Tag Archives: Sherlock

Forever

Put something on television with a Sherlock Holmes vibe and the chances are that it will catch my eye. The male anti-hero concept is one that has been used quite often in recent years and while it runs the risk of becoming too commonplace it can also make for compelling viewing if presented properly.

At this time of year, I always find myself perusing the pilot episodes for new shows. Across the pond in America, they seem to have a much better grasp on what entertaining television is and so with the exception of Doctor Who, most of what I watch is American (so grateful for my subscription to USTVnow) . One pilot that really caught my eye this year is “Forever”.

It follows Dr. Henry Morgan (played by Ioan Gruffudd) a highly skilled and extremely intelligent medical examiner who just also happens to be immortal. He dies of course, but he has died a lot of times over the years. It just so happens that every time he dies, he emerges inexplicably and naked from a nearby body of water.

“Forever” isn’t original in the slightest. The way in which Dr Morgan rattles off his observations and deductions is of course very much like Sherlock Holmes. The way the flashbacks are used to show the life of this immortal being is somewhat reminiscent of “Angel”, the hinted season long story arc plays out like any other mystery show and dying and coming back to life instantly reminds me of Captain Jack Harkness. It’s unoriginal but it’s entertaining and captivating.

Alana De La Garza as homicide detective Jo Martinez is a great choice. De La Garza has been on my radar since she was in an episode of Smallville around ten years ago. She’s a seriously underused talent and it’s great to see her get a substantial role in a show which actually interests me. I’m not interested in Law and Order or CSI so I never really caught her work in either of those.

To top it off, we have Jeff Goldblums father from Independence Day Judd Hirsch portraying Abe. The adopted son of Dr Morgan. The scene in which Morgan and Abe are brought together actually intrigued me and I really hope that we see more of that relationship through flashbacks.

The one problem that the show faces is trying to find new and inventive ways to kill off its lead character. For me, Jack Harkness’ deaths were becoming dull after a while. I think that when you have to do it so often it becomes hard to keep it fresh. We’ve already seen Morgan die in a subway crash and by falling off of a roof. Two rather dramatic deaths in my opinion, so how do they keep them as dramatic and interesting through the rest of the series?

All in all, Forever is definitely worth watching. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in entertainment. I do however get the feeling that it won’t attract enough viewers. I hope I’m wrong but if it does get cancelled then I hope that we at least find out the mystery of the man on the phone beforehand.

 

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Sherlock

While I try very consciously to try and keep this blog free from actual “reviews” sometimes it’s hard to write a piece on a subject without it coming across as a review. The following is (in my mind) not a review but more of a personal standpoint on the latest series of Sherlock, the BBC’s hit show and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ love child.

May contain spoilers.

It takes a lot for me to watch what people would class as “normal” television. Sometimes my mind is so attached to the Sci-Fi genre that watching anything else doesn’t challenge me enough to dedicate any time to a different genre. I will admit I love the occasional comedy show, a friend recently introduced me to ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ and it was one of those rare occasions where I enjoy it.

Back in 2008 I heard rumblings about a new “Sherlock” production, a one off, hour long show headed up by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I was instantly interested, not only have I been a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes novels but ever since I first saw ‘Press Gang’ I have been a huge Steven Moffat fan. At that moment one of my favourite writers was writing for my favourite show (Doctor Who) and was about to co-write a show based on one of my favourite literary characters, needless to say that I was excited.

As time progressed things changed, the pilot was filmed and never broadcast, at the point of hearing about the non-broadcast I was somewhat confused. Rumours circulated that Sherlock was a disaster and would never make it to air. Then news broke that, yes it would be broadcast but not only that the pilot would be re-shot and Sherlock would now be a three part series consisting of 90 minute episodes. I was once again excited.

Series one and two of Sherlock were exactly what I had hoped for. It wasn’t Sci-Fi and I knew that when I sat down but it captured my imagination like only Sci-Fi could. The plot lines were intricate and well thought out, there were no front and centre relationships and you genuinely had a show that made you think. The cast were and still are fantastic, being a fan of Cumberbatch since I first saw him in 2004’s television film “Hawking” I was even more thrilled with his casting. Sherlock was fast, intelligent, witty and one of the best things to hit television screens in years.

Then came another two year wait and we finally got series 3. Sherlock was back with a brilliantly written episode ‘The Empty Hearse’ by Mark Gatiss followed by a collaboration by Stephen Thompson, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss called “The Sign of Three” and finally Steven Moffats finale “His Last Vow”

For all intents and purposes series 3 was a success but for me it wasn’t the ‘Sherlock’ show that I had fallen in love with four years ago. Gone were the intricate plot lines, the fast paced intelligent action and instead the relationships took front and centre. In the space of two years a show that I had loved for being outside the box and one that I commended for its ingenuity had all of a sudden conformed to being what I despise in most other shows.

Relationships were always a byline in the first two series’ and that’s what made it so great. We were treated to some fascinating plots and some fantastic deduction scenes by Sherlock himself. Suddenly that was gone and the deduction scenes we had this series were minimal and quite frankly boring. In the very first episode called “A Study in Pink” when Sherlock and Watson are sitting in the back of a taxi and Sherlock tells him how he knew he was in the army and that his brother was an alcoholic, that was fantastic that was what made me love the show. Fast forward four years and you get Sherlock standing in a court room with some woman and working out how they were all connected, it just wasn’t the same.

