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August 1st, 2010

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07:38 pm - Sherlock: Excellent TV
Both because I'd heard it's very good and because Steven Moffat helped write it, last evening I watched the first episode of the new BBC Sherlock with xtricks, amberite, and Aaron. Before I go into more details, it's worth saying that it was excellent – wonderful writing and acting all around. It wasn't perfect, but it was very, very good, and I was quite impressed. I also loved how the show integrated modern technology. It would have been too easy to make Sherlock Holmes overly anachronistic, and the show didn't. Also, the bit with the surveillance cameras turning away was impressively creepy. I also like the mention of queer characters, but it annoyed me a bit that Moffat could include that in this show, but the last (otherwise completely excellent) series of Doctor Who was 100% GLBT free.

My one disappointment was the that final confrontation was solved with violence rather than with Watson simply catching Holmes' attention – which would have solved the problem, and saved Holmes with friendship – which would have felt better to me and would have reinforced the overall theme of the show, which seems to be in part about saving Holmes with friendship That point is related to a larger point that Aaron mentioned, which is that all modern remakes of older material are more cruel, and if the remake was made in the US, more violent. As a UK show, it wasn't particularly violent, but unlike the stories, Holmes was not merely sarcastic and unconcerned with social conventions, he was in several occasions actively cruel, both emotionally, and in one case physically, and that seemed both unnecessary and a poor choice.

Of course, in talking about this point withamberite later, she quite rightly pointed out that this happens because our era considers itself to be harsher and more cruel than the past, and that this has been true of essentially every era. I'm still working through all the details of this idea, but on the surface it seems fairly solid. In part, I suspect this has to do with how eras a few decades past are viewed through the lens of childhood and nostalgia of people who are currently adults, while older eras (especially once they largely move out of living memory) become essentially mythic, and the myth of a golden age remains a powerful one. In any case, the show was excellent and I'm both looking forward to the next two episodes and also very much hoping that it is renewed.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 2nd, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
I note that the previous seasons, and Torchwood, have been very GBLT heavy. Also personally I felt some G subtext in "The Lodger".
[User Picture]
Date:August 2nd, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
That's because previous seasons of the new Doctor Who were under the control of Russel T. Davies, who is well known for having GLBT characters. This season was Moffat's first year in charge of the show and all overt GLBT references vanished. I loved the season, but that change bothered me.
[User Picture]
Date:August 2nd, 2010 07:00 am (UTC)
Our era considers itself harsher and more cruel than the past? Even with the Geneva Conventions, the Treaty of Paris banning privateering, the New Deal, prohibitions on blood sports like cockfighting, and so on? I don’t deny that there are pundits who slaver over the notion that we should become harsher and more cruel like in the past (just look at all the people enthused by the torture on 24), but I don’t see us as harsher in the long run. There’s a current trend in grim-and-gritty relative to past decades in the cinema, but I think that’s more a reaction to a relaxation of motion picture decency codes rather than a societal trend— the 1950s that so many consider a “golden age” weren’t all that golden if you weren’t a white Protestant.
[User Picture]
Date:August 2nd, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
Compared to the alleged harsh reality of recent decades, the 60s & 70s are now considered naive and idealistic, and a fair number of people (who I largely disagree with about everything) consider the 1950s to be a more innocent time. I'm not saying this is either true or rational merely widespread.
[User Picture]
Date:August 2nd, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
A while ago in asperger there was a post and comments discussing the conjecture that Holmes was based on someone with Asperger's Syndrome.

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