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Episode 1.0, The Unaired Pilot (60-min. "Study in Pink")


Carol the Dabbler
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We've been discussing the 60-minute pilot here and there in the thread for the 90-minute "Study in Pink," but I thought it was about time to give the pilot its very own thread.  And here's a tidbit to start it off, something I posted in another area of the forum a while back:

 

... Beryl Vertue and Arwel Jones already had a cameo -- in the pilot, they're out of focus in the background when John and Mike are having lunch at the Criterion.

 

And now, thanks to aithine's screen caps, here's a visual aid to substantiate that statement:

 

sherlock-100-00743.jpg

 

Executive Producer Vertue's head is visible just above John's right shoulder, and Production Designer Jones can be seen immediately to our right of Mike's face.  Was that their few seconds of stardom -- or a just clever way to save money on extras?

 

Edited:  Since Aithine's screen caps are not currently available online, here's the same view from Kiss Them Goodbye:

 

VertueAndJonesCameoInPilot_zpsazw92d2c.j

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Yeah Alfred Hitchcock did it all the time and so didn't Peter Jackson. He did a bit part in all three movies.

 

But to get back to the Unaired Pilot. I really do like it. Almost as much as the aired "A Study in Pink." Sherlock was more of a casual dresser in the "Pilot" and the shot through the window from the so called "Empty House" across the street was interesting.

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Hmm, nice choice of words there.  I wonder if that bit was an intentional reference to "The Empty House"?  ("Oh, no, of course not!" she said sarcastically.  "Moftiss would never do anything like that!")

 

Every time we watch the pilot or the 90-minute "Study," I notice things that I like better in one or the other.  In the pilot, I like the way Sherlock actually knows what he's talking about, instead of "Who hunts in a crowd" being followed by "No idea!"  And in the longer version, I like the addition of Mycroft.

 

But mostly, it's slight changes of wording or delivery that catch my attention.  I like the pacing of John's "Damn my leg!" scene much better in the pilot.  I also prefer the pilot's version of the Sherlock-and-John-in-a-taxi-going-to-Brixton scene, especially the way John deliberates before actually saying "amateurs."

 

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Sherlock himself is more likeable in the screened version - the pilot version makes him a fascinating character, but doesn't give much hint that he could come to care about anything outside of himself. He's still an annoying, genius git in the screened version, but there is more that is redeemable about him.

 

Screened version will always be my preferred version for Mycroft if nothing else. I like Lestrade's more casual look better in the screened version and I'm glad that Anderson lost the beard.

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Sherlock himself is more likeable in the screened version - the pilot version makes him a fascinating character, but doesn't give much hint that he could come to care about anything outside of himself. He's still an annoying, genius git in the screened version, but there is more that is redeemable about him.

 

I hadn't noticed that, though I'm perfectly willing to believe you.   Can you give some examples?

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Not any more, but I've retained the overall impression. I'd probably have to rewatch both with a notebook to jot down reminders to get anything coherent out of it.

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Personally, I like the screened version much more than the pilot. I thought there was a lot more suspense to it (especially the scene where Sherlock realizes that the murderer is the cabbie right as the killer cabbie is coming up the stairs! Super creepy) and Lestrade was much more likable in this version. In the pilot, it seemed like Lestrade could barely stand Sherlock. In the aired episode, there seemed to be a bit more of a grudging affection between the two. 

 

One thing that I do sort of miss from the pilot though is the (in my opinion) friendlier and younger-looking Sherlock! I know they had to make him seem more aloof in order to highlight his character development throughout the series, but for me, it was really hard to feel anything positive for Sherlock in "A Study in Pink". The Sherlock in the pilot was kind of a spoiled brat, but at least there was something sort of innocent and child-like about him, which is much closer to the Sherlock in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories. In the aired episode, Sherlock just came across as a nut-case. I mean, they do show that sort of innocent side of him in the later episodes, but I think I would've liked Sherlock a lot more if they had at least hinted at it in the first aired episode. 

 

Also, I'm ashamed for being a ridiculous fangirl here, but Benedict Cumberbatch was hot in the pilot, haha. I wish they had kept that hairstyle! 

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Interesting -- you say Sherlock is "friendlier" in the pilot, while aely says he's "more likable" in the aired version.  Not precisely opposite opinions, but real close.  I'm definitely interested in hearing some specifics from either/both of you!

 

I do think he's different in the two, but I'm not really certain what I think the difference is.

 

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Also, I'm ashamed for being a ridiculous fangirl here, but Benedict Cumberbatch was hot in the pilot, haha. I wish they had kept that hairstyle! 

 

Oh, yeah.   LordByronBatch!

 

tumblr_lhz1lm7Kaz1qgae0ho1_500.jpg

 

Oh dear.  I think I have to go watch this again now.

