Sherlock returns Jan 1st 2012

The Grand Moffat just tweeted the news:

Sherlock returns, Sunday,Jan 1st, 8.10pm, BBC1. First the woman, then the Hound and then, of course, the fall…

The reference to “the woman” is the classic Holmes story involving Irene Adler, A Scandal in Belgravia. Sherlockology has a spoiler-free review of Scandal that will whet your appetite!

The fall, I assume, is a reference to Reichenbach.

Sherlock returns this winter


Details just revealed by co-creator/writer, Mark Gatiss, has the three proposed episodes as A Scandal in Bohemia, Hound of the Baskervilles and The Final Problem. Gatiss went on to explain that he will adapt ‘Hound’ for television, while co-creator Steven Moffat will write the series premiere. “Steven wanted to do the twisted love story [of ‘A Scandal’] because he likes that,” he said. “I’m doing the gothic horror, and Steve Thompson is doing ‘The Final Problem‘. Originally set to begin filming this month, it was pushed back a bit to allow Martin Freeman to complete filming on Peter Jackon’s, The Hobbit, which had experienced its’ own filming delays earlier this year.

The Grand Moffat teased everyone with a simple tweet: “… it begins” and a photo of a very famous door. I really think that the first few episodes of Sherlock were better than the new season of Dr Who thus far – though not by a large margin. It seems that as Syfy wanes, the BBC waxes. I do miss Stargate but the Brits have plenty for me on tap. Just need to be patient until Fall… and, Warehouse 13 just returned, so I have something to keep me occupied till then 🙂

Hobbit Watson – a Freeman

I was seriously depressed when I found out that there were only three episodes of Sherlock filmed as yet. I caught this series on a plane, actually, and was ready to go a-torrenting for the backlog, only to find I’d exhausted it. It’s as good as Dr. Who, as I’ve raved before. Unfortunately the big hold-up seemed to be that actor Martin Freeman (playing John Watson) had commitments to another big story I am anticipating – The Hobbit.

Well, looks like that’s all resolved:

there was a worry that Freeman wouldn’t be able to film The Hobbit in New Zealand due to commitments to the BBC series Sherlock. That has all been worked out, apparently. “I know my work plan,” Freeman said. “I start in January, then I’ll have a break in the summer so I can shoot the second season of Sherlock, the BBC show where I portray Watson, and then I’ll be back in New Zealand in September in order to finish the movie by the end of the year.”

Filming for the Hobbit starts now, and filming for Sherlock in the summer – with Dr Who to tide us over until then. And then Sherlock in the fall, and The Hobbit next year.

Life is good. I will barely miss Stargate Universe. (well, that’s not entirely true…)

UPDATE: from the article,

So wait, when The Hobbit comes out, Freeman will have played Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide, Watson, and Bilbo Baggins. I mean that’s like a nerd trifecta.

Heh. Though with regards to Arthur Dent, let me quote Miracle Max: “and thank you for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?”

and so, the (Stargate) Universe ended

In the Beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. — The Hitchhiker’ Guide to the Galaxy

This is pretty depressing news – Stargate: Universe seems to have been canceled. They are midway through their second season run and the final ten episodes will air in the spring, they will also modify the plot to wrap up the storyline early (since it was originally scripted for a five year run).

That shows like ST:Voyager get dragged out for years but the great shows like Firefly and SGU get dropped before they’ve had a chance to build a wider following is massively frustrating to me. It’s amazing to me that Galactica was permitted to survive long enough to finish. Sadly, most science fiction (and SGU was no exception) have tried to imitate Galactica’s formula of oversexed characters to try and draw in the mainstream male demographics. I expect the lesson of SGU’s demise, as far as TV producers go, is that there was too much plot and not enough skin. SGU was one of the few shows out there that could credibly be called a successor to Galactica; even Caprica Galactica’s own designated heir already got the axe. The future of American science fiction is dim.

We still have the British franchises, namely Doctor Who, and if the stars align more of Sherlock. And Warehouse 13 seems to have survived the chopping block, though for how long?

Meanwhile, the SyFy rebranding is revealed to have indeed been appropriate. SyFy doesn’t have the patience that Sci-Fi channel did for good science fiction. They just want shows that look like science fiction. It’s just “siffy” now. I’m disgusted, and if I had the option to choose cable channels a-la-carte I’d drop Siffy entirely.

Incidentally, this is an example of why cable should indeed be a-la-carte. Niche channels will regress towards the mean of television norms instead of staying faithful to their niche as long as they are subsidized by general cable premiums. If these niche channels must justify their existence, however, to the niche audience, they will take more risks – and the niche audience will be more willing to pay. Right now I pay about $40 for hundreds of channels; I’d happily pay $50 for just a handful, and Siffy could get a much larger share of my money.

I hope at some point that we can skip able distribution entirely and see a future where TV shows are marketed directly to Netflix and Hulu plus.

At any rate, the long drought of American science fiction has begun.

Sherlock: No sh$%

Sherlock (BBC)I returned from a lengthy trip and caught a few episodes of the Grand Moffat’s latest series, Sherlock, on the flight. This particular reimagination of Sherlock Holmes is unique in that it is set in the modern day rather than the Victorian era, which for me was like a revelation. The Wikipedia entry describes the series development and inspiration in detail and makes for good reading in its own right, as a case study in adaptation of a literary masterpiece to a different medium. For example:

The writers say that they didn’t want to force the modernity of the world onto the story. There were some creative challenges, such as the decision to include the sign “221B” on Holmes’ front door. Gatiss and Moffat reflect that in the modern world the door would only display the number of the house, and there would be doorbells for each flat. However, the full house number is so iconic that they felt that they could not change it. The writers also decided that the lead characters would address each other by their first names, rather than the traditional Holmes and Watson. Director Paul McGuigan came up with the idea of putting text messages on the screen instead of having cut-away shots of a hand holding the phone.

One of the modernizing facets of the show is that John Watson is encouraged to start a blog, as means of working through his adaptation to civilian duty and the psychosomatic limp. That blog is actually available online, and makes for great supplemental material to the show, as is Holmes’ own website and even the website of the landlady at 221b Baker Street! These tie-in websites are well done, if a bit amateur (though I am utterly spoiled with respect to
ARGs by Cloudmakers).

Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re just getting introduced to the series), there were only three episodes made thus far. The series will be continued but our man Watson is off to New Zealand to play at Bilbo (which is also good news).

Frankly, the series was superb. So much so that if it continues, it could even eclipse Doctor Who. The parallels between the Doctor and Holmes are pretty amazing if you think about it (right down to the sidekick) and that certainly isn’t entirely coincidence. This is a great series. Between this, Dr Who, and Stargate Universe, it’s a golden winter for science fiction.

(and yes, I count Sherlock as science fiction. Discuss!)