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Everything posted by Hikari

  1. Look at you! Congratulations! I have 125 posts to go, evidently. At my current rate, that is going to take me 5 years. You seem to have been super busy while I've been absent. The other night, I dug out my Sherlock 2 set and went 'round the dance floor again with A Scandal in Belgravia. We are approaching 5 years since the last episode aired. I think back to this time 10 years ago, when we here Stateside had just discovered 'the best thing on television' . The following summer, 2012, was probably the height of my Sherlock addiction. I consumed fan vids on YouTube like a madwoman and ventured into the . . .stimulating . . world of fan fiction. That was the high water mark. Having watched all the episodes many, many times, and able to quote blocks of the script verbatim, I find that all these years on, I may have overdosed on Sherlock to the point where it's become rote rather than enjoyable. I truly envy everyone who is just discovering this show, or who are still delighted by repeat viewings. I will hang onto my DVDs and perhaps share them with a newbie in the future--that would be the portal to rediscovering what was so captivating about this show in the first place. Right now, I am not feeling it any more. I need a new drug.
  2. I have not seen this posted yet but here seems to be the appropriate place. All best wishes and prayers to Her Majesty, the Royal family, the UK and the Commonwealth on the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. This week just past has been a pretty mournful one for me ever since I heard of his passing on 9 April. Elizabeth and her consort have been, like the stars, two fixed points for all of us who do not know a world where she hasn't been the Queen, with him two steps behind. With the passing of 'The Iron Duke', reminders of our own mortality are inevitable. I watched the supremely moving funeral on Saturday, and it lost no power despite having to be stripped down due to Covid. The Queen looked very tiny and frail as she sat alone in the quire. The seat beside her, normally filled by her husband was poignantly empty. The Queen is a very strong lady, and I fully expect her to be here next year for her Diamond Jubilee (?) and her 100th birthday, but it cannot be too much longer now before London Bridge follows the Bridge of Forth and goes down. If you missed the service, the whole thing is available on YouTube. I recommend the BBC coverage. There are any number of documentaries also available about Philip and his extraordinary life. Like his predecessor, Prince Albert, he truly was a Renaissance man. It is easy to see why the Queen fell for him at the age of 13 and never looked at anyone else.
  3. Ooh, yeah. I had forgotten exactly how Kutner left the show. Kal Penn is alive and well and helped get his guy into the White House. I think he went on to have a role in the Administration. That seems like eons ago . . . ! Despite owning the box set, I don't think I made it all the way to the end--Lisa Edelstein got other work, I imagine. After you are done binging House, you might be interested in Dexter. It's not really a 'Whodunnit'. It's more a 'Who Done It is Gonna Have It Done to Him'. Imagine if Moriarty found a way to turn his penchant for violence into a sort of wild justice . . that is Dexter Morgan. As a toddler, he experienced the worst trauma imaginable and as a result he has grown up with serial killer tendencies. But as a grown up working as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami PD (Dex loves his work) he's still moonlighting as a serial killer--only, he only targets other killers. To get under Dex's knife you have to have committed heinous murders yourself. Innocent people are in no danger from Dexter and in fact he is extremely protective of normal civilians, especially women and children. A cuddly serial killer? Fact.
  4. I got a good deal on a box set and am now working my way through Season 5. I had seen some of the later seasons, but not from the beginning, because I had never seen any of Rob Lowe's tenure. He left, ostensibly over a salary dispute but I think in tandem with that was his dissatisfaction with the size of his role. The show was rolled out as a star vehicle for him, on the strength of his Brat Pack movie star reputation. Out of the entire cast, only he and Martin Sheen were known stars. The first season was fairly Sam-centric. He carries a large portion of the pilot. Over time, Sam's appearances got fewer and shallower until sometime in Season 4 Sam went to California to run for Congress, never returned and was never mentioned again after he filled his own job with Will Bailey (Joshua Malina). The show shifted to featuring President Bartlet more, which was a good move, seeing as Martin Sheen is a charismatic actor, but also shifted to favoring Toby Ziegler and Josh Lyman hardcore. Sam got forced out. There is too much Toby and Josh for me since I find both of these characters like sand in my underwear. I think I would have liked the show better, and Rob Lowe probably would have as well, if he and Bradley Whitford had switched roles. Rob Lowe's mistake was in accepting the job when his character's title was only 'deputy communications director'. He should have said, 'Drop the Deputy' and I'm in. How was a 'deputy' supposed to be the centerpiece of an ensemble drama when nearly every other character except the clerical staff was more interesting and more powerful than Sam Seaborn? Sam had a sweet and goofy demeanor that was unexpected, and I miss him. I really liked him and Ainsley Hayes together. Emily Procter left to take the second lead on CSI: Miami, and I can't blame her for that. This is a political fantasy only loosely tethered to actual West Wing operations, so they can do what they like, but in the real world, I question that the 'Deputy Communications Director' and the 'Deputy Chief of Staff' would be cable news TV stars with their own groupies seeking autographs AND taking meetings with high ranking Senators to browbeat them into voting according to the President's agenda. That is a legislative function; since when is the junior speechwriter at the White House deputized to act like a minority whip? I guess I remain uncertain about to what degree the Chief of Staff and *his* staff are responsible for not just executing policy but making it. Josh and Toby seem to wield a lot of power which seems Cabinet-level. Advising the President in-house and lobbying votes on the Hill are two different functions. After the fourth season, Aaron Sorkin departed the show, apparently due to a severe drug problem. He had been in recovery and the pressures of cranking out the show caused him to relapse. I've enjoyed the nostalgia tour of a time when America had more faith in the Office of the President, but there are only a select few episodes, maybe 10, that I would think was worth revisiting. C.J. Cregg is my heroine, though. Grace under pressure, wit, and always impeccably suited. From now on when faced with a stressful, crazy day, I'll ask myself "How would C.J. handle this?"
  5. Cameron has too much moral integrity to thrive according to House's playbook, but it sure doesn't help that she was so tentative in herself and transparently crushing on her boss. Cameron is a Molly; useful dogsbody in the lab but House doesn't regard her as anything else. Of the first batch of Irregulars, I only ever thought Omar Epps projected enough gravitas to be a doctor. I could accept that Foreman was a gifted doctor. House clashed with him so often because he represented a rival. Maybe Foreman is Athelney Jones or Gregson. Not 'Wiggins' because he's not that deferential. Maybe Chase is the 'Billy'. Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison came across as actors playing doctors. Some of the next batch of interns were not as appealing as people, but they made for good doctors. Kutner departed the show mid-season because Kal Penn was tapped to work on the Obama campaign. Based on the number of cracks House makes constantly about Cuddy's rack, he is definitely looking. Though her blouses make it impossible not to.
