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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » Sherlock?

   
Author Topic: Sherlock?
Lyrajean
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Anyone seen the new BBC / PBS version of sherlock Holmes set in present day Britain? I'm waiging for it eagerly. Worried though that PBS won't upload it to their streaming section and will force me to wait for the DVD. -Arrgh, living in non-english speaking foreign countries.

Anyways was wondering what any of you who saw it thought of it? And the notion of reinventing classic literary charcters for a 'modern age/audience'.

I've liked much of the screenwriting Steve Moffat and Gatiss have done for the revived Dr. Who. And the casting choice for Holmes intrigues me. Man, if you could bottle that voice and sell it...


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Lyrajean
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Should probably mention that I'm not a mystery reader at all...
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Robert Nowall
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I've wondered. The stories seem very Victorian-era. Of course the classic Basil Rathbone / Nigel Bruce movies were (except for the first two) set during World War II, and they were good, so I guess it's okay to do. (I'm pretty sure they're in public domain, so there's nothing that can be done to stop it...)
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Lyrajean
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Well, they did upload it to their streaming video collection. And I watched it. The Actor playing Holmes was brilliant and the dialogue was very snappy courtesy of the writers. The whole thing was very fast paced, very contemporary.

Much more focused on the relationship of the two men Watson and Holmes than real creative mystery solving though. The game at the end has arguably been done before many times. Without giving too much away it replicates in a variant something done in Princess Bride --wink...

I spoke with one of my family members whom I coerced into watching. My brother, who is a trivia buff of all sorts, noted that they whimped out on the drug addiction part. apparently in the old stories Holmes did coke and morphine etc... (please correct me if I'm wrong). Here he doesn't even smoke he abuses nicotine patches. and the 'addition' is more of an addiction to danger and excitement of solving crimes.

Which brings me to a point, of course purists are going to notice all these ways that the story deviates from the originals in facts and arguably minor details. And then others would argue like me (and the writers in a tacked on interview) that they stayed true to, or returned to, the spirit of the thing and refused to be bogged down by all the period trappings, etc... and opened it up to a whole audience that would not be interested in another meticulously faithful period remake -like me.

Which is more important? Sticking to the details and facts or capturing a spirit of a story. Can we even be sure what the spirit of a hundred year old book is as it was written by a dead bloke who lived in a time and place so different than now?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Saw it last night. Loved it.

I am a bit of a "purist" (or a FAN, anyway), and my only quibble might be that the Holmes actor is a tad too pretty--but what the heck.

I loved the wit.

The original Holmes would take cocaine when he was bored--as perhaps a substitute "fix" for his real addiction to danger and the intrigue of truly challenging crimes.

And I loved that both the original Watson and the modern one were injured in Afghanistan. How cool is that?

The nicotine patches were (quite clever, IMHO) substitutes for the original Holmes' "three-pipe" problem solving where he'd fill a room with smoke while thinking about a case.

I'm definitely looking forward to more clever adaptations to the 21st century.

Edited to add:

One of the "controversies" that FANs of the original Sherlock Holmes have discussed and tried to reconcile is that Doyle said in some places that Watson was injured in the leg and in others in the shoulder. I absolutely loved the way the modern writers reconciled that. So, so clever.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited October 25, 2010).]


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Lyrajean
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Don't mind the 'pretty' actor one bit. Made the whole lipstick thing more funny with the girl and the morgue. She obviously noticed him. Did he notice but not really grasp the meaning, or he did but chose simply to ignore it, or more likely noticed and chose to utilise that nformation only for his intellectual ends.

The ceaseless gay jokes got a little tiresome after the first two or three though... They can't have a show about two guys living together or who are chums without bringing that up these days. Sometime in the future some scholar is going to have a field day writing some phd thesis about the emphasis on homesexuality in late Twentieth / early 21st century culture, methinks.


