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Grand Sherlock Holmes Thread

Discussion in 'Fiction Discussion' started by krinsbez, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. As I have fortuitously completed my interrupted re-read of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes (edited by William S. Baring-Gould) the same week that Sherlock's Holiday Special premieres (tonight at 9PM Eastern on PBS here in the US*; not sure when in the UK), in the same month that I was able to see the film Mr. Holmes (on DVD) and attempted to read the massive pastiche and parody collection The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories (edited by Otto Penzler), I feel like it is high-time I start a thread dedicated to the archetypical Great Detective.

    So, this thread is intended for any and all discussion of Sherlock Holmes, both the original Canon and the vast multitude of adaptations and pastiches.

    I will begin by asking the perennial question; of the screen adaptations (both big and small) you have seen, who is the best portrayer of Holmes? Myself, out of Sir Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Brett, and whoever voiced him on Sherlock Holmes In the 22nd Century, my pick would have to be Jeremy Brett.


    *Of course, since it airs on the Sabbath, I'm gonna have to wait until the encores start in a bit more than a week in order to watch it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
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  2. Basil Rathbone.

    I always thought his portrayal of the Great Detective had an air of reserve and gravitas that many of the more modern takes on the role lack, I liked Guy Richie's films but RDJ's Holmes is pretty much RDJ's Tony Stark with a British accent.
     
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  3. Shanejayell

    Shanejayell Yuri Fan without a Pause

    I will admit my shallowness and say Benedict Cumberbatch. Heh.
     
  4. Cthaeth

    Cthaeth Have at thee, blaggard!

    Location:
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    To be completely fair, he didn't play the role badly.







    I want a film where Anthony Hopkins plays Moriarty. Admit it, that would be awesome.
     
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  5. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    Favourite Holmes would be RDJ's, because I'm an unabashed fanboy.
     
  6. So, I finally watched the Sherlock Holiday Special, and am now prepared to talk about it.

    I rather liked it, though my relief that the rumors that it would be an adaptation of "The Blue Carbuncle" being false may have contributed to this.

    -It's neat that they're doing one of the throwaways, though with some shame I must admit to having conflated "Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife" with "Huret, the boulevard assassin", and being very confused as to why they weren't in France. Though, granted, they didn't reference Ricoletti's foot at all.

    -Speaking of the French, it's odd that Watson mentioned them as potential enemies and not the Germans, given the attitude displayed toward those countries in the original stories.

    -I am, however, proud to admit that I realized it was a dream sequence rather early on. I'm not quite sure if I find this clever or annoying.

    -Is Moffat particularly fond of "The Five Orange Pips"?

    -Ugh, I continue to hate, HATE their take on Moriarty.

    -Is it just me, or was the music playing on the first pan over Victorian Baker Street a riff on the theme from the Jeremy Brett series?

    Also, I just realized that, like an idiot, I misspelled Holmes' name in the title. Ugh; is there any way I can get that fixed?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
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  7. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    Report the OP asking a mod to change it.
     
  8. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

    Location:
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    My favorite Holmes is Clive Merison, from the BBC Radio series (which somehow managed to adapt the entire Canon). The late Michael Williams was equally brilliant as Watson.

    These are, hands-down, my favorite adaptations of Holmes. Each story is presented, and many are expanded to fill the run time with enough content, but the expansions never alter the underlying nature of the original story (which is a serious problem I had with the later Granada Television adaptations with Jeremy Brett--The Last Vampyre (adapting "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"), for example, was almost unwatchable), and they tend, rather, to flesh out the personal relationships between Holmes and Watson. Watson is presented as being as far from the bumbling idiot of Nigel Bruce's portrayal as can be imagined--he's intelligent, courageous, and dedicated, and he gives as good as he gets in the snark department when Holmes is being particularly snippy (something that Conan Doyle did himself on occasion--see The Valley of Fear). What I like most about these presentations is that when you listen to them you can readily understand why Holmes and Watson are friends--the connections between the two superficially dissimilar men that hold them together, that make them want to spend time with one another. (This is an aspect that I find most difficult in the Rathbone/Bruce film and radio depictions--Rathbone is a fine Holmes, but Bruce's Watson is a man that Holmes wouldn't tolerate for five minutes--which leads to most of Rathbone's OOC moments when he behaves too much like an asshat towards Watson, because the Watson in those depictions would draw those kind of reactions from Holmes--and you can't understand how Holmes could keep from tearing his hear out of his head (or, indeed, the other way around)).

