Forgive me, I have disappeared into the bowels of Netflix – my, that’s a disgusting turn of phrase – but at its heart its true. For the past month or so, on weekends I have run away to Portwenn, England with layovers in New York City to visit Sherlock and Tim Gunn. Mmm hmm, yup … I have officially snapped.
I have been assisting in the total care of my mom now for over a year and I think my mind finally decided I needed a vacation. Enter Doc Martin! Yes, that’s right Doc Martin. After seeing one episode on my local PBS station, I went on Netflix and got lost in Portwenn for six seasons worth of shows. I enjoyed the scenery, ensemble acting, the characters becoming each important in their own way much like in Northern Exposure, if anyone remembers the old CBS show. Portwenn became a place to go to and have stories told me in the gentleness of the British seaside where my reality didn’t exist. Plus I loved the ability of the good doctor to just tell people to shut up and get the hell out of the way. Oh, to be able to do that in real life without consequences. He is grumpy and not the most handsome of men, emotionally inarticulate and yet fun to watch. And look they’re making more!!!
When I wasn’t in Portwenn, I was in New York City, Brooklyn to be exact, supplementing my fantasy life with heaping helpings of Elementary (CBS show). Let it be known, that I am declaring my love for Jonny Lee Miller here and now for all the world to hear (Don’t worry Mr. Rickman, you’re still held fondly in my heart, now stand over their with Viggo). I enjoy Elementary immensely – the relationship between Joan Watson and Holmes has grown and changed and is interesting to watch. I obviously have always had a fascination for Holmes and Mr. Miller’s portrayal is second to only one man – I’m sorry but Basil Rathbone will always be Holmes to me, he being the one that introduced the character and the books to me. But Jonny Lee Miller is a very close second. His representation of Holmes is modern but still adheres to canon – he carries the humor and the humanity that Holmes was imbued with by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as the eccentricity, lack of social graces and penetrating talents that make Holmes who he is. Mr. Miller’s performance is fun to watch – saying so much with just the slightest of eye movements. There is a childlike quality in some of his mannerisms and expressions that make him all the more endearing… okay I’m gushing here aren’t I. Sorry. Lucy Liu’s performance provides the perfect calmness of Watson to the stories. Her character is a more of an equal partner to Holmes than the canonical Watson. She does not merely stand around and say, wow, how’d you figure that one out – she actively participates and assists. Here is video of the pilot episode where Holmes and Watson first meet – their dynamic changes throughout the show.
I think I’m going to have to buy a copy of the BBC’s Emma where Jonny Lee Miller plays Mr. Knightley, a very different character from Holmes. Hopefully, that won’t send me careening into an Austen kick. Actually while I like Austen, I’ve never been obsessive about her as I have been with Bronte or Doyle.
I was going to post a comparison with the BBC Sherlock but I’m opting out after seeing the mayhem and vitriolic hatred that having two good versions (altho’ I find Elementary is much more entertaining) of a modern-day Holmes available for enjoyment has engendered – particularly the Cumberbatch fans (not all of course) on Tumblr. Makes you want to shake people and yell – Its two different interpretations – one does not take anything away from the other. Here is a nice sane comparison of the two shows without drool or drama http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/79347119.html
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been – on a mental vacation. Introverts like myself need alone time, down time, get the hell away from me and don’t ask me anything time. I’ve enjoyed it.
Continuing on my Sherlock Holmes ramblings … Please be aware that there will be spoilers for CBS’ Elementary and the BBC’s Sherlock below ….
As stated in the previous post, Holmes, Watson and I go way back. Watching Elementary on CBS rekindled that friendship.
Disclaimer: The opinions herein are completely subjective. I decided to take a look at the recent round of modern Holmeses (not sure what the plural should be – Holmesi?) on t.v.(Elementary and Sherlock) and just for my own fun, critique what works or doesn’t work for me. Truth be told, I started with a strong bias as I am thoroughly smitten with Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes.
