Saturday, May 31, 2014

Books you can't pick up.

This morning I was laying in bed, trying to decide whether to get up or not, I saw a book on the shelf next to the bed.

There are plenty of books there, and I'm pretty familiar with them. Things I'm in the process of reading, things I'm meaning to get to, a little collection of books by Baker Street Babes that I haven't figured out where to put in the library yet. But then there was one book . . . one little book . . . that I had no idea what it was.

I picked it up and then remembered: "Oh, yeah. THAT book."

It was a novel featuring some relative of Sherlock Holmes that I picked up many, many months ago

Separately or as one, the stories of Sherlock Holmes are books that I've picked up more than any other, by far. The only book that comes close in William Goldman's The Princess Bride, which I own many copies of, and that still only gets touched a fraction of the times Sherlock does. I'll be picking up Sherlock in one form or another again today to continue my summer reading.

And yet this morning, the relative-of-Sherlock book I picked up struck me as a curiosity. I had started reading it when I bought it, got a few chapters in, and totally lost interest. Not only lost interest, but forgot it existed. It wasn't one of those "Oh, I should get to that some day," or "Oh, I need to finish reading that."

It was practically "What is this book even doing on my shelf?"

The answer, of course, is obvious. It had Sherlock Holmes's name on the cover.

So now I have to figure out what to do with it before I forget about it all over again. Donate to a book sale, toss into some part of the library that's just a miscellaneous Sherlock holding area for historical reference that such a thing existed, or what?

As much as some folks have disagreed with my treatment of CBS's Elementary over the last couple of years, there is a fate much worse than an active and energetic hatred of a "Sherlockian" entertainment: the fate of being unfinished and forgotten. Nobody wants their creative work to make no impact, and a negative reaction is still a reaction.

I feel bad for a book that you just can't pick up, except as a solid object that needs dealing with and moved out of the way. But it is what it is. Life is too short to waste on those things not worth remembering, even if Sherlock Holmes's name is on the cover.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Is the Doyle Estate sexy enough to own Sherlock Holmes?

Okay, I'm actually just writing today's bit of babble just to justify the headline.

With "BBC didn't think Benedict Cumberbatch was sexy enough to play Sherlock Holmes" and "Doyle estate insists Sherlock Holmes remains under copyright" competing for top Sherlock Holmes headline on my Google newsfeed, neither of which seeming particularly clickworthy, it just seemed necessary. After all the art of the click-inspiring headline has become something of an irritating art form on the internet . . . can you imagine what the titles of the sixty original stories of Sherlock Holmes would have been, had Doyle been writing them for some current web outlet?

"Watson takes a bullet, and you won't believe what Sherlock says next!"

"Wait, was that Sherlock Holmes in the front row of that concert?"

"When one of a pair of twins gets Sherlock Holmes in her bedroom, somebody has a riding crop!"

"Singing star's own "Game of Thrones" is hiding a royal . . . what?"

"Another math whiz struck down by a body of water -- and this time Sherlock didn't do it!"

"Boy beaten by Watson with wicket comes to Sherlock Holmes for help years later!"

"Watson leaves his wife for a drug den and hooks up with someone he used to live with!"

"Mrs. Hudson makes sure the man across the street knows her bust is the real thing!"

"You won't believe what TV's 'Elementary' is based on!"

Okay, so that last one's not Canonical, but I had to find some way to get off the subject and get on with the evening. But wait until the next post! It will be written by someone who looks uncannily like me!

Oh, internet.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer of Sherlock: Shoscombe Old Place

A summer read of Sherlock Holmes could start no better than with "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place." 'Tis a tale of a nearly retired, relaxed Holmes, dealing with a matter that allows he and Watson to actually go fishing midway through the case. And why not?

Sherlock Holmes has reached a point late in his career where he is convincing Scotland Yard of the usefulness of the microscope in criminal investigation. He is the acknowledged master of detection, and the Yard is listening to him. And Watson? Watson is comfortable enough in life that he can spend half his old wound pension on the entertainments of the track. These are two guys who've done their share of racing across London and are ready to take it a little easy. When they head for Shoscombe with the cover story of being on a fishing expedition, with all their rods, reels, and baskets, it seems like a ruse at first, but eventually they wind up actually catching some trout for supper -- these two friends have plainly done this before.

There's a haunted crypt worthy of a Scooby Doo episode, a larger-than-life fellow who horsewhips people, and a dog that behaves strangely in the noon-time. It's a wee bit off, because Holmes and Watson spend a lot of time skulking around the edges of what may or may not be a crime scene, and there isn't a young lady in peril as in other classic "weird goings-on at the country house" stories like "Speckled Band" or "Copper Beeches." And it is one of those Casebook tales with a slightly pastiche-ish feel and a few lines that cause reactions in the modern day that Doyle never intended. But still, it's Sherlock Holmes, and a lot more familiar Holmes than many that came after.

Beginning a "Summer of Sherlock" by reading "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" around the time it occurred, one also feels the need to align one's self further with the events of the tale by doing something like a little fishing. Not having my fishing license or any rods, reels or baskets to my name (black sheep of the Keefauver clan of fishermen that I now am in that respect), I decided to make my connection in an equally valid, yet less energetic manner.

A friend of mine brought her pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to a couple of social events this weekend, and I did my share of petting those lovable pups. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an interesting breed, a modern recreation of the dogs that Sir Ralph Musgrave's pal King Charles II loved above all others. And while this seems to lapse into the territory of "The Musgrave Ritual," consider this little fact:

In 1903, the time that "Shoscombe Old Place" occurred, the Kennel Club combined four separate breeds of spaniels existing at that time to create the King Charles Spaniel. So in petting that pair of Cavalier King Charles pooches, I was surely petting some portion of the Shoscombe spaniel chromosomal line . . . or at least I shall enjoy thinking so.

So start your summer with a leisurely read of "Shoscombe Old Place," do a little Memorial Day fishing, or just pet your nearest spaniel. The Summer of Sherlock Holmes has begun!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Remembering a Sherlockian on Popeye's trail.

My grandfather was a firm adherent to the tradition of putting flowers on the graves of one's relatives on Memorial Day. Times change, families spread far away from the cemeteries of the old home towns, and such things become no longer the way for many, including myself. But a timely email from Michael McClure of the Chester Baskerville Society is letting me put a blog-flower out in remembrance of at least one old friend this Memorial Day.