    Other Holmeses I enjoy are the early Jeremy Brett ones (which are exceptional, the series entitled "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" are magnificent), the Robert Downey Jr. films (a modernized "narrative voice," to be sure, but actually quite true to the original concepts as seen through that lens--right down to how the Moriarty film is a suspense thriller instead of a mystery), the radio series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Jim French Productions, and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock. (Oh, and kudos to the OP for mentioning Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, which I have a deep, if "guilty pleasure," affection for. I'd love to see a written-for-adult-reading-level story in that universe, getting into just how dystopian the setting really is, but playing it against the fact that Holmes is unremittedly a force for moral good and capable of achieving meaningful victories in it, unlike most dystopian-future story settings).
     
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  9. Jeremy Brett all the way.
     
  10. Glad to see that I'm not the only one who remembers this; also, that I'm not the only one who felt that some of the things suggested about 22nd Century British society were a bit on the creepy side, though I'm not sure that was intended.
     
  11. Anyone else slightly bummed that io9 is no longer doing Elementary recaps?

    Anyways, out of curiosity, what is your favorite non-pastiche riff on Sherlock Holmes? I mean, stuff like House, MD or "The Martian Crown Jewels", where it's not exactly SH, but is clearly inspired by it?
     
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  12. So, it seems I spoke too soon, though calling this little blurb a recap is a bit of a stretch.
     
  13. So, I recently read The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the first book in Laurie R. King's well-known (and from what I've been able to gather, quite well-regarded) "Mary Russell" pastiche series.

    It was pretty good, all things considered, but I have four minor complaints:
    -Our protagonist/narrator, after whom the series is named, comes off as a bit Sue-ish; but given that she's supposed to be able to keep up with Holmes, that's to be expected.
    -It treats Watson as being kind of stupid, albeit in an affectionate manner. To be fair, it was written in the '90s, when that was the dominant view of Holmes' boswell.
    -I am informed that Holmes and Russell eventually marry. There's no sign of such a thing occurring here, but given that at the time of their first meeting Russell is fifteen and Holmes is fifty-four, it does put something of a pall over the book.
    -I found the ultimate villain to be a bit cliche.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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  14. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

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    Honestly, I kind of hope that they were intended. When you get right down to it, SH22 takes place in a full-on cyberpunk dystopia; it just happens that the main character is Sherlock-freaking-Holmes, who can transcend that kind of stuff. (Plus, kids' show.) But when you mix authoritarian governments (...literally, the first episode's plot is how the legally-mandated brainwashing of criminals is unexpectedly wearing off!), heinously unethical megacorps, twisted biotechnology, an Underground full of disenfranchised citizens where even the police are unwilling to go (that'd be episode 2), dwindling natural resources...it's pretty much all straight out of Neuromancer. If it was intentional, it was brilliant. (Also, really, a textbook example of post-cyberpunk, which was just starting to take off as a genre division around the time SH22 was made.)

    I thought that series was pretty good for the first two books. Then it starts getting weak in the third book, and then it plummets straight into the trash after that (in my opinion). I found it hilarious in hindsight (because I'd never been exposed to the concept of "fanfiction" as opposed to the more formal, published "pastiche") that the author wrote a series of Sherlock Holmes stories starring a female OC narrator named Mary of all things who is as smart as Holmes and eventually marries him. The whole concept would get her laughed off of any fanfiction website; it's like something written by a 14-year-old girl who's hot for Benedict Cumberbatch. (Indeed, if she'd written The Beekeeper's Apprentice ten years later than she had, I'd have assumed it was a deliberate parody of that kind of story.)

