Dueling Sherlocks

I was asked the other night, in light of fans of BBC One’s Sherlock frothing at the mouth over CBS’ Elementary, why there isn’t room for more than one [in this case modern] reinterpretation of Sherlock Holmes. That is to say: the question was why fans of one couldn’t be fans of the other as well.

Potential infringement issues aside (Sherlock Holmes is a public domain character and this subject is touchy), I have to say, although there isn’t any reason a person couldn’t like both programs, it seems unlikely. In my response I reminded the person that “fan” is short for “fanatic” and then likened the whole issue to churches. People join a church. They really like it there, try to persuade others to visit in the hopes those people will join too. And if another group comes along and builds a new church just up the street, the adherents to the first church are generally not very welcoming. In fact, they’re angry at the encroachment. Their church is the best. There is no need for another.

And people don’t typically join more than one church. A few might, but those people are rare and are generally looking for something else entirely. For example, they are the people who find God in numerous places and are willing to worship Him wherever and whenever. In this instance, they are the core fans of Sherlock Holmes as a character, not just fans of a particular take. (Yes, I did just, in fact, make Sherlock Holmes analogous to God; he’d be pleased.) Even still, these people are likely to prefer one house of worship over another, though they’ll make the rounds regularly to get their fill.

Meanwhile, purists will already have taken issue with modernizing Holmes. Further removing him from London to New York may rankle even more. Who can tell?

To summarize: there is room for more churches, provided one has the cash to purchase the real estate and the resources to build. But attendance is not guaranteed, not for any show. As for me, I’ll see who and what gets delivered before passing judgment.

Q & A Journal

I have this 5-year journal in which I answer a question each day. Today’s question is: What is your resolution for tomorrow? This seems like an odd question to ask on 1 February. And why “tomorrow”? And why use the word “resolution” as opposed to, say, asking what I hope to accomplish? It’s just odd.

I replied that my resolution is “not to get caught in a dimensional loop that forces me to relive the day repeatedly.” I resolve not to allow that to happen. As an aside, I also resolve to get more work on this script done, but the dimensional loop is the main thing.

Redeeming Irene

I previously wrote a little bit about Sherlock‘s take on Irene Adler. It has occurred to me, though, that she might yet be redeemed.

It could, after all, be a long con.

Say, for argument’s sake, that Moriarty isn’t the tip top of the iceberg. When you consider that Irene’s phone call stopped him at the swimming pool, and that she was the one to call Moriarty and suggest it was “time” to implement their plan . . . These things suggest she’s at least at his level if not above. Moriarty could just as easily be her pawn as she be his. And we do only ever hear her side of the story when it comes to her dealings with Dear Jim.

It would be nice for Irene, Moriarty, whatever syndicate at large is at work, to have Sherlock on call in a way. If that were the goal, Irene has ensured at least some cooperation on Sherlock’s part by worming her way into his life, even if only as someone who intrigues him—and someone he’s willing to go to great lengths to rescue from terrorists. (She did mention she “should have him on a leash.” And that maybe she would. And so maybe she does.)

Irene as ruthless would be much preferable to Irene as sentimental, needy and lovestruck.

Just a thought.

(And then again, if the Mycroft theory were correct, Irene is simply following orders anyway, and it is Mycroft who wants Sherlock on a leash. Hrm.)

Tearjerkers

I mentioned in an earlier posting that I don’t really cry at movies or television shows. I get choked up every now and then, and I can even appreciate honest sentiment without getting worked up about it (and, as I’ve said, I really despise it when it’s done to manipulate an audience). But anyway, W Magazine asked a number of actors about movies that made them cry. Here is what they said.

