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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

omg: a modern Sherlock Holmes from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss? I’m so there

Guardian, you had me at your headline:

Sherlock Holmes is back… sending texts and using nicotine patches

I had a similar idea years ago — I wanted to put Sherlock Holmes in New York’s East Village in the early 1990s, with bike messengers as the Baker Street Irregulars and faxes instead of telegrams — and I never did anything with it, because, well, it would have been fan fiction, and Fan Fiction Is Bad, Lowly, And The Domain Of Frustrated Fangirls. But between all the “Jane Austen solves mysteries” novels and how the word reboot has had to be redefined to describe TV and cinema appropriations of existing characters in the interim 20 years, I’m really sorry I didn’t run with that idea. It’s obvious now that the only difference between “mainstream popular entertainment” and “fan fiction” — apart from the quality issues; most fan fiction is indeed dreadful and unreadable — is whether a fan fiction writer has the access to get his fan fiction published or produced.

Such as Steven Moffat:

Coming to BBC1 next Sunday, Sherlock is a re-imagining of the Conan Doyle stories, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role and Martin Freeman as his Watson. The three 90-minute episodes were commissioned on the strength of a pilot that was never shown and have already been sold around the world. Resembling a cross between Withnail and I and The Bourne Ultimatum, there is also a hint of Doctor Who about the drama; hardly surprising, since it has been written and created by Doctor Who writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Not that I’m complaining, mind, about Moffat and his access. This sounds like goody cheeky geeky fun:

The bare forearm of Sherlock Holmes stretches up ominously: his fist is clenched, his sinews taut, but there is no illicit substance on view, no tourniquet; instead, beige nicotine patches line his pale skin. For this is a modern Holmes, inside a modern 221b Baker Street.

“This, Watson, is a three-patch problem,” the great consulting detective announces from his armchair; not the knotty “three-pipe problem” of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original.

and I plan to endeavor to watch this via methods best left unelaborated upon. And should there be anything worth saying, I’ll have something to say about it.

Love this bit:

For Gatiss, 43, the “lightbulb moment” came when he was speaking to the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and discussing the fact that the original Watson was invalided home after serving in Afghanistan. “It is the same war now, I thought. The same unwinnable war.”

It makes me hope that there will be good dramatic reasons for a retelling of Holmes, even if it’s a slap in the face of “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Also: Benedict Cumberbatch sounds like a J.K. Rowling character. He’s the guy who designs wizard robes. Has a little shop in Diagon Alley. Does custom work for Gilderoy Lockhart. Right?

(Thanks to many readers for the heads-up.)



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