Timey-Wimey Wibbly-Wobbly Sherlock — and Zombies

SPOILER ALERT: If you keep reading, you can’t whine about me ruining any surprises later.

John, why is there an Iron Throne in our flat instead of my chair? And whose brain is Molly is eating?

John, why is there an Iron Throne in our flat instead of my chair? And our those brain’s Molly is eating?

Along with making Dr. Who “darker” in this incarnation, Moftiss now warns that Sherlock will follow suit, and there’s more indication that there will be little left of the spirit of the actual Sherlock Holmes stories left.

Gatiss recently revealed that the new episodes of the show will feature ‘tragedy’ leading many to speculate that Mary Watson would meet her end.

“You can always expect tragedy as well as adventure, that’s just how it goes,” he told the Radio Times.

It may seem a little too early to axe her considering she was only just introduced in series three in January, but it’d certainly pack the emotional punch Gatiss teases.

Freeman himself suggested Mary will die at some point.

— The Mirror

Meanwhile, Moffat has reportedly stated:

When last we heard, showrunner Steven Moffat had plotted through a potential fifth season of the series, while the fourth was projected to air sometime in 2016. Along with the surprise resurrection of season 3 finale “His Last Vow,” Moffat also specified that ‘Sherlock’ season 4 would likely see increased roles for the women of the series, particularly Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), potentially adding new female characters into the mix as well, as part of “Sherlock’s gradual humanization.”

— Screencrush

Now I suppose I could point out that this is exactly what  Elementary has done in Season 3, and the irony of the creative pair who slammed Elementary for ripping off their premise now mimicking Elementary’s schtick is not lost on me. Or I could point out that given the Sherlock track record for women characters

  • taking the one woman who outsmarted Sherlock Holmes, earning his lifelong respect before leaving for America happily married, and turning her into a sadistic lesbian prostitute who sells her body to men for money & power before being outwitted by Sherlock and turned into a damsel-in-distress dependent upon him to save her life;
  • taking the brave, loyal Mrs. Hudson and turning her into a crime lord’s floozy stripper and accountant of dubious morals and ethics;
  • taking Mary Watson and turning her into a psychopathic former hired killer who winds up yet another damsel-in-distress who must be rescued by Sherlock Holmes (while concurrently eliminating yet another strong female character from the canon who kills the evil blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton ahead of Holmes);
  • presenting Sherlock and Mycroft’s mother as a stereotypical ditzy old lady who gave up everything for kinder and küche, if not kirche

news that Season 4 will have feature more Moftiss women is hardly encouraging.  

It’s clear that these days Mofftiss is writing scripts in the “Wouldn’t It” school — wouldn’t it be fun/cool/shocking & profitable if…? — Not how do we update this Sherlock Homes story or what would the characters of Sherlock and John do if they came across these mysterious events, but what kind of scene would elicit the desired viewer reaction, such as “Oooh, cool!” or “OMG! Pass me a tissue.”

I can just here the story meeting now:

“Hey, steampunk is very hot still. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get Ben and Martin into Victorian costume?”

“Yeah! We’ve already steampunked Dr. Who and there’s a ton of Victorian costumes all around the place. The fans would love it!”

“Oh, yeah, and we can bring back Watson’s mustache! That gag’s a sure call-back laugh.”

“Yeah, yeah. And we won’t have to come up with new ways to convey Sherlock using 21st Century technology or science, which is getting pretty tough.”

“Oh, yeah, and the director can shoot everything with an old-timey-wimey atmosphere rather than having to find something fresh to do with 21st Century digital editing.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Putting them in costumes will make it much easier to get an emotional fan response. Remember when Castle put Fillion and Kanic in Wild West outfits or the Elvis impersonators or the Halloween episodes? Costume episodes are always a big hit with the fans. Let’s do this!”

The teaser photo has already resulted in a Photoshop scandal, showing much less care is taken now with the details than in Season 1. My guess is that the costumes are because the characters are undercover in some performance of A Christmas Carol — or a Dr. Who Christmas special set in Victorian England…

Actually, there are limited number of reasons why Sherlock and John would be in costume. Here’s my list, if you can think of more, please let me know in the comments:

  • Under cover or infiltrating a performance of A Christmas Carol
  • Under cover or infiltrating filming of a Dr. Who or other Christmas performance
  • Infiltrating a Christmas event to “clue for looks”
  • It’s all a dream in which they are detectives in Victorian England (I’d add a side bet on the Jack the Ripper case being integrated into the episode and possibly Andrew Scott as Jack.)
  • It’s all a dream in which they are part of a Christmas performance or event
  • It’s a costume party they must attend

I’ve got to say that the most recent comments coming out about Season 4 and the Christmas special is makes me fearful of what they are doing to one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes and Christmas stories. I read “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” or watch the Jeremy Brett version annually during my run up to Christmas, and the thought of it be turned into an inchoate “darker” mess depresses me horribly. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the most uplifting and heart-warming of the Sherlock Holmes stories, no one dies (except the geese), no one goes to prison (not even the thoroughly remorseful thief), the conscientious commissionaire gets the magnificent reward, the drunken scholar gets his goose and his hat back, and the poor falsely-incarcerated reformed crook is returned to the loving arms of his family for Christmas. It makes A Christmas Carol tawdry in comparison; only Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov in We’re No Angels can compare.