  6. You and I talked about this before; I also think Cuddy was the Woman. At least, she seemed to be the only person House semi-respected, even when he was clashing with her. He might have feared her a little bit, too. I feel that he respected Cuddy more than he did his Watson. He abused Wilson constantly but he toed more of a line with Cuddy, and not just because she was the 'boss'. She's the sharpest brain in the hospital besides his. Lisa Edelstein is an attractive woman, but it always bugged me that Cuddy's clothes were always so tight. With her oversized lollipop head and her tight, sex-kittenish costumes on a very thin body, Lisa E. looked like a live action anime character at times. She certainly did not dress like any hospital administrator I've ever encountered. I've been working my way through The West Wing lately. In the first season, which aired in 1999, a very young-looking Lisa E. has a recurring role as Sam Seaborn's (Rob Lowe) girlfriend. The wrinkle is--she's a prostitute. It's a cute scene: After their first-night stand, Sam takes her cell phone by mistake because it's identical to his. Then he gets a call and thinking it's his phone, calls the number back and gets her escort agency. So--he's got a hooker's phone and she's got the White House deputy communication director's phone--awkward! She did not tell him she was a working girl because she liked him so much she went home with him for free. By day, she is studying for the bar. I can imagine a part-time job as a prostitute may come back to haunt an attorney in the future but her role didn't go past her law school graduation. Sam has to of course disclose this relationship to his bosses, and the papers get wind of it . . it's all a bit of a mess for Sam. A few years later, Lisa got the job as Cuddy. Amber was who, then? House was attracted to *her* because she was smart, but she was also as ruthless and conniving as he himself was. A female version of him. Being an egomaniac, of course that would make her attractive to him, his mirror image. Maybe Cuddy and Amber together were meant to represent different facets of Irene Adler? Amber would be Adler as played by Lara Pulver. Cuddy was the Woman, but she was also Lestrade--House's contact with 'officialdom', and the gateway to all his cases and his continued employment as a consultant in that environment. House had a very fraught relationship with his father . . who might stand in for Siger Holmes . . .or for Mycroft, as a the family connection with the superior power to his. As for the 'Moriarty'--I did not see that as any one individual. House's Moriarty was in fact, his addiction. It was seductive, it was his dark side . . and it was much more powerful and crafty than he because of the things it made him do. The characters who were antagonistic could be considered the minor villains like Culverton Smith or Grimsby Rylott or Milverton . . but the Master Villain was Vicodin. The members of his staff who were antagonistic like Vogler could be construed as 'the Scotland Yarders' who resent Holmes. The ones who venerate House are his Irregulars.
  7. Congrats, Herl. Or should I say, condolences? As others have mentioned, the show declined somewhat in quality over such a long run. With the arrival of all the new interns, the intimate feeling of the original team was lost. I liked some of the new characters, but others were a trial. House stopped being the charming addict and descended into being just a full-time arseh*le. Addicts do that--use everyone without regard for the consequences. I really started to lose steam after the extended bit of House in rehab doing a musical. I'm sure Hugh Laurie won any number of Emmys (our TV BAFTA). His transformation into a gruff American renegade was really something to see. Question: Who do you see as 'the Woman' for House? Does he have one? I'm pretty sure that Elementary lifted the idea that Holmes sees prostitutes recreationally as a means of tending to the physical instrument. There's a scene in an early episode where House is at the OTB shop and he meets the eye of a Rubenesque brown sugar lady and they exchange knowing smiles. This was one of his birds of the night and based on the look she gave him, it must have been an outstanding night, even for a professional.
  8. The BAFTAs are separate from the Queen's Honours Lists. Though the BAFTAs do reward television work--hence our Ben and Martin (and Andrew Scott), and Mofftiss all winning in their categories--and though Mr. Brett was deserving of a TV BAFTA for the Granada Sherlock Holmes series, I am more upset about JB not being recognized in the Queen's Honours Lists, ever, over such a distinguished career. That feels like a bigger insult to me, seeing as Jeremy did view himself as far more than 'a TV actor'. At heart he was a thespian of the stage, classically trained, with the kind of deep Shakespearean chops and roles that seem to be prerequisite for an acting knighthood. He didn't even rate one of the lower ranks like the OBE. A BAFTA is great, while it lasts, but unless it's a lifetime achievement award, is for one specific role or project. A spot on the Honours list rewards the longevity of a career and the lasting impact of a talent across roles and even mediums. Jeremy should have been honoured at some point over his decades of service to the British stage and screen. He saw himself as far more than Sherlock Holmes, but that role, over such a long span of time, really defined that quintessentially British icon for all time. If being 'the' definitive Sherlock Holmes for a generation (if not all time, though he is to me) doesn't rate a Royal Honour, I don't know how he could have been *more* exemplary.
