Sunday, February 2, 2014

Call me a fan and be damned.

The word "liar" was spotted upon my first viewing of "The Empty Hearse." The way Private Life was interwoven with "A Scandal in Bohemia" for "Belgravia" was not lost on me when considering the potential that The Crucifer of Blood held for "His Last Vow." But they still led me down the garden path on this one. Or to put it more to the point, Steven Moffat owned me for eight-nine minutes tonight.

"His Last Vow." Christ.

When the arguments about Elementary come up, as they occasionally do, I get written off as a Sherlock fan by many a defender of the procedural's place in our view of Sherlocks. And in the past, I've looked around at the true Sherlock fans I have encountered, their talent, their zeal, their marvelous attention to detail, and thought . . . no, I would not put myself in their class. There are some real masters of Sherlock fandom out there; to call one's self a fan next to them seems . . . well, like bragging.

I'm just an old Sherlockian war horse, still plodding along from the eighties. And yet, Sherlock just keeps reminding me what it was like to be young and excited about Sherlock Holmes. Enough old and familiar bits are there that I recognize my old friends these stories, and yet they keep finding ways to make me feel what Conan Doyle was pressing first-time Victorian readers to feel. It's the telegram-then text-message-now translation, just done with entire stories.

Oh, yes, they're playing pastiche. An indulgence of Mycroft. Billy Wiggins, of course there's a Billy Wiggins. Moriarty doing guest mental or imaginary story guest spots, and even . . . well, we'll leave that for now. But they're playing pastiche so bloody well.

That's what gets me about this series. I'm not really looking to be a fan. I'm not expecting them to succeed when I sit down to an episode, and the longer their streak runs, the more I expect failure. But they keep applying the paddles to my aged Sherlockian heart and shouting, "CLEAR!"

And so, with the end of season three, I guess I will accept being called a fan of Sherlock. It seems silly to have to be identified as a fan of quality workmanship in any arena, like someone is just saying, "OHHHH, you like good things, thoughtfully crafted!" Well, yes, I do.

So fan I am. Thank you, Moffat, Gatiss, et al.

(And after this season, it seems that we Sherlock fans have our own version of "muggles" to throw around, should we start getting snooty about our love of the good stuff. I'd really rather not be one of those sorts of fans, so I'll be using said word as a dashboard "Check Engine" light. If you have no clue as to what I'm talking about, good for you, gentle soul. Don't worry over it.)


  1. I remember one post where you noted that Jonny Lee Miller's Holmes left a urine sample on Lucy Liu's bed (her remark "I hope it's in a bottle") and your comment that the urine is what made "Elementary" special. It's not so special now. Perhaps you look at it as a positive character trait that Benedict Cumberbatch when through with killing a bad guy while Miller ended up having a few scruples about completing the deed. But of course, the difference is in America Miller would have went to prison, while in Briton Cumberbatch had a four minute exile, because a cartoon villain (or is that a Doctor Who villain) hijacked all the UK's TVs and deus ex machina'ed his bacon. Time to rerun your "Loving things that suck" post. A lotta truth in that one.

    1. Um, James-with-the-suspiciously-Irish-last-name, you did notice the difference between a version of the most repulsive villain in the Canon taking a whiz on Baker Street and a guy who's supposedly Sherlock Holmes doing something similar to his Watson . . . I think that was a creative choice that meant maybe a little something.

      And since when does Sherlock Holmes have a code against killing? Some internet Superman fan seemed to think so, but I don't remember one. As for Mr. Elementary going to prison . . . well, of course. His brother is a restauranteur and not the British government. Plus, he's kinda lame.

      Shite . . . Shinola . . . there is a difference. And we get to see one guy called "Sherlock Holmes" who doesn't mind doing it while the cameras are running, and he's not in a film from South America.

    2. When did Benedict Cumberbatch kill somebody? Have you been reading the Daily Mail? He's been working in Hollywood--but that's hardly "exile" from the UK. (He's back now, with some Shakespeare in his future.)

      I enjoyed this Sherlock series; and I agree that Canon Holmes wasn't exactly a pacifist. (Our Sherlock didn't turn John over to the police in Episode 1, Series 1.)

      I watch for style, wit, hidden (& not so hidden) references to ACD--and excellent performances. Still haven't been convinced that Elementary is worth a minute of my time. (And I've read reviews elsewhere.)

  2. Way to stick to your guns Brad. Put me down proudly on that "call me a fan and be damned" list too. Moffat & Gatiss are not just brilliant, but faithful Sherlockians too. Three cheers for Moffat & Gatiss, as well as the entire "Sherlock" cast and crew. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead Mr. Keefauver!

  3. As a fan of "Sherlock", it gives me no pleasure to have two-thirds of Series 3 suck so badly. Series 3 can be summed up this way: "Bombs with off switches are the new sexy". Yes, Mr. Ostrom and faithful Baring-Gouldians as well, what with William Sherlock Scott Holmes and the other brother that didn't fare so well. Must be an homage to "Sherlock Holmes in New York".

  4. I thought that HLV proved Brad's theory that Wiggins was the one to go off and pretend to be Sherlock Holmes in NY. The actor has a certain likeness to JLM and was quite eager to inherit Sherlock's job in the xmas scene! ;-D Perhaps that was a shout-out to Brad's blog?!

    1. That's the first thing I thought of when I saw Billy/Wiggins--"Here's Brad's chance to claim this is Mr. Elementary's origin story." Surprised he didn't make the connection. Perhaps because that means that Mr. Elementary is emulating GameBoy's drug addiction problems. (Sorry, it's not an addiction, he's on a case.) Thanks to Series Three Cumberbatch will now be GameBoy to me.

    2. I just liked Billy Wiggins as Billy Wiggins, the combo of pageboy, Irregular, and rascally lascar. So much in that episode to ruminate upon that I hadn't gotten there yet. Thanks, guys!