Oh, the humanity… Honest, it’s just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage.”
Some folks have asked if I’m planning to review Season 4 of the BBC’s Sherlock. the caption above is a quote from the Hindenburg Disaster broadcast. I thought it appropriate… I’m going to borrow from a comment I just posted on the Timey-Wimey-Wibbly-Wobbly post:
I haven’t seen Season 4. I have not even read any fan reviews, though a friend did tell me she was underwhelmed and confirmed two of my guesses as to what happened in episode 1. I do have a recording of the episode, but I’ve not been inclined to watch it given the condition of the world right now (including the Brexit and U.S. election votes). I suspect this will be the last season until Freeman and Cumberbatch decide they need the money and some suit at BBC wises up. Though by then, there will probably not be a PBS broadcasting in the U.S. any longer and any corporate suit who is looking for a surefire nostalgia success will want to reboot with younger actors.
You’d think Moftiss would realize that what people really want is the Hope that the original Sherlock Holmes stories brought, that smart, good individuals did exist, cared, and could bring about justice for even the poor. We can already see the stupid, cruel, and rich crushing the middle- and poorer-classes while making an obscene gesture to the altruistic and enlightened concepts like “Truth, Justice and the American Way”, as the old Superman TV series put it. Though, in fact, it was also the British Way first.
Yes, I am depressed and despondent over the political and social climate, and the descent of Sherlock into soap opera Shock schlock. In our unenlightened, racing-to-the-Dark-Ages, post-fact, (i.e. stupid and ignorant) society we’ve also devolved into a brutish, cloddish, crude, rude, adolescent male, post-taste culture, if it can be called “culture” except in the social science sense.
Where the hell is that bloody cable installer? I’ve got to hook it up to the hard drive and test the video feed before John gets back.
Just a quick post of links to some yummy things to keep us going and as compensation for those of us who do not live in an area where we can watch the BBC Sherlock Series 3 on New Year’s Day. (After 13 years with no TV reception, I am waiting for the cable installers to arrive and give me Local Basic Cable for obvious reasons. Please, don’t tell them that I’ll be canceling it after February…)
First, if you think we’ve been inundated with Sherlock Holmes recently, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! A U.S. judge has ruled that most of Sherlock Holmes canon is now in the public domain (not including John Watson’s second wife, however…). The ruling came as the result of a civil action brought by author and editor Leslie Klinger (the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes) and states that elements of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Doyle prior to 1 January, 1923 are now in the U.S. public domain. There’s a very well-done article in the New York Times here.
There’s another one that makes a nice distinction between the stories being in the public domain and the characters and story elements being in the public domain at the Wall Street Journal (which makes sense given the financial implications). And if you’ve a legal frame of mind, the blog TechDirt dices the ruling into judicial slices for you. There’s another article at The Hollywood Reporter that also digs into the ruling and its implications for creatives (writers & filmmakers, natch).
The Doyle estate argument definitely was a weak one for the U.S. courts where a fine distinction between “flat entertainment characters” and “complex literary characters” is not likely to be recognized. (I’m writing that with a straight face. No, really, I am… Okay, there was a little sarcasm in my head and there was maybe a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge going on when I typed “recognized.”) While I expect a veritable flood of Biblical proportions of Sherlock Holmes creative (and I use that term in its loosest sense) to deluge my in-box and the internet, it should be noted that an appeal of the ruling is possible (I’d say likely since otherwise the Doyle estate has basically lost all of its U.S. licensing income immediately, as opposed to at least delaying the loss by another couple of years).
But don’t expect to see a flood of BBC Sherlock fan fiction getting published on Amazon any time soon (well, not unless they pull a 50 Shades of Grey and scrub the serial numbers off with different names, et al). BBC and Team Sherlock made it clear when Elementary was being bantered about that they intend to “protect the interest and wellbeing of our offspring.” A reasonably polite way of saying they’ll sue the trousers and pants off anyone who tries to cash in on their work.