  9. If we anoint thee Sir Herlock of Sholmes, will that make you feel better? I was surprised at the number of Americans who have received honors from Her Majesty. I can understand giving honorary titles to the American Presidents, but . . Ralph Lauren? If honors can be passed out like candy to American pop culture figures, then it was a grievous oversight that Mr. Brett, one of the finest stage and screen actors the UK has ever produced, not to mention, the definitive Holmes, a British icon if ever there was one, was never recognized for his contributions to the performing arts. Had he lived longer and continued in better health, he may have gotten his KBE--but if Kenneth Branagh could be made a KBE when he was only 50 . . . I'd say Jeremy Brett had done as much for British acting by that age as Ken had, and in the classical milieu as well. The theatre world is rife with homosexuality so it wasn't JB's sexuality that would have excluded him; do we suppose he might have been discriminated against due to his mental illness? That is not terribly rare in the theatrical world, either. Those same qualities which make performers so dynamic, charismatic and fearless in the pursuit of entertaining audiences are very often the flip side to bipolar disorder. A great many American child stars who grew up on Disney and Nickelodeon and went on to stratospheric fame as adult performers are in fact bipolar--Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Lovato, Amanda Bynes--to name just a few that have had highly public mental breakdowns in recent years. Jeremy was not alone in suffering from this disease in his profession. Show business attracts a disproportionate number of the mentally afflicted, I think, because of the nature of it: Performers have to be tight-rope walkers, performing without a net for audiences, and chameleons, becoming different characters, sometimes within the same production. Those who love the thrill of danger and of being the center of attention gravitate to performing, but the same qualities that make them gifted and exciting to watch are facets of their illness and not conducive to a calm and measured approach to life that promotes good mental health and well-being. The erratic hours, too many parties, too much indulgence of things that are not good for one just make any underlying mental conditions worse. Somebody with mental health challenges needs a steady routine, healthy diet, regular hours, exercise, low stress, calm. Supportive friends who advocate for healthy living and who aren't always in constant professional competition with one. In short, the opposite of how an actor or other show business type lives--particularly if he or she is famous. Wiki has a really exhaustive list of persons who have refused a Royal honor of any sort. Surprised to find Rudyard Kipling on this list. Has there been a British author who championed British Empire more? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_who_have_declined_a_British_honour The most high-profile refusal of a knighthood from the Queen would have to be Peter O'Toole, who was protesting on political grounds, being from Northern Ireland. I think it is pretty well de rigueur to do so. But here's a list of 11 others who have done the same. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/29904/10-famous-people-who-turned-down-knighthood Mysecond favorite knighthood story is probably apocryphal and is more like a cosplay knighthood. It was several years ago now that singer Ed Sheeran appeared doing the rounds of talk shows with a visible cut on his face. He had an entertaining anecdote about how he got the injury. While attending a raucous party with Princess Beatrice of York in attendance, the duo were horsing around with a decorative ceremonial sword that got taken down off the wall and used by Princess Bea in a mock knighting ceremony of Sir Edward, Lord of Sheeran. Everyone concerned was well-lit and Ed claims that the sword slipped and Bea accidentally cut his face. There actually is a photo of a giggling PB holding a sword and Ed kneeling on the ground in front of her. Fellow party guest, singer James Blunt, being a more mature (and sober) man saw what happened and refutes this version of events. Yes, there was a mock knighting, apparently but Ed actually got the cut on his face when he fell face first drunk into a coffee table and cut himself on an object on the table, whether bottle opener, bottle cap, ashtray or other. James didn't seem terribly impressed with Ed's state of inebriation and probably didn't care to have Princess Beatrice unfairly blamed for nearly putting Ed's eye out. First place favorite knighthood was seeing Sir Rod of the Stewart receive his KBE from Prince William. Both gentlemen were absolutely tickled to be there. Hard to tell who was fan-boying more. Pretty large moment for William, too, I imagine. This was probably one of the first times he was deployed to stand in for Granny in this manner.
  10. Got my second dose of Pfizer on Thursday. Had yesterday off from work, which was just as well. I had no major side effects, but I definitely felt this one more. The first jab was nearly undetectable, but the second one was a real Ow. Felt like a bee sting. I had the same nurse as before, so I don't think it was her technique. Other people reported the same thing. Immediately after I got back from the observation period, I put a cold pack on my arm for 2 hours and took three Tylenol. My arm still got sore, but doing this bought me about three additional hours before that happened. It wasn't more painful than before, but it has definitely lasted longer. First time was 24 hours almost to the dot. I'm in hour 47 now and I can still feel a little pain when I lift my arm. I switched up arms so this time was in my dominant one (the right). I developed a headache between my eyes around 9 or 10 pm that night that lasted for a couple of hours; I took 3 more Tylenol before I went to sleep. No problems sleeping; no night sweats, chills or fever. At worst, I felt tired, heavy and stiff. Kind of like you do when you've got a cold, except there wasn't any congestion or coughing. I had a stuffy head for a little while when I first lay down, but that went away. That might have also been from dust mites or the seasonal change in temps. All in all, not bad. I'm glad I didn't have to work the next day but I think I could have, if required--though pushing it may have made me feel worse than I did at home. It was a great excuse to lay in bed for most of the day watching movies, in between bouts of making food. My appetite seemed normal, but I tried to eat fairly light over the two days because I didn't want a lot in my stomach in case I felt pukey. I didn't. I would advise, if feasible, that anyone getting the second shot (or the first, in the case of J&J) schedule a sick day for the following day. My employer was generous in allowing us an hour each time on the clock to get the shots without having to take time. I was prepared to get more ill, so I would have taken a sick day if I hadn't been off already. You most likely will feel pretty OK, though you might not feel up to your usual activities and will just want to sleep or relax. If you do have to work, at least try to take a half-day or do lighter activities if you can. If your job involves being on your feet a lot or heavy lifting, probably best to avoid that first day after. I'm at work today and I feel fine now.