The Chester Baskerville Society is one of my favorite names for a Sherlockian society, and their turf is the river town of Chester, Illinois . . . which is also the home of Popeye the sailor man. And as with all things Sherlockian, they can't help but connect the two. The Popeye Character Trail in Chester is a really fun feature of the town, one I wish Peoria had something similar too, and the Chester Baskerville Society had been heavily involved with it for some time. So if you ever make it to Chester, perhaps on a side-trip the next time you're in St. Louis, and you follow the Popeye trail, keep your eye out for some Sherlockian "cookies" amidst the statuary.

You might note Castor Oyl's notable outfit and magnifying glass, or a certain Conan Doyle novel in a stack of books by Cole Oyl, but if you are especially observant when you get to Poopdeck Pappy, you might just find tributes to one-and-a-half Sherlockians of note.

First, comes an obvious memorial to my friend and neighbor, Robert C. Burr. Even though his investiture in the Baker Street Irregulars was "The Rascally Lascar," to those who knew him best he became "The One Fixed Point" over the years as those occasions when he left Peoria became more and more rare. (Which totally sounds like I'm following in his footsteps at this point, but trust me, completely different circumstances.) Here's Bob's tribute:

But even though Bob was that One Fixed Point who didn't get around so much, he did have a two-dimensional doppelganger named Robbie Burr who made it to all sorts of places, one of which was notably the Baker Street Irregulars of New York's annual dinner. Robbie was always a bit shadier than Bob and is probably still giving toasts to Professor Moriarty at Occupants of the Empty House meetings now and then. So if you circle around behind Poopdeck Pappy for a look at his "poopdeck," you'll find the button-flap of his britches to have the following inscription:

It's a far cry from the B.S.I. archives at Harvard, but it certainly suits Robbie and I think Bob would get a pretty big kick out of it.

The Popeye Character Trail is far from done, and there's another definite Sherlockian treat coming in the statue of Professor O.G. Wotaznozzle coming up next to grace the front of Chester High School. Mike also tells me that since "The Detective" was a key feature in Elzie C. Segar's Thimble Theater comic (which was where Popeye came from), a full size Sherlock Holmes statue might be hoped for in the future, and donations for Sherlockian engravings for that work will be graciously accepted. For further info, you can contact Michael McClure at and I'll surely be writing more about it here as that day draws near.

But for now, getting a little reminder of Bob and his doppelganger for Memorial Day has been a really nice thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gatiss in Indiana. Jitters in Peoria.

Okay, here's the point where those of you who already don't think I'm a bit mad join the rest of the readership.

Yesterday came a HUGE announcement via I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: The fourth Gillette to Brett symposium over in Indiana had scored Mark Gatiss as a guest for its weekend this fall.

Yes, in mid-September, I can simply drive across one state line and see the co-creator of BBC Sherlock and the actor who plays Mycroft in that same production. Probably one of the greatest contributors to Sherlockian culture currently alive on this planet.

My initial reaction?

Complete and utter terror.

Yes, I'm a bit mad, you see. To me, Mark Gatiss is London, just as Mycroft Holmes was the British Government. And what do I mean by that?

You see, I've never been to London. And don't really have a desire to go, despite the thousands of people over the years who say, "You like Sherlock Holmes? You really need to go to England."

Yes, I like Sherlock Holmes. I love 221B Baker Street and the London that surrounds it. But I also know that place is kinda like Middle Earth or Narnia, despite the great amount of historically correct detail that Doyle wove into the fabric of that universe. And I'd hate to have that London ruined with an overlay of traffic, museum souvenir shops, and the possibility of the occasional bad sandwich. London surely has positives to outweigh all that, all on its own, but it could also be like New York . . . and let's not even get into my issues there.

So . . . fear of ruining illusions. We do have more episodes of Sherlock to come. And also, add to that one more peccadillo: fear of celebrities. As many a friend who has tried to drag me to celebrity tables at cons has noticed, I have a definite fear of the celebrated personage. When you meet a normal person for the first time, you get a nice trickle of information about them, information you can interact with and digest at a reasonable pace. When you meet a celebrity whom you have any interest at all in, so much data comes flooding to the front, most of it having nothing to do with their state in that moment. If they're on a stage, separated from the audience, they're like animals in the zoo kept at a safe distance. But do I want to actually pet a tiger? So many ways it can go horribly awry.

Same with celebrities . . . so many ways it can go horribly awry.

Sure, they aren't going to eat you. But say the wrong thing and you're a Chris Farley character, going "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" to yourself in your private moments for the rest of your days. I could list the number of celebrities, big and small, whom I felt like a complete idiot after meeting, even after I did nothing noticeably wrong, but even that would be a little embarrassing.

Now comes my real quandry, though, in any case: Sign-ups for From Gillette to Brett IV are said to start this weekend over at the Wessex Press site. With a top-level guest like Mark Gatiss, the conference is bound to sell out incredibly fast. We Middlewesterners are desperate for the rare celebrity appearance, and Gatiss is bound to draw folks in from elsewhere as well. So I have to get over my little issues and get signed up before that happens.

You might want to carpe you own diem and get on that little bandwagon in the days ahead. And maybe I'll see you there. But I'm also the guy who missed Jeremy Brett in St. Louis during the height of the Granada series . . . and who does that?

Once again, we shall see.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A really long distance relationship.

Forget about Watson -- how would you describe your relationship with Sherlock Holmes?

I'm not trying to imply that there's any disfunction here. If Sherlock really is your constant companion that no one else sees but you, you probably should talk to a professional about it. (And not the professional consulting detective who's watching you read this.) But if you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you definitely do have a relationship with him, and a more intense, affecting relationship than some of the folk you walk on by in person every single day. Is it wrong to care more about a guy who lives not just across the Atlantic, but on the page or screen as well, more than the lady who works down the hall in accounting services? Unless the latter could really use your help and you choose to pay attention to the former, probably not. Oh, let's not be a reality-ist here and get all, "Real people are SO much more important!" Please.

So, you and Sherlock . . . what's the deal there?