So, being familiar with Elementary, I set about watching the BBC Sherlock series. I did so reluctantly. I had formed an adverse opinion without watching the program mainly because of the lead actor. I had been aware of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock for quite some time but just the look of Mr. Cumberbatch had put me off watching the series. He does not fit my image of Holmes.* As I’ve stated many times, I’m shallow. I finally sat myself down to watch episode 1, season 1 of Sherlock on Netflix.*
The opening with Watson was a great way to ease into the show. I was taken in by Martin Freeman’s Watson. He has the look of Everyman and the sincerity of his Watson won me over. My first impression of BC’s Holmes was not as favorable. He looked too pale, too thin, too young and a bit effeminate in my estimation. But I watched the whole episode mainly because of Watson and Mycroft. I wanted to see more of them. The Mycroft character was a surprise. I wanted to see how the Watson and Mycroft characters interacted with the over the top character of Holmes. I enjoyed the detail of Dr. Watson’s military service in the current war in Afghanistan — the literary Watson having served in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. This John Watson comes in fully formed – we immediately understand who he is, the military medical background and his problems adjusting to civilian life, something not uncommon in this age on both sides of the Atlantic. He is quiet, patient, responsible, just the man you’d want as a companion on an adventure and a wonderful counterpoint to the manic Holmes.
BC’s Holmes comes across at first as a gifted petulant adolescent – boorish to the point of having no charm. I still wasn’t convinced nor did I strongly connect with Holmes but I soldiered on through the three episodes of season 1. They got better as they went along but what sold me on watching season two? Moriarty! What a great performance by Andrew Scott! Funny and creepy at the same time, completely believable as the arch-nemisis. Had me busting out laughing one moment and cringing the next. Season two was better than one in my opinion. Cumberbatch seems to have mellowed Holmes’ manias. His Holmes’ character is a study of a man who suffers from bipolar disorder to a certain extent but you begin to see that there is a feeling human being in there among the Asperger-liker quirks. And so I came to the end of season two shouting – what! I have to wait until when to see the next episode!!
What I don’t care for in the BBC series is the use of graphics and words to try to interpret what Holmes is seeing or thinking. We don’t need that. It’s distracting and the actors are good enough to suggest all that through their craft. I also thought some of the story plots contorted themselves in order to put a new spin on the literary plots. In the Hound of Baskerville story I fully expected to see Scully and Mulder emerging from the mist wielding their flashlights. The whole H.O.U.N.D. thing was a bit silly. What really worked in the episode was the Watson Holmes interaction.
Interestingly enough, what caught my imagination as a child – the solving of cases through sheer observation and intelligence is not what intrigues me as an adult. I still love the puzzle solving but I am much more interested in the characters themselves and their interactions and motivations.
I’ve rambled something fierce, I’ll try to be more coherent in the next post on Elementary.
*Before you bring it up, yes, Robert Downey, Jr.’s Holmes does not really fit into my Holmesian stereotype either but I made allowances for him because he is attractive, funny and charming and Guy Ritchies’ Holmes movies are at their heart comedies which gives them more latitude.
*By the way, I have also been slowly won over by the convenient charms of Netflix, but more on that some other time.
Or perhaps better stated, the rekindling of an old obsession ….. Sherlock Holmes! Tah dah duh DAH! ….. Hmmm … Well, that was rather anti-climatic reveal then, wasn’t it.
I have previously written here of my love of Holmes in his many incarnations. Yes, I tend to fall in love with fictional characters. I loved Snape and Aragorn long before I saw Mr. Rickman and Mr. Mortensen’s portrayal of each respective character (I then, of course, became fans of their work after the fact). The same can be said of Henry Higgins (Pygmalion was my introduction into that great character). Holmes (and Mr. Rochester), however, I fell into backwards. I saw Basil Rathbone’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes first and then ran down to the library and started reading and reading and then took to walking into rooms and “deducing” much to the annoyance of my brother. I was most often wrong but it didn’t stop me. I was the wrong gender, the wrong age, the wrong nationality and living in a different time but I so strongly identified with Holmes that all that didn’t matter. I think that speaks to the strength of Doyle’s characters. As we’ve seen lately, they can be plunked into modern society quite easily and hit the ground running so to speak.