  11. Seems very likely, Herl. Though Moffat may not have been referencing TLSHS in particular that time. Isn't there a passage (or more than one) in a story/stories in which other characters (I'm thinking Lestrade and Watson), and even SH himself muse on what Holmes might have done if he'd opted to turn his prodigious mind to committing crimes instead of solving them? I'm sure there is, but I couldn't tell you where it appears just now. The Reichenbach Fall presents us with a scenario where Moriarty, posing as 'Rich Brook' convincingly casts doubt upon Sherlock's sanity and makes himself into a figment of SH's imagination as far as others are concerned. Watson & Molly are the only ones who have actually met 'Jim' to know any different. The scene on the roof of Barts could be read as the two sides of Sherlock's nature dueling it out for supremacy "Just because I'm on the side of the angels, don't think for a moment that I AM one of them". There's a very similar handling of the character of Moriarty and an eerily similar visceral shock ending to this episode as in Dibdin's story, wherein one of the main characters makes a shocking choice to self-annihilate for an ultimate goal. Sherlock Holmes always redeems himself in the end; even Mr. Dibdin put that in. Sally may be a good policewoman; Lestrade certainly relies on her, and she's his right-hand officer, so she's got skills, apparently. But they are hard to discern owing to her really unprofessional behavior toward Sherlock. It may be human to think of him as Freak, because, let's be honest--his personality and methods are completely his own, openly defiant of proper police procedure and equally antisocial in presentation. But Donovan and Anderson fan the flames with their snarky insults and open hostility and jealousy toward their boss's civilian consultant. They behave in an unprofessional, childish manner toward him and that only succeeds in bringing out the worst in SH. If they would have been polite in their dealings with him, one supposes that he might have given more politeness back to them. Sherlock is fully aware of social norms; when he ignores them and insults people, that is a conscious choice. I actually think he secretly relishes being called Freak and knowing that he gets under their skin that much. But you are correct that such verbal bullying is unacceptable behavior from law enforcement officers, and it's a failing of Lestrade's leadership as their boss that he didn't nip that in the bud earlier. He could have made it plain that Donovan & Anderson, as the two senior members of his team, could either be professional toward the consultant or be assigned to another division after a disciplinary leave and obligatory seminar on appropriate language in the workplace. That said, Donovan was right to force her boss to confront the valid possibility that his pet consultant might actually be responsible for the very crimes he was purportedly investigating. Donovan is a good officer in other respects, but she's always been such a b--- to Sherlock that it's hard to accept her criticisms of him as anything less than sour grapes. Lestrade is too indulgent of SH because he likes him, and he's far more likely to excuse SH's flaws. Sherlock gets results but at a great cost to Lestrade personally and to his division with the unconventional behavior and the animosity he sows among Lestrade's official subordinates. Greg gives the unpaid civilian a LOT of leeway, probably harming his own advancement in the process, and displays pretty blatant favoritism toward him. He calls in SH at the drop of a hat, undermining the morale of his actual team who are all sworn officers and can't get away with most of the cr*p that SH pulls--like B&E--because they are obliged to uphold the law. There is definitely legitimate cause for resentment among Greg's staff, but they all like him, apart from this one blind spot, so it's easier to target the source of their anger directly and call him names. Then there's the matter of Donovan and Anderson conducting an illicit workplace sexual affair. The married Anderson is guilty of adultery and it just displays how rather desperate Donovan is for attention . . or maybe she just wants to destabilize Anderson's marriage and hurt his wife. Sally seems like a pretty miserable cow. Kudos to Vinette Robinson because it's not easy to play such an unlikeable character. She really made us hate Sally, so, well done. Donovan of course has a significant role in The Reichenbach Fall, but we never see her again after that that I can recall. I don't remember exactly, either, but she is not in the first two episodes of S2. I do not recall her presence in the last two episodes of S1 specifically. She may have been in as little as two episodes then. She certainly made an impression as SH's primary antagonist on Lestrade's squad, until the focus shifted to Anderson for subsequent episodes in S3. S4 is honestly a blank to me vis. Anderson's involvement, but I think Vinette Robinson had left for other pastures. She turned up subsequently in an episode of Vera as a murder victim, which would represent KARMA! to a lot of Donovan haters. In my mind palace, Donovan transferred to another division/jurisdiction in the wake of the Fall to take a Detective Inspector opening. Lestrade will have recommended her highly for a promotion, if only to get her out of his sights. I don't think he would have wanted to work with her after events of that episode. Anderson had his own problems and was off the squad, too. A lot of people may not realize this but the role of Sally Donovan was played by another black actress in the unaired pilot episode. Zawe Ashton was the original Donovan, but was replaced by Vinette Robinson subsequently. The two actresses look remarkably similar. Ms. Ashton went on to a much beefier supporting role on Case Histories as Jackson Brodie's (Jason Isaacs) sassy secretary, Deborah over two seasons. I have a feeling that Ms. Ashton was no longer available for Donovan, having accepted the Case Histories job, when shooting commenced on the Study in Pink episode that actually aired. Moffat had to go back to the drawing board and produce a 90-minute script and completely redo the sets and wardrobe and everything. Ashton made a good call, I think, since Sally Donovan was such a tiny supporting part. P.S. Displaying the 'It's a Small World' theme in British television, the second lead in Case Histories (in the Lestrade role) was none other than Amanda Abbington, playing Brodie's DI contact on the Lothian & Borders police force. The two were former partners in the major case squad, until Brodie got fitted up by some fellow officers he testified against and was forced to leave the force and become a private detective. So there are definite Sherlockian characteristics to Brodie--a pissed-off loner who is working outside of the official police structure and who can therefore take creative shortcuts in his investigations that may not be strictly legal. Brodie and DI Louise Monroe appear to have a past history of being romantic partners or wanting to be, but Brodie has an ex-wife and a daughter, and the timing is always off for them. Amanda A. does a bang-on Scots accent and looks really good with red hair--better than the blonde, IMO.
  12. Well, yes. It is just a comparison for literary purposes. I was trying to describe a feeling in reaction to a story, not trying to equate both central figures as being equal in humanity, ie. 'realness'. I would hope that would be understood. Though when it comes to a certain breed of diehard Sherlockian, such as the type that becomes inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars Society, one must never discount that for those people, Sherlock Holmes is absolutely real. Certain individuals have been known to become unhinged if it is suggested in their hearing that Sherlock Holmes is not currently alive and hale and tending bees on the Sussex Downs. I am serious. Membership in the secular Church of the Great Detective is a religion a number of people hold dear; for them Sherlock Holmes goes way beyond a hobby or an admirable character from literature. For some really diehard Sherlock believers, he is real and has become real in the same way the Velveteen Rabbit became real: by being loved that much by enough of his readers. Sherlock Holmes cannot give one eternal life . . but many of his followers believe that he possesses it, or at least, give the appearance of it through their devotion to The Great Game. (in which disciples of Sherlock Holmes conduct their meetings and all their discourse, both oral and written as though the person they are discussing and writing adventures for not only lived for real on Baker Street during Victoria's reign and had a great pal called Watson, but is in fact, alive now and still working on behalf of Her Majesty's government in between bouts of beekeeping. ) Like Santa Claus, he is steadfastly real to those who believe in him and to those that don't . . well, it just looks like imagination or insanity, depending on the age of the believer. The lines get blurry. Because the chief tenet of the Great Game is never admitting, to outsiders or even within the circle that one is playing a game at all. Michael Dibdin was absolutely a Sherlockian, but his actions had a similar effect on his brotherhood of believers as Judas's did. An insider who went renegade and cast himself irredeemably into exile. Let's just say I don't think Michael was welcomed into any Sherlock scion society meetings after 1978.
