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Everything posted by Hikari

  1. It was 6 weeks almost to the day. She was confirmed by HMTQ on September 6. As the last official duty performed by ERII, who I feel certain gave herself permission to let go of the reigns right afterwards, seeing as she passed a little more than 48 hours later . . what a shame that your third female PM couldn't last longer than that. Lord knows I'm not an economist, but I do wonder if Liz is nothing more than a scapegoat here. Usually it takes more than three weeks to entirely tank an economy, and I can't believe that everything is down to her. She only got what, 3 audiences with the new King? The premiership of GB is considerably more flexible in term than the American Presidency. Once a candidate gets into the White House, no matter how huge a disaster they are, they are guaranteed at least 4 years in office. There is the option of impeaching a sitting President for misconduct, which is not an automatic boot from office, but merely the court proceeding to determine if he/she is guilty of the charges. The process is so lengthy, laborious and politically charged that it's only been employed three times in our history for a President, in 1868, 1992 and 2021. All three were acquittals. An impeachment proceeding could easily drag out for a year or more, so in some ways, it's easier and less expensive/aggravating to the taxpayer to just let the term of office run out. Better luck next time, Great Britain! I could say the same thing about us across the Pond here, but I'm not optimistic. After the election of 2020 and what came afterwards, I have not been back to the polls. I have become a conscientious objector to the whole corrupt process of politics and am withholding my vote until someone appears who is worth voting for.
  2. I think we are approaching the Speedy's question from two divergent purposes. As I am not expecting any more Sherlock to materialize, with or without exterior shots of the facade we know and love as Speedy's, I was focusing on how the restaurant itself might be saved to thrive in the future as a going concern. Its Sherlock connection is what makes it unique as a selling point. I've not heard that there's anything special about it otherwise to distinguish it from any of the other hundreds of cafes in Central London alone. Were Mofftiss to, at this very tardy date, finally decide to squeeze out another season or even one measly holiday special, any production difficulties they'd experience as a result of waiting so long would not stir me to pity. I don't care what they do now; my sympathies are with the heroic cafe owner just trying to keep his head above water. It would be a very simple matter to insert already existing scenes of the facade from earlier episodes into new ones if they wanted establishing street shots of the outside of '221B Baker Street'. Which as we know, has its facade in North Gower Street and its interior at an airplane hangar in Wales. Apart from not being literally on Baker Street, Speedy's Cafe is not a constructed reality but it is exactly in real life what it plays in the show--a functioning cafe. A 'real' location is a precious part of television history and should be preserved. Certainly out of all their pooled and collective millions and millions of pounds the chief quartet has earned off of Sherlock and the part that Speedy's played in their cult success . . one might think they could at least help the struggling proprietor out with the rent. Even if the production paid a consideration to the business for use of its name and exterior, it was probably a pittance and it'd be long gone by now. Do you know if Chris was the original tenant when the show was running? A gesture like that would go some way toward mitigating the utter travesty that Season 4 was to me. I bet they could purchase the building outright and not even miss what it would cost. Martin Freeman's Hobbit residuals alone must be in the several hundred thousand pounds per year. Not to mention the roughly 6 movies a year Ben's been doing since the show wrapped. In a more perfect world, I'd have the money to give to Chris. I've always fancied London; wonder if there's a flat above the store? It's fun to fantasize about.
  3. I'm sorry to confuse you . . what I meant was the venue could be suitable for a memorial of that type *now*, if it had been obtained back then. As just one of the potential tie-in events they might have offered, if the space had been converted to such a use. Not to be exploitative or to make profit from something like that, but as a gathering place for fans of the show and the cast to cherish their memories. For something like a Benedict reading, they would have to issue tickets. It's just an idea I was floating but it quite obviously won't be happening.