For me, it was The Fox & the Hound. Jesus. I’ve never cried like that before, and I hope never to cry like that again. I mean, family members have died without me bawling like I did at that movie. I only watched it once. That was all I could take; I’d be terrified to try again, even now. I still have the VHS tape somewhere . . . I remember I was up in my room (yes, I had my own telly and VCR, I was that kind of brat), and I popped it in. I’d never seen it in the cinema, and I don’t remember now who gave me the tape or if I bought it or what. I just remember sobbing my eyes out all over my bedspread. I went downstairs and crawled into bed next to my mother and cried and cried, and she couldn’t for the life of her figure out what was wrong with me. I’m just not a crier. I generally only cry when I’m laughing too hard. And my poor mother, not able to get a coherent word out of me, but she took it in stride and I think I ended up watching an old episode of Columbo with her to make me feel better.

What movie has made you cry?

“The Reichenbach Fall” – Talking Points

The Globes were boring, so let’s take another look at Sherlock, shall we?

I first want to go over Sherlock’s faked suicide. Consider:

  1. There had been people on the street previously, but by the time John arrived, the street was empty.
  2. Sherlock went to great pains to make sure John would believe the evidence of his eyes but was careful to position John just far enough away . . .
  3. . . . that John would not get the opportunity to gather any other kind of evidence, thanks to (a) John [in]conveniently being hit by a bicycle, and (b) a sudden crowd of onlookers preventing him from getting very close to the body.

I can only suppose when Sherlock asked Molly for help, it was in the capacity of her needing to do the “autopsy.” (Though, less likely, she could just as easily have been the person on the bike.)

Now let’s look at the contents of the newscast featured on John’s blog, which raises some questions:

  1. They discuss Sherlock as if they know little about him, but if Kitty ran that story that supposedly had so much of Sherlock’s life history in it, why treat Sherlock as if he were such a mystery?
  2. And no mention of Sherlock having a brother? Though this is less suspect, since Mycroft would go to lengths to stay out of it.
  3. Most importantly: they discuss Richard Brook but fail to mention his death. Since it’s standard police procedure, even in a suicide, to take evidence from the scene, one can safely assume they went to the roof and at least picked up Sherlock’s phone. But Brook’s/Moriarty’s body? Anyone? (Either Moriarty isn’t dead or someone cleaned the scene very quickly prior to the police arriving.)
  4. And why (if, as John’s blog indicates, this all takes place in June) is Sherlock running around in a long coat and scarf? Just for his image?

Finally, do we really believe that Mycroft snared Moriarty and fed him little tidbits of information about Sherlock only to walk away with nothing to show? After all, if the key (computer code) didn’t really exist, at what point and for what possible reason would Mycroft bother to release Moriarty at all? (And while we’re at it, why release Moriarty even if there were a key?) One could argue that maybe Moriarty had failsafes installed in his network, that if he disappeared for too long many terrible things were set to happen, but then one also has to ask what happens in the network if Moriarty dies. Meanwhile, we have to assume that either Mycroft did get something useful from Moriarty, OR . . . The intention in holding Moriarty, and then releasing him, was somewhat more sinister.

Though, on the flip side, Mycroft’s and Sherlock’s utter lack of interaction in the episode could mean they were playing John between them all along. In which case the whole of what happened, including the resulting faux suicide, had been planned, probably with the notion of beginning to tear apart Moriarty’s web, something Sherlock could do so much more effectively as a “dead” man.

Discuss.

A Few More Things

. . . in regards to “Hounds of Baskerville,” I mean. In no particular order:

