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Who do you think is the worst of the villains?

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Basically what the title says. Which villain do you think is / was the worst?

 

I definitely vote for Magnussen but I don't really have a good rational reason to give for my choice. I think he is a disgusting, despicable sadist and bully and he makes my flesh crawl. I understand why he is said to be the one person Sherlock truly hated, I sympathize with that entirely.

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Me too.  He's truly icky.  Culverton Smith was pretty icky too, but at least he was cheerful about it (though I'm not sure that actually helped).  If I had to choose one as worst, it'd be Magnussen for sure.  The face-licking scene alone would be adequate to get him my vote.

 

I'm trying to recall -- do we see (or hear about) *how* Culverton Smith goes about killing any of his victms (other than Sherlock)?

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No, but I think it's reasonable to assume that what he tried with Sherlock was his standard procedure.

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Wonder who his prior victims had been? I don't recall whether the original CS had been a serial killer or not.

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Even in the original stories Holmes called Milverton ‘the worst man in London.’ Lars Mikkelsen captures the unsettling loathsomeness in the same way that Robert Hardy did in the Granada series.

I was in London recently and did a Holmes walk which was based mainly on the series Sherlock with a bit of Holmes/Doyle thrown in. The guide was an actress (Eva, I think her name was) and she went to school/college with Lars Mikkelson. A really nice guy apparently. If I recall correctly she described him and his wife as pretty bohemian and slightly hippyish.

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For me it depends on what you mean by worst. Magnussen was personally revolting, Moriarty destroyed lives. Smith was both at once, so in some ways he was the worst. But I think overall Moriarty did the most harm, so in that way, he's the worst. If you mean the lamest villain :smile: I'd have to go with Dr. Frankland, because I don't think his plan was very well thought out.

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I meant worst as in "baddest". Most villainous, most despicable, etc.

 

I know it should be Moriarty but my gut still says Magnussen.

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It's hard for me to say. I feel like they were all worst in different ways. Magnussen was worst in behavior. Moriarty was worst in crime, the level of game-playing and how far he was willing to go. Culverton was worst in how successfully he used social manipulation to pull off a benign facade for so long, and creepiest in the way that he killed. He was pretty close to worst in behavior too, though I think his was generally more disgusting and Magnussen's more chilling and taunting. You could make a case that Eurus was the worst, in terms of pure psychological torture and emotional damage done, to Sherlock at least. (This is all just my subjective opinion, of course.) At the core, Magnussen and Culverton shared the same motivation for their crimes, which was to own people; so they're both perhaps the worst in that sense. In a way, though, I could include that as one of Moriarty's motives too: "Winning" was just his way of owning, and he sought to own on a massive scale, much like Magnussen. (Not Eurus, though; there was no challenge in that for her. She already owned everyone she wanted within 5 minutes of talking to them.)

 

I guess when it comes down to it, there are a few main elements that make a villain "worst" to me: Manipulation, sadism, taunting, and (branching off of sadism) intentional cruelty. They are all manipulative, and on the whole, all sadistic. But I think I see Culverton and Eurus as less deliberately cruel for its own sake than Magnussen or Moriarty. Culverton just wants to get his jollies and Eurus wants to experiment with human interaction (on humans... using emotional pain and mind games and impossible choices...). But I feel like it's Magnussen and Moriarty who really rub salt in wounds and want to watch people suffer slowly as a result of their actions. In Moriarty's case, Sherlock in particular.

 

In my opinion, the worst of the worst would probably be Moriarty's evil genius paired with Magnussen's demeanor and mannerisms.

 

But since that's not an option, if I'm choosing between the two... I guess I'd have to go with Moriarty being the worst, solely for the added danger. Though repulsive and predatory and still powerful, I don't think I'd be quite as afraid of what Magnussen could do to me. I could readily believe, however, that Moriarty would have me skinned and made into shoes if he felt like it.

 

I'm just thinking out loud here, so I might change my mind later. :smile: Apologies for the long ramble.