  4. Chris both is a renter and is responsible for finding a buyer? Or did you mean that he just wants to hand over the cafe business irrespective of the building? The rent is obviously the killing factor, apart from the scarcity of staff. This is why the only way to save the business at its current location would be if someone with the clout (and pockets) to buy out that building in order to preserve it as a sort of living Sherlock tribute could be found. Where is Mycroft Holmes when we need him? There are two main problems to this: 1. Sherlock the show is not fondly looked upon by a lot of the dedicated hardcore disciples of the original Canon, the types that join the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and flock to Conan Doyle related sites. It's considered an upstart crow amongst purists. Without the support of at least some of those folks, high-profile ones like Stephan Fry or Anthony Horowitz, the cafe's tie to a now-defunct quite short-lived TV programme from the 2010s isn't enough to sustain it. Chris's current troubles are proof. 10, even 5 years ago, working at 'the' Speedy's from Sherlock would have been a plum gig, even for minimum wage. The fact that he can barely get staff means that among the demographic most likely to seek employment in a cafe, ie, the young folk, Sherlock isn't even on the radar anymore, hence there's no cachet attached to the location now that the show's been off the air for so long. That's how it usually is with TV--stay current or die or at best become relegated to nostalgia sites like this one. It's now been off the air as long as it was on, with huge gaps between seasons. 2. Circa 2012, at the height of Sherlock-mania, it was impossible to conceive that just a few short years later there'd be such a tremendous cooling off of commitment to the show from its writers and actors, but it was maybe inevitable. One Sunday evening in 2010, Benedict Cumberbatch was a virtually unknown jobbing actor and by the next morning he'd been catapulted into international superstardom literally overnight. Same with Martin Freeman, who was considerably better-known at the time but who was also rocketed onto the A-list in the blink of an eye. Beatlemania was before my time; me and Rubber Soul made our debuts the same year. Who could've predicted that just 5 years later, the band would be kaput? Inconceivable! But that level of fame and its attendant stresses is nearly impossible to sustain over the long term. It becomes monolithic and swallows you up whole. I think of Sherlock and the associated cult frenzy over the storylines and over the minutae of Benedict's personal life and movements in particular as a sort of Beatlemania for our time. The candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long. If we remove the gaps of 1-2 years between outputs, Sherlock only lasted half or less time than the Beatles did as a working band. What a run it was, though, when it was at its zenith. The Beatles will live on forever and ever, even though half of them have left us and the remaining two are near or past 80. Sherlock is destined to be relegated to 2010s pop culture ephemera, I'm afraid. Without putting too fine a point on it, Sherlock was essentially abandoned by the people who brought it forth and gave it life. Everyone got bored or fed up with it and moved on. It would have been awesome if a group of people affiliated with the series had thought, "Let's buy Speedy's and keep our brainchild alive." None of Mssrs. Gatiss, Moffat, Cumberbatch, Freeman or the Vertues might have wanted to commit to running a restaurant fulltime, understandably, but they could have gone in as a collective to purchase the building and the business and turn it into a destination spot for the show's fans with the right people helping them to run it. It's only a tiny venue but imagine the buzz there'd be if Cumberbatch dropped by for some readings from Conan Doyle, or if they had an annual memorial service there for Una and other members of the cast/crew that passed. The time to strike that iron would have been when it was hot . . 2017, which is the last time that Sherlock was on our screens. I think that ship has sadly sailed into the West, but we can pray for a miracle.
  5. Well, I had thought Speedy's was gone for good. Kudos to Chris for waging the good fight. I suppose Covid shutdowns have ultimately proved fatal to a lot of similar small businesses that were once thriving. Given the cult status of Sherlock I'm surprised that he hasn't been able to find a buyer, though. I would have thought the fans making the pilgrimage to see those locations would keep the business afloat. If the show were in the more recent past, maybe it would still, but the final season (to date) aired nearly 6 years ago now. I think the realistic and practical view is that there isn't going to be more Sherlock to save the business on its own, anytime soon or frankly ever. However, Sherlock Lives! His spirit is alive and well and he's still a flourishing cottage industry worldwide. If influential Sherlockians could band together in a common purpose, as they did to raise monies to save Undershaw from demolition, they could save Speedy's. The location would have to diversify. It could retain its identity as a cafe but it needs to be more--rent itself out for private parties or scion society meetings. Author Bonnie McBird is an American from L.A. but she splits her time between L.A. and London, where she's got a flat on Baker Street and presides as the doyenne of the Sherlock Holmes Breakfast Club. If she could be recruited to host some of her meetings at Speedy's . . if they could have some performative readings there, etc. , it might rise again. Maybe. As much as we loved the show, it has been a full decade since it was at its peak in quality. It was like lightning in a bottle and that kind of electric awesomeness wasn't destined to last.