C'mon, don't be shy. Is he your mentor, your spirit guide, your unrequiting lover? Is he a sort of weird uncle to your own intellect, your fashion inspiration, your sexual fantasy? Your job, your mission, your scheme for getting a few bucks out of those who aren't as familiar with him? Your specimen for study? Your plaything? The list of possible relationships between any two human beings can go on and on, and so it is with Sherlock Holmes and you.

"Sherlock Holmes and you" sounds like something from an old grade school educational film, yes, but what would that film be about?

Pondering what exactly the connection between you and Mr. Sherlock Holmes is . . . well, it's worth a few moments. Or more. Delving into just why you find yourself considering this semi-historical figure as important . . . or at least more important than any other character in any other book or show you experienced this year . . . can tell you something about yourself as much as him.

Hmm . . . Sherlock Holmes investigating you for a client who is also you, when it's you doing all the work. Three more relationships right there!

So what is going on between you and Mr. Sherlock Holmes? As long as you know, I don't suppose you have to tell. But don't expect me not to ask one day, so you might want to be ready.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A valuable report from a valuable institution.

One of the most fascinating things to come up this week was the leaked New York Times Innovation report and its frank discussion of the changing face of the news media. What does this have to do with Sherlock Holmes, you ask?

Nothing. And everything.

In the last few years I've been enthralled by the paradigm shifts that have hit the hobby of Sherlockiana. While things like  "disruptive economics" may not apply directly to a past-time that is done for love and not money, to pretend that our little area of recreational interest is a protected sanctuary from the winds of change would be a decided delusion. One can have all the confidence in the world proclaiming, "And thus shall it be forever and ever!" about one's favorite institution, but such declarations might as well be made about sand castles . . . for that is what we build in fandoms, after all. Pretty, pretty sand castles, true mind palaces of sand sometimes, yes, yet sand one day destined for the coming tide.

But lately we've been seeing those castles built of digital audio, social networks, video series, and more. No news there, but what the Times Innovation report really brings out is that it's more than just addition of new media -- it's new relationships, new pathways. The days when you just had a front page and expected everyone to enter your published world through the latest issue are gone. Once published, an article is out there for fresh eyes to find years after the moment whose circumstances caused its creation -- without the aged paper and dust that might give it at least a hint of a past context.

Words don't have dominance just for being published in this publication or that any more, and have to stand or fall on their own merit, as we saw when a particular old print piece made its way on to the net and had several strong rebuttals show up, bettering the original in some cases. Great ideas can come from someone no Sherlockian has ever heard of before, who stepped fresh on to the scene through a door no one saw was even there. And its very apparent that there are more very knowledgeable Sherlockians out there than there ever were.

Where a core value of Sherlockian culture used to be collecting in the pre-internet day, I suspect a core value of the next generation's Sherlockian paradigm will be spreading and sharing. Instead of putting out a limited number of small publications that collectors must acquire over time -- which no one was making any money at anyway -- one can now make a total publication output available to any reader at any time. Don Hobbs quoted that old Shaw maxim in the latest I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast, "If you have one of something, gloat. If you have two, share." Today we find the time for gloating is nearly done, as it's so easy to share. (Yes, we're still bound by copyright laws, but sharing of knowledge gleaned and helpful quotes are within all of our purview.)

One of my favorite parts of the Innovation report so far is the section entitled "A List of Best Practices for Experimentation." Experimentation is an area where those who follow Mr. Sherlock Holmes have always sparkled. As much as I like to marvel at what "these kids today" are up to and grumble about our older institutions, Sherlockians have always been boldly going where no one else in the hobby has gone before in celebration of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, with all the energy of suitors competing for the attentions of a famous beauty. They love to try new things, to get an idea, test it out, and see where things go. If experimentation is what it takes to succeed in the brave new world ahead, I think Sherlockians will be okay.

"The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it," Holmes once said, and as we all re-learn what the Press exactly is in this century, the Sherlocks among us will be figuring out new ways to use it . . . or be it, as new openings present themselves.

Friday, May 16, 2014

I hear of Don Hobbs everywhere.

It truly troubles me what an isolated little Sherlockian corner that I've allowed myself to get painted into in the past few years. Opportunities to get out of Peoria aren't what they used to be, and 2014 has made that little issue even worse. But Sherlock Peoria isn't where I come to complain about work situations and the like -- I make that point to bring the topic around to my opposite number, my old website partner Don Hobbs. He seems to be everywhere these days, and his latest appearance was on Episode 64 of Scott Monty and Burt Wolder's I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast, "Sherlock Holmes in Translation."

Don's got a lot of tales to tell, enough that there's always something new. His conversation with Scott and Burt brought out several neat tidbits I'd missed, along with something more. Remembering back to when I first met Don in the early 1990s in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I remembered having the opportunity to tour the home of one of the great collectors of all time, John Bennet Shaw. In those days, his collection of Sherlockiana might have been the biggest in the world. (Who ever knows for certain about such things?)  But that was then, and this is now, and at this point the sheer Sherlock Holmes mass acquired by my friend Don has probably grown past what we saw at Shaw's house then.

One of my favorite little mind games is to think of what some modern experience would feel like to a version of myself at some point in the past, and to think what early 1990s Don Hobbs would think of the collection that 2014 Don Hobbs has amassed makes me laugh with joy. Our paths never take us exactly where we thought we'd go, but we still wind up in some amazing places nonetheless.

These days, Don's collection of foreign editions gets him a lot more attention than his 1895 mile expedition to Sherlock, Texas and back, his cataloging of Sherlockian periodicals, or the thousands of dinners he's had with Sherlockians individually and en masse over the years (My copy of The Perfect Hamburger is autographed by Don for a reason!), but he remains a Sherlockian of many talents and accomplishments. It was good to hear him on the podcast airwaves, and it will be fun to see where he'll turn up next.

Well, that's done. Dull, predictable, but done.

Pour some wine, because the season finale of Elementary brings  the cheese from its first scene.

The old "Hey, somebody's trying to kill you, I'll prove it by blowing up your car!" routine is so dusty that it doesn't even produce as much as a blink. Any surprise at the event only came from the fact that CBS actually spent the money to blow up a car. They certainly never spend it on Miss Hudson, who gets referenced once again in the first post-credit scene, but only appears once per season.

