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Archive for the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Category

The BBC and ITV have teamed up to start a new streaming service, BritBox, according to Variety.

For us Anglophiles stuck here in the U.S. this is good news!  Many of us have been able to watch some British TV through, say, Netflix (hello, Midsomer Murders!) or if PBS decides to collaborate with or piggyback onto the BBC’s content, but have been frustrated that we’re unable to get ahold of some shows that are up online in the U.K. but are blocked for us viewers here in the States.

Enter BritBox, which brings a mixture of classic and current television.  Old favorites such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and The Office are available now, as are back episodes of current shows such as EastEnders and Casualty.  New episodes of those are loaded up the day after they air in the U.K.

If you like detective stories and mysteries, there’s Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect, Joan Hickson as Miss Marple and Rosemary and Thyme, among others.

Bleak House, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Upstairs, Downstairs (both the original 1971 version and the 2010 remake) are part of the historical drama contingent.

Right now the offerings are a little thin, but I would imagine that’s due to the BBC and ITV wanting to see if this takes off before adding more.  I would love to see Coupling on here, maybe Graham Norton, and possibly some game shows.

The service starts with a 7-day free trial and is $6.99 monthly thereafter.  To sign up go to BritBox.com.

#BritBox #BritishTelevision

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The Associates of Sherlock Holmes is an anthology of Holmes-related stories written by various authors.  There are 13 stories, and the book is edited by George Mann, who has himself written some Sherlock follow-on books, as well as scripts for the BBC.  He has also edited other Holmes anthologies and produced a number of other works.

assoc_of_sh_bookEach of the stories center around one of the supporting or minor characters from the original Conan Doyle stories, from lesser-known characters such as Inspector Stanley Hopkins and Helen Stoner from The Adventure of the Speckled Band to the more well-known Irene Adler and Sherlock’s brother Mycroft.

Because they’re from different authors the stories vary widely in whether the author attempts to write in Conan Doyle’s style or not (and whether that is achieved).  Some fell with a clunk with me and others I quite liked.

I would give this book maybe a 3.5 or 4 out of 5.  If you’re a Holmesophile this will give you some good reading, just expect that some stories will be better than others.

The Associates of Sherlock Holmes is published by Titan Books.

Image via Amazon.com

#SherlockHolmes #SirArthurConanDoyle

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Please note that this review of the first episode of Sherlock series 4, titled The Six Thatchers, contains all kinds of spoilers.  If you haven’t seen the episode don’t read any farther.  Fair warning!

I’m also not going to hold back in this review.  As much as I loved the first two series of Sherlock, it started to go off the rails in series three and it has now completed that unfortunate detour.  I wish I could say that after two years Sherlock is back and it’s great.  But unfortunately I can wipe this episode off my DVR and feel no pain.

When we last saw Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) he had killed villain Charles Augustus Magnussen and it looked as though our hero would be banished from Britain.  Just four minutes later, however, he gets a reprieve and it turns out his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss, who also wrote the episode) and three others in the British government devised a plan to doctor the security footage of the deed to make it look as though someone else did it.  The reason they do it is that it appears villain Moriarty has made some plans from beyond the grave and they need Sherlock to save the day (brother Mycroft’s spies seem to never be enough, apparently).  Despite the many mentions of Moriarty, however, he really has nothing to do with the episode and is just thrown in for… well, I’m not sure why he’s thrown in.

There is an actual case to be solved, the case of The Six Thatchers, which is a takeoff on the original Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons.  In the original story six identical busts of Napoleon are shattered and Sherlock works out that a missing and valuable pearl was placed in one of them during manufacturing while they were still wet.  After the busts had been sold the thief had to hunt down and break them all to find it.  This story is speedily dispensed with in The Six Thatchers, with busts of old Maggie standing in for Napoleon.  Instead of a pearl, though, what’s found in the bust is a duplicate of the flash drive that was destroyed in the last series that has details of Mary Watson (Amanda Abbington) and her former assassin team’s info on it.

And here’s where we go off the rails.

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Is everybody jolly out there?  Well, if not, I’m here to give you some ideas how to spend your time off from work.