  6. Definitely an homage to ACD's Holmes and Watson. Mr. Marcum is a purist non pareil and only recognizes the 'canonical' Holmes universe. He has dedicated his life to the Great Holmes Tapestry and 'discovering' new Holmes and Watson adventures--so long as they are plausibly within the era and the milieu created by ACD. Therefore Holmes and Watson must remain English gentlemen of the mid-late Victorian/Edwardian era, doing situationally appropriate things . . Sherlock Holmes therefore cannot morph into a Japanese woman, an inhabitant of the 21st century, blast off to Mars, etc. Mr Marcum also strenuously rejects the conception of Holmes as presented by Laurie R. King in her books. Laurie's got the era right but she's taken unforgiveable liberties in other areas, principally in having SH marry a half-American girl young enough to be his granddaughter and then promptly more or less disappear from the books altogether as time goes by. The story I mention, I think the title is aptly enough, "The Christmas Goose", is firmly in the ACD tradition. It is set early in the partnership, during one of the first Christmases the pair are at 221B. Initially the Christmas dinner was to be overseen by the kitchen girl, but she is trapped in quarantine after going to visit her family and is unable to come back to Baker Street to cook the goose that is rapidly in danger of going off. Under the circumstances the boys have no choice but to use Mrs. Hudson's kitchen, but rationalize that she wouldn't want them to starve. What does happen when she's gone she's better off not knowing and the duo and the Irregulars mostly have the place set to rights by the time she gets back.
  7. I can second my mate Herlock's recommendation of Denis O. Smith. For a wide selection of some of the best Holmes pastiche out there, try any volume of David Marcum's MX New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes anthologies. Collected in 32 volumes since 2015, averaging about 3 a year, that's over 700 new Holmes adventures to choose from. Quite a few of these are Denis's. I am still lost way back in the upper teens somewhere as I had to call a halt to my pastiche collecting. It was becoming obsessive and I've gotta say, these are all very thick books. 100% of the profits go to support Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home, Undershaw, which after having fallen into rack and ruin, has been renovated into a thriving school community for students with developmental disabilities, thanks in part to the proceeds from these books. There is also a Conan Doyle/Holmes museum/shrine on the site that welcomes the public when school is not in session. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=mx+sherlock+holmes&crid=29AWRQKU2P199&sprefix=MX+sherlock+ho%2Caps%2C81&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_14 The problem with choosing pastiches is not that there isn't enough to choose from--it's the reverse. There are seemingly dozens of new Sherlock Holmes projects being released annually in books, TV and film. Some of it stellar, a lot of it mediocre to terrible. I have zero interest in making Sherlock Holmes a space man on Mars, thank you. Off the top of my head, my very favorite story in the entire collection is in Book V: Christmas Adventures (2016) and details the carnage that ensues when Mrs. Hudson leaves her two bachelor tenants alone during the festive period because she's gone to see her niece who's having a baby. Left to their own devices, Sherlock and John decide that yes, a graduate chemist highly trained in forensic methodology and a top flight medical surgeon CAN handle preparing their own Christmas dinner with all the fixings. In this estimation, they are quite, quite wrong. Why is it that Sherlock Holmes can deduce a man's entire life history from his cuffs but firing up an oven stymies him altogether? Among his esoteric skills, cookery is not on the list, and Dr. Watson is equally hopeless. One might have expected a surgeon to have more fortitude when it came to cutting up a dead bird. Let's just say it's good that Mrs. Hudson was not at home to see what her two bachelors plus assorted street urchins did to the place while she was gone. Another favorite adventure, this from the collection "In the Company of Sherlock Holmes" (King and Klinger, eds.) is 'Dunkirk' by John Lescroart. During Operation Dynamo in May, 1940, a mysterious, very old but extremely vigorous gentleman, name of Sigerson, does his bit to evacuate the Dunkirk beaches to the amazement of everyone. Mark Rylance, who captained such a vessel in the Christopher Nolan movie of the same title really could have used Sigerson aboard and things would have turned out better for him and his crew.
  8. In the 1990s I taught English in Japanese middle schools for three years, introductory English for students in grades 7-9. My first year coincided with the debut of new English textbooks from the Japanese Ministry of Education, and the first lesson for the 7th graders was on mosquitoes, no lie. I actually learned something from this very basic lesson--that the female mosquitoes are the ones that bite because they need blood to lay their eggs. I thought it was a weird and less-than-engaging topic selection for a first lesson in English for 12-year-olds. Japan is a very humid country with lots of insects in the summer and rather sadistically in this 'gaijin's' opinion, they require their children to be in school until the end of July, in unairconditioned school buildings. So to be studying about mosquitoes in high summer was seasonally appropriate but not the kind of material that would make a kid say , "Wow, I love English!" I have A-type blood, so theoretically I should be the least delicious of all to mosquitoes. But I like to drink beer on my porch of a summer's evening so there's that. It's been so dry this summer I hardly saw any mosquitoes until the last few days after we finally got rain. Then they came right out like malignant fairies.