    But then again, Sherlock Holmes getting involved in romance is one of my towering pet peeves in Holmesian pastiche. Conan Doyle basically outright called him an asexual in the strongest language Victorian literature would permit, and in four seconds flat every fanfiction wannabe was pairing him up with Irene Adler, pairing him up with Watson, pairing him up with a gender-flipped Watson, pairing him up with Moriarty, pairing him up with some OC. Any pastiche or adaptation which involves him in romance loses points right off the top for that from me (something like Elementary, which is a howling AU with only certain base elements preserved, loses less than something otherwise right out of canon, and obviously it's never the sole dispositive factor of whether I like an adaptation/pastiche or not, just one element thereof).

    One thing I find specifically annoying about the Holmes/Adler pairing, though (assuming that it's a version that actually clings to canon, and doesn't rewrite Irene completely the way the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie does), is something that Carole Nelson Douglas pointed out in the foreword to one of her Irene Adler books: writing that pairing is doing a ferocious disservice to Irene. In "A Scandal in Bohemia," Irene Adler marries Godfrey Norton. It's of her own free will; she doesn't need to marry him for any kind of protection, and she even speaks positively of him in her letter left for Holmes. And yet, time and time again, we see Norton dismissed as a useless schlub, as a wife-beater, or any other kind of awful, stupid, or useless man that Irene Adler would never be expected to marry in the first place. (The kindest versions of this pairing just unceremoniously kill him off offscreen.) The whole reason Irene Adler is the most popular choice for Holmes romances is him fanboying over her for the way she countered his scheme to find the photograph--her intelligence and her quick thinking under pressure. And yet, it's those very qualities that get dismissed out of hand in almost every romance featuring her.
     
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  15. Many good points, but given how sloppy the show's worldbuilding can be, I have my doubts.

    Pity.

    It is a bit odd, yes.

    I agree with pretty much all of this.

    Incidentally, speaking of Elementary's departures from the canon, the most recent episode sorta riffed on A Study in Scarlet. That is, the episode title was a pun on it, and they did a variation on the "rache" bit, but otherwise it was almost entirely unlike the novel, unless you count the murder weapon being poison. It's interesting to me that I didn't mind this, whereas Sherlock's efforts to do direct references, which tend to go much deeper, frequently irritate me. This may be an artifact of preferring Elementary over Sherlock in the first place, but I'm not sure.
     
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  16. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

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    It could be that, but there's something else. While I've drifted away from Elementary this season (I think it's mostly that it really wasn't Sherlock Holmes enough), I had a much higher degree of tolerance for its divergences from the canon because it made it very clear right from the beginning that it was only going to be keeping the most general themes, while Sherlock really seemed to be trying--particularly in the first season--to present itself as "what if Arthur Conan Doyle had created Sherlock Holmes in the 2000s instead of the 1880s?" Critiquing Elementary for diverging from Holmesian canon is...like critiquing baseball because there aren't enough 400-yard passers. It feels irrelevant to me, at least, to make the criticism beyond the general, initial step of saying whether I'd like it more if it was modeled more closely on canon.

    (That said, I've also got something of a love-hate relationship with British TV adaptations of the classic detective stories, specifically referencing the Granada series of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett, and the adaptations of the Hercule Poirot stories with David Suchet. It seems like these always start out brilliantly--perfect casting, excellent direction, fidelity to the material, changes only when necessary for internal show consistency (like the Poirot stories all taking place in the 1930s instead of ranging from late 1910s through the mid-1970s). But the longer the shows go on, the more the writers and directors feel that they can substitute their vision, their original writing, for what's in the original. The Last Vampyre was barely recognizable as anything related to The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, Cards on the Table had the murderer changed, Murder on the Orient Express was nigh ruined by the forcible and ham-handed intrusion of a moral conflict within Poirot that didn't exist at all in the original story. Sherlock seems like it's starting to flirt with this as well.)
     