To me Sherlock series three has lost the edge that the first two series’ had and while I enjoyed it it just wasn’t the same show. I’m not complaining in such a way that I’m going to take a hissy fit and say that I’ll never watch it again because that’s a lie, it’s still a good show but it’s lost the certain elements that made it a fantastic show.

I’m going to give the Moff a bit of leeway with it because he had the Doctor Who 50th anniversary last year and I can only imagine how much time was spent on that, there’s every possibility that he just didn’t have time to put together an amazing episode of Sherlock. I’ll give Gatiss the same leeway but not just as much, his script should have been better. Thompson had written his script with both Moffat and Gatiss so he can’t totally be held accountable for his writing.

My hope is that when Series Four appears there is more of a return to the way Sherlock was and less of a return to what Sherlock has become.

The one big stand out for me this series was Yasmine Akram, I instantly thought she was great in “The Sign of Three” but I thought that her story was finished so it was great to see her back in “His Last Vow”

The one bonus…………….Moriarty Lives!

That one I didn’t see coming.

Losing days…

I have been so engulfed in putting words on pages recently that I’ve lost track of days. I could have sworn today was Friday so I was confused when I picked up a newspaper to see it read “The Independent on Sunday” instead of just “The Independent”

At some point in my life, this entire tumultuous ‘forgetting which day it is’ debacle is not going to serve me well. Unless I can be two days late for my own death in which case it has served a necessary purpose.

Cup of tea and some Ocean Colour Scene to kick off the day as I prepare to attempt to construct some more comprehensive yet esoteric undertakings.

It’s fascinating to me how something can entirely distract you from the rest of the world. Had I not left the house and ventured to the shop this morning there is a chance that I would not realise it was Sunday until next Sunday arrives.

I’ve been contributing to various writing projects as of late, that has also led my mind into solitary confinement. However, come the end of this month most of those projects will be completed and so I should have a bit more time to enjoy the wonders of life.

I am however making time tonight to watch the latest episode of Sherlock. After a fantastic start to the new series I am eagerly anticipating the remaining episodes.

Anyway, back to the grind.

Crying Warriors

The turkeys have been picked to the bones, the oven is resting after working overtime and in a weeks time most if not all the decorations will be hidden away for another 12 months. Yes another Christmas has come and gone, the madness has subsided as now everyone looks forward to New Years.

As I’ve said before, I don’t celebrate Christmas. I go for the family dinner and I respect my family for what they believe in. This year was no different in that respect, except that this year it was a calm and peaceful experience. My eldest sister spent her first Christmas at home with my nieces and nephew and so my parents house was unusually quite. As much as I don’t celebrate Christmas, it goes without saying that Christmas without noisy children and hoards of wrapping paper just doesn’t feel quite the same.

Of course Christmas brought the final outing for Matt Smiths 11th Doctor. As a Doctor Who fanatic since I was able to open my eyes I’ve grown used to the regeneration process but this one hit me a little bit harder. Patrick Troughton was always the Doctor that I rated as number one but Matt Smith stole that position gracefully. I’ve never had to say goodbye to MY Doctor before and it was rather difficult. I do however look forward to Peter Capaldi, a tremendous actor and fellow Scotsman, doing his magic with the part.

I’ve been writing a lot recently, though not on here. I’ve been on an uninterrupted concept fodder with my book and it’s coming along nicely. My biggest challenge at the moment is just trying to keep each chapter interesting whilst still retaining a sizeable novel. I had to do a rewrite of the first few chapters after realising that another character could add another dimension, which although I’m pleased about, was frustrating having to adapt everything to fit in this new character. Hopefully it all works nicely though. Bouncing two characters off of each other is fun, especially when one isn’t quite as cognizant as you’re led to believe. I keep my fingers crossed that the start of 2014 will allow me to finish writing it and start getting feedback on it.

On another note, if anyone hasn’t yet watched “The Desolation of Smaug” then I would suggest doing it at the cinema relatively soon. I think there’s two types of movies – those that you can wait to watch on DVD and those that you NEED to watch on the big screen. Desolation of Smaug is definitely one that you need to watch on the big screen. The cinematography is magnificent and without giving too much away, a river and some barrels for me make one of the best scenes I’ve viewed in years.  Not to mention that Smaug himself is extremely impressive and Benedict Cumberbatch really shows his adaptability at voice work.

Speaking of the Cumberbatch, Sherlock returns on New Years Day and after two years we shall finally find out how our favourite consulting detective survived that fall.

It has been a busy time of year, the annual chaos. For some it’s a time of great happiness and joy, a large dinner and exchanging gifts. Every year I get reminded how lucky I am to have a family who I can go to on Christmas Day, this year was no exception. Every year however I am also reminded that there are those out there who aren’t so lucky, who woke up on Christmas under a box or in a shop doorway. I also realise that this happens to them everyday of the year. Spare a thought for the ones that matter…..