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James O'Leary
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Ray Wilcockson weighs on on the "Lost Sherlock Holmes Story".
Illustration by Sidney Paget. "Look at that with your magnifying glass, Mr Holmes." The Norwood Builder. The revelation of a hitherto unrecorded story featuring Sherlock Holmes and ...
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James O'Leary

TV: Elementary (CBS)  - 
 
The hot poker of truth comes to the fore on tonight's Elementary. No matter what you think of the show, you gotta love the movie theater quality posters they produce for the episodes.
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James O'Leary

On the Web  - 
 
After a contemplative sleep, Kendall J. Pagan’s Sherlockian Pagan has given us its most thoughtful Elementary review yet. How do I know it’s thoughtful? Why, at 1134 words, it’s almost as long as his first two reviews put together! (That, my dear Kendall, is catty.) “S3:3: The business end of a buck-shot cartridge” opens with Kendall’s typically thoughtful yet typically limited insight: “Placing CBS's Elementary up against the original Conan Doyle short stories of Sherlock Holmes is hardly a fair match.” That statement is true as far as it goes, but it would be more accurate to say that placing any cinematic treatment of Holmes against Doyle’s short stories is hardly a fair match. That’s not to say that it is impossible to improve on Doyle—some of the better versions of BLUE include scenes of the wrongly accused John Horner being released from jail, something lacking in the Doyle original—but the best of Holmes’ short-form adventures are polished gems that pack a lot in their forty-grain weight of perfection.

 Says Kendall of Doyle: "Simple plots, elegantly told. A sniper's precise shot rather than the spraying Uzi of Elementary. It's very hard to even compare the two, the one flowing on the page from start to orderly finish while the other careens from pre-commercial-break "shocker" to pre-commercial-break "shocker" in something like a fish-tailing procedural formula one racer.” At ninety minutes, BBC’s Sherlock has plenty of Uzi spray. A look at Series One’s “The Great Game” finds borrowed plot elements from BRUC, NAVA, FINA, the Rathbone/Bruce film “The Pearl of Death” and STUD’s reference in Sherlock’s ignorance of astronomy; it makes, for me at any rate, an unsatisfying whole. Even Granada, that most faithful of adaptations, had to add filler to stretch some of its retellings of the Canon to fill its time-slot. “The Six Napoleons” gives us Beppo’s backstory in untranslated Italian; “The Cardboard Box” exchanges “blazing hot day in August” of the original to Christmas for a little non-Doylean yuletide levity at Baker Street.

Like a buck-shot cartridge aimed at a target, some of Kendall’s criticisms do hit home even if others are wide of the mark. “One would suspect the real Sherlock Holmes would just master knife throwing itself (How hard can that be, really?) to find out necessary facts…” Really, Kendall, how hard can it be to master knife throwing? It takes a lot of work and months or years of effort to “master” anything, so it is quite logical for Miller’s Holmes to consult experts, as Holmes did, in BLAN, for example. I do understand the need for Elementary to make Sherlock actively heterosexual, as to distinguish it from the more gay-centric Sherlock. But Miller’s dalliances have always fallen flat for me, as well as most of the comments on Joan’s sex life. I wouldn’t call episode 3.3’s remarks “catty”; unnecessary, perhaps? They are, however, well within the norm for this version of Sherlock. Of course, the Canonical Holmes always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye when commenting on Watson’s sex appeal: “With your natural advantages, Watson, every lady is your helper and accomplice. What about the girl at the post-office, or the wife of the greengrocer? I can picture you whispering soft nothings with the young lady at the Blue Anchor, and receiving hard somethings in exchange” Hard somethings? Why, Mr. Holmes, you risqué devil! Modern dialog lacks the sly subtleties of Doyle, but that’s not a failing of Elementary alone (“If I were to look at naked women, I'd borrow John's laptop.” Ouch).