  17. This is true.

    I should also note that I tend to think that while Elementary is, of course, vastly different from the canon in the details, it feels more like the canon in spirit, y'know? To start with, Sherlock is really invested in the idea of Holmes-as-asshole, which IMO is just wrong. The canonical Holmes certainly can BE a colossal jerk at times, but he's basically a decent and compassionate person at heart, is frequently noted as being really good at reassuring emotionally distraught clients and making them feel comfortable, and is not above acknowledging that some of the stunts he pulls are dick moves and making the requisite apologies. Elementary still has Holmes as more of an off-putting weirdo than I would prefer, but he's also presented as having that basic decent and compassion.

    There's also the fact that Elementary, as a weekly hour-long show, is more like the short stories that are the real heart of the canon than Sherlock's format of three feature-length episodes every few years. Also, despite Elementary's somewhat irritating insistence on every case being a murder, it doesn't feel a need to be all high-stakes all the time like Sherlock does. Also, I hate, hate, HATE Sherlock's takes on Moriarty and Irene Adler.

    Well, I don't believe I've gotten to the bits of the Brett series where the real rot sets in, so I couldn't say.

    I admit that one of my problems with Sherlock is that the show seems to be a bit too pleased with it's own cleverness.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
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  18. Shanejayell

    Shanejayell Yuri Fan without a Pause

    I read the first book and kinda liked it, while book two wasn't as good. And yes, I'll agree that the whole Marriage thing just... well, it doesn't work for me.

    I DID like King's other detective series, the Kate Martinelli books, and she even does a Sherlock Holmes crossover. Kinda.

    The Art of Detection (2006)

    A modern killing apparently matches a killing from a lost Holmes manuscript. How are the killings connected? Is the manuscript REALLY by Arthur Conan Doyle? And are all Holmesians nuts? ;)
     
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  19. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

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    I agree and I disagree with that. I think part of the issue is that the "Holmes as self-absorbed ass" comes from the earlier canon. In A Study in Scarlet, especially, Holmes was a young man (really, early twenties would be quite believable), just starting out, and very full of himself. The farther into the canon one gets, the more he matures as an individual he is, the less acerbic he is, and the more genuine feeling and emotion he seems to express, until he seems more idiosyncratic than arrogant. (You can also see it in his relationship with Watson.) In early stories, it seems that Holmes's manner to his clients and ability to put them, particularly upset women, at ease is a facade, a front he adapts (or a standard of behavior he adheres to despite his personal attitudes), but later on he seems to express genuine compassion. (Compare, for example, how in A Study in Scarlet he explicitly wanted to become renowned and famous, while by "The Empty House," following the Great Hiatus, he no longer has that opinion and wants to remain in the background*.

    *I can't help wondering if that has something to do with Conan Doyle's own experiences with fame as the writer of Sherlock Holmes and the frustrations it caused him!

    Then, when bringing that younger Holmes forward to the 2000s, without the standards of Victorian behavior to restrain him, he becomes more explicitly an asshat to the people around him because, I think, in the modern-day U.S. and U.K., people who are arrogant geniuses are expected to be asshats to everyone around them instead of covering up their asshattery with a veneer of good manners. It's basically the decay in social politeness coming out in Holmes's character so that he no longer has that "outward" expression he would have to have to deal with the world around him back in the 1800s. (Of course, they promptly missed an opportunity to really play with this dichotomy in the most recent special, which was set largely in the 1800s.)

    I bolded the quoted text because, God, how I agree with that statement. Sherlock Holmes is an episodic character, built up in canon in an episodic way, with bits and pieces of "lore" slipped in the corners between stories and shown changing and developing organically. One of the largest mistakes in any adaptation or pastiche is trying to deliver us the entire Holmes mythos in one giant bite instead of small snippets.