Photo Spoiler Alert: Stop Now If You Don’t Want to See ANYTHING from BBC Sherlock Series 3
Second, there’s a lovely bit of fun on PBS to attempt to quell the riots until the 19th January. It’s called Unlocking Sherlock, and if by chance you haven’t seen it, you should. Mark Gatiss has quite a lot of fun chewing up the scenery as he reads excerpts from Arthur Conan Doyle’s original work, and Steven Moffat is rather charmingly mellow and candid as he talks about Sherlock Season 1 & 2, particularly A Scandal in Belgravia (he admits that his Irene Adler is not a nice person and does some incredibly horrible things during the episode — and that Sherlock is chillingly cold-blooded when he saves Mycroft’s bacon and roasts Adler at the end). And then there are all of those behind-the-scenes clips we hadn’t seen before and the bits with Cumberbatch and Freeman (my gosh, Cumberbatch looks so thin in those clips (and pale)! I want to make a giant pot of Tom Kai Gai (Thai chicken soup) and an entire bakery of goodies and go feed him! Eat! Eat! Take a little nosh, bubeleh! )
Yeah. Like That’s going to happen. but Team sherlock did release a video of Martin Freeman in Bilbo regalia (and nearly getting blown away in the New Zealand wind) stating that as soon as he finished his filming in New Zealand, he was heading back to London to film Sherlock Season 3 Episode 3, and that meanwhile fans should pummel Team Sherlock (aka Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat aka Moftiss) with rude, pushy questions and rip their clothes off. Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch had fun pretending to be confused as to his purpose and then making a lot of gesticulations and faces explaining how Sherlock survived the Reichenbach Fall (no, really, you have to watch it). The really good news is that Benedict cumberbatch comfirmed that they are back in the UK at the end of July to begin filming Episode 3 of Sherlock. Hurrah! (And London prepare for the fan attack. It’s not really a riot.)
Maybe I was a little hasty with The Final Solution. Is it too late to change the script so I don’t actually die?
Sorry, but Andrew Scott let it out at the television conference that Moriarty is indeed dead (well, I could have told everyone that) much to the wails of a segment of Sherlock fans. It also came out that the reason Moriarty was included to begin with was that a bit of research by Mofftiss discovered that the one character all of the fans wanted to see in a Sherlock Holmes series was Moriarty. All of this was a surprised to Moffat who pointed out that Moriarty was on only in one story. But look at how many times he appears in the movies and pastiche pieces, Mr. Moffat!
It also came out that the entire bit at the end was added to the revised script because they came up with it for the audition since the only thing planned at that point was the “Gay Jim” bit. After Scott finished chewing the scenery, spitting it out, and flossing his teeth with Semtex, Mofftiss ordered some changes to The Great Game — and then had to work their way out of it.
Frankly, I feel Andrew Scott was the Best Moriarty Ever — and I grew up with all of the classic ones. The problem with the other Moriarties (is that the plural for Moriarty?) is that they were always so stuffy and pompous, which did fit in with the Victorian/Edwardian Canon, but the part missed is that he was a total psychopath. Andrew Scott’s rendition is a fabulous bat-sh** crazy psychopath (sort of the very bizarre offspring of Johnny Depp’s Hunter S. Thomson and Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter).
And the amazing thing is that Mr. Scott seems like such a nice guy in the interviews.
Rat. Wedding. Bow. A very clever game to keep the fans, and me, from getting bored, Mofftiss, but I’ll figure it out.
Let the games begin! Between flying Sherlock solutions to the Fall and scrambling to re-read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes stories again to try and crack the bode, I think we’ll all be a bit busy this fall. Of course, now that Andrew Scott has admitted he knows the Secret of the Fall, he might want to make certain he doesn’t travel alone or at least keeps an eye out for bands of desperate Sherlock fans…
Meanwhile, I’ll get back to the fanfic and a couple of other things I’m working on instead of actual work. *sigh*
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