The Anti-Mycroft is Mr. Elementary's client/victim again this week. The poor sad sack is depressed because his father and brother think he's an idiot and he can't seem to prove them wrong. But Joan Watson believes he's a success . . . and, well, she's obviously not sleeping with him for his looks, so she must.

"Well, you'll never guess what I found in the stockroom . . . stock," Joan Watson says in a bored fashion as the investigation moves on, and it seems almost meta.

But, hey, it's been a great season for TV finales. Did you see the season finale for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It had Samuel L. Jackson on it, and used him pretty well. And that wasn't even the best thing about that episode! It had some great little tricks in in, using things built on the small screen and the big screen all year long. Great fun, and that . . . .

Oh, wait, Elementary's finale is still on . . . .

Mr. Sherrington, the MI-whatever stand-in for a true Mycroft character, is apparently a suspect. And Mr. Elementary is pouting -- which in his case means instead of staring at Joan as she wakes up in the morning, he kindly leaves her a note.  

"Bracing reminder that I can function efficiently as a lone deductionist," he says in Elementary-speak of the fact that he worked all night while Joan slept . . . which he does every episode anyway. Thankfully, that silly word "deductionist" hasn't gotten any traction in Sherlockian culture.

The frame of the anti-Mycroft continues and Gregson and Bell of NYPD actually seem to turn on their consultant. Mr. Sherrington shows up at Watson's door like a creepy stalker in a scene with an exciting display of Mr. Elementary's screen saver. Oh, wait, Sherrington is supposed to be threatening her . . . but thank the showrunners those screen savers are hiding a bunch of equally creepy staring gamers that are this show's stand-in for Anonymous. (Here, they're called "Everyone.") Joan Watson apparently knows how to get them staring at her via webcam at a moment's notice, which makes one wonder if Mr. Elementary isn't the only one eyeballing her as she sleeps every night. Hope she has a pay window for that, to supplement her consultant/apprentice pay.

More mopey ensues between Mr. Elementary and the anti-Mycroft. They really need to hire more actors for this show, because milking the ones they have to death really isn't doing it. What seemed like their big twist last season -- Irene Adler being Moriarty -- now seems like a simple cost-savings measure now, like their use of Mycroft as Mary Morstan. Perhaps next season Captain Gregson can be Grimesby Roylott and Detective Bell can be Lady Frances Carfax. 

You know, I remain convinced that Mr. Elementary and Joan Watson will wind up lovers if this show goes on long enough without being cancelled, despite the showrunners claims to the contrary last year. The fact that she's slept with Mycroft, a man she has less connection with or attraction to, adds weight to that prediction. Well, that and the fact that they don't seem to want to add cast members and have to get as much drama as possible out of who they have.

Creepy Sherrington threatens the anti-Mycroft, but sady, he doesn't have creepy staring gamers to back him up. Yes, the show is still running. It's kind of a waiting room for whatever moment they're going to end the season on . . . Joan Watson moving out, deciding to stay, or just getting shot. Hmmm, would this show kill a major character, like its anti-Mycroft? Doesn't feel like it.

Less than ten minutes left until summer Elementary-vacation begins! Woo-hoo! The progress bar on the internet video player is full of suspense! CBS Rewards is giving me another 25 "coins" for watching this episode on the web. Maybe I can buy a web picture of a cup of coffee at some  . . . .

Oh, wait, Joan is ramping up the emotion because Mycroft is going into witness protection, faking his death, and leaving her. That relationship just seems to swell up on demand. And Joan is getting her own place and Mr. Elementary is pulling out the heroin. One minute more, one more chance at something actually shocking happening to end the season -- those two bits certainly weren't it. 

And . . . here it comes . . . Mr. Elementary is going to join MI-whatever with his pocket full of heroin. Hope they have a drug testing policy with their new employees. Let the wild internet fan theorizing about how Mr. Elementary will escape this awful fix begin! Oops, wrong show.

And the Elementary summer vacation begins. Yay!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Four iconic Sherlocks

The Mount Rushmore of Sherlock Holmes . . . who would be on it?

To my mind, the big four are obvious: Gillette, Rathbone, Brett, and Cumberbatch.

But, like all points of view, it matters very much where you stand, geographically, or in time. Were I born in Russia, I might have a slightly different view. Were I born this year instead of decades ago, my perspective would be vastly different. But, as it is, those are my four. Here's why:

William Gillette, I'm taking on faith and documentation. I doubt his acting would be palatable to modern viewers -- as the first actor to do a famous Sherlock having been a stage actor without the full benefits of film or videotape, we'll never know exactly how he did it -- but he definitely left his mark, on audiences and the legend.

Basil Rathbone was almost the opposite of Gillette -- the first film Sherlock whose work became "sticky" and got showing after showing after showing after showing. Sure, there were film and TV Sherlocks before him and after him. Sure, many a Sherlockian has their odd favorite unknown to the general public. But for all their flaws, Rathbones films were rewatchable, rerunnable, and just kept on coming before we made it to the digital era. Rathbone probably has more written about him than any other Sherlock before the internet.

Jeremy Brett. Among my choices, I feel like Brett is the most time-fragile. His fans are devoted, he had the benefit of the most Canon-loyal adaptations ever, and Jeremy Brett was the climax of pre-internet Sherlocks in a way. But Brett's Sherlock never became the big hit outside of Sherlock Holmes fandom that he was within it. Will the passing years hold his current status? Or will he become a Norwood, a Cushing, or Howard? I look at Gillette, Rathbone, and the next guy, and I have to wonder.

Benedict Cumberbatch is new, yes, and pooh-poohed by many an elder Sherlockian. But this week alone we saw one more Cumberbatch Sherlock parody on The Pete Holmes Show and a massive Russian dance tribute to BBC Sherlock. He inspired a brand new fandom outside of the old Holmes circles, a large energetic fandom, converting many a non-Sherlockian to Sherlockian status. And even more interesting, Cumberbatch eclipsed a major, already popular actor who came out with some very popular Sherlock Holmes feature films at the same time. He became the next actor to risk typecasting as he rose to iconic Holmes status the way Rathbone did.

Time will tell. Even Mount Rushmore's four massive heads were based on choices from a single point in time, so they have their disputable qualities as well, especially with the newest guy. But the monument still stands. And were we to build our own Mount Rushmore today, I have to think that the four guys above would be the four the greater number would choose.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Inspired by Sherlock Holmes. One of them, anyway.

