“ ‘They are not all successes, Watson,’ said he. ‘But there are some pretty little problems among them. Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club-foot, and his abominable wife….’ “ – From the journals of Dr John H Watson MD, The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
It’s not quite a festive tradition as entrenched as the Doctor Who Christmas special, but it’s becoming a pattern that, every couple of years or so, Steven Moffat will deign to present us with a new episode of the sporadic Sherlock on New Year’s Day. Last time this happened, it felt for me like the series’ first major misstep, as Moffat tried to have his cake and eat it by spending half the episode playing with the fans’ anticipated explanations for Sherlock’s survival then never actually explaining it. As if to smirkingly revel further in that sleight of hand, a glancing reference to it here seemed to give a true explanation, but who knows? Continue reading “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
“It doesn’t make sense! None of this makes any sense!”
It’s good that Doctor Who has, since its revival, not been afraid to experiment with narrative form and structure. I know it’s divisive, but I really enjoyed Love and Monsters, the first ‘Doctor-lite’ episode, and that format has generally worked well – Blink, Turn Left and so on. However, when the plot starts to serve your narrative gimmick rather than the other way round, you’ll get problems. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 9 – Sleep No More”
“Old-fashioned heroes are only found in old-fashioned storybooks, Clara.”
After a season opener freighted with the need to establish a new Doctor, and last week’s dark morality tale, this week saw Doctor Who return refreshingly to an old-fashioned, undemanding romp with the groan-makingly entitled Robot of Sherwood. Very close in style to some of the classic show’s tongue-in-cheek stories, especially season 17, this saw the Doctor grudgingly agreeing to take Clara to 12the century Sherwood Forest to meet her hero – Robin Hood. Only to find the time-travelling pair caught up in a somewhat contrived plot involving the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham purloining gold from the locals in order to help some robots from the future relaunch their crippled spaceship.
Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 3–Robot of Sherwood”
“When I see what desire does to people – what it’s done to this country – I am very glad to have no part in it.”
I love a good trial scene! It’s been a few episodes coming, but it can’t have been too much of a surprise that this week, the trial of Tyrion Lannister took centre stage. What may have been a surprise to fans of the book though was the increasing diversion the various plots were taking – even though they ultimately seem to be leading to the same places.
Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 4, Episode 6–The Laws of Gods and Men”
“I love you, Mary, as truly as ever a man loved a woman. Because this treasure, these riches, sealed my lips. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. That is why I said, ‘Thank God.’” – from the journals of Dr John H Watson, MD, The Sign of the Four
I must confess, I was a trifle surprised last Thursday to find myself being a little negative about the return of Sherlock. Previously, to many people (including me), it’s been a show that needs little criticism, more polished and better thought through than Steven Moffat’s other series du jour, Doctor Who. Imagine my surprise, then, looking online, to discover that my criticisms of it were mild indeed compared to the vitriolic dissatisfaction of many, including plenty who described themselves as formerly having been unalloyed fans of the show.
Continue reading “Sherlock: The Sign of Three”
“‘Holmes!’ I cried. ‘Is it really you? Can it indeed be that you are alive?’” – from the journals of Dr John H Watson, MD, The Adventure of the Empty House
It has been, as was noted several times in the script for this episode, just about two years since we last saw an episode of Sherlock (give or take a fortnight). In that time, the stars and writers of the show have hardly been idle. Benedict Cumberbatch has been seemingly everywhere, most notably as the villain in Big Hollywood Movie Star Trek Into Darkness, while Martin Freeman has had two lengthy epics released in which he plays Tolkien’s famous hobbit Bilbo Baggins (with a third due this year). Mark Gatiss has busied himself with MR James adaptations and a series on European horror movies, while Steven Moffat has been busy with something called Doctor Who.
Continue reading “Sherlock: The Empty Hearse”
“CS Lewis meets HG Wells meets Father Christmas. That’s the Doctor.”
Well that was rather wonderful, wasn’t it? I’ve never previously thought of Mark Gatiss as a writer of moving character drama; sly wit, certainly, dry irony yes. OK, so he’s written a few Doctor Who episodes, but the best of those (The Crimson Horror) was determinedly tongue-in-cheek, much like his work on The League of Gentlemen.
Continue reading “An Adventure in Space and Time”