  9. My former next-door neighbor had poison ivy growing on the brick wall of the building next to his property, mixed in with the climbing ivy that he was trying to prune back because it was overgrowing into his area. He eschewed gloves and wound up with poison ivy all over his hands. His way of dealing with outbreaks of the stuff was to douse the affected areas in straight bleach. Yeah . . I was horrified too. How did he have any skin left? This is what 'first aid' looks like when you're a guy who grew up poor in the country.
  10. I didn't know that poison ivy doesn't grow in California so I learned something today. Would the resulting rash really look that different from poison oak? I'll leave that to Columbo. Thankfully, I've never had either but I don't get to do much hiking in woodsy areas. I think maybe ACD was surprised that the snake story was so popular. He puts it in his own top 10 but not even he thought it was his best work. Since he was writing to spec for magazine publication, he did have deadlines and also he was never that invested in his Holmes stories. I think he probably did more research for his historical novels which he was convinced would make his reputation. Holmes and Watson were just some ephemera that was going to end up in the bin or wrapping chips, so he thought. Joke's on him, because apart from 'The White Company', nobody much remembers his adventuring novels. He fancied himself the next Sir Walter Scott and I think Arthur was always rather miffed that he was best-known for the fictional detective he tried unsuccessfully to kill off. 'The LIon's Mane' is a pretty weak story as to the central 'crime' . . though as with a snake (or Jaws) I have a hard time blaming an animal for acting according to what comes naturally to it. In BAND, the true villain is Grimsby Rylott and the snake is only his weapon of choice. The Lion's Mane has no villain at all; just an unfortunate maritime accident. But I quite like the Lion's Mane because Sherlock narrates it and it shows a decidedly gentler fuzzier side to him. With no Watson around to show off for and be the 'thinking machine', Sherl is actually pretty down to earth in his retirement. I think daily swims and chatting up the neighbors got boring quite soon and SH went back into harness in Her Majesty's Secret Service. If ACD hadn't wanted to fold up the tent, we could have had lots more stories with Holmes. As it is, we have to rely on other authors to carry on and invent new adventures for Sherl.
  11. Hello . . not sure our new member has come back since the OP. I'd forgotten about the band of gypsies . . they are the red herring but the title itself, just like Conan Doyle did with 'The Lion's Mane' tells us upfront 'who' the killer is. I guess ACD was counting on the general ignorance of fauna when he came up with some of these titles. The Lion's Mane is an actual species of large jellyfish that inhabits the English channel among other places. Not having had the privilege of growing up in a marine area, I had no idea this animal existed but surely inhabitants of the English coast would be familiar? Hard to imagine ACD fooled his contemporary readers that had experience of sea life. Ditto this snake. I'm assuming the speckled band came from the subcontinent, seeing as there aren't any poisonous snakes native to the British Isles that I'm aware of. My herpetology is pretty non-existent, though. We've discussed before our mutual dislike of this story, I think. It's consistently ranked as the #1 fan favorite of the canon, and routinely appears in language arts textbooks geared to the middle school level. I think this is where I first read this story. I can see why it's chosen: It's a rip-roaring 'boys' adventure', and the case is much more simplistic than is usual in a Holmes tale. Most human beings have a natural aversion to snakes and this story conjures up a deliciously creepy/horrible scenario with a snake that can be enjoyed vicariously. The stepfather is a villain, but there is nothing that would be considered too risque for an audience of pre-teens. One does not tend to find Holmes fare like "The Solitary Cyclist" or "The Copper Beeches" so often in youth collections owing to the implication of sexual violence therein. Or heavens forfend, something like 'The Yellow Face'! There are some grand 'best friend bonding' moments between Holmes and Watson here but BAND is second-rate Holmes in my opinion, when it comes to the dialogue and the deductions. My favorite stories are more layered and complex and make the Great Detective work for his conclusions. In BAND it feels like Holmes sussed out the killer very soon and the rest of the story is him just padding it out for our (and Watson's) benefit.