  1. Go to a movie.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the big one out there that you may have trouble getting tickets to.  Order them online if necessary.  I haven’t had time to check this one out yet, but I probably will in the next few days.  Chris Pratt’s Passengers is also out, but with a big ol’ Rotten Tomatoes splat (31% – yikes!) I’m not sure if I’ll put out the coin for that one or just wait for it to show up for rent online.  If anybody’s seen it feel free to let me know how it is by posting a comment.
  2. Watch Sherlock series 4.  This will premiere on the BBC and PBS on January 1 with the next two episodes on subsequent Sundays.  The last episode, The Final Problem, will also be shown in certain theaters.  See my previous post for more info.
  3. Do some charitable work and/or donate to your favorite cause.
  4. Catch up on Lethal Weapon.  Episodes are available for free online.
  5. Play with the furkids.  You got the felines and canines and any other animals in your lives presents, right?  Mine are getting a some-assembly-required new cat tree.  Cross your fingers I get this one put together before I have to go back to work.  I have 10 days.
  6. Rewatch all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.  That’ll take you a while.  Be sure to get up and stretch once in a while.
  7. Write down your New Year’s Resolutions.  Then put them in an envelope, tear them in half, and throw them away.  Seriously, who needs the pressure?
  8. Watch all the old Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone.  There were 14 of them.  Personally I’d skip the ones where they’re chasing Nazis (outside of the first two they were all in what was then present day.  No, BBC’s Sherlock wasn’t the first to do that).
  9. Listen to all 26 episodes of BBC radio’s Cabin Pressure.  With Benedict Cumberbatch and a crew of very funny people (including Anthony Head in some later episodes), it’s my go-to comedy series when I need a laugh.  You can order the CD’s or an Audible version on Amazon.

Everyone have a very happy whatever-you’re-celebrating, and hug the furkids for me!

#Sherlock #CabinPressure #LethalWeapon #StarWars

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There are three episodes to the upcoming fourth series of BBC/PBS’s Sherlock.  The titles are as follows: The Six Thatchers, The Lying Detective and The Final Problem.  The series starts on both networks on January 1.

It’s the title of this last episode that bothers me… as any Holmesophile knows, The Final Problem is the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story where Doyle intended to kill off the detective as well as his nemesis Professor Moriarty by having them battle to the death over the Reichenbach Falls.  Doyle ended up bringing back Holmes after a public outcry.

The current version of Sherlock has already done a story where Holmes supposedly dies called, of course, The Reichenbach Fall in the second series.  Let’s hope there’s not another “is Holmes really dead?” mystery at the end of this one, or I will simply never forgive Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.  It has been hinted, though, by stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, that Sherlock will return at some point.  Those guys have been pretty busy doing little projects like, oh I don’t know, The Hobbit and Doctor Strange, so getting on their calendar has been tough.  From all accounts, though, we will see more Sherlock although it may be quite a while before the next one.  I’d be happy with a made-for-TV movie once in a while as doing three 90-minutes episodes requires months of shooting.

In the U.K. and Ireland The Final Problem will be shown in theaters on the same night as on BBC1, January 15th, according to Radio Times.  Here in the U.S. the episode will air in its usual slot on PBS but won’t be shown in the theaters until January 16th, followed by another showing on the 18th, according to Entertainment Weekly.  Why pay to see it in the theater when you can plop in front of the TV and watch it for free with your cats curled up by your side?  Because there will apparently be additional content in the theatrical version that is not included in the television one (not to mention that those of us stateside know that PBS does cut some time out of the BBC version to allow for their completely unnecessary intro).

Go to Fathom Events here to order your tickets online for the theatrical version.

Below is a trailer for the fourth season.

#Sherlock #BenedictCumberbatch #MartinFreeman

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Empire Magazine’s website is showing off their new Doctor Strange covers, one of which is shown on this post.  These are for the November issue.

empirecover_nov2016They also have a couple of images from the film, one with Benedict and Rachel McAdams, and another with Mads Mikkelsen.

There’s a persistent rumor that Doctor Strange will show up in Avengers: Infinity War/Film and other sites are putting two and two together from some comments Cumberbatch made.  No official confirmation from Marvel… at least not yet.

In the U.K. Doctor Strange will be released on October 25th.  In the U.S. it will be November 4th.

On to Sherlock news.  The BBC has released two of the three episode titles for the upcoming fourth series.  They are: The Six Thatchers and The Lying Detective.  As noted in the article, The Six Thatchers appears to be a reference to the Arthur Conan Doyle story The Six Napoleons, and The Lying Detective may be The Adventure of the Dying Detective in disguise.

The BBC will be showing the series beginning sometime in January.  Let’s cross our fingers that PBS Masterpiece will be showing it stateside at the same time.

