TV Show Draft – Round 8 Pick-Sherlock

We have come to the eighth round of the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. I have already picked Columbo and Perry Mason, and for this round I have another mystery show. I’ve noticed a few of the other participants have picked some great BBC shows, so I guess it is now my turn. For this round, I pick Sherlock.

The series ran from 2010 – 2017. Series 1 aired in 2010, Series 2 in 2012, a Christmas mini-episode ran in 2013, Series 3 ran in 2014, a special “period” show aired in 2016, and Series 4 aired in 2017. What I love about this show is the modern take on a classic character. Having Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in modern day was the draw for me and it did not disappoint.

The Premise

The show features Sherlock Holmes, who is a “consulting detective”, along with his flatmate Dr. John Watson solving crimes in a modern-day London. He helps Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade, who at first is a bit suspicious of Sherlock. Over time, however, he realized Sherlock’s intelligence and ability to help solve various crimes and considers him an asset.

Dr. Watson documents their adventures on his personal blog and Sherlock becomes a sort of celebrity. This leads to a lot of press coverage and ordinary people and the British government seeking out Sherlock for help with cases.

The show features various crimes and villains, however, a recurring feature is the battle between Holmes and his archenemy, Jim Moriarty. Many of the stories in the series have been adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books.

Who’s Responsible?

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were both writers for another BBC show – Dr. Who. They were both huge fans of Sherlock Holmes. They were both no stranger to taking Victorian stories and adapting it for television. The two men spent many hours during train rides discussing creating a new series featuring Sherlock Holmes. Moffat’s wife suggested that the two begin developing the show before someone else stole the idea.

The Cast

Sherlock Holmes – Benedict Cumberbatch

According to Moffat and Gattis, Benedict Cumberbatch was immediately the guy they wanted to play Holmes. They had seen him perform in Atonement and thought he was perfect. A producer said that he was the only one they actually saw for the role. According to one article: “The part is modelled as a charismatic secondary psychopath or “High functioning sociopath” as Sherlock self-describes, unlike Doyle’s rendering as a primary psychopath, thereby allowing more opportunity or ambiguity for traits of empathy.” Cumberbatch told the Guardian, “There’s a great charge you get from playing him, because of the volume of words in your head and the speed of thought—you really have to make your connections incredibly fast. He is one step ahead of the audience and of anyone around him with normal intellect. They can’t quite fathom where his leaps are taking him.”

Dr. John Watson – Martin Freeman

Actor Matt Smith was originally the actor Moffat and Gattis had in mind to play Watson, but there was something about him, the chemistry with Cumberbatch, and the way he played the character that they didn’t like (They would eventually cast him in Dr. Who). Eventually, Martin Freeman won the role. Moffat says of Freeman, (he is) “the sort of opposite of Benedict in everything except the amount of talent… Martin finds a sort of poetry in the ordinary man. I love the fastidious realism of everything he does.” Freeman, when considering his character, says he is “a ‘moral compass’ for Sherlock, who does not always consider the morality and ethics of his actions.

Detective Inspector Lestrade – Rupert Graves

According to Moffat and Gattis, many auditioned for the role, but they all seemed to have a comedic take on the role. The creators liked Graves’ approach to it and he was cast. There is some great interplay between Lestrade and Holmes throughout the series. He works for Scotland Yard.

Jim Moriarty – Andrew Scott

Scott is fantastic as Moriarty! Moffat said, “We knew what we wanted to do with Moriarty from the very beginning. Moriarty is usually a rather dull, rather posh villain so we thought someone who was genuinely properly frightening. Someone who’s an absolute psycho.” They certainly achieved this. There were times I was genuinely freaked out by his performance! The creators never intended to have a “confrontation” scene between Holmes and Moriarty, but then they saw Scott’s audition and they knew that they HAD to!

Other Cast Members

Amanda Abbington – Mary (Morstan) Watson

At the time of the series, Amanda Abbington was Martin Freeman’s real life partner. She was cast to play John Watson’s girlfriend/wife.

Mrs. HudsonUna Stubbs

Mrs. Hudson is Holmes’ and Watson’s landlady. She brings a wonderful bit of comedic dialog to every interaction and scene. Interesting story – Una has known Benedict Cumberbatch since he was 4 years old and she has worked with his mother!