  12. I agree. Season 2 with 'Lila' was particularly good. The reason we love Dexter is because, apart from his homicidal tendencies, he tries to be a good citizen. When Lila was stealing lawn ornaments from people's yards, Dex was soo uncomfortable. He can plan a meticulous knife murder, dismemberment and body disposal but he would never be all right with stealing stuff from people's yards. Dexter is only a danger to murderers--to the innocent, particularly women & children, he is he ultimate bodyguard. After the shocking finale of Season 4 (and its outstanding guest villain) the show started to go downhill. Season 5 was moderately interesting, with Lumen (and Jonny Lee Miller as the villain) but after that I really struggled to like anything that was going on. "Dexter"'s strength was its ensemble cast and I don't think the new show can compete on that level, but it might be interesting to see 'Harrison' grown up.
  13. Stumbling into this thread this morning is the first I've heard of the passing of Beryl Vertue. Beryl is a crystal that is found worldwide, but it seems to be a very popular girls' name in England. I had never really heard it before Beryl Markham (West with the Night) and then, Stephen's mother-in-law. And then I got into Sherlock Holmes stories and read "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet", one of the lesser-known tales which was a Conan Doyle favorite if not highly ranked among the public. From a stone website . . I'm not into chakras and stuff but this was quite appropriate for Ms. Vertue, in consideration of the prominence she achieved in a male-dominated industry and singlehandedly remade a lot of it. Beryl is the stone of overcoming obstacles. It holds light and uplifting energies that will help you ease the stress and anxiety that you’re feeling. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventure_of_the_Beryl_Coronet
  14. Not my personal preference . . . my preference would be to have the whole gang back together, including Mrs. Hudson. Using my powers of deduction, I rate the *likelihood* that all our actors will be 1. available at the same time, and 2. desirous of reuniting for further Sherlock episodes to be very minimal, at best. There are so many moving parts to this production, it was like moving heaven and Earth to get everyone back together for four consecutive series back when the show was hot. It's now 5 years since Season 4 aired. The fandom, here and elsewhere is continually discussing 'when' Season 5 can be expected. I think it's very much a case of 'IF, ever,' any more Sherlock episodes are forthcoming. While the team hasn't said absolutely that it will never happen, neither have they provided any positive affirmation that it will happen, either. 5 years in show business is a very long time. The handling of the last season was furthermore so controversial that it seemed to me that Moffat and Co. were *literally* torching the ship so as to get out of doing any more. This is just my opinion of course but I think it's actually quite pointless to keep on hoping for a Series 5 or anything like regularity in new programs. We will be lucky to get a one-off that most likely will not have all of the living cast members reconvening. Maybe, if the price is right and the scheduling gods are with everyone. It would be simpler to do a Sherlock-only story in terms of moving parts. I really don't think Cumberbatch and Freeman are on such great terms any more, but professionalism might reign, for the right amount of money. Ben and Martin, to a lesser extent, are probably getting out of the reach economically in terms of what they can command, of a TV show with a relatively modest budget. I've got no insider intel; I'm just trying to be realistic.
  15. Ben is a current Oscar nominee for Power of the Dog and it's highly doubtful that, even if he had an enthusiastic desire to return to the small screen as Sherlock for a Series 5--a desire which it must be said has not been displayed by any of the principal cast or crew--his availability for shooting has got to be nil right now. That ostensible air date is only 6 months, give or take in the future. Without even a shooting script or verifiable commitments from any of the actors, I have to call this sheer fantasy. Even though this article was purported published only last month, it has the feel of something recycled from an earlier time. If Ben wins Best Actor, which is a plausible outcome, even though no amount of wild horses will ever drag me to see this film, I think it must be accepted that both principal actors and the Sherlock producing team have all firmly moved on to the next stage of their lives. "Sherlock" had its heyday and it was, for a brief and shining few years, one of the best things ever produced for television. I think it's firmly in the rear view for all parties concerned, except for its bereft and obsessive fans who can't let the dream die. Cumberbatch and Mofftiss have all made suitable noises at various times about reconvening for more episodes at some vague point in the future, perhaps when Holmes and Watson are 'in their 50s', as were the pair in the Granada TV series. Hope may spring eternal; in the meantime there's still money to be made in syndication deals & merch. I'm not sure that the headliner pair is keen to either reprise their signature roles or work together that closely again, but I may yet be surprised. At this point in time, my