Saturday, March 8, 2014

After The Reichenbach Fall!


I'm not alone by any means in my appreciation for Sherlock. The BBC series which cast Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern version of Sherlock Holmes aided by his own equally modern John Watson played by Martin Freeman. Both actors have moved on to significant success since this show debuted with gusto several years ago, Cumberbatch turning in a fascinating turns as a Star Trek villain Khan and the great dragon Smaug, and Freeman making a favorable impression as peripatetic resident of Hobbiton, Bilbo Baggins. Thankfully both have decided to return to the parts which made them stars.

Brealey, Abbington, Freeman, Cumberbatch, Graves and Stubbs
The third season begins where the last left off, with Sherlock seemingly dead but now necessarily returned to life to battle a significant threat to the heart of London itself. Watson having dealt with Sherlock's seeming death for two years is necessarily startled by this sudden resurrection. Watson himself has moved on and has found a wife, Mary Morstan who steps in and becomes a core part of the story.  Amanda Abbington is magnificent in the role and slides in alongside the quirky duo as a strong personality well capable of holding her own creating a whole new and highly entertaining dynamic. Also back are Gregory Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), and Mrs.Hudson (Una Stubbs), vibrant and distinctive characters who are often hilarious and in moments touching.  In fact humor seems to have been a key to this third season.

In a new trio of stories, we see the relationship of Watson and Morstan develop and its no giveaway to say their wedding is the pivotal event of the third season, in a story which adapts The Sign of Four in some very clever and imaginative ways.

Mikkleson
The looming figure though in this saga is the heinous Charles Augustus Magnussen ( Lars Mikkleson), a villain based on Doyle's Charles Augustus Milverton a blackmailer extraordinaire. Like Moriarty before him, Magnussen proves to be an intellectual rival to Sherlock, but with a different most distinctive and exceedingly repulsive personality. His core secret is a true revelation and ties into the larger themes of the show exceedingly well.

I won't spoil this show too much. But it's safe to say that there are many mysteries to solve and secrets are revealed. The banter between Holmes and Watson remains fervent and crackles with wit and humor, perhaps too much at times, but nonetheless its heady and you need to keep your wits as you watch this show which bristles with charm.

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13 comments:

  1. Strange to think that the characters inhabit a world in all ways exactly like our own, except for the fact that author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Victorian Sherlock Holmes of literature never existed.

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    1. Is Doyle not a part of that world or just the fictional Sherlock? I'd imagine they might've given Doyle the career he always craved, a respected writer of historical romances. Seems just.

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    2. Well, that's always possible, Rip - that Conan Doyle may exist as an author, but not of Holmes - but, it's still just as strange to consider, don't you think? I could get lost for hours thinking about the paradoxes of 'alternate' worlds.

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    3. The weird part to me is that they're put the deerstalker hat into the Sherlock universe as a hat he wore one time on accident and became famous for. It just seems weird and unnecessary

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  2. Rip, this has nothing to do with Holmes, but I thought you'd be interested in knowing that since their original listing, IDW has added New Gods #1 to the Kirby Artist's Edition, apparently at no extra cost. So now it's New Gods #s 1,2,5,6,7 and 8.

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    1. Thanks for the info. I know it's mighty expensive, but I really want this book.

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  3. Hey Rip,

    Correction: it's Una Stubbs, not Studds. (Which is a very rare error in your always excellent blog, by the way.)

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    1. I knew the right name but typed it wrong anyway. Dag! Thanks for the correction.

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  4. I love the Sherlock series. I watched the third season and it was hands down the best one so far. Somehow this show just keeps getting better!

    Charles Augustus Magnussen was such a creep wasn't he? Just a disgusting human being.

    Spoilers....

    I'm really surprised that Sherlock was the first person that figured out what had to be done to get rid of him. Seemed like the obvious answer.





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    1. The way I followed it was that Magnussen underestimated or better yet misjudged Sherlock when he revealed his secret to him. He thought he was a "hero" and not a "sociopath", which is actually what we might dub a hero with the stones to take lethal action. Sherlock's behavior mirrored Watson's from the beginning of the epidsode.

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    2. I do love the wrinkle that Watson is addicted to the adventure. I mean it was clear in Doyle's original adventures that Sherlock wasn't happy unless he had a case, but Watson seemed to merely find them an amusing diversion and you had to wonder why their friendship worked so well. This show is the first time where it makes complete sense. They both need each other because they are so dysfunctional.

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  5. Oh and I also wanted to comment on the classic Mad magazine cover you featured yesterday. I actually read these early Mads because in 1999 or 2000 they sold reprints of the early issues and I bought them for the first 12 issues or so. It was neat to see Mad's earliest days.

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    1. They are sweet. I have those early reprints, the first six issues or so and others in paperback. Very different than what followed in the black and white years.

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