  13. The following post does not contain any overt spoilers about The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, but certain plot points can be deduced by armchair detectives. I will leave it to the moderators to determine whether the entire thing belongs in a spoiler box, but I think we are all adults here and can determine for ourselves how much opinion about a book we have not read we are willing to accommodate. If you haven't read it and think you would like to, and you really, really want to go in absolutely blind, I suggest you go read it first and then come back to my comment. ************************************************** Michael Dibdin (RIP) was barely past 30 when that book--his first--was published. I don't know if the subsequent furore over this book was the cause of him leaving England to live in Italy for four years . . Italia is a lovely place, much favored as a holiday/retirement spot by Britons, but this was a young, first-time author making this move. Was he hiding out from enraged Sherlockians, one wonders . . ? Italy would prove to be fertile ground for inspiration because Dibdin is not remembered for his notorious freshman effort (except among dedicated Sherlockians); he is famous for his original detective character, Det. Aurelio Zen, a Venetian native working for the Carabinieri di Roma. Zen has some Sherlockian characteristics: he's a loner, very fond of deduction and resolutely incorruptible, which is blasted inconvenient for an Italian policeman. I read Michael's book very early on in my renewed Sherlockian period. I recognized Dibdin's name from the Aurelio Zen books (the most famous trilogy of which have been turned into films starring Rufus Sewell as Zen. That set is worth every penny) . . and it's a very slim book--200 pages or thereabouts. I figured it would be an easy breezy read before I dove back into Leslie Klinger's Annotated Sherlock Holmes. I was very wrong. It is neither easy nor breezy, though one can certainly read it in its entirety in under two hours. I was so gutted by it I had to reread the entire thing again immediately, just to be sure I hadn't hallucinated certain outcomes. I revisit the horrors of that book periodically just because I have a temperamental disposition to the Romanticism of making myself suffer. I think as I told Herlock Sholmes at the time, I have never both loved and hated a book so much simultaneously. Michael Dibdin may have succeeded in writing Dr. Watson better than Conan Doyle himself. It really is an outstanding piece of literary craftsmanship--pastiche done at a supremely high level that may have been equaled but never bettered, by anyone before or since. It is astounding that a first-time author, only in his 20s when composing it, would have blown onto the scene with such a masterful work. Or to have had the cojones at the very start of his career to publish a manuscript that was not going to be anything less than controversial. In the genre of Sherlockian lore, Michael Dibdin is both genius and heretic. His book is an apocryphal Gospel of Sherlock Holmes--as written by a Judas. I hate the nihilism of it but can't help but admire the sheer guts it would have taken to defiantly carry out his vision to its singular conclusion. His publisher was pretty ballsy, too, taking this on from a new author who was an untested commodity. There's a bit of cosmic irony--some might say karma--in Dibdin dying young, at only 60 (incidentally, SH's age in the last published canonical case His Last Bow) while Sherlock Holmes continues to 'live' on and go from strength to strength across pieces of three centuries. As for the reasons why such an obviously well-versed Sherlockian disciple would have engineered that level of betrayal toward his Master, those Mr. Dibdin has taken to his grave. It was a bravura turn--into Hell. The book, I mean . .not Mr. Dibdin's life, though some really hardcore Sherlockians might say he deserved nothing less than to be consigned there. I am not that angry, because Sherlock Lives . . he's bounced back a treat from the paces MD put him through. I would very much like to hear from MD himself over a pint about his process of creating this story and and even more . . .Why? . . .but mostly I admire the confidence it would have taken to pull it off, and then go on to a distinguished career creating his own signature detective. In my library, DIBDIN is shelved right alongside DEXTER, creator of Inspector Morse, which is a bit of serendipity. It occurs to me that the writers of Sherlock BBC, Sherlockians which they are, must have been aware of this story, and might have even derived elements from it for their take on The Reichenbach Fall. Steve Thompson was listed as the primary writer on that episode, which narrowly missed being my favorite episode of the series. (In the end, A Scandal in Belgravia edged it out for its greater humor and more positive ending . . I really hate seeing Watson cry) . .but he certainly consulted with the showrunners on the direction the episode would take. The similarities are there. We can rejoice that like Jesus busting out of the tomb on Easter Sunday, Sherlock Holmes did not stay dead. We like him much better that way.
  14. That seems to reflect the results of my informal poll, too. Perhaps the people who have a bad reaction but have never officially been diagnosed with Covid actually had an asymptomatic case earlier or at any rate, enough viral exposure for the body to ramp up. The Johnson & Johnson shot is appearing attractive to a lot of people who are wary of getting sick on two shots . . maybe people who know for sure they've had Covid would be sufficiently covered by the one dose, since for them, the first shot functions like the second shot for people who haven't been exposed. A nurse friend of mine had Covid in May or June of last year; she was working on the Covid unit in a nursing home, so that is hardly surprising. As a health care front liner, she was in the first round of vaccinations. After the second shot, she had to take a week off work because it felt like Covid all over again. Another friend had quite a Covid year . . She was expecting her first baby when her library was closed due to the pandemic. Initially this seemed like good timing, as she was set to go on maternity leave soon after, though she would have worked another couple of months. It took weeks and weeks for her to get anywhere with the unemployment benefits office--if she ever did. I hope she got some of that money because just before her baby was due, she was told that her job had been eliminated--bye! She gave birth in July and her husband was able to be with her. Their daughter is adorable. Then she and her husband both got Covid, despite barely leaving the house. Daddy works from home. Everybody got better, but then all three got Covid again within a few months--a variant version. Lord knows how because they still weren't going out much. Then, while still recuperating, they decided to sell their home and were on a time crunch. She's only 30 so hasn't queued up for any shots yet, but she's got antibodies for at least two strains! It's an irony that many of the people who are being *soo* careful, germophobic even, are still getting this thing despite taking every precaution while legions more who deny the whole thing exists are absolutely fine. A colleague's immuno-compromised 80-year mother was infected at family Thanksgiving which she adamantly insisted on attending. She passed away a month later, coming down with symptoms within 48 hours of that gathering. She didn't live to see the vaccine that might have given her several more good years with her family, so I think the vaccine is definitely worth getting. If not for yourself, to protect vulnerable loved ones. The colleague that went home sick yesterday the day after her shot is back today, feeling much better. Another reported a bad headache last night but it was gone by morning.
  15. I remembered that I have indeed read Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow, and in fact Herl and I have conversed about it right here. That's a Sherlock vs. Jack the Ripper story, and I've read a number of those and got my details mixed up. Around the same time, I also read Laura Joh Rowland's The Ripper's Shadow, which was the first book in a series dedicated to female photographer Sarah Bain's adventures in late Victorian London. Photography was in its infancy and not only was the equipment extremely expensive, unwieldy and rare, but photographers (all male) were considered disreputable. In many quarters, they still are. https://www.laurajohrowland.com/ripper.php SH vs. Saucy Jack has become irresistible to writers and filmmakers, since Jack's bloody reign of terror corresponds precisely to SH's best and most active years in London. It seems inconceivable that Holmes wouldn't have inserted himself into the Scotland Yard investigation. But I understand Conan Doyle's reasons for staying far away from such a topical matter. He wasn't a tabloid journalist but a creator of escapist fiction, and the Jack murders were too raw and recent, and the crimes too sordid. Conan Doyle didn't want to have his fastidious and resolutely celibate detective embroiled in sadosexual murders of prostitutes and be tainted by association as a muckraker. That hasn't stopped generations of imitators from making a buck by having Sherlock gamely get on the tail of Saucy Jack. Conan Doyle's other glaring issue was--The Great Detective always gets his man (or woman). Had he taken on Jack the Ripper the public would have expected to see Holmes unmask the Ripper and bring him to justice, even though only one of those contemporaries was, strictly speaking, real. In our time, that would be like having Sherlock catch the killer of JonBenet Ramsey. Though maybe someone has actually penned such a fan fiction someplace. Author Stephen Hunter identifies the Ripper as a real Victorian esteemed personage and that's definitely a surprise you don't see coming. Blows the mind a little bit. Michael Dibdin's Ripper suspect is even more astounding in The Last Sherlock Holmes Story.