  1. Upon consideration, I’m pretty sure Mycroft sent the Bluebell e-mail. Otherwise it’s just too huge a coincidence. Mycroft wanted Sherlock at Baskerville.
  2. So am I supposed to believe that dog that belonged to the innkeepers was the creature that made the gigantic paw prints? It was a big dog, sure, but that big? Didn’t seem like it. Although I suppose the prints could have been part of the plan to bring in more tourists. (And btw, Lestrade is a lousy shot.)
  3. How is it no one mentioned the big explosion at Baskerville the following day? Seems like that would have been a hot topic. At the very least, Mycroft was likely to be irritated.
  4. I found Henry a bit whiny and unlikable. Seems like a rich kid who lost his parents at a young age should find something to occupy his time . . . Hey, isn’t that Batman’s whole story?
  5. If you had thought about it for even two seconds, John, you might have realized there was no “hound” in the lab. Otherwise it would have jumped Sherlock first thing when he came to fetch you. ::rolling eyes::
  6. Anyone else wondering why Mycroft wears a ring on his right hand?
  7. I also feel like we should have seen Fletcher one more time for some reason. And/or seen Henry pull himself together after it was all said and done.
  8. Didn’t the Baskerville symbol remind you of the Dharma station insignia from Lost?
  9. Why backspace over the first “a” in “Margaret” if you’re going to type “Maggie”? I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. Because it lacks efficiency I suppose.

I’ve been assured I will cry—or at the very least tear up—next week. I have my doubts. I can count on one hand the films and television programs that have made me cry (top of the list: The Fox & the Hound). I mostly get angry at things that attempt to manipulate me into an emotional response. I can usually tell the difference between something written from the heart and something done for effect. So we’ll see . . .

Steven Moffat Is a Sexist Jerk

Or something like that. I was going to go for a subtler title, but that really about sums it up. At least based on a few articles making the rounds. There’s this one and this one, for example. So I can’t claim credit for the idea.

It doesn’t take much of a stretch to project Moffat as antifeminist or sexist or however you like to phrase it. Apparently his idea of a “strong” woman character is someone bossy and irritating (Amy Pond). And YES, I love Doctor Who, and I watch it and enjoy it, even like Amy at times. But Moffat does better writing men than women, no question.

So then we look at his take on Irene Adler in last week’s Sherlock. [Spoilers, Sweeties!] Up to a point she was brilliant. If Moffat had stopped at the moment on the airplane in which she’d pushed Sherlock aside, she’d have been just about perfect, all the sex stuff notwithstanding. But it was all ruined by sentiment—which, not coincidentally, was also her downfall in the plot. Irene had to go and fall in love with Sherlock. And in the last minutes of the episode had to be saved by him besides.

In the original story, Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Irene Adler is described as having steel at her core and the resolute mind of a man. She’s also a bit loose in her morals (for the era), having had a liaison with the King of Bohemia. Although, her being an opera singer, this isn’t entirely outside the realm of the expected.

Doyle’s Adler is a woman transformed by love; her plan to blackmail the King of Bohemia is scrapped when she meets and marries another man. But she’s no fool, nor does her love blunt her brain; although she falls for Holmes’ trick in revealing the location of her incriminating photograph, she realizes it almost immediately and is clever enough to don a disguise of her own and follow Holmes to be sure he is who she thinks. She then swaps the photo for one of her alone, packs her new husband, and disappears.

It is Holmes, then, who suffers from a sentimental streak in the original tale; besides calling her “the daintiest thing under a bonnet,” he chooses Adler’s photograph in lieu of payment for his services and takes to referring to her only as “The Woman.” It’s no affair of the heart, mind—Watson is clear about that—Holmes simply admires the one person, female no less, to outwit him.

The comparison between Doyle’s and Moffat’s versions of Irene Adler is the stuff of media studies papers. It’s almost a shame I’m not still in school to take advantage of it. Moffat’s reduction of Adler’s traits and abilities are glaring; while he makes her smart, she still admits to having needed Moriarty to give her some direction. And her love for Sherlock becomes the key to her undoing. Literally. A marked contrast from Doyle’s take on love being a form of salvation.

Okay, so maybe Steven Moffat is a cynic AND a sexist jerk.

