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[personal profile] mirrorshard
Well, that was a waste of 90 minutes.

If Cumberbatch's Holmes had any more tawdry quirks, he could open a tawdry quirk shop.

Moffat was the wrong person to do this, or at least the wrong person to do this on top of his Who, because the two projects are absurdly similar. The aesthetic style (in particular the costuming, but there's something about the framing and the London shots too); the immediate jump into an Arc Plot; the focus on what I can only call character porn rather than plot; the casual normalization of non-heterosexuality. All of these are good things, but the man's got too distinctive a fingerprint to be doing cookie-cutter shows like this. Whilst I like the Eleventh Doctor a lot, he's far too similar a character to this Holmes, or possibly vice-versa. Moffat has talked about how he's had a modern Holmes project in the back of his head for a long time, so that probably influenced the characterisation of Eleven: proud, impulsive, incredibly observant, rather at an angle to everyone else, and doesn't understand the way they think. And I don't think it's a coincidence that Smith and Cumberbatch are so similar in their appearance & onscreen mannerisms.

Some specific things that annoyed me: first, the lazy way Holmes' genius was represented. Obviously, it's always going to boil down to "jumping to unwarranted conclusions", because that's the nature of the Holmesiverse, but the presentation wasn't fast or assured enough for me to accept that, and having both Lestrade and then Watson handed the Idiot Ball so Holmes could show off more easily grated rather. I liked this Lestrade, and his crew—I'm sort of hoping (in vain, I'm sure) that we'll get a Torchwood-style spinoff, with Donovan and Anderson. He deserved better than his initial introduction.

Second: grrrrrr arrrrrgh SMASH disability fail. "Psychosomatic" isn't just a fancy way of saying "all in your head, mate—what you need is something to get you over it". I could have bought Watson's forgetting his stick in the rush, if he'd had a reaction afterwards, but it's as though he's entirely cured. And the allusion to PTSD (I can't even call it a depiction) is trivializing and irresponsible.

Third: it fails the Bechdel test. Every single woman in the episode is in a subordinate role, and are treated as targets for Holmes's rather tedious and predictable appallingness, except the one who gets to warn Watson about him instead and gets called a slut by Holmes for her trouble. And they don't get to talk to each other. Let's not even mention the way we see sexualized female murder victims, shall we?

Fourth: it's set in present-day London, and nearly everyone who gets lines is white and English. This is not exactly realistic.

Date: 2010-07-31 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steerpikelet.livejournal.com
Matt Smith actually auditioned for the role of Watson, unsuccessfully, which is partly what got him Who.

Date: 2010-07-31 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angoel.livejournal.com
Based on memory, I think that even if the entire cast barring Sherlock and Watson had been female, the Bechdel test would still be failed. It's due to the nature of detective stories and the close focus on the detective.

Date: 2010-08-01 01:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angoel.livejournal.com
Disagree with what? If it's the first sentence, then are you disagreeing with the approach of making the non-Sherlock/Watson characters female, or asserting that there is a scene in which non-Sherlock/Watson characters have a conversation which does not involve Sherlock/Watson. If it's the second, are you asserting that detective fiction doesn't fail the Bechdel test more than most genres, or the reasoning I give for it generally doing so. Or are you disagreeing more generally and advocating that one of Sherlock/Watson should have been female?

I do grant the point that there are disappointingly few fictional female detectives.

Date: 2010-08-02 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elettaria.livejournal.com
Historically the detective genre was as male-dominated as they come, along with the early police force, but a lot has changed over the years. Try the Falco novels, which are set in the male-dominated world of ancient Rome with a male detective but still manage to pass the Bechdel test with flying colours. In fact, the series is particularly noted for its characterisation and the relationships between the characters - even the family dog is a great character! Admittedly Davis isn't quite as brilliant at writing the detectoring side of things, though still perfectly acceptable, but I don't think that suffers because of this rich background, it's improved by it. A conversation where Falco is flirting with a witness is much more interesting when you're wondering what his wife will think of it, and in fact the wife will sometimes go round and chat to the lady herself, managing to accomplish something that Falco couldn't.

Or look at the fact that there's an entire subgenre for lesbian detective fiction.

Date: 2010-07-31 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angelislington.livejournal.com
Matt Smith auditioned for Watston, and Benedict Cumberbatch auditioned for the Doctor! The Moff clearly has a type. ;-)

Date: 2010-07-31 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_jenjen_/
Yeah, that actually sounds like it would just make me really angry. How disappointing.

I've never really read the Sherlock Holmes books, but I thought I might dip into a couple to see what's the what. Probably won't check out the TV show, though.

Date: 2010-07-31 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valkyriekaren.livejournal.com
Um.. I thought they said later it wasn't PTSD - that was just what his psychologist had thought?

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