Tuesday, December 24, 2013

BBC Sherlock Christmas Mini-Episode "Many Happy Returns" - Review

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in BBC Sherlock Christmas Episode Many Happy Returns Season 3 Prequel

Dear Readers,

The Christmas mini episode of BBC Sherlock has arrived.

The rest of the post might contain spoilers. Please watch the video first, if you wish to avoid spoilers.




The episode opens in a Buddhist monastery, in which a blonde female smuggler is caught by an abbott with extraordinary powers of observation and deduction.

The scene cuts to Anderson (Jonathan Aris) and Detective Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) discussing about the possibility of Sherlock surviving the fall. Anderson has been obsessively looking out for signs of Sherlock's existence, to the extent of losing his job.

Anderson brings up the next sighting in New Delhi, India where the solution to a particular case strongly suggests the presence of a genius. The third sighting is of an mysterious juror in Hamburg, where one Herr Trepoff is proven to be guilty of the murder of his wife, despite all the other jurors believing in his innocence.

Lestrade advises Anderson to try to get his job back and then meets John Watson (Martin Freeman) to hand over an uncut version of the video of Sherlock's message on John's birthday. Interesting thing to note is that John refers to Lestrade by his first name “Greg” (a nice nod to the inn scene in “The Hounds of Baskerville”).

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Canonical References

1. The first sighting of Sherlock by Anderson takes place in the Buddhist monastery - Sherlock Holmes states to Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Empty House: “I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhassa, and spending some days with the head lama.”

2. In the second sighting in New Delhi, India: The local inspector solves the case by working out the depth to which the chocolate flake had sunk into victim's ice-cream cone. This is a reference to The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, in which Sherlock Holmes remarks to Dr John Watson: “You will remember, Watson, how the dreadful business of the Abernetty family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day.”

3. Anderson commenting to Lestrade about Sherlock's refusal to take credit for solving the latter's cases - Sherlock Holmes often refuses to take any credit from Scotland Yard in many cases in the Canon

4. Anderson chiding Lestrade for not seeing the signs of Sherlock's genius at work - Sherlock Holmes makes a similar statement to Dr John Watson in A Scandal in Bohemia: “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” 

5. The Herr Trepoff case - Dr John Watson writes in A Scandal in Bohemia: “From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder,...”

6. Anderson notes that Sherlock is getting closer to London, with the recent sightings in Germany, Netherlands and the latest one in France - Sherlock Holmes informs Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Empty House: “Returning to France, I spent some months in a research into the coal-tar derivatives, which I conducted in a laboratory at Montpellier, in the south of France.” 

Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson in BBC Sherlock Christmas Episode Many Happy Returns Season 3 Prequel

7. In addition to a pink phone (presumably from A Study in Pink), a yellow mask can be seen inside Lestrade's box - This is a reference to the main plot of The Adventure of the Yellow Face: Sherlock Holmes is sought out by Grant Munro to solve the mystery behind a yellow-faced person in a nearby cottage (credit to Swanpride)

8. Sherlock's statement about missing John's dinner: “Of course, I am going to miss dinner. There will be people” - 

Sherlock Holmes remarks to Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Gloria Scott: “I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson, always rather fond of moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods of thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my year.”

Dr John Watson also writes about Sherlock Holmes in A Scandal in Bohemia: “...Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of the drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature.”

9. Sherlock notes in the video that he has written an essay on suppressed hatred in close proximity after observing John's friends - Sherlock Holmes notes in The Adventure of the Dying Detective: “Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph.” Holmes has already written monographs on cigar ashes (A Study in Scarlet) and tracing of footsteps (The Sign of the Four).

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes wearing deerstalker and Dr John Watson outside 221 B Baker Street in BBC Sherlock Season 3

The episode has everything that fans have liked about the show so far: the trademark visual text, the humor (the newspaper headline proclaiming “The game is back on!”) and references to Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories.

Benedict Cumberbatch is back in the game as Sherlock. I liked his explanation for refusing to elaborate on his excuse to skip John's birthday: “Only lies have details”.

This is a veritable Christmas treat for fans. Sherlock Season 3 debuts with the first episode “The Empty Hearse” on Jan 01 2014 in the UK and on Jan 19 2014 in the US.