This renewed Sherlockian fit was jump started by Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes on Elementary. I caught an episode of Elementary on a friend’s recommendation and I became intrigued (oh let’s be honest, I fangirled, I squee’d and I started googling). If you are not familiar with this interpretation of Holmes, he is brought into our time with a female Watson (Lucy Liu) at his side. I thought I would have a problem with the liberties taken, but I did not. The BBC’s version of Sherlock (also brought into the 21st century) was my next move. Here we have a more traditional Watson – Martin Freeman (aka, Bilbo Baggins). His exemplary interpretation of the role caused me to realize what a great character he is in his own right. Being our man in the story so to speak, it is easy to trivialize Watson’s role as we wait wide-eyed to be amazed at Holme’s deductions. But Watson, ex-military doctor, calm, tolerant, is what allows Holmes to shine.
The Holmes/Watson dynamic works regardless of gender or time period. I dare say, it might even work with two females in the roles. So, should you be a reader of this blog, be aware that there might (or might not, depending on what the real world hands me) be prolonged comparisons, criticisms and ramblings in general about the goings on at 221B Baker Street in its many manifestations in the near future.
So far I’m not impressed. I signed up for it last night and so far have only watched one show – a British documentary on the making of the animated film of Graham Chapman’s autobiography. I went on an mini-Elementary binge via the CBS App and watched the 4 full episodes they had over there. I did a prelim google search and thought that Netflix carried the rest of the shows (I wasn’t thinking straight – why would CBS release the shows season for streaming when they want to sell The DVDs that are about to hit the stores). Obviously they didn’t. I started searching for other things I would like to watch. Here is a partial list of movies and shows NOT available for streaming (some were available thru the mail on DVDs for another $8 fee!):
Big Bang Theory (will I ever see season 5?????)
Avengers (the 2012 movie)
West Side Story
Anna and the King of Siam
Truly, Madly, Deeply
The King and I
Singing in the Rain
Sense and Sensibility
Man Facing Southeast
No Downey Sherlock Holmes (altho they did have Scott’s They Might Be Giants), no Downey films worth watching except for Heart and Souls), five Viggo Mortensen films I had ever heard of and I am a fan, and really all in all kind of a let down. They did have a few Alan Rickman titles but uh not his best work by a long shot. I was hoping for Perfume and will have to settle for Bottle Shock… Perhaps my tastes are different than most, perhaps I was expecting too much. I may keep the service to watch the old Brit series and the Xfiles. Guess I’ll try Hulu next. I’ve read that ones best bet is to use both services. We will see …
I guess I’ll have to buy the Elementary DVDs to catch up on what I missed.
I’m surprised by my reaction to this:
I’ve been looking forward to Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Yes, I was a teenage nerd – still am a teenage nerd although my outward appearance might lead you to believe I’m someone’s grandma (I’m not BTW).
While watching the trailer for the first time I was surprised and somewhat dismayed at the irreverent tone – the comedic veneer that Mr. Burton set on top of my teenage vampire story. The makeup on Barnabas is unreal, his hair absurd, the dialogue over the top …. and, and ……. and then it hit me, and I became dismayed at my own dismay. I started remembering my Dark Shadows as it truly was. It was loveable shlock. It was never great art in any sense. The effects were cheesy (the burning of Trask’s Worthington Hall consisted of a cardboard cutout and a couple of matches from what I remember). The writing, while engaging as a soap opera for teenagers at that time, was uhm, oh lets find a nice word for it … haphazard … sometimes it was inventive and even poetic but most of the time it was redundant and slow. The acting could be over the top melodramatic a la Lithgow’s Master Thespian one day and the next day you were watching actors stumble through their lines or try to ignore pieces of makeup latex that had come unglued and fluttered as they emoted.
