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Posts tagged: telly

Sherlock

I watched Sherlock this evening. It was very good, maybe excellent. Fast paced, funny, clever, dramatic, everything a good drama should be. It has some clever modern touches, such as the floating text messages (pioneered by Hollyoaks), and the use of computers and mobiles to drive the plot along.

I’ve got one or two reservations though. As a detective drama, it may feel completely different to ‘Colombo’, ‘Murder She Wrote’, or indeed ‘Poirot’, but the structure is exactly the same; a murder or crime is committed, and the protagonist uses their cunning skill to reveal the killer/criminal. However, in those shows we are usually given the clues at the same time as the detective.

This allows us to play along at home, often leading to the old "I knew it was him!" routine that comes with the payoff. This doesn’t happen with Sherlock, and in the opening episode this happened for two reasons. Firstly, Holmes’ method of detection is through incredibly close observation of people, either dead or alive. We are denied this, and can only experience it through one of Holmes’ expository rants: we see it as he does, with the floating text, but we can’t really make sense of it until Holmes’ tells us why we can make sense of it. This pushes you further from the conclusion, and into the hands of the storytellers. 

It will be interesting to see for how long they can avoid the deus ex machina of something like "But Watson, did you not notice the amount of earwax in the corpse’s ears? He could not possibly have heard the intruder!", somewhere late in an episode to pull themselves out of a hole (like the sonic screwdriver in Dr Who, Sherlock’s closest current TV cousin).

Secondly, the show is ripe for parody, and already (after one episode) feels formulaic. It would be sad to see the programme, week after week, set up as:

  • - A crime
  • - Holmes investigates the scene of the crime
  • - Expository rant
  • - Red herring action sequence
  • - Real criminal is revealed, “I knew it all along” says Holmes
  • - Dramatic payoff
  • - Setup for next week

It’ll prove interesting to see how they keep the ideas fresh and original. This maybe explains the short 3 show season it has, maybe they couldn’t push the limits far enough to warrant 6 episodes, or maybe Holmes goes south on a waterfall at the end of episode 3. I suppose having a structure set in cast iron didn’t stop the aforementioned Colombo having several TV series and umpteen films.

But - it’s a damn sight better than almost everything on telly at the moment, something that feels and looks British, rather than watered down versions of US cop shows trying to be the Wire. I like it, and I hope it goes far.

Big Brother

Big Brother started last night. It was the least surprising thing ever. We knew it was coming, having been promoted ever-more furiously by Channel 4 over the last few weeks. When it finally came, with much bluster and noise, some unknown weirdos went through a door and then kissed each other on the cheeks, including the men.

Big Brother used to be THE big thing on TV. Now it appeals only to bored late 20s/early 30s with nothing better to do after they’ve had tea. Unfortunately, because it was once THE big thing on TV, the upper class newspapers feel obliged to cover it, and in doing so raise the ire of their readers to boiling point.

From the guardian:

I will sleep comfortably in the knowledge that not one microsecond of Big Brother will soil my retinas this summer.

Er, hang on. You’re that uninterested you found you had to comment on a 500 word article about the start of Big Brother? When I see an article about fly-fishing, or origami, two things amongst many that I am disinterested in I see no need to even read the article, never mind pass comment on how I won’t be fly-fishing or folding paper this summer.

Struggling to decide which I least want to watch this summer - BB or the World Cup. Thank goodness for books.

Here’s a revolutionary suggestion. Watch something else. Just because you can read you’re not some sort of media darling, y’know. Anyway, you’ve just read the BB start article and commented as well, which shows that you’re so dedicated to reading you literally cannot help yourself.

Read and watch Shakepeare, you morons. Turn this crap OFF!

Yeah, good idea. Turn it off! Read Shakespeare! Stop commenting on things that offend you! Despite going out of your way to read about those things!

In short; if you don’t like it, DON’T FUCKING WATCH IT.