including a weak, indecisive, inactive Watson in a “man down” medical and “combat” situation). I will, however, point out the most blatant example from The Reichenbach Fall.We are expected to believe that a Chief Constable of Scotland Yard is unaware of who Sherlock Holmes is and that he has been assisting the police in a number of major investigations despite the fact that Scotland Yard held a major press conference to publicly thank Sherlock Holmes for his essential assistance in the capture of Ricoletti, *Interpol’s Most Wanted Criminal!*
Not to mention the man being apparently oblivious to the recovery of the Turner masterpiece stolen from the National Gallery, the rescue of the kidnapped major capitalist, the Moriarty Trial involving the breaking into the Crown Jewels, the maximum security prison, and the Bank of England vault, and the current case of kidnapping of the American Ambassador’s children. Really? I’m suppose to believe in a Scotland Yard Chief Constable who missed all of this? Apparently, he doesn’t read the papers, watch the telly, go online or even bother to read the Scotland Yard crime and case reports.
And the most frustrating part is that this was not only unbelievable and weakened the story, but it could just as easily played out correctly and actually strengthened the scenes involved. In the first scene, where Anderson and Donovan have gone over Lestrade’s head and taken their case to the Chief Constable, the characters, the scene and the episode would have been strengthened if the Chief Constable had responded with something along the lines of “It makes sense he’s been behind a lot of these crimes. I always knew there was no way Sherlock Holmes could be that smart. We’ll teach him he can’t make bloody fools of us all and wipe that superior sneer off his bloody arrogant face.” Which harkens back all the way to A Study in Pink where so many officers volunteer for the “drugs bust” at Sherlock’s flat and ties in nicely with Watson’s warning about “every single officer you ever made feel a tit, which is a lot of people…” Finally, at the actual arrest, the Chief Constable would only need to change a few words saying something to Donovan along the lines of “So we’ve got him nicely cuffed, I see. Not so clever now. I always said he was a weirdo.” At which point Watson could haul off and slug the Chief Constable per the scene. This would allow the Chief Constable to still remain a twit, but not make it seem that Scotland Yard is run with the most appallingly incompetent management this side of Steve Ballmer or RIM. (I was going to make a comparison to Barney Fife, but I’m not certain you would get the reference, but he’s in Wikipedia.)
As I’ve said, this is just one of the examples I could have used. I chose this one because it was the simplest and most obviously unnecessary (fixable by changing just a few lines). Both Scandal in Belgravia and The Reichenbach Fall are rife with them. But this being the holiday season, ’m not going to belabor the point by going through all of the others. My purpose is merely to beg you to take the opportunity of the 3 month production delay to winnow out any continuity issues that might be lurking in the Season 3 scripts.
I just ask please Santa Moftiss, don’t settle for the easy applause of pandering to the cries of the Romanticists. Be strong. Make the Season 3 Sherlock scripts as sharp, tight as A Study in Pink, and capable of withstanding the scrutiny of Sherlock Holmes himself. Challenge yourselves to challenge us, please.
Do this for me and I promise to be very good and not whine about the wait or ask for a blooper reel to tide me over. I’ll even bind and gag my inner-Sherlock when watching Dr. Who with my fan friends. And I’ll channel my inner-Watson and bop in the nose (verbally) anyone who dares to criticize any of the writing.
Uhm, after posting this, I came across this video regarding some of The Avengers continuity issues. My inner-Watson is choking my inner-Sherlock to spot me from doing this to Season 2 Sherlock (or even just Scandal or Reichenbach).
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