Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sherlock: gone for another aeon!

The only complaint I can fairly lay against the BBC's modernised adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories is the fact that each series is but three episodes long. Granted, they are nice and long, but one has just three weeks of enjoyment followed by an age of waiting! OK, in honesty, I wasn't too keen on the second episode of the first series, feeling the idea of Chinese gangsters was a bit passé. This series has been delightful. In the first episode we were treated to a nice in-joke. The episode names have been known for a long time (A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of Baskerville and The Reichenbach Fall), all plays on the titles of the original stories. So in the opening scene of Scandal we had a series of short comic scenes in which other adulterated names came up. My favourites were The Speckled Blonde (originally Band) and The Geek (originally Greek) Interpreter. It reveals both a delight in the original and a desire to delight other fans.

Of course, the show is not for everyone. My mother does not want to see an updated Holmes, so hasn't watched them. I know another few folks who aren't keen on the alterations made to the original tales. I shall always have a love for the Granada series with the late Jeremy Brett in the lead role, but I have another friend who finds his fluctuating weight (a result of his illness) too great a detriment to the whole. Ironically, given that Holmes' schtick is his excellent observational abilities, I had never noticed this at all. Others swear by the Russian adaptations, which won the actor playing Holmes an honorary OBE. I would that my Russian consisted of more than a scant few words, because I have been unable to enjoy (some kindly fellow's Youtube upload of) their adaptation of The Speckled Band on account of the modern language used in the subtitles. "Yeah" just seems a bit odd to be coming from a period Watson.

I admit it might seem perverse for me to praise a modern adulteration one second, then backhand a faithful adaptation the next. Tomorrow, perhaps, I shall go to see the Downey film. I greatly enjoyed the first one. Lest purists be screaming, I offer this explanation: I went to see it knowing full well that it would not be Holmes. Explosions, nudity and leaping out of windows into the Thames? Hah! I expected Hollywood silliness, and I received it in abundance. I don't doubt there will be more in this sequel. To be fair, Law's Watson struck me as very faithful to the spirit of the original character: a bizarre occurrence in a film that played so amusingly fast and loose with even basic common sense!

I have, it will surprise many to learn, been hard at work on 'gaming things this week, although I have yet to provide photographic evidence of this! I can't quite explain why I haven't been posting loads this week. Perhaps, like Holmes, it is because I had a fit of activity, then fell off a bit this week. Anyway, tomorrow I shall get some pictures up and restore the balance of the universe. Another distraction this week has been books, I confess. I have begun to reread Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, a childhood favourite, toyed with having another crack at Caleb Carr's Angel of Darkness (it is a good work, but I became distracted when I was reading it, so I shall have to start again. Much the same fault befell Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Come to think of it, has she written anything since?), lunged into Stel Pavlou's Decipher (why won't my italics work?), which is a thoroughly ridiculous novel. If you imagine that funny film, The Core (now they work?), in which the Earth's core stops spinning, you will have some idea of the science in this book: the sun's a secret pulsar, for instance.

Lastly, I have begun To Kill A Mockingbird. I had found and snapped up a DVD going cheap the other day, as it is on a list of films to watch. I was then pleased to discover a copy of the book, which is on a list of books I have to read, hiding in a bedroom on a bookshelf. Cunning devils, books: you never know where they'll be! It provided a double reminder of something I have mentioned on this blog in the past: that school put me off "classics of literature" and I have only recently been giving them their fair turn at the wheel after years of Star Wars novels and Terry Pratchett. Don't take that as a dig at either of those. Anyway, it's very readable, and I have been thoroughly absorbed by the milieu. I did give Jane Austen a try the September before last, but she still does nothing for me. I could see where the jokes were in the first chapter or two, but they bounced off my thick heid.* Perhaps in another five years I'll have another go. Speaking of going, I shall be back tomorrow with some pictures of the week's physical work. Adieu!

* I don't know that switching to Scots to allow me to suggest head and hide in one word was a good idea, but I'm leaving it in.


  1. Rambling is good and healthy. Not seen much of Sherlock, been too busy watching classic Japanese mecha anime, nevertheless, efforts must be made. Also having a stab at some Patrick O'Brian and period-navy goodness in the form of Master and Commander. Looking forward to your photographic evidence and so on, I should probably get on that as well now that I ponder it...

  2. Oh, I heartily recommend Sherlock. That fellow running the current Doctor Who and the chap from The League of Gentlemen are both heavily involved. Thence flows a playful, perverse, dark joy. I hope you're enjoying Master and Commander. I have been toying with watching the cinematic adaptation again. I have about half a dozen O'Brian's on the shelf, including a few I never got round to.


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