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No need to apologize! I enjoyed reading your "ramble".

 

I think what disgusts me about Magnussen is that he seems perfectly sane. He has no psychological excuse for the way he acts, he knows full well he is doing evil, he is in control of his actions and he likes it.

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If you mean the lamest villain :smile: I'd have to go with Dr. Frankland, because I don't think his plan was very well thought out.

 

In his defense (as it were), he didn't start out to be a villain.  He'd accidentally killed a man, and there was a witness who needed to be neutralized.  I'm sure he could have figured out a way to kill young Henry (or later when he started to remember what had happened, the adult Henry), but to his credit, he did not.  True, he chose to mess with Henry's head, which is pretty bad in its own way.

 

As for his villainy skills, again, he was sort of an accidental villain, so he didn't have the opportunity to design his own methods, he had to improvise as he went along.  Plus he was apparently not a bad man at heart (he just had a strong survival instinct), so it probably never even occurred to him to use some of the far more effective (and truly nasty) methods that Moriarty or Magnussen would have employed without a second thought.

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I think what disgusts me about Magnussen is that he seems perfectly sane. He has no psychological excuse for the way he acts, he knows full well he is doing evil, he is in control of his actions and he likes it.

 

Doesn't that mean that he is -- at best! -- a sociopath?  Probably even a psychopath?  Either of which would be considered a type of mental illness, I believe.

 

Even though he apparently knows that he's doing things that other people disapprove of, that doesn't necessarily mean that he himself considers those things to be evil.  He's like a little boy pulling the wings off of flies so he can watch them struggle afterwards --  which he enjoys because he still lacks empathy.  Most people develop some degree of empathy as they mature, but that doesn't seem to have happened to Magnussen just yet.

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For me it depends on what you mean by worst.

Agree on this.

 

If I put myself in the shoes of villains, and want to destroy someone, it would not only be physical harm, but I would destroy the essence of the person, the purpose, the will to live, the core and the root that makes that person.

 

CS is a hideous villain, blood thirsty and hiding behind something good, which is the kind of predatory behavior that I despise. However, his main modus operandi is to physically harm the person. That makes him, gah, the least of the three.

 

Moriarty is what I describe, he wants to destroy Sherlock, to reduce him to rubble by taking away his most precious pride. And when he wins, he wants to seal it forever by eliminating Sherlock to get rid of one thing that always stands in his way. The place is not big enough for them, one or both have to go. He is not beyond using every way including harming innocent people.

However, Moriarty sort of give Sherlock solution and way to 'fix' it that relies solely on Sherlock willingness. A way out. Sort of. At least Sherlock has a choice, has the power to choose his loved ones over himself. Although that means he would be free to harm more innocent people.

 

So, to me, Magnussen IS the worst. He does what was described as well, but he was holding on into it for fun, for future guarantee, for amusement, just like how cats toy with dying mouses.

 

The biggest difference of him with the other two, Magnussen preys on destroying the loved ones, making them suffer for however long period he seems fit, and making sure there is nothing you can do to stop it except descending into deeper despair of doing what he wants, anytime he wants it.

Losing self worth, self identity, like what Moriarty did to Sherlock is horrible and unimaginable, but watching your loved ones slowly suffer, knowing full well that you are responsible, without the ability to do anything is the most horrible thing you could do to someone.

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If you mean the lamest villain :smile: I'd have to go with Dr. Frankland, because I don't think his plan was very well thought out.

Tsk.. how could you forget General Shan??

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You mean, just because she wanted the jade pin so badly that she had her henchman kill the only two people who might be able to tell her where it was?

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Well, to be fair, we don't know whether the killer tried to get that information out of them before he pulled the trigger.

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No, we don't.  But note that if John had known anything, they may well have gotten plenty of information from him by kidnapping him, taking him back to their headquarters, and threatening his girlfriend -- so why didn't they handle the two prime suspects in a similar way?  Surely they could have gotten more information out of Van Coon by letting Shan deal with him.  There was really no point in killing him -- though admittedly Van Coon apparently took a shot at the intruder, who may have simply been defending himself.