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: BBC Wales, Hartswood Films, Masterpiece Theatre

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

BBC Sherlock Season 1 Episode # 2 "The Blind Banker" - Review

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in BBC Sherlock Season 1 Episode 2 The Blind Banker

Check out my initial review for an outline of the plot.

This episode is loosely based on The Adventure of the Dancing Men and The Valley of Fear.

“The Blind Banker” continues the show's exploration of the iconic characters and the Canon created by Arthur Conan Doyle.

One of the best aspects of this episode is the way the contrasts between Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) are highlighted.

Steve Thompson's script neatly ties in one of the often overlooked aspects of the Canon. In The Sign of the Four, Dr John Watson states: “What was I, an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking-account,..”. John admits to taking the new job purely for money, when Sarah (Zoe Telford) mentions that he might be overqualified.

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John also tries to loan some money from Sherlock. He later takes the check from Sebastian, after Sherlock refuses to take up the case of the break in purely for financial incentives.

In the climax too, Sherlock declines the credit from the Scotland Yard for solving the case of the murders. As readers of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories are aware, Sherlock Holmes is known for solving cases purely for the intellectual challenge.

Benedict's Sherlock forgoes both food and sleep as he continues his efforts to solve the puzzle. John, on the other hand, tries his best to catch some much needed sleep. When Sherlock wakes him up to continue the investigation outdoors, John sadly notes that he needs to sleep just a bit more.

Both men have different outlook towards women as well.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Zoe Telford as Sherlock Holmes, John Watson and Sarah in BBC Sherlock Season 1 Episode 2 The Blind Banker

Dr John Watson has always been a ladies' man, as evident in his remark in The Sign of the Four: “In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents, …”. John shows an interest in Sarah, right from their first meeting. Sherlock tries to hijack their date as part of his investigation.

Sherlock resists Sarah's continued presence at 221 B Baker Street and openly voices his frustration. The Canonical Holmes has often expressed his apathy towards women.

Sarah proves to be a tough cookie and helps save Sherlock's life from his attacker in the Chinese circus. She also helps him in breaking the code later. The character of Sarah could be a nod to the strong female characters in the Canon, like Maud Bellamy, Violet Hunter and Annie Harrison.

I also like the exchange between Sherlock and John, just as Sherlock arrives to rescue John and Sarah.

Sherlock: “How would you describe me, John? Resourceful, Dynamic, Enigmatic?”
John: “Late.”


Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes studying Chinese Ming pottery in BBC Sherlock Season 1 Episode 2 The Blind Banker

Sherlock's fighting skills come into play at the beginning and the climax of the episode. I prefer this realistic portrayal to the hyper stylized Guy Ritchie version, where Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock predicts his opponent's moves.

Euros Lyn's direction is spot on. This is one of the few episodes that does not feature both Mark Gatiss' Mycroft Holmes and Rupert Graves' Detective Inspector Lestrade.

The one distracting point in the episode is the stereotyped portrayal of Asians. The argument can be made that, this is an indirect reference to the prevailing times of the Victorian England.

Still, the aforementioned bright spots more than make up for these drawbacks.

Sherlock Season 3 debuts with the first episode “The Empty Hearse” on Jan 01 2014 in the UK and on Jan 19 2014 in the US.

Click here to read the Canonical references in this episode. Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: BBC Wales, Hartswood Films, Masterpiece Theatre

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 11 "Internal Audit" - Review


Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Aidan Quinn as Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson and Captain Thomas Gregson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 11 Internal Audit

The opening scenes offer a quick recap of the previous episode “Tremors”.

Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) is back to work, though he is relegated to doing mostly desk work.

Alfredo Llamosa (Ato Essandoh) is teaching Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) about breaking into a car without setting off the sensors.

Donald Hauser is being accused in the media of running a Ponzi scheme. Hauser tries to shoot himself to death, but is shot by an unseen intruder.

Miss Chloe Butler (Heather Burns), Donald's personal chef discovers her client's corpse and informs the police.

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Chloe is revealed to be a former client of Joan and informs Joan that the last person to meet Donald was Jacob Weiss (Richard Masur).