As for “Just a Regular Irregular”, I thought the episode was fine, certainly in range of John Foster’s Sherlock Holmes Society of St. Charles blog’s three pipe rating. Elementary has never been about cramming in Canonical references for the cognoscenti, but telling the story of Holmes and Watson through its own unique lens with, yes Kendall, real characters and real character development. That you can’t or won’t see it is fine. I’m sure it has much more to do disliking the show since before it was on (“I could rail on for hours about how much I hate the show, based on the minutes we’ve been shown so far.” SP July 6, 2012) than watching the show on a twenty-six inch cathode ray tube set.
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+Ian Miller I do agree that there are huge plot holes in Sherlock. But even some fans of the BBC show realize that it's not a Doylean sniper shot. http://www.sherlockpeoria.net/AaaActionSherlockBrainTheater/ASBT2012/ASBTheater052712.html
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James O'Leary

On the Web  - 
 
Kendall J. Pagan's most recent review on Elementary at Sherlockian Pagan, "E3.2: A fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle", continues to advance his most potent argument against the show, the non-existent romance between Joan and Sherlock ("...the non-romantic triangle between Mr. Elementary, Joan Watson, and Kitty Winter is beginning to blossom, with the former two acting like uncomfortable ex-lovers....The whole point of this episode is not the mystery story -- it's to turn up the heat on the Mr. Elementary/Miss Winter/Miss Watson triangle"). Some people are just romantics at heart and see love everywhere they look and Kendall, I'm afraid, has the poetic soul of a Lord Byron.

However, Kendall does hit on an important point ("It's like an asexual version of the abusive male who sleeps with the girl he can have while pining after the girl he can't have, verbally abusing the girl he's having sex with while awkwardly trying to slip back into bed with the one he really wants."); that is the unhealthy partnerships of our modern cinematic Holmes and Watson. Noticeable in Sherlock and the Warner Bros. franchise is the Watson-on-Holmes violence. In both WB pictures and "A Scandal in Belgravia" and "The Empty Hearse" the Watsons pummel their Holmeses with varing degrees of ferocity. In the BBC case, Sherlock tries to dose Watson with a hallucinogenic bioweapon and leads Watson to believe both are going to die in a horrific terrorist explosion. In A Game of Shadows, an in-drag Holmes pushes the newly-married Mrs. Watson off a honeymoon-in-Brighton-bound train to take her place. All past generations of Sherlockians had to complain about was a bumbling Nigel Bruce!

By reading things that aren't there in Elementary, Kendall has reminded us of the brave new Sherlockian world ushered in by CBS's predecessors. And a hint of the Holmesian romance novel that seems to be twitching at his fingertips, 140 Varieties of Sherlock, perhaps?
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James O'Leary

On the Web  - 
 
It is good to see Kendall J. Pagan and Sherlockian Pagan back to form and all thanks to Elementary.  Of course, one can only write so many posts praising a show that has Sherlock wearing nothing but a bedsheet to Buckingham Palace: having Christmas with Ma and Pa Holmes, John and his CIA-trained assassin fiancée Mary in tow, and the Homes boys sneaking ciggies outside like twelve-year-olds: or coolly blowing C.A.M.'s brains out as really getting Sherlock Holmes right. And with the millions the BBC is raking in from Sherlock, they really get the character, too.

In his blog post of October 30, "Ah, Wendell, surely the game is hardly worth the candle", he gives us a review of the third season opener of Elementary without discussing the episode, but instead a  tweet from the writers. "The name of so many canonical characters start with M. There's no 'Elana' in the canon, but 'M'arch is a nod." Kendall rightly states that there is no March in the Canon. "So as a 'nod' to the one true Watsonian Canon, the writers of CBS's Elementary, felt it appropriate to ignore all eighty or so actual 'M' names from the Canon, most of which haven't been used by any TV Sherlock show, and go with one that isn't in the original sixty stories. Yeah, that makes sense." Never mind that Kendall has pointed out on numerous occasions that Elementary has thrown a Canonical name on any old character just to seem like they've read Doyle; now that the show has given a non-Canonical character a non-Canonical name--just a Canonical letter in reference to the many "M" names--CBS has once again failed the Pagan "they get it" test.