personal opinion is that we have got all the "Sherlock" we are going to get, unless a holiday special might be arranged, in the vein of "The Abominable Bride". That would be more likely than a return to shooting three features back to back to back. It's not uncommon for British TV shows, even great hits, to have long gaps in their production schedules (eg. "The Vicar of Dibley", who had a 20-year-run altogether, but factoring in the hiatuses of years at a time only ended up averaging one episode a year), but there was something very au courant about this iteration of Sherlock that I don't think will be repeated. Any more Sherlock episodes or stand-alones would take on the air of a tribute to our late, great Mrs. Hudson, so maybe they can squeeze out one more show in honor of Una. I said in an earlier comment that I wouldn't mind seeing Benedict 'move to Sussex' and take on the two Watson-free cases of the canon, "The Lion's Mane" and "The Blanched Soldier." Both cases are a bit too small on their own to make an entire feature length but they could be combined into one 90-minute holiday special. It'd be hilarious if Sherlock could run into his neighbor, Janine . . .and maybe Molly and her boyfriend du jour and Lestrade could all come on down for a week-end, even if Dr. Watson is a no-show. They could explain John's absence by saying that after Rosie went to boarding school full-time and he was a bit of an empty-nester, he decided to join Doctors Without Borders to scratch that itch for international adventure. If he were posted to Kabul or Kyiv or somewhere, he'd have to send his regrets over not joining the old gang. It's a nice idea. It's not going to happen like that, but it would if I were in charge of the writers' room.
  16. I watched the first episode of Dexter: New Blood since it was available for free. I was not impressed. I really loved the original show until it went off the rails in the final season. It might sound weird, considering that I was rooting for Dexter all along, but if he had died in the finale saving his loved ones, I could have said that was the best possible ending for him. I find that I just simply do not care now what happens because I had already killed him off in my mind.
  17. Even though I have Hulu and Amazon Prime, I spend most of my time aimlessly scrolling though YouTube videos every night. My concentration seems to be shot. I will begin a show or a movie and I either doze off after 20 minutes or I get bored and revert to YT or Facebook. Among an alleged wealth of choices . . .nothing appeals. I've taken to looking up old favorites available for free on YouTube like Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders. I tell myself every month I need to cancel the streaming because I'm certainly not getting my money's worth. Recently I re-watched a series I had purchased a couple of years ago--the Japanese HBO Asia "Miss Sherlock". Made with care and innovation by a team that obviously knows their Holmes canon, this contemporary adaptation with an all-female detective duo translates remarkably well. The edgy short format feels like "Elementary" but the partnership in that show never gelled for me. The crafting of the stories in "Miss Sherlock" as well as the chemistry among the cast feels more like the BBC Sherlock. It's the best of both recent adaptation predecessors, with a uniquely Japanese twist. Tragically, Yuko Tameuchi (Sherlock) took her own life in 2020 so there will be no more Miss Sherlock forthcoming.
  18. Have you? 🙃 I don't have 'scientific data' as such about this but I think the fact that tea is considerably less popular in the United States than coffee can be directly traced to the Incident in Boston Harbor, 1773. Actually that was the culmination of a long-simmering grievance against His Majesty King George III for the Stamp Act, enacted 8 years previously that made the price of certain goods imported from the mother country and her dominions exorbitantly expensive. I'm not sure why coffee was not likewise affected, since it comes from the same regions as tea. Neither crop is indigenous to North America. But ever since then, hardcore patriots eschewed tea as the beverage for Tory sympathizers and coffee became Americans' choice. In recent years, tea culture has really taken off in the States. "Downton Abbey" may have helped there, and I see that coffee is gaining traction in the UK. So maybe our two countries have in fact gotten past our little kerfluffle.
  19. That was me saying it, but Sherlock would have echoed those sentiments. Hate to break it to you, but despite being iconoclastic in other regards, SH was (is, if you play the Game) a monarchist. He shot a tribute to Victoria Regina in his sitting room wall (technically Mrs. Hudson's sitting room wall), and a lot of his cases were in support of the Crown, especially ones we didn't hear about. I'm confident that were SH around today (Gamers insist he still is), he would be a loyal subject to VR's successor, Elizabeth Regina, though he might be less keen on Charles. I'm an American, and so am an arch Republican, too. Just saying that ACD wrote Holmes to be a monarchist. He's not abrasively political and hectoring about it. Politics bores him, but he does love his Queen. Watch how he and Watson handle a bunch of Royal hecklers at the opera in "Murder by Decree". A love for the Queen is something the Baker Street flatmates have resolutely in common.