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JenniferHicks
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The closest I've gotten to reading a Sherlock Holmes story is Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald," but I'm familiar with the characters (who isn't?) and love what Steven Moffat has done with Doctor Who. So I gave Sherlock a try. I loved it. Although I did turn to my son during the climax and say, "Are both pills both filled with iocane powder?"
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LDWriter2
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I don't get cable so I can't watch it but I love the books-speaking of which it might be time to reread them.

This isn't the first time they've updated Holmes to a modern era. One TV movie even brought the original Holmes to the 1980s, might have been early '90s.


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Lyrajean
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You don't need cable TV just a decent enough internet connnection to watch streaming video.

PBS.org Go to programs (if its not still on the front page) Select 'Masterpiece Theater' and look for it.

I think they will be taking it down sometime after they finish broadcasting it in America though. The DVD comes out on Nov. 9th too.


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LDWriter2
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Thanks for the advice. But after they take it down, I could get the CD or see if itunes will carry it. I still need to look for the "Riverworld" miniseries.
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rcorporon
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I'm one of those fans who gets irate when things get altered from page to screen, so I'm giving this adaption a wide berth.
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JenniferHicks
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I would strongly suggest avoiding the "Riverworld" miniseries like the plague. I'm a fan of Tahmoh Penikett and especially Peter Wingfield, but I hated this adaptation. If anyone could make Riverworld into a snoozer, they managed it.

Sherlock, on the other hand, is great.


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LDWriter2
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First comment I've read about the "Riverworld" series. I was wondering about it.
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Robert Nowall
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Liked the first couple of books...great premise...but as time wore on, seemed the matter dragged on open-endedly, without resolution...I think I gave up after the fourth book...don't remember how many books there were overall.

There's a "prequel," kind of, written back in the 1950s, that does have resolution. I've got a copy of that. I don't know if "prequel" is the right word---"original version" might be better. (There's also a very complex---and very sad and ugly---backstory to why it wasn't published back then.)


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Lyrajean
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I've been offline for a while... had to move, long story but I'm going to make a pitch to those interested enough to want to see Sherlock to beg borrow or steal the DVD rather than see the edited verions on the PBS website, or if you saw the broadcasts in the US already to see the DVD. Because there were cuts made, Small cuts but in something as tight as these stories were you'll go "oh god why did they cut that out?" The cuts to Study in Pink were by far the most egregious. It took out the bit of reasoning that led Sherlock to the murderer. It's a credit to the strength of the stories that they are still so engaging with the editting but its a shame PBS had to do that for running time!
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Robert Nowall
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Amen in general...if you can get so-called "uncut" stuff on video, seek that out. I've had stuff turn up on video reissues of, say, 1970s sitcoms, that, I swear, never made it to the original broadcast.
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LDWriter2
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I forget if I brought this up here before but there's a speculative Sherlock Holmes book out. It's kinda big even though not hardback and most probably expensive so I may wait 'till it comes out in regular paperback to check on buying it.

And no, it's not tradeback size, it's even bigger.


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LDWriter2
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Speaking of Sherlock how about a new book?

http://tinyurl.com/3llyoqv

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LDWriter2
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Getting a little old

Sherlock
quote:


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JenniferHicks
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I watched the first episode of season 2 last night, when it aired here in the States. Wonderful. This show gets better and better. For those who have read the stories and have seen the episode, how did they do with their portrayal of Irene Adler?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Where? When? If it's on cable, I'm sunk (unless I can get it online).
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JenniferHicks
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PBS. Last night and the next two Sunday nights. You might be able to watch episodes that have already aired on the PBS website.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks, Jennifer.
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LDWriter2
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Is that the Young Sherlock?

I saw a picture of who I assume are him and Dr. Watson.

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JenniferHicks
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The show is simply called "Sherlock" and puts our heroes in modern-day London. It's co-created and co-written by Steven Moffat, also the show-runner for "Doctor Who," and it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson. I suppose they're younger than some of the wizened men who have played Holmes and Watson but they're certainly not teenagers. The PBS website is here.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks for the link, Jennifer. I don't see anything there that allows for watching a full episode, but maybe I need to look a little harder.
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