Bravo, Kendall. Despite his untimely death in 2002 Sherlockian Pagan "gets" the internet. It was made for snark, not critique; view, not review; insult, not inform. We can only read praise of Sherlock for so long before becoming bored--yes, Moffat and Gatiss are genius fanboys, yes Cumberbatch and Freeman are brilliant actors, blah blah--but destruction is fun. That's why Hollywood excels at explosions. We can blow up Elementary endlessly; and there's no off switch on that bomb.
Home page for The Sherlock Holmes Shoppe by Classic Specialties
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+Ian Miller When it comes to Elementary, almost all Brad can see is the negative and I've decided the gift of Kendall J. Pagan is too good to pass up when he thinks that rhetoric passes for critique and CBS's sins are singular and unique. Many thanks goes to Brad's good friend, the late Bob Burr.
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James O'Leary

TV: Elementary (CBS)  - 
 
Joan moves back to the Brownstone with a vengeance.
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During this holiday season it's always fun to listen to Scott Monty's verse version of "The Blue Carbuncle". Compliments of the season to all.
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Thanks James!
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James O'Leary

On the Web  - 
 
Kendall J. Pagan has some good news in his Monday, November 17 post "It had dropped in sheer lassitude".

"It's always been intriguing to me the way Elementary's viewership falls of before each season's finale," comments Kendall. "Traditionally, a season finale is a climax of sorts, a destination for fans of a show to rally around. And yet, for two seasons, that last climactic episode has a million or so less viewers than it did a month or two before. Perhaps it's the way mainstream shows go, and not following same, I just haven't encountered this before. It does seem to imply a certain lack of commitment in the average viewer of the show, though. I bring this up, because those same uncommitted folk seem to be wandering away from Mr. Elementary and Joan Watson, Crime Doctor, this fall. Last week's ratings hit an all time low of 6.53 million, part of a sinking trend that's been going on since last spring."

Interestingly, Zap2it, TV by the numbers reports that the live plus 7 day DVR and on demand viewing of Elementary's season premiere increased the live-only viewers by 4.5 million, making the October 30 show's viewership 12.12 million as opposed to 7.61 million. So while it is true that people are not necessarily sitting down to watch Elementary at 10 pm on Thursdays, they are watching it, at their own convenience and maybe more than once.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/11/17/the-season-premiere-of-elementary-jumps-100-in-adults-18-49-and-adds-4-5-million-viewers-with-live-7-day-lift/328689/
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Woohoo! I have things that go on Thurday nights, so I often use the DVR to watch.
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James O'Leary

Baker Street Irregulars  - 
 
"he must certainly have been a giant" [WIST]
[Editor's note: The following is a guest post by Chris Redmond, BSI ("Billy")] My father, Don Redmond, BSI, 2s. ("Good Old Index"), first read the Sherlock Holmes stories in his boyhood, and his father’s copy of the grey-gree...
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Kendall J. Pagan raises some valid points on the season premiere review of Elementary in the Sherlockian Pagan of Hollowe'en, "E3:1. The painful necessity of advising your arrest". Mr. E, as Kendall calls Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes, has returned to NYC from his eight month sabbatical with MI6 on the QT. It was not an initial success. Joan does not, like all right-thinking modern-day Watsons, assault Sherlock, but treats him with a cold, but adult, civility for leaving abruptly with only a five line note of goodbye. Gregson, too, fails to bear-hug the returning prodigal sleuth, but demands that if he wants to come back as a consultant for the NYPD, his work better be exceptional because otherwise Joan has it covered. How unreasonable of Gregson! But Kendall saves his best objection for last:

So one basically has to ask one's self, why is anyone putting up with Mr. E at all any more . . . except as someone Joan can secretly be harboring affection for. Joan's "Why here?" and Mr. E's "Because I belong here, as do you" belies the showrunners early statements that Mr. E and Joan will never become a couple. They're bad fiction soulmates, not a well matched set of friends like the real Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Now rivals, secretly in love. Sheesh.

Kendall has long maintained that, despite creator's Robert Doherty's insistence that Sherlock and Joan will never be romantically involved, he knows that they will. He feels it in his incorporeal marrow. Kendall knows that the best argument against the show is not to list the faults that have occurred, but to slam them for the faults that haven't happened yet.
Perhaps I was a little too light on my comments on the third season premiere of CBS's Elementary. So let's get a little more in depth . . . Joan Watson is having lunch at a nice restaurant with her own Professor Moriarty, Ela...
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The Fall 2014 (Vol. 2 No. 2) issue of The Watsonian arrived in the mail today and I am looking forward to checking out its 160 pages of Watsonian and Holmesian goodness. The Watsonian is the publication of the John H Watson Society, an online group dedicated to that sometime neglected medico and author to whom all Sherlockians owe so much.
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