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Sherlock Holmes is very much in the zeitgeist right now with Guy Ritchie’s movie franchise starring Robert Downey Jr. and BBC’s hit series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which was just renewed for third season.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Speaking of zeitgeist - I do enjoy the show House most precisely at that level at which it is a Holmes adaptation. When it comes to thinking of Holmes in "contemporary" terms, I think the House writers frequently nail it with his character. I suppose the catch is that House indulges in far more melodrama than Doyle (even given Holmes' critique of Watson's "romanticizings"). I particularly like the way Houses' "method" is a real world expression of a barely concealed psychosis that otherwise manifests as a sort of hunger eating away at him when he doesn't have a case to deal with. The drugs, the off-kilter relationships, the way House intentionally uses social awkwardness and division to elicit information or ideas that would otherwise not exist - this is all pure Sherlock.

It's been a very long time since I watched an episode of House, but I think you're on to something there. Oddly, I've had the suspicion for a while that portrayals/re-interpretations of Holmes have been getting steadily more dysfunctional as the years have passed. House certainly fits into that trend.

House is also a good example of what Booth described in his wonderful recent essay as really paying attention to things. The minutiae of a sick body a mere hop, skip, and jump from Sherlock's scope of observation.

Good point (and thanks for the kind words); Alexander Howe makes a similar point, although his focus is more on psychoanalysis than surgery. Ellery Queen makes the comparison, too, in Calamity Town.

House is also a good example of the paradox that appears immediately in Study in Scarlet about Sherlock's lack of knowledge about our solar system, to which he responds by explaining that the orbit of the earth is irrelevant to his field of knowledge. In an era so interested in paradigms, the shifting of paradigms, and enlightnment, Holmes (Doyle?) rejects the idea that paradigms can be meaningful channels through which we direct our attention to people. They are lenses that distort - even if true. I am not quite sure what is important to Holmes/House, but it isn't science qua science. This is all pretty subversive stuff.

I like your way of thinking.

FWIW, Masterpiece Theater just sent me an e-mail to remind me that Sherlock 2 starts on Sunday.

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Huh. I've not gotten around to putting my thoughts on Series 2 up.

Belgravia--there are well documented problems with the characterization of Irene Adler, and I get those. All the same, I liked the episode quite a bit--even once I realized that it's essentially a remake of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

Baskervilles--not quite on the level of Belgravia, but it successfully avoids the second-episode slump that characterized the first series, so I can't complain too much.

In short, I'm in the embarrassing and boring position of loving the series exactly as much as most other people seem to. Which means I don't have any interesting or provocative objections to make to it....

Edited by NBooth
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"In Praise of Sherlock & its Co-Creator Steven Moffat"

Nice overview of Moffat's genius.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Just wanted to share a new BreakPoint feature article about "A Scandal in Belgravia." There's plenty of room for debate over Kaitlyn's interpretation of the show's relationships (there's a bit of a debate about it on my Facebook page, in fact), but I was very impressed by her writing and the depth of her analysis -- especially since she's only 24 and this is, I think, her first published non-fiction article.

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I thought that was a really insightful piece. Good on her!

Seconded. The contrasts might be drawn a tad too sharply (for instance, Sherlock is definitely more attuned to John's needs than he lets on, but he's also incredibly manipulative, as in the Baskervilles episode--so he's not above exploiting his friends for their use-value if need be), but I think this interest in the complexity of human relationships is one of the things that sets Sherlock apart.

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I thought that was a really insightful piece. Good on her!

Yes, I agree. It is quite good and swiftly to the point. Having watched the episode several times (well all six actually) it plays out. I wonder what her thoughts are on Sherlock and Molly's relationship? In my view Molly is the most Christ-like in that she counts herself as nothing yet speaks her mind continually. In his greatest moment of crisis ("The Reichenbach Fall"), it is Molly that Sherlock turns to in order to save him from death and to make it possible later for him to "come back from the dead". We do not know how it was done, for we see Sherlock dead (or are supposed to) yet we know he is not and Molly is the key.

It's the best series to come along in a great while for crisp writing. I think Mark Gatiss (who plays Mycroft) is a genius.

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It's the best series to come along in a great while for crisp writing. I think Mark Gatiss (who plays Mycroft) is a genius.

I've been a fan of Gatiss for awhile. Also besides his contributions to Dr. Who, his work with The League of Gentleman was been exceptional. If you're unfamiliar with League of Gentleman, think Monty Python by way of Twin Peaks.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

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"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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It's the best series to come along in a great while for crisp writing. I think Mark Gatiss (who plays Mycroft) is a genius.

I've been a fan of Gatiss for awhile. Also besides his contributions to Dr. Who, his work with The League of Gentleman was been exceptional. If you're unfamiliar with League of Gentleman, think Monty Python by way of Twin Peaks.

With a bit of Hammer horror thrown in for good measure.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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It's the best series to come along in a great while for crisp writing. I think Mark Gatiss (who plays Mycroft) is a genius.

I've been a fan of Gatiss for awhile. Also besides his contributions to Dr. Who, his work with The League of Gentleman was been exceptional. If you're unfamiliar with League of Gentleman, think Monty Python by way of Twin Peaks.

With a bit of Hammer horror thrown in for good measure.

Yes! I was trying to come up with a 3rd reference point when I posted that. That's a good one.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Yesterday, Moffat promised to give three words, akin to last year, that would tease the series. Now, according to the Tumblr Sherlockology, those three words have been revealed: Rat, Wedding, Bow

My guesses would be:

the Giant Rat of Sumatra (a case for which the world is not yet prepared)

His Last Bow

Bit uncertain about "Wedding"; it could refer to Watson's wedding to Mary Morstan--and so indicate a riff on The Sign of Four or it could refer to something else--for instance, The Noble Bachelor My money's on the former, though.

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Yeah, so that's pretty devastating right there. At a certain point, don't you lose your audience?

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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I don't know. Hasn't Mad Men weathered some long waits between seasons?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I don't know. Hasn't Mad Men weathered some long waits between seasons?

There was a gap between the end of season 4 and the start of 5 from October 2010 to March 2012.

They also produce more than 3 episodes in a season, though.

True, but episodes aren't an hour and half long.

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British audiences aren't as fickle as American audiences. ;) Aren't there plenty of shows in the UK that only air brief seasons at intervals of like two years? I'm thinking of The Vicar of Dibley, which only aired 24 episodes in 12 years, but I'm sure there are others.

Sherlock may lose some US viewers, which admittedly make up a large portion, but I'll wager the Brits are quite used to hiatuses like this.

Don't we have some Brits here at A&F? Where's Matt? Haha.

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Fawlty Towers produced six half-hour episodes in 1975 and another six in 1979 -- a gap of four years.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
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The first episode is called “The Empty Hearse” and solves the mystery of Sherlock’s death. The second episode is titled “The Sign of Three” [...] The third episode is “The Last Vow” and airs Feb. 2..

 

 

These titles are puntastic, though it should be pointed out that The Sign of Three was already taken.

 

Eagerly awaiting these. And the fourth series--which is, from what I can gather, virtually certain (though beyond that is anyone's guess).

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