Molly HooperLouise Brealey

Molly Hooper works at a morgue at a London hospital. She also has an apparent crush on Sherlock. Because of her work position and crush on him, Sherlock frequently exploits her to let him examine or perform experiments on victims’ bodies. In the first episode of the series she allows him to hit a corpse with a riding crop to see how it might bruise in post mortum.

Mycroft Holmes – Mark Gattis

(SPOILER ALERT) When Mycroft first appears in the series, you really have no idea who he is. He is this mysterious man who tries to get Watson to spy on Sherlock for him. You only learn later on that he is Sherlock’s brother. Mycroft is even more skilled at deduction, correcting Sherlock on occasion and beating him in deduction exercises, as well as lacking enthusiasm for “legwork”. His intellect is borderline superhuman. The sibling rivalry between the two lead to some very good scenes.

Sally Donovan & Phillip Anderson – Vinette Robinson & Jonathan Aris

Srgt. Sally Donovan often works with Lestrade on cases. She resents Sherlock’s presence at crime scenes and treats him with extreme disrespect and rudeness, cruelly calling him a “freak” to his face, and warns Watson that Sherlock is a psychopath who will one day get bored of catching killers and become one himself.

Phillip Anderson is originally a member of the Metropolitan Police’s Forensic Services. From the series opening, it is clear that Anderson and Sherlock have history of mutual dislike with Sherlock repeatedly humiliating Anderson and Anderson refusing to assist him at crime scenes.

Why I Picked It

Growing up, I had read a few of the Sherlock Holmes books. I has seen Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in movies, and certainly heard many old time radio shows featuring Holmes and Watson. I was intrigued to see just how Sherlock would play out in modern times.

I began to watch the first episode and all it took was the first meeting of Sherlock and Watson, and I was hooked. The way Sherlock is able to tick off things about Watson after just a couple minutes was awesome. Here is that scene:

Pardon me while I sort of digress for a moment.

One of the shows I considered picking in the draft was House, M.D. starring Hugh Laurie. I had heard it said that House was based on Sherlock Holmes. House would often make brilliant deductions about his patients, and often was able to rattle off things about people because of his keen sense of observation – just like Sherlock Holmes. When I began to watch Sherlock, I immediately noticed just how much the two were alike.

The two characters are very similar. Check out the following links:

https://screenrant.com/house-ways-similar-sherlock-holmes/

https://screenrant.com/house-show-sherlock-holmes-comparison-similarities/

Now, back to why I picked it. I love a good mystery, obviously. I was fascinated by the way Sherlock worked and how he figured things out. Sherlock is a bit different that my earlier picks of Columbo and Perry Mason. I loved watching him sort through all the things that helped get him to the final conclusion.

I love good characters. This show is full of them. There are times I laugh out loud at some of the interactions. One of my favorite exchanges between Sherlock and Lestrade happens in the first episode. Sherlock, Watson and Lestrade are in a room and Sherlock yells, “Shut up!” Lestrade answers back, “I didn’t say anything.” Sherlock adds quickly, “You were thinking. It’s annoying!”

Holmes and Watson are the perfect team. They play well off each other. The same holds true for Cumberbatch and Freeman. Their chemistry is magical. I remember seeing the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and thinking they had good chemistry, but Cumberbatch and Freeman’s chemistry is far superior.

In between Series 3 & 4, Sherlock aired a special on New Years Day of 2016. The Abominable Bride was set in Victorian London. Set in the time of the original books, it takes Sherlock out of the modern day and places him back where we all know him from. Moffat stated that “The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special. It’s not part of the run of three episodes. So we had this to do it … It’s kind of in its own little bubble.”

The special won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards. If you only watch one episode – I’d suggest this one.

The final episode of Sherlock aired in 2017. Steven Moffat stated that He and Mark Gattis had fifth series plotted out, but weren’t ready to fully produce it. Whether or not a new series of shows will come to fruition is still up in the air.

When Benedict Cumberbatch was asked about whether or not Sherlock would make more episodes, he said, “I’m the worst person to ask because my slate’s pretty, pretty full at the moment, as is Martin’s and all the other key players involved. So, who knows? Maybe one day, if the script’s right. And I say ‘the script,’ maybe it could be a film rather than the series. Who knows?” 

Sherlock is a multi award winning show full of mystery, adventure, comedy, and fun. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.

The game is on!!

Is it “Binge” Worthy?

I am a sleep technologist full time.  Naturally, when I see articles related to sleep, I read them.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently took a survey to find out what keeps us up at night.

