"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

13 June 2012

Aren't Ordinary People Adorable?

"Have you ever had anyone?"

Or: Why the Eff Aren't You Effing Watching Sherlock?
You must be lowering the IQ of your entire street.

I've had a good deal of conversations lately regarding adaptation of source materials for television and film. A good number of these conversations revolve around how what makes an interpretation not only faithful but engaging is the ability to remain true to the spirit of its source and, more importantly, the characterization. An excellent (superb, magnificent, mind-blowing... I'm seriously running out of superlative adjectives to describe it) example of crafting something which remains true to its source while giving having a life of its own is the BBC Sherlock. The stories are Doyle's, modernized. The characters are Doyle's, modernized. The show embodies everything that made the Sherlock Holmes stories timeless yet updates them to enrapture a modern audience.

Generally, I try to refrain from being a snob about entertainment (film, TV, music, literature) because I dislike the idea of having a narrow view of the great scope which makes up these incredible, diverse disciplines. While I will call out crap as crap, I try not to slam people's enjoyment of their preferred selections for creative indulgence (because let's be honest: I like some crap myself). Yet I will admit to a general feeling that 95% of what exists on television these days is utter crap, and the shows that truly craft engaging, compelling, emotionally investing, intelligent stories and characters get overlooked for yet another incarnation of American Idols Who Think They Can Have Talent Tout Their Voice For Dancing With Former Quasi Stars. I digress...

What Conan Doyle created with his detective series inspired, and continues to inspire, creative storytelling to this day. Much as the current Sherlock Holmes films bear little resemblance to their source material, they are engaging, entertaining Victorian buddy movies with equally gorgeous stars. (Confession: my own personal tastes lean much more toward Jude Law than RDJ, but I do enjoy them both.) I acknowledge and accept this fact, and in so doing  appreciate and enjoy these films for what they are.
With Sherlock, I not only enjoy the show as entertainment but as a study in adaptation, humanity, corruption, insanity, and... well... life. By staying true to the characters and stories crafted, the creators of the show are free to expand on the concepts Doyle presented in his original stories and interpret them for a post-post-modern audience.

Those are all quite academic reasons for watching the show. In po-po-mo parlance: this show is the shit. Sherlock is a brilliant sociopath whose own human nature is tested and explored by the forming friendship with the lost former army doctor who actually misses being in the middle of a war. Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, IS the British government though he would claim otherwise, and yet he demonstrates an immense desire to look out for his brother, twisted thought their relationship may be.
If John is the anchor for the show, and for Sherlock, Moriarty is the foil. Just as brilliant as Sherlock and yet the prime example of psychopathy to Sherlock's sociopathic tendencies. There's a damn good reason the actors for all three of these major players were BAFTA-nominated this year. And quite honestly, the fact that Andrew Scott won for what amounts to an episode plus about five additional minutes of screen time speaks volumes to his talent, and the talents of the production team.

Bottom line: Sherlock truly is the best show you're not watching. So get on that...
(And don't even get me started on the masterful way Mofftiss ends a season.)

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