Dreams

I dream vividly and often. But there are two distinct types of dreams that I have. Most are so much fluff, the strange mixture of memory and other subconscious elements swirled together as my body powers down. Sort of a broth, thin and not terribly filling, even if tasty. But now and again I have a dream that feels heavy, and dreams like that always mean something. Either they’re prophetic (like the one I had on 11 September 2001) or, I don’t know, connected in some way to something larger. Has something to do with my lineage, I think, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I’ve been having a lot of heavy dreams lately. But while I can usually work them out, these ones are a bit beyond me. In one, I was at some kind of school. Benedict Cumberbatch was there, and I stole his keys so I could get into a locked wing. I was trying to get to his office—I don’t know why he had one at a school—and I was even careful to lock the door again behind me to slow him down a bit when he realized what was happening. It was strange, though, because on the other side of the door everything was grey and empty except for a tram like the kind you find in some airports. I got on, and the tram stopped at this kind of atrium, also grey and empty. There was a skylight, and either the glass was very dirty or it was cloudy out because the light was weak. But there was one bit of color: a red sign with yellow letters that read “Popcorn.” I was even considering getting off the tram to get some of this popcorn, but I didn’t want to lose any time, either. I actually don’t know whether I did or not because I woke up after that.

Popcorn in a dream usually means some kind of truth is being presented to you, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what this one was about.

Another “heavy” dream I had was about the moon. I don’t remember much more than that. There were students of some kind, I think—high school or maybe college freshmen. Maybe it’s the school angle I should be looking at in these dreams, though in neither case did that element feel especially important. I just know I was with these students, was some kind of counselor maybe, and we were sitting on a hillside at night and looking at the moon. Shooting stars, too, and the sense that something big was about to happen. Maybe even dangerous. But at a distance, sort of like a faraway city being bombed. It’s bad news, yes, and may even affect you indirectly, but at least you weren’t there when it happened. Anyway, the moon seemed to be the important thing in this dream. A crescent moon. Maybe even some kind of lunar eclipse.

And then there was a dream about a city. Seemed to be some combination of Boston, New York and London. I was wandering around it, but there was something about the cars . . . They were parked in the middle of the roadways. Blue and white cars. (Colors are often important in dreams.) And they were all a little bit old and a little beat up-looking too. Chipped paint. With the headlights that lift out of the hoods and such. The cars were the important figure in this dream, along with the signs all around, sort of like Times Square. I didn’t or couldn’t read any of them, though. I was just aware of all the lights.

Finally, a dream about a house on a hill. A Queen Anne, I think. A bed-and-breakfast, but the house needed a bit of work. I only saw it from the outside, and from lower down on the hill, so I don’t know if the inside also needed some TLC, but the paint on the outside was faded, the porch sagging. Houses in dreams usually represent a person, but I don’t think this house was me; I don’t know who it was supposed to be. But the correlation of the chipped paint on the cars and that of the house is not lost on me. Though cars usually represent one’s life journey or something. There was another part of this dream about oysters and crackers and me playing checkers with a young girl. The checkers seemed important. It wasn’t a normal game, but a very convoluted one. Even the board didn’t look like a normal checkerboard, and the rules were more like chess.

As I’ve said, the meanings to these kinds of things are usually quite obvious to me, or else looking up a few keywords can often help me piece together what the cosmos is trying to say. But I can’t make heads or tails of any of these. I have some ideas about bits and pieces of them, but nothing cohesive about any of them. I’m sure they’re not meant to go together. I think whatever or whoever is trying to communicate something to me is trying a lot of different ways to say the same thing. Empty places, places and things that are showing signs of wear . . . Games in which the rules seem arbitrary or don’t make sense . . . And bright signs. And popcorn.

Well, I do like popcorn.

Hobbitses

Being a writer is like being a Hobbit. We’re sociable enough, only just, and especially if plied with ale (or, in some cases, weed). But we also know the value of being alone and keeping to ourselves. We are not wise in general, but we are thoughtful and given to rumination. And we all think we’re better than the others but are willing to condescend to being friendly with them anyway. After all, one never knows when one might need a helping hand.