 

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My impression of the unaired pilot (we all seem to have differing ones) was that Sherlock came across as much younger and somehow more vulnerable, whereas he was more aloof in the aired version. That is one of the reasons I prefer the aired one, I think it makes a better start of showing just how special his relationship to John is, how rarely he opens up to other people. Well, that and the camera - the quality's just better imho.

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In the Pilot Sherlock came across as more of an arrogant git who was a whiny brat by choice to me, which I didn't like at all. In the screened version he still came across as an arrogant git, but I got the impression that was due to self preservation as much as concious choice.

 

Agree on Lestrade being much better in the screened version too - he seemed to be more in line with some previous Lestrades in the pilot and not as effective.

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  • 3 months later...

I also prefer the aired version - if for no better reason than that it is longer and any extra minute spent looking at Sherlock is good. No, seriously, there are a lot of improvements in the aired version. The scene at Angelo's is more delicately handled, for example, the plot is more complex, Mycroft is introduced... The most important addition, in my opinion, is the choice Sherlock makes when he decides not to call "the coppers" but get in the cab: "What kind of result do you care about?"

 

The showdown with the cabbie is more balanced in the aired version, too. In the pilot, the villain seems a little too much on top and Sherlock is too much of a victim. Of course, it was terribly funny and endearing to see the detective drugged and largely helpless, but obviously the creators liked that scene as well as we do, because they reused it in "A Scandal in Belgravia". By that episode, Sherlock was already established as habitually master of the situation, so the effect was much better, there. Plus, if somebody has to drug Sherlock (and beat him with a riding crop, while we're at it), it had better be Irene than some old cabbie...

 

I like to watch the pilot from time to time because Sherlock does look so young and, well, more believable in a way. I don't think he acts like a spoiled brat (not more than usual, anyway...), but he is very childlike. I might even go so far as to say cute. Well, "cute" is all wrong for the legendary Sherlock Holmes! So no wonder they redid the whole thing.

 

By the way, I like the "annoying git" we see in the finished version of A Study in Pink really well. He is different from the Holmes in the original stories, who is too sure of himself to be that openly antagonistic towards his surroundings and delivers his insults in a more subtle and tolerant manner. But that is okay, in my opinion. It is fun to watch and the lines are really brilliant. And the more of a "sociopath" Sherlock is, the more meaningful the friendship between him and John and the more touching any rare glimpse of humanity.

 

 

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In the pilot, the villain seems a little too much on top and Sherlock is too much of a victim. Of course, it was terribly funny and endearing to see the detective drugged and largely helpless, but obviously the creators liked that scene as well as we do, because they reused it in "A Scandal in Belgravia". By that episode, Sherlock was already established as habitually master of the situation, so the effect was much better, there.

 

Excellent point!  They never seem to waste anything, do they?

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Where did you watch the regular episodes? The pilot is on one of my DVD's, no idea where you could see it online (but don't worry, I am clueless about these things - certainly somebody here can help you out). If you just want a peek, look for "drunk Sherlock" on youtube (there's a scene where he pretends to be drunk).

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Right, the pilot is on the Series 1 DVD.  But I am probably even less clueful than T.o.b.y about such things, so maybe someone else can suggest other sources.

 

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I can't find the whole episode, but there is a mix of scenes in this fanvid - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvmJTHNNIx0

 

Angelo's 1 -

Angelo's 2 -

 

and the cabbie scene part 1 is  here -

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I like it.

But as it was unaired, it's not Canon for me.

Got some fab scenes and I certainly think everybody should see it at least once.

But I much prefer the aired version.

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Right, not Sherlock canon -- but still valuable background material, I think, for fan fiction, etc., if one sticks to the parts that don't conflict with the aired version, or at least explains the discrepancies.

 

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I think the pilot is great for understanding at least part of the process of developing the characters and the tone of the show. It is interesting to see what bits they decided to change, what they kept, what they added.

 

On the other hand, if you want to delve into the fictional world the characters inhabit and imagine they are real, it is quite disconcerting to have a "parallel universe" like that. So sometimes, when I'm feeling grown up and analytical and inquisitive, I dig out the pilot and other times, when I'm feeling childish and dreamy, I try to pretend it does not exist.

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Steven Moffat said it the best, when asked why the aired version was better.

He replied, ' Two words:  Paul McGuigan.'

And I entirely agree with him.

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The 90-minute version certainly does have a sharper look and feel.

 

I sometimes wonder whether I'd have liked the show as much if they had gone ahead with the planned six sixty-minute episodes per series.  I suspect so, but it would have been different, more "normal."  The 90-minute version is definitely sui generis.

 

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And quite accidental.

It was what the BBC asked for and I think they were right to do so.

Of course it then gave the Sherlock team the excuse to remake(and improve) the pilot.

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  They had no choice, really. Once the BBC showed how interested they were in asking for a 90 minute version, the Unaired Pilot was largely unusable, so it had to be reshot, no way around it.

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