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Coming in at #4 – Playing video games.  59% of men and 42% of women do it.

Coming in at #3 – Watching sports.  The survey says that 60% of us sometimes choose sports over sleep. (75% were men, while 45% were women)

The second thing that keeps us up at night is reading.  According to the survey 71% of women and 61% of men lose sleep because they couldn’t put down a book. (Personally, I LOVE when a book keeps me interested like that!)

So what was the #1 thing that keeps us up at night?  No surprise – Streaming TV shows or movies. A whopping 88% of us do this!  Of that group, 95% of the people were between 18 & 45 years old.

24 % of people in the survey said they usually are angry with themselves for putting entertainment over sleep.

The results got me to thinking.  As someone who rarely gets enough sleep because of my job, what TV shows would I consider to be “Binge Worthy”?

Since the birth of television, there have been thousands of TV shows!  With the availability of many of those shows on DVD and on streaming sites, which ones would I actually think about streaming or binge-watching?  I decided to break it down by decade.  I wrote down the first four shows from each decade that came to mind down.  So, here are the shows that I could easily “binge” watch:

The 1950’s

honeymooners

Jack_Benny

twilight

PerryMason

The 1960’s

TheDickVanDykeShow

trek

mission

smart_title1

The 1970’s

sanford

mash-title-960x590

wkrp

columbo_title_screen

The 1980’s

cheers

dukes

Night_Court_-_Opening_Screenshot_of_caption_and_NYC_skyline

TNG_head

The 1990’s

friends

raymond

seinfeld

70's

The 2000’s

On_the_next_Arrested_Development

office

30 rock

House

Now it’s your turn.  If you want to Google it – go ahead, but I thought it was more fun to just think of the decades and write down the first ones that came to my head.

What are YOUR “binge worthy” shows??

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Tune Tuesday – Let Them Talk

In a new feature (which I may or may not continue), I want to feature some tunes I like once a week.  What better day of the week to do it than on Tuesday?

Many know award-winning actor Hugh Laurie for his role as Dr. Gregory House on House, MD (his American accent always blew me away as I watched, because I knew he was English).  He was half of the comedy duo of Fry and Laurie with Stephen Fry.  He appeared on the show Jeeves and Wooster, the films Sense and Sensibility, 101 Dalmatians, and Stuart Little, and had authored a book (The Gun Seller).  He is also a very talented musician.

Today’s tune is the title track from his first album – Let Them Talk.  The album is subtitled “A Celebration of New Orleans Blues” and is just fantastic.  His piano work is just marvelous and he sings with feeling.  The period instruments and guest vocalists add to the feel of some great blues music.

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I picked this song for a few reasons.  First, I love the attitude of the song – “Let them talk!”  In my life recently, there are way too many people who are talking about me, my life, and what’s going on in it.  It is easy to get caught up in wondering what people think … but in reality, who cares?!  LET THEM TALK!  Maybe they are talking because they see how much better things are for me.  Maybe they are jealous.  Maybe they are unhappy with their own lives and aren’t happy unless they are talking smack about others.  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, LET THEM TALK!

Another reason I love this song is that it is a guy singing about just how wonderful it is to be with his special someone.  As you can tell by my last few blogs, I feel the same way!  I want to yell at the top of my lungs how much I love my wife!  I want the world to know how special she is and how special our relationship is!

The final reason I love this song is the simplicity of it musically.  A voice and a piano (and a few minor instruments).  It is so stripped down and yet it causes you to get lost in the song.  Give it a listen and enjoy:

Let Them Talk – Hugh Laurie

Just let them talk
If they want to
Talk don’t bother me
I’m gonna keep on to the whole wide world knows
That I really love you
I really love you so

Let them whisper
For they know know
What’s between you and I
I’m gonna keep on
I’m gonna keep on loving you
’till the day that I die

They tried to break up our romance
They didn’t stay a chance
We have the kind of love that’s so strong
We’ll be together from now on

They say that gossip comes from the devil’s workshop
And only true love can make it stop
I’m gonna keep on
I’m gonna keep on loving you
’till the day that I die

Oh they’re envious of everything that we do
But I wanna say it’s wonderful
When you love someone
And that someone
And that someone, really loves you

And that someone
And that someone, really loves you

Yeah that someone
And that someone, really loves you

Yeahhh

And that someone
Yeah that someone, really loves you