The aforementioned TV anchor/reporter, Rosalie Nunez (Kristine Johnson) who exposed Hauser's pyramid scheme is also killed.

Nelson Maddox (Lucas Hall), former lover of Chloe is observed in the police security tapes in skateboarding area near Rosalie's apartment.

Chloe is fighting a custody battle over her son, Shane and is desperate to keep her past a secret from her husband and the court. Chloe first pleads and then holds Joan to her client confidentiality agreement.


Ato Essandoh guest stars as Sherlock's sponsor Alfredo Llamosa with Jonny Lee Miler as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 11 Internal Audit


Alfredo wants Sherlock to become the sponsor for another addict, Randy (Stephen Tyrone Williams). Sherlock is hesitant and is temporarily saved by a phone call from Joan. 

Sherlock and Joan's investigation takes them to an art gallery, where they run into Fabiana (Rebecca Dayan). Fabiana claims not to know Nelson.

Deputy Commissioner Frank Da Silva (Peter Gerety), head of demographics unit tries to convince Detective Bell to work for him.

I recommend the viewers to check out the episode to find out the resolution to the mystery.

Canonical References


CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 11 Internal Audit THIEF writing on the wall in blood Canonical Reference Arthur Conan Doyle RACHE A Study in Scarlet

1. The writing of the word “THIEF” on the wall - In A Study in Scarlet, the killer leaves the word “RACHE” written in blood on the wall.

2. Miller's Sherlock Holmes expressing his frustration at having to solve the murder lonesome, as Joan leaves to meet Chloe Butler - Sherlock Holmes writes in The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier: “The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association. I was alone.”
 
3. Elementary Sherlock making deductions about the killer based on the deducing about the killer's whereabouts based on the scent of Osage orange - Sherlock Holmes mentions in The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier: “I have, as my friend Watson may have remarked, an abnormally acute set of senses, and a faint but incisive scent was apparent.”

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 11 Internal Audit

4. Miller's Holmes remarking to Alfredo: “You know my work. It is all consuming” and “Duty calls. It always will.” - Sherlock Holmes states in The Adventure of the Red-Headed League: “L’homme c’est rien–l’oeuvre c’est tout,..”. This French saying roughly translates as “the man is nothing, the work is everything”

5. Elementary Holmes asking Fabiana if she saw “anything out of the ordinary” - In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes tells Sir Henry Baskerville: “I think anything out of the ordinary routine of life well worth reporting.”

After a strong episode, this is an OK episode. Not bad, but not one of the best either.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 11 Internal Audit

Jonny Lee Miller gets some laughs with his quip about Randy's name. The discussions between Elementary Holmes and Joan about disclosing their findings about Maddox to NYPD in the light of Joan's agreement with Chloe was good.

The next episode of CBS Elementary “The Diabolical Kind” airs on Jan 02 2014, with the return of Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler/Jamie Moriarty.

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary. 

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Image Source: CBS 

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

BBC Sherlock Season 3 Trailer - Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock Holmes

Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan, Louise Brealey, Rupert Graves and Una Stubbs in Season 3 of BBC Sherlock

Dear Readers,

The first trailer for Season 3 of BBC Sherlock has arrived.




Amanda Abbington, Martin Freeman's real life partner plays Mary Morstan. For readers not familar with Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, Mary is Sherlock Holmes' client, who ends up marrying John Watson in The Sign of the Four (referred to in the title of Episode # 2 “The Sign of Three”).

Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) informs Sherlock about an impending terrorist threat to London. Sherlock gets back into his groove to save the day.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 3:


True to the Canon, Sherlock's return seems to have successfully thrown “Mrs. Hudson into violent hysterics” (The Adventure of the Empty House).

I am curious to see if the rest of the world too reacts the same way to Benedict Cumberbatch's return as Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock premieres in the UK on Jan 01 2014 and in the US on Jan 19 2014. Click here to watch the interactive trailer.

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Image Sources: BBC Wales, Hartswood Films, Masterpiece Theatre

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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Canonical Nods in "The Empty Hearse"
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Friday, December 6, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 10 "Tremors" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 10 Tremors

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is being questioned by Cassandra Walker (Elizabeth Marvel) for the life threatening injury to Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill).

