Monday, January 21, 2013

Edgar back on the opium.

Yes, over a hundred and fifty years after his death, it appears that Edgar Allen Poe is smoking Victorian crack again.

Or at least his namesake is.

While being a whole-hearted student of the Master Detective, I must admit that the mystery genre as a whole is usually disappointing to me. When you start with the top of the field, which Sherlock Holmes definitely is, it's hard to be thrilled about lesser lights who stumble through mysteries with a little personality and colorful details alone. And that being the case, I've never gotten too excited about the Edgar Awards, a sort of mystery Oscars handed out by the Mystery Writers of America. Their field of self-congratulations is so small that the nominee list always holds some clunkers, just to fill out the field. But this year . . . oh, this year . . .

Edgar is back on the opium, to be sure.

All you have to do is look at their nominees for "Best Television Episode Teleplay." And the nominees are:
"Pilot" -- Longmire
"Slaughterhouse" -- Justified
"New Car Smell" -- Homeland
"A Scandal in Belgravia" -- Sherlock
"Child Predator" -- Elementary

Seriously, Edgar? You're going to put Elementary up against the likes of Homeland and Sherlock, two TV shows that actually got nominated for Emmys . . . you know, the REAL television awards done by people who actually know television? All for having one cheesey "the kid is the killer and not the pervy old guy" twist that wasn't hard to see coming?

But it's more than that. The Mystery Writers of America have fallen so far from the flagship character of their genre that they think Mr. Elementary, the Sherlock-In-Name-Only, deserves an award for his exercise in identity theft? That's just sad.

No, wait. The fact that major mystery novel series are based around cats or alphabet titles. That's sad. And it kind of explains how faux Sherlock got on that nominees list.

Read the Canon, folks. There's a reason it's the only mystery series called "the Canon."

And, Mystery Writers of America? I know you like Edgar Allen Poe, but stay off the drugs!


  1. I was shocked too when I learned that Elementary got a nomination.
    Child Predator was 2nd to the last episode I've watched from Elementary before I decided that I should save my time for worthy telly.
    For a person like me who read a lot of mystery/detective novels, endured the 900+ chapters of Detective Conan(who seemed to have invented every possible arrangement for closed-room murder mystery) and watched a lot of procedural TV shows and movies, the plot-twist(s) of Elementary is so generic.
    They seem to operate on "Deduction(read: stating the obvious), deduction, here's the criminal, oh wait he's not the criminal, deduction, enlightenment via Joan or some other background events, here's the actual criminal" story line(at least in what I've watched) so it's easy to know what will happen.
    Furthermore, I've seen this kind of case before, I just don't remember where. I'll tell you if I remember it.
    In short, it's not even intelligent writing on par with Sherlock and it's very predictable. It's an insult.

  2. I just found that out for myself and wanted to tell you! And then I found that you know already. Oh God, it's a shame! But, yes, self-congratulatory is the key-word here, I think. Beware that a foreign product should reign supreme in an American awards competition. I smell CBS's influence... *sniff*

    Although I have to admit that I liked the alphabet-series and also the numbers one. To say nothing of the cats... ;-)

  3. But for good news - have you seen this?

    1. Oh god yes! Not only that, Mark Gatiss seemed to have finished his drafts!

    2. Have often tweeted "Dear Jim (or whoever is in charge now), please can you fix it for me and hack Mark Gatiss' computer to obtain a draft of S3E1. Will pay top dollar!" No luck so far.... :-(

  4. As you know, I have a different opinion on "Elementary". I've only seen "Child Predator" and "A Scandal in Belgravia" out of the five on the nomination list. I think "Scandal" is the better script. I think the Holmes story it most resembles is "The Speckled Band". Doyle created a story full of implausibilities and made it work. It's always ranked in the top six favorite adventures. The same can be said of Moffat's script; full of implausibilities, but dammit, it works! I don't think "Child Predator" will win, and I don't "smell CBS's influence". By the way, the critically acclaimed FX show "Justified" is executive produced by Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly, who are also the e.p.s on "Elementary". As for an opium smoking nominating committee--did they pick up the pipe before nominating "Sherlock", "Justified", "Homeland", "Longmire", or after, Brad?

    1. That would seem to be after. Unless the resident opium-smoker wandering into the nominating meeting mumbling "El-uh-mentary . . ." over and over until they added it to the list just to placate him.

  5. :D

    'Mr. Elementary, the Sherlock-In-Name-Only, deserves an award for his exercise in identity theft?'- Well put!

    'Read the Canon, folks.' - I totally agree. Go to your local library NOW! ;)