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Oct. 8th, 2015

If you're in the Sherlock fandom, or even if you know people who are, you've probably seen it already, but a longish trailer for the Christmas special showed up today.



(Very few specific spoilers below, but given the topic, best be forewarned...)

Between the Hobbit movies and series three, I really kind of miss being a fan, being positive and excited about the latest thing. I want to like the special, I want to be blown away with it and just held breathless by it the way I was those first few moments of ASIP. I was laying in bed idly watching this thing everyone had said I should check out, and was just so captivated by it, I sat up and started it again.

But this trailer isn't helping me on that front. The best way I can think to describe it is more Ritchie than Granada: gritty, action-centered, darkish. And that's ... not necessarily a bad thing I guess. I mean I liked the Ritchie movies a lot, and would gladly watch another one. But this is Moffat (and really, this trailer screams the worst Gatiss excesses on steroids), and it makes me very nervous about where this special is headed. I think we're going to get more flash and excitement than thoughtful, subtle storytelling here.

I don't necessarily need Granada, which for all its wonderful qualities (I love Jeremy Brett as Sherlock even more than Benedict Cumberbatch!) has always seems a bit ... nostalgic to me. Holmes was always such a man on the cutting edge of his times, never one to send a letter where a telegram would do and all that, and the nostalgic look back to a simpler time doesn't really fit him. But at the same time, there's such a thing as making him too modern, too gritty, too mundane. And this seems like another big step in that direction.

For the record, things I loved about the first two series of BBC Sherlock:

Clever, sharp script.
Brilliant cinematography.
Intelligent engagement with the original sources.
Character growth that seemed integral and made sense.
A villain who was separate enough to let Holmes be Holmes.


It was the writing, and the art, that drew me, and I don't need to be thrilled, I need to be enthralled and engaged. I also need a fairly coherent story, and I'm not sure this is going to give it to us.

On the other hand ... I am not in need of being sold. It's entirely possible this is playing up certain elements they think they need to draw non-fans in, and isn't really indicative of where the episode is heading. One can hope.

Also, and this is a fairly specific spoiler: something about the scene where Holmes pulls out a revolver in his purple dressing gown made me think of the scene in "The Final Problem," where Moriarty approaches Holmes in 221B and I think Holmes shows a gun he has in his dressing-gown pocket. I'm going from memory here. But that did give me "Final Problem"/Reichenbach thoughts, and I wonder if we're not building up to some sort of Final Problem adaptation, but properly told this time.

Spoilery thought #2: there's a woman sitting beside Watson who I think is Amanda Abbington at some point. If that's victorian!Mary (and the posture did seem like a romantic interest), it seems to be a less ambiguously-villainous Mary. Interesting, given how in the sneak peek Watson seemed to still be living in 221B. So we may get another glance at that courtship/first meeting, which could be interesting as well. Even if it seems mired in something more concerned with spectacle than storytelling...

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
stardust_made
Oct. 8th, 2015 02:30 pm (UTC)
"I want to be blown away with it and just held breathless by it the way I was those first few moments of ASIP..."

Me too. Oh, ASiP. I was captivated within minutes, really captivated. It was intoxicating. The entire first season was. But in a long history of interest in TV shows, watching ASiP for the first time is in a league of its own for me.

"something about the scene where Holmes pulls out a revolver in his purple dressing gown made me think of the scene in "The Final Problem," where Moriarty approaches Holmes in 221B and I think Holmes shows a gun he has in his dressing-gown pocket. I'm going from memory here. But that did give me "Final Problem"/Reichenbach thoughts"

That was exactly my instant association! I wonder if you're right about us getting a second version of Reichenbach. Although I liked the first one they offered just fine; it's the Empty House version that didn't work for me at all.

"I think we're going to get more flash and excitement than thoughtful, subtle storytelling here."

My impressions too. Although I could be biased, because the way you put it? Exactly the way I would describe series three. I also agree it has more Ritchie 'feel' than anything. As you said, not necessarily a bad thing...just, not really different, then, is it? For me the point of storytelling has always been in either of these two: tell a new story or tell an old one but in a new way. In a Sherlock Holmes adaptation you don't quite get the first so you're left with the second.

But let's not judge a book by its cover. You could be right that the trailer is cut in a manner specifically targeting new viewers. After all, they know that even those of us who haven't been exactly ecstatic about Sherlock in the past couple of years will still watch the Victorian special.

Oh, and that woman certainly is Amanda Abbington. Like you, I also got this gentler aura around her so maybe we're in for another Watson/Morstan AU?
fluffyllama
Oct. 8th, 2015 10:27 pm (UTC)
I think it looks interesting, but then I liked series 3 ;-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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