    I like Elementary's take on Moriarty and Irene Adler largely because they don't keep dragging her in so !^%@^* often, instead keeping her appearances occasional and meaningful (and they actually had that one episode where she came back to protect her daughter and that's really what it was about instead of turning into some stupid double-cross/trap at the end). I don't much like Sherlock's Moriarty but that's just an element of my general distaste for Moriarty as I've expressed earlier in the thread. My wife hates Sherlock's Moriarty.

    I can't speak for others, but I find the cutoff point to be "The Creeping Man," the last non-movie episode of the "Casebook" series. Though the show's final episode, "The Cardboard Box," is actually very good. Brett's decaying health did a serious number on the final, "Memoirs" series.

    I have to fully agree with you there. While I like Sherlock, some of its worst moments are when it starts acting so smugly proud of itself. It pats itself on the back way too much. (Actually, that's one of the things about its use of Moriarty that's at its worst; with both Holmes and Moriarty on the screen, it can really devolve into the writers going "lookit me, imma smart!"
     
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  20. Oh, absolutely. Holmes definitely becomes less arrogant as the series progresses; consider the bit in "The Lion's Mane" where he completely reverses the famous "brain attic" speech, and of course, there's his vastly improved relationship with the police.

    At the same time, I still think there's a substantive difference.

    Interesting point.

    The issue is that he comes off as not only arrogant, but as a genuinely terrible person. He's not just rude, he's actively and deliberately cruel to everyone. He doesn't just treat his cases primarily as intellectual exercises, he solely treats them as such, without even a token acknowledgement that justice needs to be done or that there is actual human suffering involved. He's not only dismissive of those around him, but expresses genuine contempt. And said contempt appears to be rooted not in the fact that other people lack his genius, but in the fact that other people aren't also total dicks.

    Sadly, they instead did the "Watson made stuff up" gag, which has long lost any novelty.

    This makes sense.

    I've also noted a tendency for a lot of media to draw their characterization solely from the immature earlier Holmes, even when it doesn't make sense; cf the RDJ films.

    This is true. I also rather enjoy that they did something new and unexpected with the two characters.

    Hmm, I seem to have missed something somewhere; are you saying you have a beef with the canonical Moriarty as well?

    Currently, I've seen all the regular episodes through the Casebook series, and the film adaptations of The Sign of the Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, and that's it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
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  21. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

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    Hmmm...well, I think his contempt comes from the fact that they're not also geniuses. (I do think that he lacks that elementary underpinning of morality that the original character possesses. It's a lot like how so many modern assumptions assume that Holmes is a hyper-rationalistic atheist, when that was explicitly not true in canon. It's our culture that has that line between "religious person" and "scientific analyst" drawn (and that largely among popular culture, not so much among actual scientists) and can't quite get over the cognitive dissonance.)

    ...I thought that was explicitly assumed, that the stories represent the "as edited for publication by Watson" versions of the tale. But yeah, having it occur as a gag or, worse yet, as an excuse for inserting the author's pet theory, is annoying.

    Yeah, there's really no sense in the pop-culture image of Holmes of a evolving character. It's like he started as the young, immature Holmes (and there's really very little realization that he is young and immature and that a lot of his evolution is just, literally, him growing up), stays like that for fifty years, then morphs into an old man on a bee farm.

    Nah. The canonical Moriarty is basically a plot device, not a character. He has his purpose, and he has interesting superficial character traits, and my major objection to his story function (that it was "inevitable," according to Watson, that a hand-to-hand fight between the two of them would end up in a tie with both falling to their death*, even though Holmes was younger, fitter, and established as an experienced combatant, while Moriarty was...not) was wiped out by the resolution in "The Empty House."

    *Astonishingly, I found A Game of Shadows to do a much better job selling that idea than canon did.