Some days, I just want to think about Sherlock Holmes, and not CBS's Elementary. And I set my sites on some Holmes topic that interests me to muse upon as time allows on a given day. But then, before I head off to work, I make the mistake of looking at some incoming comment on a previous blog from the night before, and it gets me thinking. Last night's comment, by some kindly Anonymous sort, was this:

"Why is it so hard to understand that Elementary isn't trying to tell the stories that have been told over and over again . . . . its a show about Sherlock Holmes in a modern time. Thats it. Its not about the stories, just the characters in new stories that only sometimes are inspired by the books. If you want a modern version of the books, you watch Sherlock with Cumberbatch . . . they are different shows for a reason."

That, it turns out, has been one of my favorite comments from an Elementary fan. Someone simply trying to straighten out my simple misunderstanding, rather than diagnosing my mental maladies or telling me to do something horrible to myself. A little bit frustrated, but I understand that. I can be a bit frustrating at times, even in my loveably sweet in-person, non-blogger self.

Suggesting that Elementary is merely an "inspired by," instead of a "based upon" really does make the show a bit more palatable for me, from a Sherlockian sense. We know for a fact that it was inspired by the success of BBC Sherlock, and I'd venture a guess that touch of Robert Downey inspiration was in there, too, given the lead's lack of height and scruffiness.

I totally buy Elementary as an "inspired by" show, in this era of all those "inspired by true events" movies that take a seed from something that really happened and build it into a happy and usually inspiring drama. But once I find a way for my Sherlockian side to accept Elementary, my TV-watching side comes into play. The side that loved Moonlighting, Key West, Firefly, Profit, Deadwood, a bunch of the Treks (but not all), Sledge Hammer, Kung Fu, True Blood, Gilligan's Island, Hawaii Five-0, Arrow, Xena, Now and Again, Highlander, Bonanza, Search, I Spy, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Munsters, Twin Peaks, The Beverly Hillbillies, Days of Our Lives, The Match Game, Dark Shadows (first and second editions), Barbary Coast, Babylon Five, Orange is the New Black, Here Come the Brides, Raven, Ellery Queen, High Chaparral, Sanford and Son . . . well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. That guy? My TV-watching side who has watched the medium evolve from black-and-white cowboy shoot-em-ups to character-based dark dramas with serial killers as central figures?

That guy doesn't like Elementary on a whole different level. He just doesn't think it's a good show, up to what we've become accustomed to these days. Probably wouldn't even watch it all, like so many other routine procedurals, laugh-track dependent sitcoms, and so-so shows that just don't rise above the pack. Sure, they might just do the job if he was just wanting to veg out and only had the three major networks. But with all the entertainment choices currently available on cable and streaming? It's not running with the front-runners, to be sure. And that product of the TV generation, that guy, he doesn't like it.

And the only reason that fellow would watch Elementary was if the other side of his personality, the one enamored with Sherlock Holmes, made him do it. Because at least one Sherlock Holmes fan who doesn't like the show needs to watch it and report back to those Sherlockians who don't like it, aren't going to watch it, but still are a bit curious . . . because they're Sherlockians. They can't help but wonder either.

Ah, if only I could watch Benedict Cumberbatch once a week on Thursday nights at nine Central and write a blog about that show . . . if only I could. Elementary fans would not hear a peep out of me. But  the BBC, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Stephen Moffat, and Mark Gatiss apparently will not give them that simple little pleasure. Pity.

For now, I'll wander off to be inspired by Sherlock Holmeses who aren't created by American television. And hope no one brings me back to Elementary-land by the dawn's early light. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The coming summer of Sherlock Holmes.

There is so much to read in the world and so little time that my general policy is not to reread books if newer things are available. With one exception of course: as a Sherlockian, rereadings of the original Canon of Holmes are just part of the lifestyle. Here's the thing, though . . . .

You don't have to read them in the same order all of the time.

Sure, the first time out, you may pick up The Complete Sherlock Holmes and read them as presented, or maybe the individual collections and novels as you come upon them. And eventually Baring-Gould's Annotated makes for an interesting as-they-occurred read. Story themes for events make for random individual readings, and on and on it goes.

In looking at the summer ahead, however, I've decided to try a new sequence: Living summer alongside Sherlock Holmes.

About fifteen years ago, I worked out the order of Holmes's adventures to my own satisfaction, and have enjoyed using that base for a lot of things over the time that followed. And pondering my Sherlockian course for the summer, I turned once again to that list and thought, "What if I read all of Sherlock Holmes's cases that occurred between Memorial Day and Labor Day on the days they occurred?"

Sure, I'm not in England and won't be at the same settings as Holmes was, but letting the season line up with the stories at least this much should provide an interesting perspective. Doing "The Blue Carbuncle" on the second day after Christmas has become a staple of many a Sherlockian household, but summer and Sherlock Holmes is also a very atmospheric time. Hot days on Baker Street, flies on harpooned corpses, that sort of thing. Who knows what other acts besides just reading the stories might occur when one starts enjoying the cases as they occurred?

So I'll be putting out a blog on each of the days so those hardy folk that still read this blog can keep me honest. Here's the plan, starting with "Shoscombe Old Place" on Memorial Day and winding up with a big three-story finale on Labor Day weekend:

May 26, 1903, Tuesday -- "Shoscombe Old Place" (M)
June 1, 1889, Saturday -- "The Stock-broker’s Clerk" (M-Wd-S)
June 1, 1894, Friday -- "The Mazarin Stone" (S)
June 4, 1902, Wednesday -- "The Six Napoleons" 
June 8, 1889, Saturday -- "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (M-D-Wd)
June 19, 1902, Thursday -- "The Three Garridebs"(Y-M-Wd)
June 20, 1888, Wednesday -- "The Greek Interpreter" (Wd-S)
June 21, 1889, Friday -- "The Man with the Twisted Lip" (M-D-Y-Wd)
June 23, 1881, Thursday -- "The Musgrave Ritual"
June 30, 1889, Sunday -- "The Engineer’s Thumb" (Y-S)
July 3, 1880, Saturday -- "The Gloria Scott"
July 10, 1895, Wednesday -- "Black Peter" (Y-M-Wd)
July 16, 1881, Saturday -- Holmes meets Watson in Chapter One of A Study in Scarlet
July 19, 1887, Tuesday -- "The Second Stain" (Wd-S)
July 25, 1898, Monday -- "The Dancing Men" (M-Wd)
July 26, 1902, Saturday -- "The Disappearance of Lady Francis Carfax" 
July 29, 1887, Friday -- "The Naval Treaty" (M-D)
July 30, 1907, Tuesday -- "The Lion’s Mane" (M-Y-Wd)
August 1, 1894, Wednesday -- "The Norwood Builder" (M)
August 2, 1914, Sunday -- "His Last Bow" (M-D-Y)
August 20, 1898, Saturday -- "The Retired Colourman" (Y-S)
August 30, 1887, Tuesday -- "The Crooked Man" (Wd)
August 30, 1889, Friday -- "The Cardboard Box" (M-Wd)

I'm looking forward to it. Outside circumstances may limit one's ability for Sherlockian travel at any given time, but the original stories themselves always allow for a happy escape to Sherlock's side for a little literary vacationing.

And that makes a summer of Sherlock Holmes a very handy thing.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

An embarrassment of Sherlock Holmeses.

So this week's episode of CBS's Elementary, with its random title of "Art in the Blood," featured a character who was basically a stand-in for Mycroft Holmes at a stand-in for Mycroft's Diogenes Club, since the show had already wasted the names "Mycroft" and "Diogenes" on a character and place that had nothing to do with their originals. This technique holds some promise, I have to admit . . . after creating a series of characters with the names of the folks in the Sherlock Holmes stories but few of the characteristics, the show could create a second set of characters who have the characteristics of the Sherlock Holmes characters but different names.

Because things are just that messed up in Elementary's world.

With one episode left in the season, Elementary gave us a climactic episode, an episode with more punch to it than anything they did with Moriarty last season, but here's the problem: when Elementary is at its best at being Elementary, its also at its worst at being a Sherlock Holmes story.

Elementary is basically the story of a British crime specialist who has a massive breakdown and drug addiction after the death of his lover. Part of his recovery is starting a new life in America, where his father hires a "sober companion" (a phrase none of us had ever heard before this show began) to make sure he doesn't break down again. Somehow the crime specialist makes a connection with NYPD and becomes a paid consultant.

Eventually, our crime specialist finds out that the lover whose death caused his breakdown is not dead, but actually was a criminal mastermind all along. He corresponds with her in prison because she's the only person in the world whose mind works at all like his own. When his father threatens to take away his sober companion, the crime specialist hires her as his apprentice, because he's apparently become attached to/dependent upon her.

The crime specialist's brother comes from England, develops an on-again-off-again relationship with the apprentice/sober companion, but endangers her life via his secret connections to both French gangsters and British secret service. She breaks it off with the brother, but in discovering how much the brother truly cares for the "fragile" crime specialist, moves further into that relationship.

Now, with the season finale coming up, it appears that the final act of this drama for this year will be the apprentice/sober companion's choice whether to go back to London with her newfound lover, or to stay in New York with the damaged, dependent crime specialist that brought the two together.

Okay, now explain to me how any of that has to do with Sherlock Holmes.

Well, there are British accents involved, and that counts for a lot here in America. We love our British accents, yet ironically more and more Brits are finding good acting gigs here by putting on American accents. Perhaps one of Elementary's biggest handicaps here was not that their Watson is a woman, but that she doesn't have an English accent.

But are a name and a British accent all that it takes to become Sherlock Holmes? In this latest, penultimate episode of the show, the character purporting to be "Sherlock Holmes" stumbles around having evidence handed to him when he should be actively investigating, and when he really has a problem with a crime he can't deal with (his missing companion), he goes to NYPD for help. They kind of blow him off like a kid wandering in with a missing dog, but the missing companion then calls on the phone and spares him further embarrassment.

It's not a problem with the episode, but a vivid demonstration of Elementary being true to itself. If its main character can't function without his sober companion even enough to try to find her when she's missing, how will he fare if she flies off to London with his brother? Will he relapse into the dreaded drug dependency? Will he break down, give up working with NYPD, and just spend his time visiting his former lover in prison in between heroin shots?

The true Sherlock Holmes took out London's greatest criminal empire all by himself, without his Watson at his side. He spent years in America ferreting digging into espionage networks to find a German spy who could have brought England to its knees. On his own, he did some of his greatest work, not break down because he didn't have a babysitter.

And there are those who wonder why a fan of Sherlock Holmes like myself might be critical of this Thursday night crime pablum. I would recommend that those folks try a steak sometime and remember what it tastes like.

Friday, May 9, 2014


This week's Elementary began with the shocking revelation that Mycroft Holmes was British Intelligence, a fact that his little brother never suspected, deduced, or had any clue whatsoever about.

Think about that for a moment. His little brother is supposed to be Sherlock Holmes.

Once more, we find Elementary basing its entire ongoing storyline on something that is not only not based upon the original material in the slightest, it goes the opposite direction of the true character's nature and abilities. And in this twisted universe, Mycroft Holmes isn't even holding a respectable position in MI-6, he's still a failed restauranteur . . . he's just also an "asset" with a handler.

And Mycroft's handler has a sort of club setting for anti-social men. Mycroft's handler.

MI-6 offers Mr. Elementary a case, however, and his brother tries to talk him out of it because it might hurt Joan Watson's feelings, after her kidnapping due to Mycroft's fairly botched operation earlier.

Now, this is the part where I might usually start insulting Elementary, calling it cloud cuckoo land or something, but it is just so far off the Sherlock Holmes mark that it would seem like kicking a mangy, limping dog.

As it is, they seem to be using parts of "The Bruce-Partington Plans" but adding a quadruple-amputee corpse who came to the morgue with all his limbs. Miss Hudson gets an obligatory mention without an appearance, the kind of expense-cutting one gets used to on this show. (Like the shotgun-wielding drone murderer from a previous episode that never showed up at all.)

Ah, but if I was going to complain, I'd complain about the tattoos on tattoo artist Marion West. Those are some very bad tattoos. And it certainly didn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that anyone stealing the arms off a corpse probably did it for tattoos on those arms.