 

But there's no indication that Lukas offered any resistance, yet he was killed as well.  Not that questioning him would have done any good, since he didn't have the pin -- but killing him outright makes it pretty clear that that was indeed the intruder's original intention.

 

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I vote for mass murder being worse than blackmail, no matter what Sherlock says.

 

Both Moriarty & Culverton Smith murdered innocents.  Moriarty wins 'worst' in terms of numbers--he was a terrorist and the death of scores of innocent people via his bombs and etc. did not trouble him in the least.  They were nothing more than collateral damage, even when he personally didn't dirty his hands.  Smith was a different type of sociopath:  he targeted his victims for entirely personal reasons and was very hands-on his killing.

 

Magnassen was indirectly responsible for some deaths via his extortion, true, but they were self-inflicted by the victims.  (Lady Smallwood's husband).  Not an admirable human being of course--but his motivation was money & power through disgrace, not death.  From his point of view, it was far preferable for his victims to remain alive so they could keep paying his demands.  Even more so than Moriarty, he possessed Sherlock's gifts on the dark side.  Unlike the other two, his M.O. was not violence, but shame.

 

Despite some breathtakingly gauche behavior (slurping on Lady Smallwood's face; relieving himself in Sherlock's fireplace), he was a consummately elegant individual, imbued with elegance by his actor.  It's tough for me to hate Lars Mikkelsen, and I found his portrayal of Magnussen one of the few redeeming features of  that episode.

 

Then, of course, there is Euros . . .I kind of put her to the side because, although her actress did a fine job with a challenging role, Euros is completely out of left field.  She has no place in the Canon and frankly, no recognizable humanity at all.  She's a cartoon--a Bond megalomaniac who wondered over into the wrong universe.  Inserting her into the storyline was Moftiss issuing a gigantic F U to the Sherlock fandom, both the ones devoted to this show and those who honor the creation of Arthur Conan Doyle.  I totally lost respect for both of them with that episode, and they lost their credibility as bona fide Sherlockians with me.  Euros makes all the former villains, including Moriarty and Ernst Blofeld look like boy scouts.  It was way more than a step too far bringing her into the picture, in such a manner.

 

The idea of a female Holmes sibling, though never introduced by ACD, still had potential, witnessed by how many other authors have given Sherlock a sister.  But what Moftiss did with her was so ridiculous, I can't believe everyone who once loved this show doesn't feel as insulted as I do.  A cameo by Jim Moriarty was the only good thing that came out of putting her in.

 

I was already angry at Moftiss for such a very lame use of Sebastian Moran in TEH, and this just sealed the deal for me.  Stephen Moffat should be prosecuted for crimes against Sherlock Holmes and all those who love him.  Mark Gatiss does not escape my ire entirely but because he was such a winning Mycroft, it's hard for me to hate him with the same passion I direct toward his collaborator.  Plus we all know that Moffat was the one in the driver's seat here.  His narcissism would allow no less.

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I agree that Eurus seems out of place on the show. Like Mary. She should be Mary's antagonist on "The A.G.R.A. files". I would probably even watch that, both actresses are amazing and Mary in and of herself is a cool character. But "Sherlock" should be about Sherlock, imo - and about the characters that belong to him, like John, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, Moriarty... I'll make an exception for Molly because I love her and she didn't steal the show.

 

Oh well.

 

I guess technically Eurus is the "worst" as in most dangerous and immoral and her body count doesn't seem exactly low either. But she's so... deranged... that I am not sure she's entirely responsible for her actions.

 

Like I sad, I don't really have a good rational argument for choosing Magnussen, except maybe that he seems the most sane. At least Sherlock agrees with me that he is hate-worthy. Maybe I just despise him because my hero / fictional crush does. :lol:

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I simply find Magnussen the most revolting. After a few viewings, I got used to Culverton Smith, but Magnussen revolts me each and every time. I still have to close my eyes when he licks Lady Smallwood's face.