  16. Dropping in on Speedy's Cafe in the first time in forevah . . . @Carol, I discovered Laurence Brown (Lost in the Pond) during the pandemic year or maybe just slightly before. He is very entertaining and still, quintessentially British despite all the things he has discovered that he loves about America. The video where he sampled the Girl Scout cookies was hilarious. He didn't really care for most of them as I recall, but a lot of the packaged 'biscuits' sold in Britain seem similar. I guess maybe mint and peanut butter (particularly the latter) are more of an American obsession. So another funny vid is Laurence attempting to make a PB&J sandwich, and his wife Tarah, showing him how it's done properly (ie, the way she makes it! :)) Tarah is an Indiana girl, so regionally, I 'get' her. Laurence is one of those people who is a lot taller than one is led to expect from his onscreen presence. At 6'1" I think he's quite a bit above the norm for his countrymen and even above the norm for Americans. ****** Re. the Shot I got my first jab of the Pfizer two weeks ago today; April 1st is my second round. My arm was initially fine for four hours and then from about 3pm through to the next day it was quite painful, like I'd been walloped with a baseball bat. Then, at about the 24 hour mark from my injection, the pain disappeared like magic. I felt a little hot and lightheaded immediately after the shot, while I was waiting, but it passed in half a minute or less. I think it was psychosomatic, honestly. A colleague just had her first round of the Pfizer yesterday from the same clinic and she had to go home sick this morning after a couple of hours. But she's had Covid already, along with her whole family, and says the side effects feel just like her Covid symptoms. (backache, chills, tiredness) All of the people I have spoken to who experienced more than a sore arm and actually felt sick are ones who previously tested positive for Covid, and of those, the Moderna seemed to have more of an impact. We shall see what we shall see. Fortunately I have the next day off work if it gets bad. My sister sailed through both of hers with nothing.
  17. Found this article today: https://www.thecuriousreader.in/bookrack/sherlock-holmes-pastiches/ The 8 top Holmes pastiches as rated by one reader. I have read most, though not all of these. I can vouch for Lyndsay Faye (BSI), though I do not recall reading Dust and Shadow. If you do not already own a copy of The Whole Art of Detection, I recommend that one highly. It's a collection of short stories comprising the further adventures of SH, including many that are passing references in Canon stories, like the man who went back into his house after an umbrella and never came out and Col. Warburton's madness. I confess to being underwhelmed by Anthony Horowitz's House of Silk. It wasn't awful, but I didn't think it rated quite as much buzz as it received. His follow-up, though--Moriarty--is a must-read. Bonnie MacBird is an avid Sherlockian with a flat on Baker Street and the hostess of the Sherlock Breakfast Club of London that meets every Saturday, or did, pre-pandemic. Maybe the breakfast meetings are carrying on via Zoom. Her essay on The Naval Treaty in the About Sixty anthology is one of the standouts of that volume. The cover art was fantastic. How sad was I to be more disappointed in Art in the Blood than I have in any Sherlockian pastiche effort apart from the more egregious efforts of Laurie King. Promising set up but it really and truly was bad. Nothing on this list by Donald Thomas or Michael Kurland--an oversight, for sure. Both are wonderful authors who really get into the esprit of Sherlock, and in Kurland's case, Moriarty. Michael Kurland has also edited the fine short story collections: Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years and Sherlock Holmes: The American Years.
  18. I guess you haven't seen any of the bonus features for Sherlock, then? Beryl was heavily featured in some of the interview segments, along with daughter Sue (Mrs. Moffat), who was more involved in the day-to-day on set as a producer. Their son Louis, a personable young man who seems to have inherited the paternal hair gene starred in some of the bonus features, too. The term beryl is not commonly used in the States, to my knowledge, and I studied gemstones for a Christmas temp job selling fine jewelry at Macy's. So I googled it. https://geology.com/minerals/beryl.shtml My impression, from the SH story description was that 'beryl' was 'aquamarine', but there seem to be variety of colors. November's (Scorpio) birthstone that I'm familiar with is the topaz (tiger eye), or alternatively, citrine. Maybe citrine is a variant of beryl? Mine is the opal (moonstone) or tourmaline. It's pretty, I guess, but I've never cared for it much. They are very soft stones, which makes them a poor choice for a ring, and they need special care. Since you're a guy, you may not really know the answer to this but it seems to me like in England and other countries (Japan), it is a common custom to give a bride her birthstone as an engagement ring rather than strictly diamonds. We've got Queen Victoria to thank for the tradition of white wedding gowns. She wore white at her wedding and ever since, it has been copied as the color for brides. But her birthday was in May (emerald), not June (diamond). So I wonder where the diamond custom came from. Diamonds are incredibly hard, expressing durability of marriage, I suppose, and also being the most valuable, money-wise, became the most desirable for engagement rings. Your stone is the blue topaz or turquoise. Nice! In my family we've got a topaz, amethyst, opal, 2 blue topaz and an aquamarine.
  19. Carol, I just discovered over the weekend that Jekyll is free on YouTube. I couldn't find a full episode listing so you have to enter 'Jekyll Episode #' to find them individually. They are 53 minutes long. This was a Moffat solo project, executive produced by Beryl Vertue.
  20. Aha. Though I always associated Anderson's role/personality in the show as that of 'Athelney Jones'--the Scotland Yarder who was a rival of SH's. David Marcum would disagree with Mofftiss . . or would phrase it as 'canon is everything'. He's a lot choosier about what he will allow as true to canon. Blowing up Baker Street and blasting Holmes and Watson out of the second storey windows absolutely unscathed probably wouldn't rate. He's very fond of the Rathbone movies, though he has likely become more discerning than he was as a 10-year-old. I do not know his feelings about The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I don't think he objects to the Holmes and Watson, but he probably wouldn't care for a lot of that plot, including the hints of romance between SH and an insidious female.