But, y'know, I have to give Lucy Liu points for the scene where Joan Watson breaks it off with Mycroft Holmes. It's acted well enough that you would have thought the two had a relationship, instead of a poorly constructed series of lines to indicate such a thing sprinkled through previous episodes.

"I know what it's like, to be deceived by a lover . . . Irene . . . Moriarty," Mr. Elementary sympathetically tells Joan Watson over her feelings of betrayal toward Mycroft. Can you believe I actually just wrote that sentence about a Sherlock Holmes adaptation that is the most popular thing in American Sherlockiana, based on sheer viewership? I can't.

Oh, come on! Marion West just walks in and hands Mr. Elementary the answers he's been looking for because her dead husband Arthur was an MI-6 analyst who had been studying the detective since his time in London. So much wrong with that.

And then Joan Watson announces she's moving out of whatever-address-besides-221B-Baker-Street they live at. Another good scene for Lucy, another bit of over-wrought drama for Mr. Elementary. And then Mr. Elementary turns a coded message over to MI-6 without having decoded it . . . who the frick is this guy supposed to be? Why MI-6 then offers him a job, I have no idea. It's not like he's as good as Sherlock Holmes or anything.

Captain Gregson comes in and literally hands him some more clues, though, so he can get back to working on the case.

Oh . . . my . . . Godfrey Staunton . . . Mycroft actually has a secret that's dramatic telling inspires Joan Watson to connect with him enough for a romantic kiss. They've both been taking care of the "fragile" Mr. Elementary all along. Taken by itself, it's not actually a . . . oh . . . my Godfrey Cambridge, they're naked in bed together post-coitus! Mycroft and Watson naked in bed together. Of course, if Joan Watson is in a bed, you know Mr. Elementary has to appear in the bedroom at some point, it's one of the show's established tropes.

Well, Elementary's fans are sure to be very happy this week. I can put myself in their place enough to see how . . . if you managed to believe everything else the show has shoveled for two seasons as something that worked with the name "Sherlock Holmes" attached . . . this would be a pretty great episode. But to the man who loves Sherlock Holmes for actual Sherlock Holmes's sake?

Oh, man, is this thing off the rails. "It as if you met a tram-car coming down a country lane," to use a quote from an actual Sherlock Holmes story, ironically also Mycroft-based. The most expensive bad fan-fic ever produced.

Where is Beatrix Kiddo when you need her?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The night of Joan's evil twin.

An interesting side note on my Elementary viewing habits is that I never watch it on Thursday night when it rains. One might ascribe this to the melancholy brought on by a rainy eve, and one's lack of desire to further the mood by watching a show that I've long found . . . well, less than uplifting. Or one might, perhaps more accurately, point the finger of blame at the fact that our cable connection loses its digital signal during the rain.

Oddly, that same cable that won't carry television channels in the rain will still handle streaming over the internet, so deprived of my weekly Joan Watson watch on Elementary, I drifted toward one of Lucy Liu's more memorable roles. Yes, it was time for a bit of O-ren Ishii and Kill Bill, Volume 1.

If there was ever a character a universe apart from the mild Joan Watson of Elementary, it is O-ren Ishii. For two seasons, I've been looking for a bit of O-ren's spark in Joan as she put up the criminal threats and the little abuses of her room-mate. But . . . no.  Two women with tragedy in their pasts, spurring them to their current position in life, and yet two so very different reactions.

Of course, Joan Watson didn't mean to kill that patient. O-ren Ishii meant to kill a lot of people. One by one. Which leads to the climax of the film, an extended battle to the death worthy of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. And as O-ren Ishii is a crime boss, that parallel is fitting.

Professor Moriarty fought a swordless swordsman who beat him with a Japanese system of wrestling.

O-ren Ishii was not so lucky . . . her nemesis had a sword. It is interesting to note that the foe to bring the crime boss down in Kill Bill, Volume 1 was a pretty blonde Caucasian, as Elementary's  doppelganger for O-ren, Joan Watson, has a pretty blonde Caucasian crime boss as her arch-foe. They are truly the Bizarro universe anti-theses to each other, O-ren and Joan.

Oddly, O-ren Ishii seems like the happier of the twins. Perhaps its because she isn't constantly waking up with an odd British chap staring at her every other morning. That and the fact she gets to do slow-motion entrances to cool music.

I don't know if Quentin Tarantino could do a proper Sherlock Holmes film. But it surely would be interesting to see him try.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sir James Walter.

The topic of Sir James Walter is bound to come up this week, according to my sources.

As a character in one of those dull governmental Holmes cases, "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans," Sir James isn't someone to whom I've paid a lot of attention to in my studies of the Sherlockian Canon. He actually dies just before Holmes and Watson can meet him, and not because he's a murder victim. He basically dies of embarrassment. Or shock. Or failure. Citizens of the Victorian era seemed to be so fragile that emotions caused them to fall faint or completely give up the ghost, and Sir James Walter was one of them.

But here's the interesting thing about Sir James. He is first explained to us as "a government expert." Later we learn that he's "a scientist" and "the head of the Submarine Department," but all in all, he's one of those brilliant minds that governments used to keep on their payroll before the private sector started stealing them away. Sort of like Mycroft Holmes.

Sir James Walter also had one more similarity to Mycroft Holmes: a younger brother who disdained to take up government service. It is perhaps this reason that Sherlock Holmes doesn't suspect Colonel Valentine Walter, and even admits to being surprised to find he's the culprit. Sherlock probably saw Valentine as a sort of kindred spirit that way. When Sherlock says of Valentine, "How an English gentleman could behave in such a manner is beyond my comprehension," it becomes even more clear that he sees the younger Walter as a peer of sorts.

It is interesting to note that while we have no evidence of a direct working relationship between Mycroft Holmes and Sir James Walter, in the movie The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft is the one we find involved with Her Majesty's secret submarine program, rather than Sir James.

But even though we would expect the massive Mycroft to fall prey to a massive heart attack, he does seem to be a little sturdier than the late Sir James.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what this week brings in the ongoing legend of this rare Canonical character on a certain television program known for borrowing the occasional Canonical name and not much else. Perhaps our friend the KRM will spare him a demise from mere emotional trauma this time out. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sherlock town.

Here's a question for you . . . .