 

I like your idea to give Mary and Eurus their own show, with no connection to Sherlock. They'd be amazing!

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At the time of His Last Vow, I thought the show really couldn't dip much lower/more outrageous as when they turned Mary Morstan Watson into a CIA-trained rogue assassin.

 

But that was prior to Season 4.  I had yet to find out that, indeed, it could get a lot worse.

 

Interesting that Moftiss chose to make Mary an assassin, because in my view, that's what they've done to the character of the woman whom ACD depicted as John Watson's guiding star and the love of his life (if that spot wasn't already taken up by Sherlock Holmes.  Who knows if Moftiss is guilty of gay-baiting or not in their intentions for their screen pair, but I am speaking of Holmes and Watson as platonic best friends/halves of the whole/frères du guerre.)

 

Moftiss's Mary was essentially a smear job on Watson's beloved wife.  No offence meant to Amanda Abbington, who was as much in the dark as we were until the Unmasking of Mary in that 3rd epi of S3.  She was blindsided, same as we were, and admits that she would have played Mary significantly differently had she known the Secret.  Which is probably why Moftiss didn't tell her. They wanted their actors and their audience on the back foot.  'Cause, you know, S. Moffat is a megalomaniac that way.  Anyway, j'accuse him of being such.  Uber-controlling, that one. I thought it was a shoddy way to treat his actors AND his viewership . . .but he'd just proceed to continue blithely on doing so in TAB and the whole of S4.

 

Essentially, having blown it with Sebastian Moran in TEH, the third episode of that season reintroduces elements of Moran with the 'empty house' motif--only *Mary* is standing in for Moran.  Moran is the cold-blooded paramilitary assassin with the air rifle who makes it his mission to shoot Holmes.  What a can of worms they opened up with this variation, though.  Because in 'The Six Thatchers', they have to explain Mary's background as a G.I. Jane/ninja assassin.  Her death at the end of that episode is gutting for John, but it's fitting, really--Mary lived as a soldier and she died a soldier's death.  Mary had to die, because we know from Canon that this Mrs. Watson is doomed . . . but what a convoluted way round the houses to get there.   To add that extra layer of verisimilitude,  (unbeknownst to us at the time), Martin and Amanda were already estranged by the time they came to enact the Watsons' final, permanent separation.  Talk about Art imitating life!

 

Makes me wonder if they were already having problems during the filming of 'The Sign of Three' when they had to enact a joyously married couple.  Amanda looked so beautiful as a bride; it had to be a source of no small irony, as they spent what must have amounted to several days' worth of filming the wedding/Best Man Speech scenes, that this couple had never actually put a ring on it in 15+ years of togetherness.

 

Tough breaks for Amanda A., who I liked as Mary.  I did not like what Moftiss did with Mary, though.  They made her go through her paces like a stunt pony until they disposed of her in the story.  Perhaps *she* could have been the long-lost Holmes sister (non-psychotic variant) . . .and I would have felt gobs better about the final two seasons generally.

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At the time of His Last Vow, I thought the show really couldn't dip much lower/more outrageous as when they turned Mary Morstan Watson into a CIA-trained rogue assassin.

 

But that was prior to Season 4.  I had yet to find out that, indeed, it could get a lot worse.

 

Interesting that Moftiss chose to make Mary an assassin, because in my view, that's what they've done to the character of the woman whom ACD depicted as John Watson's guiding star and the love of his life (if that spot wasn't already taken up by Sherlock Holmes.  Who knows if Moftiss is guilty of gay-baiting or not in their intentions for their screen pair, but I am speaking of Holmes and Watson as platonic best friends/halves of the whole/frères du guerre.)