    Perfect! Skip to "The Cardboard Box" and you'll have seen the good stuff! ^_^ (Okay, honestly, The Last Vampyre is the only truly awful entry; the others are just subpar, especially given that Brett was seriously ill and Charles Gray as Mycroft had to fill in for many moments.)
     
  22. Ah, but he is contemptuous of Mycroft, who is not only also a genius, but is actively smarter than he is. Meanwhile, he got along splendidly with the serial killer from the first episode.

    Recall also his blathering about "I may be on the side of the angels, but I'm not one of them" in The Reichenbach Fall.

    Indeed.

    My default assumption, from a Watsonian perspective, is that while the dialogue may be spruced up a bit and the names and dates altered to protect the innocent, the people and events are more or less as described. Remember, Holmes complains about the presentation of the cases, not the actual facts.

    Saying "Watson made stuff up" or "Watson lied" destroys the whole point of the Great Game, IMO.

    It's really weird, especially since most of the stories have him in mature mode.

    This is true enough. I do think this may one of the reasons so many adaptations go awry when dealing with him, since at no point in the story is he able to accomplish anything asides from that single, spiteful, last ditch attempt at vengeance, and he even screws that up. Also, Doyle did such a magnificent job in "The Final Problem" that the retcon of it in "The Empty House" is rather wonky.

    They've got no excuse about Irene Adler, though.

    Sadly, I am a completest nutbar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
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  23. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

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    Mycroft's his brother, though, which trumps pretty much anything else. (He actually gets along better with Moriarty than with Mycroft, come to think of it.)



    And, "I'm not a hero; I'm a high-functioning sociopath" to Charles Augustus Milverton.

    Yep, those are the same assumptions I have. Mostly, it's the issue of dates where substantive change happens; this is probably the smoothest explanation of the question of how many wives Watson may have had (one minimum, most people argue at least two, some have argued 3-5). But once one gets into saying "it didn't happen like that," things get murkier.

    On the other hand, there are circumstances where things clearly didn't happen the way Watson describes them--to wit, the biology of the "swamp adder" in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," or the circumstances surrounding the horse race in "Silver Blaze," where unless we believe that the Holmes stories take place in an alternate universe (which defeats the entire point of playing the Great Game), we must assume that Watson changed some details for the sake of dramatic license.

    The retcon of the cliff being climbable, for example, was a classic retconning blunder; nerds on the Internet would have been all over him for that change. ^_^ I will say that Moriarty did a great job being ominous behind the scenes in The Valley of Fear; he really is surprisingly ineffective in "The Final Problem" in comparison.

    (Incidentally, while I've trumpeted the series before, I really can't recommend enough the adaptation of "The Final Problem" in the BBC Radio 4 series featuring Clive Merison and Michael Williams.)

    They really don't, and it's depressing.

    Well...um...here's hoping your experiences are better than mine? Subjective tastes, and all!
     
  24. That doesn't work as an explanation, though; again, their relationship in the canon is pretty good, after all.

    I should note that Mycroft is one of the things Sherlock does better than Elementary; Rhys Ifans does what he can but the character is just awful.

    Kinda my point.

    If you'll recall, they changed it to Magnussen; apparently being a professional blackmailer who gets off on being able to ruin people's lives wasn't bad enough, they had to make him a foreigner*.

    *OK, that's not entirely fair, they just wanted to take shots at Rupert Murdoch.

    True enough.

    Still, the constant speculation about how Watson lying/being deceived was one of the more irritating things about The Annotated Sherlock Holmes.

    There's also the fact that Moriarty's motivation for going after Holmes was explicitly because it was the only option he had left other than surrender, which makes no sense if he's still got guys.

    Not to mention, if Moran knew that Holmes survived the initial fall, what was the point of going into hiding?

    Aye. Though another one of the things that irked me about The Annotated Sherlock Holmes was the tendency to see Moriarty everywhere.

