The Federalist published my 14th article with them today. It’s on good and bad trailers. Check it out here: Good and bad trailers Advertisements
This review is very late, good thing nobody reads this blog! It’s still basically spoiler free though.
This show got really weird. But truthfully this was always a weird show. It’s always had that Doctor Who vibe…for obvious reasons. But Doctor Who is supposed to be weird, that’s part of its bizarre pulp charm. Sherlock was a strange show because it was part of its time, the time of reboots, and reboots are something Sherlock Holmes adaptations sort of invented. Holmes is kind of the quintessential nerd “IP.”
Let me count the ways:
1. the character is a nerd, socially unacceptable and brilliant
2. he’s clearly a super hero, not just a great detective like Miss Marple but an honest to God crime fighter, he’s like Batman without all the dressing, take Zorro add Holmes throw in some tragedy and empathy out comes Bats
3. After the Cthulhu Mythos, Holmes is one of the main IPs (that aren’t IPs because no one owns them) that essentially produced fan fiction, back when Fan fiction was published novels of IPs in the public domain
4. He’s a tech and chem nerd
5. He started the whole dead but not really dead thing which is how comic books have survived for so long
Holmes really has it all when it comes to nerd cred. And by bringing him into the 21st century with such ease the Sherlock team did what really seemed so obvious it was almost mundane after 1 season. This is made more obvious by the fact that the Downey films were concurrent and tried to do the same thing but backwards. Steam punk is in these days so Guy Ritchie et al figured they could update the character by simultaneously returning him to his grungy anti social roots but in a hip Lethal Weaponish way. Those two films did well at the box office but they’re barely watchable trash. It is always obvious that they are trying to entertain you, they are trying to be interesting…and they almost never are.
Sherlock however is effortless. At least when it works. When that show doesn’t work it isn’t ever clear why, something is just a miss. Usually it seems to be the story. Spin a good yarn and Sherlock knits a nice sweater (or peacoat). But if you have no story to tell then…it’s just a weird super smart guy…with a cell phone.
That’s one reason the show works when it works. They embrace the trappings of our time but not it’s sensibilities. Whereas the Ritchie movies don’t embrace the trappings of any time and try to force modern sensibilities. Story is driven by the world the story inhabits. Tolkien is the greatest example of this: he discovered the true nature of Bilbo’s ring within his own mythos, and the rest is…the establishment of a genre essentially relegated to pulp magazines. But in Sherlock the cell phone, the blog, etc are all elements that drive story in very organic ways. It’s simple and honest and that’s why it works.
But the 4th Season of Sherlock and especially the last episode keeps trying to focus on the characters and giving us new things to see and learn about them. That sounds nice but there are several problems with this:
1. These characters are interesting because they are fun to watch not fun to learn about
2. We don’t really need to learn anything new about these characters, we want to see how they will solve New and original problems
3. The new information given is weak…and feels contrived, but even if it were interesting and organic the first two points would still stand
I’ve basically kept this spoiler free so I won’t change that now. Sherlock is still far more worth your time than much of the crap on TV/streaming but it certainly has highs and lows. This last episode had some great moments…but it didn’t hold together, and that’s basically true of the whole 4th series. 3 is probably the best series overall but 1&2 have the 4 best episodes. Series 4 is clearly the most mixed. At least it’s something interesting to write about…I don’t know if they’re making more but I’ll certainly watch it if they do but I’m not as excited for a new series as I used to be.
My lazy blogging continues. I don’t completely agree with this analysis but as usual The Federalist does great stuff.
I can’t remember the last time I actually watched a show on TV. It’s always DVD or Netflix or whatever. I forgot how fun it is. For one thing we don’t have a DVR or anything anymore so if ya gotta pee then you just miss stuff. That sounds annoying (because it is) but it feels more authentic and “old fashioned.” Such a small thing but I like it, I like the inconvenience of it. That sounds so dumb but I don’t care.
In any case this episode was quite good. And I felt like it actually “redeemed” the last episode. I don’t want to do any spoilers but Sherlock is always better when he’s on a case, when the “game is afoot.” This season has been “different” so far. Of course each season and each episode of the whole show has been different. These “movie” miniseries are often that way. But this season has been particularly strange. Sherlock’s character is really undergoing changes, but they’re apart of the story not just arbitrary changes.
I’d say Episode 4.2 deserves at least a 8/10. I’m very excited for the finale.
Okay so here’s my Sherlock rankings so far
The abominable Bride 7/10
I give 6/10.
I did not love this episode. It was alright but it seems like the creators have really lost their way. Holmes works best when he’s doing something. The character gets boring when you try to make him interesting. He becomes interesting when he is solving a case. That’s when relationships and character etc come into relation with him. Having him relate directly to others kills his ability to relate. He must relate through the actions of the case.
I am a huge fan of this show but it’s always been uneven. One episode is brilliant then one is a dud. These guys hit or they miss. This was a miss…
Candice Patton…oh man she’s awful. Granted I’m only just now wrapping up Season 1 so maybe she gets better…but right now this show is basically perfect…except for her unbievability as a human. She has zero chemistry with either men she’s supposed to have feelings for and she always looks wonderstruck in the dumbest way possible.
I just watched a flashback scene where she was quite moving for the first time, so maybe the future is bright but so far it’s been basically all on Grant Gustin to convince people that Iris is important to this story.
Here’s hoping, because until this year I didn’t care at all about these characters. The amazing Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox changed my mind forever. Now The Flash (Barry Allen) is one of my favorite characters. And I never would’ve watched that film if Kevin Smith hadn’t talked about Kevin Conroy’s amazing but brief performance in Flashpoint on his podcast Fatman on Batman. With just a few words Conroy reduces me to tears (admittedly like Mr Smith, this is not hard to do). But the Flash is a highly underrated superhero and it’s really awesome to see him get such a wonderful treatment by the CW thanks to Berlanti, Kreisberg, and the inestimable Geoff Johns!
Also the Mark Hamil episode may be the single greatest thing in the history of things. And I think it’s basically an icon of the cult/geek/comic zeitgeist we’re currently swirling in. I will probably do a post on that someday.