 

Moftiss's Mary was essentially a smear job on Watson's beloved wife.  No offence meant to Amanda Abbington, who was as much in the dark as we were until the Unmasking of Mary in that 3rd epi of S3.  She was blindsided, same as we were, and admits that she would have played Mary significantly differently had she known the Secret.  Which is probably why Moftiss didn't tell her. They wanted their actors and their audience on the back foot.  'Cause, you know, S. Moffat is a megalomaniac that way.  Anyway, j'accuse him of being such.  Uber-controlling, that one. I thought it was a shoddy way to treat his actors AND his viewership . . .but he'd just proceed to continue blithely on doing so in TAB and the whole of S4.

 

Essentially, having blown it with Sebastian Moran in TEH, the third episode of that season reintroduces elements of Moran with the 'empty house' motif--only *Mary* is standing in for Moran.  Moran is the cold-blooded paramilitary assassin with the air rifle who makes it his mission to shoot Holmes.  What a can of worms they opened up with this variation, though.  Because in 'The Six Thatchers', they have to explain Mary's background as a G.I. Jane/ninja assassin.  Her death at the end of that episode is gutting for John, but it's fitting, really--Mary lived as a soldier and she died a soldier's death.  Mary had to die, because we know from Canon that this Mrs. Watson is doomed . . . but what a convoluted way round the houses to get there.   To add that extra layer of verisimilitude,  (unbeknownst to us at the time), Martin and Amanda were already estranged by the time they came to enact the Watsons' final, permanent separation.  Talk about Art imitating life!

 

Makes me wonder if they were already having problems during the filming of 'The Sign of Three' when they had to enact a joyously married couple.  Amanda looked so beautiful as a bride; it had to be a source of no small irony, as they spent what must have amounted to several days' worth of filming the wedding/Best Man Speech scenes, that this couple had never actually put a ring on it in 15+ years of togetherness.

 

Tough breaks for Amanda A., who I liked as Mary.  I did not like what Moftiss did with Mary, though.  They made her go through her paces like a stunt pony until they disposed of her in the story.  Perhaps *she* could have been the long-lost Holmes sister (non-psychotic variant) . . .and I would have felt gobs better about the final two seasons generally.

 

I can tolerate TEH, am generally fond of TSo3, but could seriously do without HLV.  I love TAB (one of my top four favorites, I think).  In general I like T6T far better than TEH, and like TLD well enough (except for John kicking Sherlock), but I largely dislike TFP even worse than HLV (those two are in my bottom three, right below TBB).

 

So I agree with a good bit of what you say, just not all of it.

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I meant worst as in "baddest". Most villainous, most despicable, etc.

 

I know it should be Moriarty but my gut still says Magnussen.

I understand. Somehow Moriarty elicits sympathy from the audience; he seems so damaged. Magnussen, on the other hand, you just want to see brought down, as quickly and as ruthlessly as possible. Which he was, but as you know I have real issues with that ..... :smile:

 

Smith squicks me out but somehow I still hate CAM more, and I think you've identified the reason ... he's so "sane." The other big bads gave you the impression they weren't entirely in control of their destructive impulses, but CAM ... he's the Mycroft of the criminals, going about his business with cold, ruthless logic.

 

I guess I would say I find CAM the most contemptible, Smith the creepiest, and Moriarty the most harmful. Eurus I don't even classify as a villain, tbh; just deranged.

 

 

 

If you mean the lamest villain :smile: I'd have to go with Dr. Frankland, because I don't think his plan was very well thought out.

 

In his defense (as it were), he didn't start out to be a villain.  He'd accidentally killed a man, and there was a witness who needed to be neutralized.  I'm sure he could have figured out a way to kill young Henry (or later when he started to remember what had happened, the adult Henry), but to his credit, he did not.  True, he chose to mess with Henry's head, which is pretty bad in its own way.

 

As for his villainy skills, again, he was sort of an accidental villain, so he didn't have the opportunity to design his own methods, he had to improvise as he went along.  Plus he was apparently not a bad man at heart (he just had a strong survival instinct), so it probably never even occurred to him to use some of the far more effective (and truly nasty) methods that Moriarty or Magnussen would have employed without a second thought.