The episode goes back and forth between present and the past events that have led to the current predicament faced by Holmes and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

Captain Tom Gregson (Aidan Quinn) was delivering a lecture when Silas Cole (Zachary Booth), a schizophrenic young man walks in claiming that he is a Knight who has killed his Queen.

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Sherlock Holmes talks down Silas and he is apprehended by the NYPD. Sherlock, Joan and Bell soon discover the corpse of Silas' “Queen”, Rada Hollingsworth in her apartment. 

Meanwhile, in the present, Dr. Gretchen Primler (Angel Desai) informs Joan that Detective Bell is on his way to recovery. Sherlock and Joan continue their investigation and interrogate Dr. Phineaus Hobbs (Jordan Lage) about Rada Hollingsworth.

Danny Mastrogiorgio guest stars as James Dylan with Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 10 Tremors

James Dylan (Danny Mastrogiorgio) is the suspect in Rada's death. When Joan takes the stand, Sherlock himself questions her about their methods.

I recommend the viewers to check out the episode to find out the resolution to the mystery.

Canonical References

1. The judge asking Elementary Holmes to spare the flourishes and Joan talking about coloring the lines - Holmes often chides Dr John Watson for embellishing his accounts of their exploits - From The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier: "....since I have often had occasion to point out to him how superficial are his own accounts and to accuse him of pandering to popular taste instead of confining himself rigidly to facts and figures.”

2. Elementary Sherlock observing that Cassandra Walker keeps a bust on Ben Judas on her day planner - This reminded me of the plot of The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

3. Miller's Sherlock Holmes showing sound knowledge of the law - Dr John Watson mentions in A Study in Scarlet that Sherlock Holmes “has a good practical knowledge of British law.”


Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 10 Tremors


4.Captain Gregson scolding Miller's Sherlock for being so brazen in showing his contempt for the proceedings since he thinks they are beneath him - Dr Watson states about Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Empty House: “Three years had certainly not smoothed the asperities of his temper or his impatience with a less active intelligence than his own.”

5. Miller's Holmes remarking to Cassandra Walker: “Nothing on earth would make me reveal a secret of such nature” - Sherlock Holmes comments about Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Creeping Man: “Dr. Watson is the very soul of discretion”

6. Elementary Holmes explains about the use of potassium chloride as a poisoning agent - Dr John Watson lists Sherlock Holmes' knowledge in A Study in Scarlet: “Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally.” and “Chemistry.—Profound.”

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in NY brownstone in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 10 Tremors

7. Miller's Sherlock commenting on how he and Joan provide free services to the state of NY - Sherlock Holmes often takes up cases for the intellectual challenge, without any monetary considerations

8. Elementary Sherlock Holmes lecturing to Joan Watson about the the world not being in black and white, but in shades of grey - Nice reference to Dr John Watson being the moral compass in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories

9. Elementary Sherlock practicing singlestick left handed on a dummy and also correcting Detective Bell's incorrect description of the craft - Dr John Watson states that Sherlock Holmes “is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman” in A Study in Scarlet
 
Frankie Faison and Elizabeth Marvel guest star as Judge Brewster O'Hare and Cassandra Walker with Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 10 Tremors

Guest star Frankie Faison as Judge Brewster O'Hare, has a spark in his eyes throughout and seems to be relishing every minute of his performance.
 
Elizabeth Marvel is adequate as Cassandra Walker. Clyde, the turtle makes a comeback for a very brief cameo. 

Jonny Lee Miller continues to show the characteristic dry humor of the Canonical Holmes. Miller's Sherlock also makes Yorkshire pudding, a nod to his British origins.
 
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes wearing apron and making a Yorkshire pudding with Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in the kitchen in brownstone in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 10 Tremors

Lucy Liu seems half-hearted in her performance. 

The mystery component is OK. The episode impresses much more as an exploration of the methods and characteristic traits of Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson and how a modern society would perceive them. 

This is what Elementary has been claiming to be doing all along: a character driven drama focused on Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson.

After 33 attempts (episodes), they finally got it right. 

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary. 

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Image Source: CBS 

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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Step Nine