mirrorshard: (Default)
[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.
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