  20. Many happy returns of the day to Mr. Sherlock Holmes, 168 years old today. God save Her Majesty and her most devoted servant and consulting detective. Tonight I shall be finishing the "Blue Carbuncle" episode of Grenada Sherlock to celebrate.
  21. Jonathan Creek (BBCTV - 1997 - 2004, with intermittent specials until 2016) takes its name from its eponymous detective, a socially-awkward but brilliant young man (Alan Davies) with exuberant curly hair who lives in a windmill and earns his living by working as an 'engineer of illusions' for a professional stage magician, Adam Klaus, who's as stupid as he is narcissistic. Klaus is the showman and Jonathan is the guy who actually invents the tricks that are performed on stage. Jonathan has a distinctive personal style and lives very intensely for his work, just like another Detective we know. Like that other Detective, he also has a close association with someone who is very good with words on paper, investigative journalist Maddy Magellan (Carolyn Quentin). Maddy is the polar opposite of Jonathan in every way: apart from being female, she's brash, loud, pushy and being very fond of food in general and junk food in particular, quite zaftig. JC, in true Sherlock form is rarely, if ever, seen actually consuming food. He is more laconic than Sherlock Holmes, but just as observant, with a brain wired up to dismantle the mysteries of science, for entertainment purposes and also in how they relate to the commission of crime. Jonathan is the most reluctant of consulting detectives, being the shy and retiring sort that is happiest working in solitude on his illusions, but Maddy on the track of a potential story is a force of nature that drags Jonathan along in her wake, oftentimes in a literal sense. The centerpiece of the show, and the star detective's personal specialty is solving seemingly bizarre crimes (many of them deaths) which have, to all appearances, taken place under impossible conditions--a twist on the classic 'locked room murder'. Jonathan is a modern update on Sherlock Holmes's maxim that 'Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.' Who better to unravel 'impossible' mysteries than a man whose day job it is to concoct impossibilities for gullible audiences? Using his professional skills, Jonathan unpicks the threads of various crime scenes by working backwards from the result, a similar deductive process he uses when constructing his stage tricks. The writing and situations are often clever but the real strength of the show is its appealing leading man and his dynamic with his 'Watson'. Additional opportunities for comedy arise from Maddy's actively desiring Jonathan as more than just a collaborator in crime-solving. For his part, though his association with Maddy has certainly made his insular existence more varied and interesting, Jonathan finds her overwhelming in too intensive doses and he is certainly Not Interested in anything like That. Despite an increasingly frustrated Maddy's most transparent efforts to make plain her availability for Whatever, Jonathan is not tuned to that frequency. A bit like Someone Else we could mention. Carolyn Quentin departed the show after three seasons to helm her own detective series, Blue Murder (another recommend from me), and Maddy's spot was filled by Julia Sawalha, playing another character. At this point the charm of the show wore off for me and I did not continue, though some of the Christmas specials were good. But if you are looking for a late-1990s update on the Golden Age of Crime locked-room mystery, a cosy procedural with a modern sensibility and a charming comedy-romance with some darker undertones, Jonathan Creek fits the bill.
  22. Jonathan Creek is a delightful show . . at least the first three seasons were. I will have to dig up my review of the series. JC is decidedly in the Sherlock mold, with nods to "Columbo" and a sort of prototype of Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory.' He's got a 'Watson', and the dynamic between them was really cute. When Caroline Quentin left to head up her own series, Alan Davies was paired with a series of different partners and it never quite gelled with the same results.