  21. Well done, Herl! I revisited Watson's first encounter with SH in Barts' lab to refresh my memory. This exchange with (Young) Stamford is nearly verbatim: “That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion; “you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me.” “And who was the first?” I asked. When the two guys walk in on Sherlock Holmes, he is busy doing a chemical test at the microscope in both versions. The corpse flogging is not mentioned in the story, but I suppose Mofftiss got that idea from somewhere. FYI, Prince Philip had his heart procedure at 'Barts' earlier this month. ******* Dr. Watson in the story has a more favorable impression of his new flatmate at the start; Benedict played Sherl as significantly more irritating to his new acquaintance. But he is perhaps more honestly himself in the early days so that Watson knows exactly what he's in for. In Chapter II, John makes this droll observation which demonstrates that the full extent of his new roommate's challenging habits has not been fully disclosed. Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live with. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular. It was rare for him to be up after ten at night, and he had invariably breakfasted and gone out before I rose in the morning. ROFL!!! ******* Your list was very thorough. I would add the accoutrements of 221B, including 'Skully' and the knife holding down the letters on the mantelpiece. I can't remember a Persian slipper, but I feel certain that Mofftiss would have included it. I think it's Hounds of Baskerville that features SH walking into the sitting room while stuffing some cigarettes into the toe of a white sneaker (as we Americans call a trainer) and hiding it under the couch. I thought that was droll.
  22. Haven't seen it. Dracula as a character, and vampires in general feel absolutely done to death (pun intended). I had my Anne Rice period in the 1990s--loved Interview with the Vampire (book, not movie), and the next several in that series. Tale of the Body Thief (#4) was the last one I liked. #4 seems to be the magic number for me. ( 10/4 is my birthday, incidentally shared by Anne Rice. Cultural diversion: I have called '4' my lucky number for 30 years, after finding out that 4 (in Japanese, 'shi') is considered a very unlucky number--'shi' written with another kanji character means 'death'. So Japanese people avoid saying '4' unnecessarily. Crockery and silverware are even sold in sets of 5, not 4, even though the typical Japanese family size is 4. Since my birthday signified 'death', I thought there was nothing I could do but embrace it. On the flip side '10' is considered an extra-lucky number so I got balanced out.) That was probably the first and last time I really enjoyed a vampire story. I've read the original Dracula and seen the Francis Ford Coppola version with Gary Oldman. He was seductive and repulsive in equal measure. I was Team Jacob in the Twilight series. An eternity spent with the undead feels like it'd be quite boring. Can't eat or drink anything but blood; avoiding sunlight, sleeping in a coffin . . sure, you never age, but where's the fun? Jekyll was made in 2007 (6 episodes of 60 minutes each.) Apart from one guest role in Touching Evil, I had not seen anything else from Mr. Nesbitt (more recently made famous as Bofur of the funny hat in the dwarfish band). James is fantastic at creating two entirely different personas with only the tiniest of makeup/hair changes to suggest Hyde. Highly recommended. It goes off the rails a bit at the end as Moffat turns on the Doctor Who-ish tap and the final episode ends very abruptly. Not sure if a second series was planned for but it kind of felt like it was left unfinished and unresolved. 8 episodes might have been an ideal length to wrap up loose ends. I miss the nice guys, too. But I think it's precisely because Martin actually didn't enjoy being shoehorned into those mild nice-guy parts (himself being neither mild nor particularly nice. His interviews are so full of expletives it's amazing they get much usable footage and we have all seen how very much MF enjoys a double-barreled bird flip) that he will not be enticed to reprise Dr. Watson. He got to plumb Watson's dark side in S4 and he really pulled all the stops out. I don't think it would appeal to him to take Watson back to that mild-mannered, long-suffering best friend who was so tolerant of and overshadowed by his more flamboyant flatmate's antics. If he agrees to return for even one reunion movie in the vein of Abominable Bride, I'd certainly watch it.
  23. Well, they can try. The schedules of our principals might have opened up again by then. Sherlock made international stars of them, rocketing Benedict in particular from near-obscurity as a supporting player to A-list overnight. Martin had been around for 10+ years as a jobbing actor and thanks to The Office was already a 'name' when he signed on to Sherlock. During the first season, I assumed Ben was a recent drama school grad and it surprised the heck out of me that he was nearly a decade older than I thought. I find both of our leads are looking their ages these days, and then some. Postponing a reunion for 10 or 15 years past the last episode is risky. This isn't Midsomer Murders, after all. Most franchises can't string viewers along for two decades, but Moftiss is willing to try. More Sherlock is a dream that's hard to let go of, but I don't think it's going to happen. If it does, it will catch all of our team on their way down rather than up, methinks, as they will all be getting long in the tooth by then. TV is a very precarious and capricious business. Not to mention such an extended break is gambling that everyone concerned will remain healthy and able to work so far into the future. Again, my opinion, but I don't find that either Ben nor Martin is wearing well, post-Sherlock. They are still famous and in-demand, I guess, but I am profoundly under-impressed by their respective more recent projects. It pays the bills but no matter what else they do, they are going to be defined by their Sherlock personas, and for Martin, The Hobbit. Ben was really outstanding in some stuff like The Imitation Game and Patrick Melrose . . other stuff like Doctor Strange is strictly commercial. Martin was fantastic in his one season of Fargo, but he's fallen entirely off my radar since the Baker Street partnership broke up. They have both been busily employed, I realize . . .just in nothing that I care to see. Circa 2012, I was an ultimate fan girl and completely obsessed. The show singlehandedly reignited my long-dormant thirst for Conan Doyle's original stories and the whole alternative world of pastiche. After S3 and 4, and the long, long Hiatus . .I feel rather like the jaded survivor of a love affair turned sour and I just honestly don't care that much any more. It stopped being fun for me when it became so glaringly obvious that it was no longer a labor of love and joy for the creative team involved. Sherlock's world turned very, very dark and I feel like the original spirit which had made the early going such a joy had been violated and corrupted into something else, much more nihilistic and cynical. Even though SH is a crime fighter who deals with the worst of humanity sometimes, he was never nihilistic, save once, maybe--The Adventure of the Cardboard Box--but that was very much an anomoly.
