Viewing posts tagged sherlock

Outside the Government: The Abominable Bride

If you remained flummoxed/couldn't be bothered to look for it, Husbands of River Song is here.

It’s January 1st, 2016. The Justin Bieber/Adele block are back to occupying the top four spots, with Fleur East, Coldplay, and Mnek & Zara Larsson also charting. In news, Bill Cosby is arrested on sexual assault charges, while a bevy of storms and flooding hits the UK. 

While on television, The Abominable Bride. In some regards a Doctor Who blog is the worst context from which to look at this story, as it forces us to ask “was Under the Lake/Before the Flood worth this?” For a story that already suffers from taking the inflated expectations that Sherlock’s ninety minute structure saddles individual episodes with and adding being a one-off special to it. Really, any terms that are rooted in setting expectations for the story to live up to are going to set it up to fail. This is a bit of fluff that elevates itself unexpectedly in its final act—a bit of goofy filler that turns out to have teeth. 

In this regard, though unquestionably a minor work in the Moffat renaissance that runs from The ...

Outside the Government: His Last Vow

It’s January 12th, 2014. Pharrell Williams is happily at number one, with Beyonce, Eminem, Ellie Goulding, and Pitbull also charting. In news, a cold snap in the US has all fifty states with at least somewhere below freezing, and a chemical leak in West Virginia leaves 300,000 without clean water. In the UK, the death of Mark Duggan, which kicked off riots in the summer of 2011, is ruled to have been lawful, while Keith Wallis pleads guilty for falsely claiming to have heard Andrew Mitchell call some police officers “plebs.” 

On television, meanwhile, the shooting star that is Sherlock Series Three finishes its arc across the firmament with the Moffat script. His Last Vow is an odd thing. There are days on which I think it might be Moffat’s greatest ever script. But I mean “great” in its most complexly troubled sense. Moffat has been open about the fact that Series Seven of Doctor Who and The Day of the Doctor were miserable experiences. If the latter was him hauling himself back into fighting shape, then, this is the script with which he means to take back the mantle of being one of the most essential ...

Outside the Government: The Sign of Three

We continue to count down towards the TARDIS Eruditorum relaunch on March 19th with revised versions of some old blog posts on SherlockProverbs of Hell will run its final two installments on Tuesday and Thursday this week.

It’s January 5th, 2014. Pitbull and Kesha are at number one with “Timber,” and while the rest of the charts are pretty similar to four days ago, we’ve got Avicii, Jason Derulo, Martin Garrix, and OneRepublic as artists we didn’t actually mention last week. News is about as sleepy as you’d expect for four days at the beginning of the year, although there’s some flooding in Wales, Scotland, and the west of England. On television, meanwhile, the third season of Sherlock continues its twelve day blitz with The Sign of Three.

Let’s talk about what Sherlock is. Although its main character is a detective, it is not quite a detective show, in that the solving of mysteries is not its main narrative engine. One suspects that had it been comprised of six hourlong episodes a season it would have been, as it would have had several filler episodes each run that would have ended up being case of the ...

Outside the Government: The Empty Hearse

TARDIS Eruditorum will return on March 19th. But as a prelude, we're rerunning lightly edited versions of some old essays from the earliest days of the Patreon, now reskinned as the Outside the Government essays for Series 3 of Sherlock. I would also be remiss if I did not note that we are in the final 48 hours of the TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 7 Kickstarter, and it's a nailbiter whether we'll make all the stretch goals.
 
It's January 1st, 2014. Pharrell Williams's "Happy" has unseated Sam Bailey at number one, while Eminem and Rihanna, Lily Allen, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, and One Direction also chart. In the news, since Matt Smith got old and died it's been exceedingly quiet. Obama signed a budget deal, marijuana was legalized in Colorado, incandescent light bulbs became illegal to sell in the United States, and Latvia adopted the Euro. While on television, Sherlock informed the audience that it was going to lie to them, and then went on to do just that. It had, in the tradition of fair lies, given ample warning. "It's a trick. Just a magic trick." And so, of course, it was. Indeed ...

His Last Vow

There is, I think, a real case to be made that this is Moffat's best-ever script, although to be fair there are ways in which it's difficult to tell. Certainly this is elevated tremendously by the work of everyone else involved. It is ridiculous to pretend that this episode can be praised without acknowledging the toweringly good work turned in by Nick Hurran, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Amanda Abbington, and really, stopping there does plenty of people discredit. All the same, the script is a work of stunning genius.

It seems impossible to begin anywhere other than the ending. As I have noted before, this is a script that blatantly advocates for the extra-judicial murder of Rupert Murdoch. Sure, yes, Magnussen is only a transparent metaphor for Murdoch and not Murdoch himself, but all the same, and especially given how willing Moffat has been in interviews to double down and say that he thinks killing Magnusson was the right thing to do, it's hard to overemphasize the moment, especially given the glorious bluntness with which Mary puts it: "People like Magnussen should be killed. That’s why there are people like me."

And indeed, this quote ...

The Sign of Three

This post is one of those supported by my backers on Patreon. If you can spare a dollar a week to help keep this blog running past the end of TARDIS Eruditorum, it would be greatly appreciated. 

"These tales of ratiocination owe most of their popularity to being something in a new key. I do not mean to say that they are not ingenious — but people think them more ingenious than they are — on account of their method and air of method. In the “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, for instance, where is the ingenuity of unravelling a web which you yourself (the author) have woven for the express purpose of unravelling? The reader is made to confound the ingenuity of the supposititious Dupin with that of the writer of the story." - Edgar Allen Poe

The basic dramatic engine of Sherlock, by this point, has become the cathartic click as the puzzle box's mechanisms slide into place in a moment of triumphant Aristoteleanism. Over ninety minutes, this produces an interesting effect. Because ninety minutes is also more or less your basic length for a film, there is a tendency to describe Sherlock in those terms - as periodic triptychs ...

The Empty Hearse

This month we're filling in the gap between the last TARDIS Eruditorum post and the start of the Capaldi reviews by doing Sherlock Season Three on Tuesdays. These posts are sponsored by my backers at Patreon. If you enjoy this blog and want to continue seeing media criticism past the end of TARDIS Eruditorum, please consider backing.

"We're going to lie to you," Sherlock announced to ring in 2014, and then it went on to do just that. It had, in the tradition of fair lies, told as much well in advance. "It's a trick. Just a magic trick." And so, of course, it was. Indeed, The Empty Hearse is in effect a ninety minute exercise in arguing that the question of how Sherlock survived The Reichenbach Fall is irrelevant, or at least largely uninteresting.

To call this a bold response to one's own iconic pop culture moment seems an understatement. And the reactions at the time are worth recalling, even if it is only a year on. First and most interesting were those who felt that The Empty Hearse was mean-spirited in its treatment of fandom, a criticism that focused especially on the depiction of slash ...

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