"Of all ghosts, the ghosts of our old loves are the worst," old Trevor stated in that early Holmes case known as "The Gloria Scott," and even though "no ghosts need apply" to the world of Sherlock Holmes, as he stated much later, that statement is still quite true, whatever the world.
And many a Sherlockian has an appropriate love of Conan Doyle, going far back.
I'd even venture to say there are some Sherlockians with a longtime love of Harry Houdini.
And as it was just Monday night, I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. Finding myself on a treadmill at the gym with an array of televisions in front of me, I saw two shades of long-dead individuals appearing before me . . . and did they seem "the worst?"
Well, it really depends upon your point of view.
If you're a big fan of campy local amateur theater, I could see how Fox's Houdini & Doyle might appeal. Seeing such spoofy versions of real folk, playing at dealing with the death of a real mother and the oncoming death of real spouse, however, just seemed a bit too far . . . and yet . . . not far enough?
As someone who enjoyed the Asylum film Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, I really like a bit of stinky cheese in my viewing, but tonight's revisit of Houdini vs. Doyle . . . oops, Houdini & Doyle . . . just seemed to have a little uncertainty as to whether it was taking itself seriously or not. Rather than go whole-sharknado, Sherlock-and-dinosaurs, y'alls-to-the-walls plunging into it, the Fox show likes to maintain its distance.
Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini seem to be debunking mystery solvers in that great Holmes-and-the-hound tradition, but when all is said and done there is that little spooky sort of twist I remember from the Jonny Quest cartoons of my youth and before. "All the abominable snowmen turned out to be guys in suits after all!" "But wait, what is that furry lumbering figure now howling on that far-off peak?"
Are Houdini and Doyle actually going to deal with the supernatural on this show, as it plainly seems to exist in their TV world? (Along with many a modern turn of phrase, like "he's messing with you.") And, yes, I did drop in on this show tonight after missing most of the season, but in that supernatural twist, it sure seemed to imply that Houdini's mother was in Hell, which was about to break loose had not paranormal expert Thomas Edison intervened.
Yes, paranormal expert Thomas Edison. And even though the notion of Edison's necrophone does tie to a real-life idea of the inventor's, to fill it out as an actual pursuit of his suddenly pushes things into Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies turf without that full Asylum commitment.
Which is too bad, really. Because it's pretty silly as-is.