Suppose you were to recreate Sherlock Holmes's existence, finding yourself some second-floor rooms for yourself and your closest companion on a sort-of Baker Street. You would fill the flat with 221B furnishings, set yourself up as a just-for-fun consulting detective, and live a completely Sherlock-ish life, free of the burdens and cares of your normal everyday. This imagine-if story problem would come with ample funding, of course, but only if one condition were met: You had to remain in the state in which you currently live.

Where would you set up your own personal 221B, given that sole condition?

For me, I think I would choose the town of 3,249 where I spent the past weekend, Galena, Illinois.

Being a small town Illinois lad at heart, the size is quite amenable to me. And it meets several requirements of a faux London here in the heartland of America.

River running through its center? Check.

Architecture of the 1800s? Check.

Narrow-ish street lined with multi-story buildings on both sides with no space between them? Check.

Occasional clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages? Check.

And from city limit to city limit, its historically protected, so Galena is probably going to stay the way it is for quite a long time. It has a rich history all its own, featuring a U.S. president, Civil War generals, and frontier beginnings, but for a Sherlockian who wanted to squint just a little and imagine a bit of Baker Street without leaving Illinois, I think it would serve quite nicely. And trust me, in this state, that's not the easiest thing to find.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the Falls be with you!

Happy Star Wars Day?


Did Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star today? No.

Today is Star Wars Day because if you lisp slightly when you say "May the Force be with you," it sounds like "May the Fourth be with you," a statement that makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, I like Star Wars as much as the next guy . . . well, the next guy who found all the Anakin stuff to be a depressing failure . . . but really? That's be best rationale for picking a calendar date to celebrate Star Wars?

Sure, it takes place in a galaxy, far, far from our Earth calendar dates, but maybe they could have picked a date that wasn't somebody else's day of major accomplishment . . . like when Sherlock Holmes ended the greatest criminal empire that London, and perhaps the world, had ever known?

It's a bit of a curiosity to me why Sherlockians don't celebrate May the 4th more vigorously. Unlike such nebulous dates as Sherlock Holmes's birthday, or the day he met Dr. Watson, we know exactly when Sherlock Holmes battled Professor Moriarty to the bitter end at Reichenbach Falls. True, it was known for almost ten years as the day Sherlock Holmes died, but that was only ten years. We've known for over a hundred and ten years that Sherlock Holmes did not die on that date, but survived his greatest triumph with colors flying.

And Sherlock Holmes crashed his personal death star, Moriarty, long before that kid from Tatooine sent a couple of energy torpedoes down an exhaust port.

So, today, on May 4, 2014, let me be one of the hopefully many who wish you a Happy Reichenbach Day, and add "May the Falls be with you!"

Because that's a good thing. And today was Sherlock's holiday first.

"At his advice, upon the afternoon of the 4th we set off together with the intention of crossing the hills and spending the night at the hamlet of Rosenlaui. We had strict injunctions, however, on no account to pass the falls of Reichenbach . . ."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday night sleepy time.

"They took his partner. But will they take his sanity?" said the CBS promo announcer, halfway through Bad Teacher. "A new Elementary is next."

The thought of an episode of Elementary without Lucy Liu was surprisingly unthinkable. She had been my lifeline for the little positive perspective on the show I had been able to drum up. And in order for her to take a turn in the director's chair this week, I was worried that they had to throw Joan Watson in a van and drive her off-camera to give her alter ego time to work. Luckily, that quickly turned out to be wrong.

"I knew you were an idiot!" Mr. Elementary screamed at Brother Elementary, and it quickly turns out that he is correct. This fellow under the name "Mycroft" not only doesn't run large chunks of the British government, he can't run a profitable restaurant without support from bad people. Boy, do I hate this show.

I mean, why have source material? Why do a show with a character called "Sherlock Holmes?" Yes, I know, my same old song, but remember how I was just writing how cool Mycroft is, earlier this week? Yup, Mycroft is cool. Not the guy with that name slapped on him on this show.

As the two brothers use their father's massive wealth to trick their way into a bank, then badger the banker by bringing up his manic depression (which is not only mean, it's nonsensical), it just goes from bad to worse. On the other side of the kidnapping, Dr. Watson actually, after almost two seasons, gets to be a doctor and work on a criminal's gunshot wound. Of course, doctors have always been easier to write than detectives. Especially a detective named Sherlock Holmes.

Some cell phone stomping, a little staring at a video game screen, some threats against the worthless brother, and on the episode goes . . . actually reverting back to its first season's level of lame. Mr. Elementary is mean and snippy, the case is dull, and there seems little point to Brother Elementary even being present. Ghost Alistair might have added a little more interest. But I guess I did need to relax tonight, or else I might have gone to the opening night of The Amazing Spiderman 2. Uh-oh, the wife on the commercial for Jared jewelers is displaying Elementary-level deductive powers. Maybe she can find Joan Watson.

I mean, Mr. Elementary doesn't seem to be looking, only doing what her kidnappers tell him to do. I miss Gareth Lestrade . . . he remains the best character ever to wander on to this show.

Bored, bored, bored . . . or look, fly forensics. TV detective 101. Hey, they tasered a guy! A shocking twist! And torture. Mr. Elementary does torture. So much for him being the smart one.

Really thought the end of the season was ramping up to something with Mycroft showing up, but outside of whatever twist they're going to bring at the end, this episode didn't really ramp it up much. Watson and her kidnappers seemed to be getting along pretty well . . .  oops, called that wrong.

I hope the NSA can straighten this mess out for Mr. Elementary. He seems to need somebody to get him out of this, unlike that Cumberbatch-resembling fellow on the other side of the pond.

Oh, puh-leeze . . . and now they pull out MI-6 assassins and pretend this homeless derelict of a restauranteur has something to do with the British government? Deus ex machina much?

"Hey, everybody! We're not a boring non-adaptation after all!"  Yeah, good fiction is organic and when the surprise twist happens, you go, "Oooooooh, the clues were right in front of my eyes all along!" This isn't that. Which has been pretty consistent with this show.

After two seasons, even this show's crimes against Sherlockanity have become so commonplace they don't detract from the sleepiness it can bring on with an episode like this one.

Goodnight, Joan-girl. Goodnight, Sean-boy. Goodnight, nurse.