#Sherlock #DoctorStrange #BenedictCumberbatch #Martin Freeman

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So the Emmys are in the books for another year, and amongst the winners were the usual suspects –  Game of Thrones, Veep (I still don’t know anybody who watches Veep, but anyway)… some good and unexpected things did happen.

Tatiana Maslany finally won an Emmy for Actress in a Drama Series!  If you haven’t seen Orphan Black, you’re missing one of the most incredible performances on television.

The Victorian-era special episode of Sherlock titled The Abominable Bride won in the TV movie category.  Unfortunately, some bastard stole star Amanda Abbington’s purse from under her seat when she went to the stage with the rest of the Sherlock crew to pick up the award.  Karma will hopefully come to visit that person!

The full list of winners can be found here on the official Emmy website.  Congratulations to all the winners and the nominees!

#Emmys #Sherlock #OrphanBlack

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At SDCC today the crowd in Hall H got a glimpse of Series 4 of BBC’s Sherlock with a new trailer. The panel included Benedict Cumberbatch, Amanda Abbington, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue.

Moriarty may or may not still be making trouble – we can’t tell if he’s really dead from this trailer – but Sherlock has his hands full with a new villain, played by Toby Jones. A bit of trivia: Jones co-starred with Cumberbatch in 2011’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

The trailer is worth watching if for nothing else other than the normally sweet Mrs. Hudson calling Mycroft a reptile.

The series will appear sometime in early 2017 on the BBC and then on PBS’ Masterpiece.

#SherlockBBC #BenedictCumberbatch

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BBC’s Sherlock will have a panel today at SDCC. Since Benedict Cumberbatch was in the house yesterday for Doctor Strange, I imagine we can expect to see him there. Also on hand will be co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, along with producer (and Moffat spouse) Sue Vertue and star Amanda Abbington.

The panel will be in Hall H this morning.

Moffat has hinted that the upcoming fourth series may be the last we see as stars Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have been very busy making much higher-paying blockbuster films. It takes quite a lot of time to create three 90-minute episodes and scheduling everyone is getting to be a real headache. I’d be quite happy, though, if we had the occasional standalone TV movie, if it’s that or nothing.

#SherlockBBC #BenedictCumberbatch #SDCC

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The BBC’s Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch received Emmy nominations for the Victorian-era special The Abominable Bride, which was nominated in the TV Movie category.

Emmy_via_colliderHere are some other notable nominations (notable, at least, from my point of view): Tatiana Maslany was nominated in the Lead Actress in a Drama category for Orphan Black; Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba join Benedict in the Lead Actor in a Limited Series category, Tom for The Night Manager and Idris for Luther; Downton Abbey received a Drama Series nom, and star Maggie Smith was also nominated; and The Night Manager was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series.

Hugh Laurie was also nominated for The Night Manager, in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category.  It was very odd to see House as a bad guy!  Star Trek’s Chris Pine also got a surprise nomination, for his voice-over role in SuperMansion.

It looks like the British shows did very well!

The Emmys will air on ABC on September 18th.  The full list of nominees is here on the official website.

Congratulations to all!

Image: Emmy statue via Collider

#Emmys #Sherlock #BenedictCumberbatch #TomHiddleston #DowntonAbbey

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San Diego Comic-Con will run from July 21st to the 24th at the San Diego Convention Center.

The official Twitter feed is here, the website is here.

For those of you brave enough to face the crowds, there will be plenty of fun for Sherlock, Star Trek, Star Wars and Marvel fans.  Don’t forget the premiere of Star Trek Beyond on Wednesday, July 20, at the Embarcadero Marine Park.  There will be a drawing beginning at 11 a.m. for tickets to the premiere that night, so if you’re interested go here for details on how to get in on that.

A complete program schedule is here.

Have fun, be safe.

#SDCC #SanDiegoComicCon

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Yes, you read that right.  Benedict Cumberbatch, who can alternately be a Serious Actor (The Imitation Game, Hamlet), perfectly deliver some very funny lines (Cabin Pressure), play a superhero (Doctor Strange), or a consulting detective (Sherlock) — all with equal ease — will now be The Grinch.

According to Deadline, Benny will be voicing the character in a new animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Illumination Entertainment, house of The Minions.  The movie will be released on November 10th, 2017.  Of course, his little boy Christopher might just be old enough by then to enjoy it, although maybe a little confused about why his dad’s voice is attached to an ugly green creature in a Santa suit.