 

 

​Exactly; that's what makes him so lame as a villain! :d

 

 

If you mean the lamest villain :smile: I'd have to go with Dr. Frankland, because I don't think his plan was very well thought out.

Tsk.. how could you forget General Shan??

 

 

I try to forget her as much as I can. :p But I did consider her, but Dr. Frankland seemed more pathetic to me. So there.

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I vote for mass murder being worse than blackmail, no matter what Sherlock says.

 

Both Moriarty & Culverton Smith murdered innocents.  Moriarty wins 'worst' in terms of numbers--he was a terrorist and the death of scores of innocent people via his bombs and etc. did not trouble him in the least.  They were nothing more than collateral damage, even when he personally didn't dirty his hands.  Smith was a different type of sociopath:  he targeted his victims for entirely personal reasons and was very hands-on his killing.

Yeah, I think that's where I was coming from ... who did the most harm?

 

Then, of course, there is Euros . . .I kind of put her to the side because, although her actress did a fine job with a challenging role, Euros is completely out of left field.  She has no place in the Canon and frankly, no recognizable humanity at all.  She's a cartoon--a Bond megalomaniac who wondered over into the wrong universe.  Inserting her into the storyline was Moftiss issuing a gigantic F U to the Sherlock fandom, both the ones devoted to this show and those who honor the creation of Arthur Conan Doyle.  I totally lost respect for both of them with that episode, and they lost their credibility as bona fide Sherlockians with me.  Euros makes all the former villains, including Moriarty and Ernst Blofeld look like boy scouts.  It was way more than a step too far bringing her into the picture, in such a manner.

 

Aha! I said all along that I didn't want Sherlock to become James Bond! I feel so vindicated! :D Srsly, I don't think I'd thought of it specifically like that, but that is indeed what feels wrong to me about TFP; right characters, wrong universe. In a million years it would never have occurred to me to conflate Holmes and Bond, I've never understood why some people are so fascinated by the idea. Ah well. I have no quarrel with Moftiss, though, it's their show and I've derived hours and hours of pleasure from it. They can do with it what they like; just as I'm free to criticize their choices. ;)

 

I have to admit, though, if given the choice between having S4 and the golden gift (to me) that is TLD, or having no S4 at all and thus avoiding all it's flaws .... I'd choose the former.

 

Like I sad, I don't really have a good rational argument for choosing Magnussen, except maybe that he seems the most sane. At least Sherlock agrees with me that he is hate-worthy. Maybe I just despise him because my hero / fictional crush does. :lol:

 

​Agreed. Just like I accept Mary simply because Sherlock does. We are his mind-slaves. :D

 

Tough breaks for Amanda A., who I liked as Mary.  I did not like what Moftiss did with Mary, though.  They made her go through her paces like a stunt pony until they disposed of her in the story.  Perhaps *she* could have been the long-lost Holmes sister (non-psychotic variant) . . .and I would have felt gobs better about the final two seasons generally.

Yes, that bothered me too ... whether you liked Mary or not (and I did, very much), T6T made me feel she was introduced ONLY so Moffat could fulfill his childhood dream of writing Sherlock's best man speech. Then they used her to introduce a female bad ass into the story ... for ONE episode. After that they had no more use of her and disposed of her asap. 

 

I think that's another reason I loved TLD ... Mary has (to my mind) her proper function in that story. Too bad she was dead already, but also that made it more poignant, so hey. Like I said, it's their show, I'm grateful for the good bits and am trying to leave the rest in peace. :smile:

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I don't feel sympathy for Moriarty at all. And I think he is scary. But he's also fun to watch and Magnussen certainly isn't. At least not for me.

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Yup, it's their show. But you know that magic Steven Moffat was talking about recently? As he said, that's a joint effort between the writers, the actors, a whole bunch of other creative people, and the audience. I hope there will be more episodes, but if there are, I hope that the writers bear their original fans in mind, rather than continuing to reinvent the show.

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