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Not your Basil Rathbone Holmes (Thank Goodness!)

21 07 2011

Copyright 2010 BBC/Masterpiece

In their down time from Doctor Who, current series head Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss set out to create a modern update on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes.  Season One of the joint BBC and Masterpiece production aired in the summer of 2010 with three episodes, each totaling 88 minutes in length.

The first episode, A Study in Pink (an obvious take-off on Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlett”), lays out the groundwork and exposition for the characters of both Holmes and his associate Dr. John Watson.  This episode also introduces the two to each other for the first time, and has them decide to be roommates at the famous 221-B Baker Street address.  Staying very true to the books, all the idiosyncracies of the characters and their backgrounds are in tact, just with modern updates.  For instance, Watson served in the recent Afghanistan conflict in this version, where he received the bullet that injured his leg.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Holmes and Martin Freeman plays Watson; they are both excellent in their roles.  I especially enjoyed Freeman’s performance as Watson; however, I am a bit bias, as my favorite character in the Holmes’ stories is generally that of Watson oddly enough.  I mean how cool would it be to be the companion of a mind like Holmes’s, a crack shot with a revolver and an expert medical doctor all-in-one?  Plus, you get the ladies and generally stand as a voice of reason to the sometimes aloof Holmes.

Not only does the series get placed in modern London, but they take expert advantage over the situation by incorporating many technological advances into the scripts.  Laptops, cell phones and other digital media devices are made use of in all three episodes extensively, sometimes even as key elements to the plot.  In addition, the producers came up with a clever way to visually present the use of such devices.  Rather than boring shots of a cell phone screen, they have animated text appear over the image to signify various text messages, etc.

The second series will be broadcast this fall in the same manner as the first, with three hour and a half long episodes.  I enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s theatrical version of Sherlock Holmes (2009) and am looking forward to the sequel later this year, but, though fun, it wasn’t a great movie.  This modernized adaptation of the classic stories is a different story; I don’t mind at all admitting that it is a brilliant, fresh take on series.  I absolutely love it.

For all you Netflix users out there, all three episodes of season one are available on Instant Watch.

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Who Killed Laura Palmer?

14 04 2011

Copyright 1990 Lynch/Frost Productions

That question was burning through the television world  in 1990 when the original episodes of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks aired.  When the first season came out on DVD in the early 2000s, I jumped at the opportunity to watch the show.  David Lynch has long been a favorite filmmaker of mine; of course, not all his films are for all tastes, but you can’t say they aren’t interesting at least.

I watched through the first season of the show and absolutely loved it.  Unfortunately, the second DVD installment wasn’t released until much later, so by the time it came out I would have had to re-watch all the first season.  By that time I was deep in the throes of college and didn’t have the time to devote to a television program.  Even without fully finishing the series, I long carried this as my favorite television show of all time (until The Sopranos and Lost).  The quirky characters and weird happenings in the town made the show very unique.  It’s a soap opera mystery via David Lynch, and it’s the Lynchian touch that makes it so brilliant.

Now, nearly 10 years later, I noticed that Netflix has added the entire series to their instant queue.  I was ecstatic; finally an opportunity to finish this wonderful show properly.  However, my girlfriend, Maddie, had never seen the show and I wanted to watch it with her.  So, we started the pilot episode last night and are looking forward to watching through the entire series.  It’s amazing how much you forget from a television program after 10 years; I definitely remembered the major points of the pilot, but so much of the ancillary stories had evaporated from memory.  I hope 10 years from now the same will be able to be done with Lost; to watch it again and feel like first viewing – that would be a treat!

Though I never finished the series, I do know who killed Laura Palmer.  There was no disclosure statement in the prequel movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and I watched it before I started the actual show.  At the end of the film, it shows who killed her.  So, for anyone interested in Twin Peaks, don’t watch Fire Walk with Me until after the series!  Also, for the sake of future viewers, please no comments revealing the culprit.








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