  24. Of course we here in this community are probably more invested than the general public in seeing more Sherlock. I think we've got to be realistic, though. The last episode aired in January 2017, which means that the script and production were completed nearly 5 years ago, or more, if we allow 6 months for pre- and post-production before anything reaches our screens. The show was the hottest commodity in television for a few years there, but 5 years is a lifetime in show business. It's true that nobody involved has definitively slammed the door on more Sherlock, which is probably a wise move . . . Who knows, all the stars might align and it might happen. Everyone might agree to come back and Mofftiss might come up with a decent few scripts of the quality of the first two seasons, and the timing might work perfectly to allow everyone to participate. I rate this possibility as somewhat greater than an asteroid hitting the Earth, but light years away from being 'a sure thing'. Everybody is being somewhat diplomatic in saying that they haven't ruled out the possibility--with the proviso that there'd have to be outstanding inspiration to strike and quality scripts. Based on the final efforts in S4, I think the probability of that kind of quality happening at this juncture, 5 years on from the spectacularly disappointing last season is remote. Hope springs eternal, and miracles can happen, but . . in the absence of a miracle, I think The Final Problem was the final word on the series. In my opinion, the writers peaked far too early by putting 'The Big Three' as they put it all in the second season. They shot themselves in the foot by staging Sherlock's Death so soon, because trying to top that for Wow factor while having to fill out two more seasons plus a full-length Christmas feature led to their worst narrative excesses . . .Assassin Mary & Euros took the show from a crackerjack affectionate homage to Conan Doyle into a bizarro Dr. Who/Spooks/Shutter Island/James Bond hybrid. Feh. They should have done a few more of the 'SH and JW investigate crimes' thing prior to The Reichenbach Fall. I'd have written more of those cases for S2 and established the bachelor partnership more prior to introducing Mary and 'killing' Sherlock. In The Sign of Three, which is my top episode of S3, there is that entertaining montage of snippets from 'past cases' during Sherlock's wedding speech. What a treat that would have been if we had seen some of those cases fleshed out into full episodes . . not least of all the case where Dr. Watson meets his Mary. Surprised Mofftiss let that one go by. Somehow jamming in one scene with a dog and a midget feels like a gyp. And we never do actually get the full backstory of how John and Mary met. Ostensibly at his NHS clinic where she was a nurse. Except now we know she's not a nurse. So--how did she turn up there, at John's surgery? Not random, surely. Were they intending John to be a target, post-Reichenbach? Moffat's largest failing as a writer is the number of threads he is content to let drop in favor of his big splashy Bangs! Me, I prefer the smaller threads that display the humanity of these characters rather than the superpowers. Now Mofftiss is saying that after the spectacular denouement of "the early years", they propose to embark on the 'sedate middle aged years' of the duo with smaller cases of 'crime investigation' and think that those will captivate the audience whom they have now accustomed to massive explosions and devious supervillain psychopaths in every episode? Highly doubtful. They shot their bolt too early and I think we've seen all the inspiration we are going to get. I'd be happy to be wrong, but only if subsequent efforts are more like S2 and not like S4. If all concerned know inside that the time for 'exceptional scripts' has long gone, they have elegantly side-stepped actually committing themselves to doing any more while at the same time keeping that spark of hope alive in the fans. I think it's time to read between the lines and admit that the project had come to its natural conclusion in 2017. I really don't get the vibe that anyone is keen on doing more, but of course, if there's potentially money to be made in another series, it'd be foolhardy to slam that door closed publicly. This is only my opinion, but the more time passes without a firm plan for a reunion, the less likely it gets. They struck while that iron was hot, but it's been cool for some time. Nature of the business. I figured if we didn't hear something definite within 2 years, we weren't likely to. Then of course, Covid. Will we see Benedict and Martin as men of 60 reconvening for a riff on 'His Last Bow', notwithstanding that they'd have to call it something else as they've already used that title? It's charming to hope so but I'm not holding my breath.
  25. Moffat is a showman, and likes to keep all his potential slices of bread buttered . . so he's been very canny, along with his writing partner to avoid stating outright that there won't be any more Sherlock. The cast is no doubt contractually obligated by NDA to tread carefully around the topic. I feel like this is just stringing along the fans and it would be more merciful just to rip the plaster off in one go and admit that they are done. The show was incredibly logistically challenging, but it would come together if the team *REALLY* wanted it. Schedules would be cleared. The BBC is rather capricious and has been known to often cancel hit shows mid-stream without good reason . . but Sherlock was such a phenomenon and ratings monster for the network, I don't think the holdup in on the BBC side. Even during production, it was pretty clear, except to obsessive stans crafting 'FreeBatch' fan videos, that the two men had widely divergent personal lives off-set and weren't in each others' pockets outside of work. But they spent SO much intensive time together during production . . 12-14 hour days, on location in a drafty airplane hanger in Wales . . that has to create a bond. And they seemed genuinely matey and in synch as a working team . . Much like Holmes and Watson, in fact. They had fine-tuned their double act on the press junket and genuinely seemed to enjoy each others' company. It felt like a relationship based on solid professional respect and mutual compatibility. I'm sure the experience was very draining and stressful, and it's natural to get snappy and irritated even with our close associates with too much familiarity, too much pressure, not enough breaks to relax. Because when they weren't on the Sherlock set, they both were burning the candle at both ends due to insane busyness on other projects. I think overwork got the best of their friendship in the end . . that and personal differences in how they approached their fame. I still feel really bad about the Martin - Amanda split, and that may have played into the interpersonal distance that seemed to exist between the co-stars after that. It had to have been incredibly difficult for Martin and Amanda to carry on working together as if nothing had happened, but what was happening to John and Mary onscreen eerily echoed the disintegration of the real couple's relationship. As friend and colleague to both parties, Benedict had to have felt caught in the middle somewhat. I hope everyone has moved on to a better place since then, but Martin Freeman strikes me now as a quite jumped-up, spiky, angry personality who comes across as not an easy person to live with. The John Watson of S4 is closer to the real Martin Freeman than we'd seen previously, I reckon. It also seems quite plausible that while the duo were playing Sherlock and John, they were also playing a version of 'Benedict' and 'Martin' for publicity purposes. Actors act; that's what they do. Lion's Mane and Blanched Soldier are decidedly second-tier Conan Doyle, but if they were put together, they could make a movie. Moftiss got an entire feature out of one reference to 'Rigoletti and his abominable wife', so these two stories would have enough to work from. Both are written after Sherlock's retirement to the Downs, so Ben is a bit young yet . . though not by much. He'll be 45 on his next birthday and SH moved to Sussex when he was only 50. The absence of Dr. Watson in these stories is easily explained away by Sherl's retirement to the seaside. In the second tale, Sherl references Watson's second marriage (in crabby terms). The best thing about both stories isn't the plots as such--it's the novelty of hearing Sherlock's voice on the page, speaking for himself. He's a better story teller than the reader might have expected, being primed for a dry monograph on criminal investigation. After having spent 20 years ridiculing Watson for pandering to the ignorant public with his romanticized fictions of their cases together, SH admits that writing a case account for an audience of non-scientists is a lot harder than Watson made it look . . a rare burst of self-deprecation from our hero. Benedict could provide very entertaining voiceovers for Sherlock's inner thoughts on these cases. A resurrection of the partnership is profoundly to be wished, but I don't think Martin Freeman would be amenable to that. So the only alternative for a Christmas special is to have Sherlock by himself. But it could be an entertaining reunion if some of the London circle--Molly, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson--all converged on Sherl's cottage for 'the holidays'. Even Anderson would show up, drawn to the Sussex coast by reports of a giant murderous jellyfish.
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