Just kill me now. No, seriously. KMN.

Just kill me now. No, seriously. KMN.

I fear that the BBC’s originally brilliant updated adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is devolving into a race to the ultimate in social media pandering and trendy mash-ups of recycled popular tropes. (No, no, don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.) I won’t be at all surprised to find out that Moriarty returns as a zombie; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Zombies. Hey, it worked for that guy who recycled Pride and Prejudice.

Ah, well, I’ve been collecting many Sherlock Holmes pastiches to read this coming year and will distract myself with them (reviews and recommendations forthcoming). Meanwhile, where did I put that Granada/Jeremy Brett boxed set? Time for some Bombay Sapphire Gin and “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”

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6 thoughts on “Timey-Wimey Wibbly-Wobbly Sherlock — and Zombies

  1. Jenn

    I had to tell you I agree with everything you said in this post…after two brilliant series, series 3 was…well, you know what I think; we’ve talked about it before.

    I don’t like “Elementary” anymore, either. The next person I think they should bring on that series as a regular is a shrink, because every character there obviously needs one!

    I think Moftiss’s motivation has gone from creating a loving update of a revered genre in a brilliant way to a desire to shock the hell out of their audience whether it’s logical to do so or not. (I’m not even counting on Mary getting killed because it’s sort of expected.) And sadly, the squeeing fangirls will encourage them in this by cheering no matter what they’re served with.

    I’m going to give them one more chance with series 4, but I’m not expecting much. Jeremy Brett’s version of “The Blue Carbuncle” is a Christmas Eve tradition for us, so I hope they don’t ruin it. Owlcroft and Paula did a fabulous “Sherlock” update of the original with their fanfiction piece, “The Blue Carboy.”

  2. JH Watson Post author

    I’ll also will catch the Christmas Special Sherlock, but I’m not going to go to any extra trouble or expense this time, no month and half of catered Sherlock Viewing Parties with a brand new 51″ plasma TV and a month of cable plus VPNs and scrambling to get the immediately-after-BBC-showing-downloads. I suppose it’s a Good Thing that both Sherlock and Elementary lost their mojo at this time since I have some serious work I have to focus on this year. I do plan to get some reviews of some of the Sherlock Holmes pastiche and non-fiction posted when I get time, but I haven’t the heart to do any fan fic, art, or video.

    Alright, I’m tempted to do a gif of Moriarty’s “burn the heart right out of you” speech with a caption “With His Last Vow, Mofftiss and Moriarty did just that to Sherlock.”

    Elementary kept improving and then would dig itself further into The Piteous Pit of Melodrama, then start to pull itself out, then grab a shovel and dig deeper, recover a little ground… until finally it just got a backhoe and started excavating to the core of WTF? Watson’s taking on a Drug Queen, Sherlock is playing James Bond solo (at least Holmes had Watson for “His Last Bow”), Mycroft is I don’t know what, Lestrade is Caspar… a big pot of stewed okra is more appetizing.

    *heavy sigh*

    Well, never mind. We’ve got some lovely episodes and performances we can re-watch, and some iconic images. I have high hopes for some good Sherlock Holmes pastiche novels and there’s always the Canon to re-read.

    Best wishes for 2015! May your year be filled with joy, love, peace, and prosperity!

    P.S. I, too, enjoyed The Blue Carboy. (Note to Self: Need to add links to those stories.)

  3. Jenn

    By the way…I actually really, really hate the idea of the “Victorian” episode. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not part of the show canon. I would so much rather have the episode take place in “our” universe, the one the writers had us fall in love with to begin with. What’s the point, really? I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way…

    1. JH Watson Post author

      Thanks for the kind words. 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 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 (yes, I am depressed and despondent over the political and social climate, and the descent of Sherlock into soap opera Shock schlock).

      I’m hoping to work my way through some Sherlock Holmes pastiches, though there are too many to complete and too few good ones to recommend. Still I hold some hope that we’ll return to something resembling civilization and good taste in my remaining lifetime, so keep calm, carry on and maintain the stiff upper lip.

  4. Pingback: Sherlock: His Last (Abominable) Season | Sherlock Cares

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