    My other pet peeves about it, BTW, were:
    -The speculation that Holmes was wrong about something, usually with the additional caveat that such-and-such a character was actually a villain*.
    -The obsession with heralrdry.
    -Over the course of my reading, I also came to loathe Baring-Gould's fixation on pinning down exact dates and locations.

    *I will admit to being particularly upset by the examples found in the annotations for "The Adventure of the Yellow Face"; in my mind, they were the most speculative and the most vehement to appear in either volume, and given the likely motivation, made me feel rather poorly towards the players of the Great Game at the time of publication for a bit.

    Indeed.

    Hopefully.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
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  25. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

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    Yeah, but that's canon. Though on the other hand, I'm not sure their canon relationship is that good, either. (Holmes trusting Mycroft in "The Final Problem" and during the Hiatus is on that side, but on the other hand, Holmes's not even mentioning Mycroft to Watson before "The Greek Interpreter" says more in the other direction--it suggests that the connection they maintain is based as much on practicality as on family affection. But ultimately, what I mean is, it makes more sense for Sherlock's Holmes to have a rivalry with his brother than it does with

    Really, it's less "Mycroft" and more "his other older brother Mycroft," the character is so far away from canon.

    I did not, in fact, recall that. This may be reflective of the fact that I do not own S3 of Sherlock on DVD yet, nor have I re-watched any of it.

    I've never read that book, and reading what you've written about it here in this message makes me think that I remember why I decided not to buy it.

    Yeah, Moriarty going after Holmes personally at that point basically boils down to ego; Holmes has torn apart what took him years to build up and near-ruined him, plus made him a hunted man continent-wide, and now nothing but personal revenge will do. Which is not the Moriarty that we know from either canon story. (Indeed, Holmes shows more desire to destroy Moriarty in "The Final Problem" during their confrontation at 221B.) Though going into hiding still makes sense in that he has people to hide from. Yeah, Moran knows he's alive, but if he's traveling the world under a series of assumed names, Moran doesn't know how to get to him.

    I'm seriously surprised that Moran simply doesn't come back to England and kidnap/threaten Watson, knowing that it'll likely lure Holmes out of hiding, or if it doesn't work he can just murder Watson and when the news gets to Holmes it'll at least hurt him. I have a feeling that's basically a cultural difference--that is, that Doyle just didn't think that way.

    Ouch.

    I've always had a very mixed relationship, emotionally, with the Great Game myself. I'm a fanfiction writer myself, and I cut my teeth on the Phantasy Star fandom, where I delved deeply into the game and worked on all kinds of theories to develop connections between characters, explain events, and so on. My GrimGrimoire stories basically build a world around the limited setting of the game, and lately I've been deeply invested in the Bloodborne lore (which is helped because the game's creator deliberately--he's said so in interviews--left many things unexplained to allow fans the fun of finding their own meanings).

    But at the same time, I'm a complete "canon whore," as the somewhat vulgar phrase goes. I like to look at and think about what lies behind or beyond the canon materials. What I don't like to do is call canon "wrong." Of course, the whole "literary agent hypothesis" of the Great Game has caused me some substantial frustration over the years; it's a matter of supreme irony that many of the people who are the greatest fans of the Sherlock Holmes writings would have to be held at gunpoint before they'd give one word of credit to the actual author for creating the stories, so deeply invested are they in pretending that Doyle was only the literary agent for a real Watson. And changing the stories ("Holmes was wrong! X was the guilty party!") is something that I find deeply repugnant. It's one thing to say that a story wasn't written very well or left loose ends, but quite another to posit that there's some "hidden truth," and the kind of things you cited are exactly the kind of things that make me really, really want to reconsider my policy that I never resell Sherlock Holmes pastiches.

    It's all matters of personal taste, of course, but that tends to be me. (Also, screwing with "The Yellow Face" seems to be in especially bad taste, given that particular story being very, very liberal on race relations for the era in which it is written. It would not be my first choice to start mucking about with the message.)
     
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