BUT with all that said, I loved Dark Shadows. I ran home after school to watch it. I loved Quentin Collins and creepy old Barnabas. Burton must have loved it also ’cause from the above trailer you see detail that only someone who watched the show as a kid would pick up on. I can only imagine that all the little Twilight ‘tweeners in about 30 or 40 years (omg sob I am old) will be going through an experience similar to mine when Edward and Jacob are reincarnated in all their glittery and shirtless glory.
I remember running around trying to find the 45 to this – Quentin’s Theme:
This is the way I will always remember Davy. It was quite a shock to find out he was gone this morning (thank you CW for letting me know – even if it was a shock). Every generation has its heartthrobs. The same elation that Bieber produces in 10 and 11 year olds now was felt by the 10 and 11 year olds of my generation towards Davy and a little piece of our hearts still jumps with joy and squeals with glee when we see him perform.
I remember I so very, very much wanted a hat like he wore in the above picture. Never did get it. Of course, being ten and fickle, I soon moved my attentions onto Mickey – ’cause you know, a guy who can make you laugh is a keeper. And then as a mature 11 year old, or was I 12, my crush on Mike Nesmith blossomed. Hey, Mike was a serious musician and had a subversive sense of humor. Sorry Peter but you were always outside my taste range.
Ahh, but Davy and his little Davy dance… that’s my ‘tween years right there in a velvet shirt and a tassel necklace dancing his little Davy dance …. take a look …
Michael Nesmith was quite eloquent in his good-bye for now to Davy – all the lovely people
Following a link from a LiveJournal blogger, who I won’t link to cause I don’t think they like that over there, I found a Star Trek site that is chock full of photos such as these
Bizarre no? First of all – I just don’t remember this scene – not sure which episode its from. You’d think I’d remember semi-nude handcuffed Shatner/Nimoy… go figure. There is something so strange yet appealing about seeing Nimoy in full Spock regalia smiling or laughing. I guess its probably the same reason I like to see Rickman in Snape attire smiling or laughing. The site is a wonderful resource. Click on the above image to get there. They also have videos!
What’s that? That’s the sound of the Tony Award Show gracelessly falling. I’m going to be honest and direct about my opinions – your opinion may vary:
Starting off with rock and roll and Greenday to try and engage a younger crowd – shameless. I liked the deer in the headlight looks of some of the older thespians while the middle-aged tried to nod their heads and clap along to at least give the appearance of understanding what was happening before them.
Sean Hayes is wonderful. He is being a trooper about this – its the pacing of the show and the presentation of awards that just is not cutting it – speaking of cutting – some one should have stopped Scarlett about 5 minutes into her thank you speech.
And who decided to have the actors come out and talk about the nominated plays (as opposed to musicals who are allowed to perform production numbers). It is a credit to how good some of these actors are that they can make pitching the play to us interesting (I’m looking at you Tony Shaloub!).
And does Zeta-Jones go into traction at the end of every performance of Send in the Clowns? I don’t see how she avoids whiplash from whipping her head back and forth like that while she sings – she was making me dizzy.
Angela Lansbury is still strong! Go Angela!
David Hyde Pierce doesn’t look well. I was ecstatic to see Katie Finneran win for best Featured Actress in Promises, Promises – the only Broadway show I saw this year. She was magnificent, inventive and above all funny. Her time was impeccable. It was trite of them to put the Crane boys together to present – and kind of serindipitous to have “Poppy” win (see reference here).
Apparently no one is cut off at the Tonys. Did Viola Davis not thank Denzel on purpose? or was it a major oversight?
Sure they can make time for a production number from a television show but can’t present actors acting (i.e. – plays being performed rather than described)?
Oh I love Nathan Lane! You could see him just biting his tongue and read his thoughts across his face after that embarassingly gushy Sarah Jessica Parker-like thank you that Catherine Zeta Jones sweatingly effused after she won. And talk about cool little handshake when Hodge won for best actor in a musical in essentially the same role that Nathan Lane presented on screen. I really wish I could have gotten to see his and Bebe’s performance in the Addams Family this year.
Oh my lord, half the audience stood up and went on stage when they announced Memphis as best musical. I was afraid the theater was going to tip over.