  23. Now watch that and tell me you don't want to see it immediately!
  24. I have been revisiting a favorite older show currently streaming on Amazon Prime. I first discovered the show via Netflix, and purchased my own DVDs because I liked it so much. My remote died and my DVDs are temporarily inaccessible so I'm viewing on streaming. Some 'revisionist' editions of classic shows don't work, but this one works brilliantly. THE MUSKETEERS (BBC 2014-2016-30 episodes This brisk and cheeky update of the Dumas classic finds the swashbuckling boys in top form. Athos (Tom Burke), Porthos (Howard Charles), Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) & the 'baby', D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) are the King's bodyguard in the court of Louis XIII (Ryan Gage) and his Queen, Anne (Alexandra Dowling). We learn much more about the Musketeers than we ever did before including the fact that Milady d'Winter (Maimie McCoy), the sociopathic assassin employed by the Cardinal Richelieu (Peter Capaldi) to do his dirty work is the estranged wife of Athos, the tormented nobleman who walked away from his birthright as a gentlemen squire to lead the Musketeer regiment . . and that the long-awaited Dauphin of France is actually the son of Aramis, who has a brief passionate (and entirely treasonous) liaison with his Queen after he saves her life multiple times. This Porthos is biracial, in a nod to the author's heritage, and is the secret, unacknowledged son of a French aristocrat. The virtuous yet sassy Constance Bonacieux (the awesome Tamla Kari) is married to a pompous and overbearing draper and struggles with her feelings for D'Artagnan, while functioning as a sort of den mother to the rough and tumble boys. Peter Capaldi, with a mustache and beard that makes him resemble a schnauzer dog is an excellent malevolent Richelieu, the King's First Minister, who is secretly plotting with agents of Spain. Unfortunately for the show, Capaldi left after the first season to assume the mantle of the 12th Doctor, so Season 2 opens with the funeral of the Cardinal. His slimy lieutenant Comte de Rochefort (Marc Warren) steps ably into his place as the top court villain, but lacks Capaldi's charisma. Rochefort is also in love with the Queen, so things are going to get sticky for Aramis. As the King and Queen, Gage and Dowling are by turns petulant and entitled and touchingly vulnerable. Gage in particular has a tricky part and has to find the lost man under the foppish buffoon. We get frustrated with Louis in his more obtuse moments but never hate him. He is a victim of an upbringing of immense privilege, yet devoid of a father or any maternal love. He is a man-child with occasional flashes of nobility, and a very erratic boss indeed, but ultimately loveable despite it. The costumes and locations (shot in Prague, on a reconstruction of medieval Paris that looks sublime) are fantastic. The musical score rocks, including one of the catchiest opening titles in all of television. The actors all attended "Musketeer Camp" prior to shooting to learn how to ride and competently embody the fencing and fighting scenes, so it looks authentic. While there is a slightly modern sensibility in the dialog and relationships between characters (Milady and Constance as protofeminists, etc.) it is not done to an extreme that tends to mar other period dramas that attempt to be too 'modern'. We still feel like we are in France, circa 1600s, with better hygiene and beautiful teeth. Did I mention the clothes? Fantastic. Each Musketeer has his own signature variation on the 'uniform' that rarely changes but the ladies' fashions (and it must be said, those of the King) are off the chain gorgeous. Each one-hour episode flies by. Each Musketeer is loveable in his own way, but my favorite has always been the quiet, brooding leader with the dark side and the secret pain, Athos (these Musketeer names are 'nommes de guerre' . . in another life, Athos was known as the Comte de la Faire, with a grand estate. He is, one supposes, slightly older than the rest of his comrades, and is the acknowledged best swordsman in the regiment. He functions as a mentor to the fiery impulsive youth D'Artagnan who gets his Musketeer commission from the King at the end of the first season. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Tom Burke is the only child of Granada Watson Prime, David Burke, and he is the series' troubled heart as Athos. (Smokin' hot as well) Burke, Sr. has a supporting role as a priest in an episode modeled on another Dumas classic, 'The Man in the Iron Mask.' Each Musketeer has his own fan club, and each one of our actors is a perfect match to his character. They are all hot, so it's a buffet of riches.
  25. Surprised BC was willing to put himself through the nicotine poisoning route again for a movie role . . .he went through the same thing during 'Scandal in Belgravia' filming, as I recall. As far as I know, American film productions are required by law to use non-tobacco (herbal) cigarettes during filming. Health and safety. Herbals are not without some side effects but they are not considered tobacco products and thus are permissible. Having seen the trailer, my impression is that this is essentially a riff on "Brokeback Mountain" with young (underage?) Kodi Smit-McPhee in the Heath Ledger role as the initiate into the particular love between men. There at least seems to be a homosexual undercurrent to 'Phil's' interactions with the boy, who he mocks mercilessly for being effeminate because he's secretly attracted to him. I don't *know* for sure that this is the way it goes, but Jane Campion is known for treading the sexual edge in all her movies. BC's current pictorial spread/lengthy interview in The Hollywood Reporter, entitled "The Age of Cumberbatch" shows Bendi decidedly playing around with a pansexual aura, to say the least. I will be recusing myself from seeing this movie. Not interested. I did see Brokeback Mountain and thought it was a sad but ultimately touching love story. I don't get the vibe of 'ultimately touching' or in any way life-affirming from this.
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