Benedict has done quite a bit of voice and radio work in the past.  If you haven’t checked out Cabin Pressure, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.  And of course, he was the voice of Agent Classified in The Penguins of Madagascar as well as the dragon Smaug and The Necromancer in The Hobbit films.  He’s done the audio tapes for Casanova, voiced young Rumpole for the Rumpole of the Bailey radio shows, and even read some recent Sherlock Holmes stories, among other things.  All of these are worth checking out, as well as his other early voiceover work.

#BenedictCumberbatch #TheGrinch

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Principal photography for Doctor Strange wrapped a few days ago, and Benedict Cumberbatch wasted no time getting to his other job as Sherlock Holmes.  Season 4 is now underway!  (If anyone spies Tom Hiddleston around the set, let us know.)

Jimmy Kimmel (ABC) will be having a Marvel-themed week.  I have heard that Benedict will be introducing the Strange trailer himself on Tuesday.  It will also be attached to Captain America: Civil War, which comes out May 6th in the U.S.

Den of  Geek has a helpful post here to catch you up on the Sorcerer Supreme, along with a cast list and a slideshow of the concept art for the film.

#DoctorStrange #BenedictCumberbatch #SherlockHolmes

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I usually keep this blog pretty light, but I have to get up on the old soapbox for just a bit.  Feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested in any controversies, but since I think I probably retweeted something about the Sherlocked convention at some point, I feel the need to put out this post.  The official convention will again take place in London, in September.  This is the second annual event, last year’s having been a big success.

I love BBC’s Sherlock as much as anybody, and when it comes to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a fan of both.  The event is by Hartswood Films, the company behind Sherlock, and the producers and creators of that show will be attending the event.  That includes Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue.  The other guest that has been confirmed at this point is Natasha O’Keeffe, from the recent Victorian-era special The Abominable Bride.

You will notice that Benedict and Martin have not been confirmed to be appearing.

Regular one-day passes for the event are 35 British pounds, or around $50 American.  Already a little pricey, but if you’re a big fan and are dying to go, okay.  The two highest types of tickets, however, are causing quite a ruckus, particularly the VIP pass.  This three-day pass guarantees the buyer autographs and photo shoots with the guests, along with a lot of swag and special VIP treatment.  All for the low, low price of 3,000 pounds, or $4,280.  Any way you cut it, that’s a lotta cabbage.

If you buy a ticket on the hopes that the two main stars will be there, it’s a big gamble.  If Benedict and/or Martin cannot appear due to work commitments (very highly likely), then there are no refunds.  Now, as nice as it would be to meet Steven and Sue and Mark and anybody else who signs up, you know that if someone pays over $4k for a VIP ticket, they really want to meet the two main stars.  And from the comments I’ve seen, there are folks out there who are willing to break the bank to fly out to London (already a lot of dough), and fork over that much money.

Unless you have money to burn, and I mean the loss of $4,000 to you isn’t worth balancing your checkbook for, then please think twice — or four times — about buying a VIP ticket!  For one thing, there are other ways to meet the stars if you’re just dying to (Benedict, for instance, does theater upon occasion and almost always signs autographs at the door).

If you still want to go and take the chance on who will be appearing, there is a somewhat cheaper alternative ticket, and that is the Platinum Pass, which still gives you an autograph and a photo shoot with the guests (just not as many as the VIP ticket), and goes for 595 pounds, or just shy of $850.  Still pricey, but at least it’s not as much as the down payment on a house.

You can get more details about the event here on the official website.  It looks like a lot of fun, but just fair warning to be careful and make sure you know what it is you’re buying.  You can see a complete list of all each ticket level buys you when you click on that level, so make sure to check it all out before purchasing.  Nonrefundable is nonrefundable!

While $4,000+ is a lot of money, I have to say that unfortunately it’s not unusual for celebrity meet and greets to come with huge price tags.  In listening to a podcast a while back I learned that the podcaster shelled out $2,500 to get a picture taken with Britney Spears.  Seriously.  I can’t remember the last time Britney Spears was actually relevant (catty, I know, but true).  I can’t help but think how much better it would be if that money had gone to an animal rescue group instead.

#SherlockBBC #SherlockedEvent #BenedictCumberbatch #Martin Freeman

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Many, many spoilers are included here.  If you haven’t seen Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, read on at your own risk!

When I first heard that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were using a holiday one-off special to take Sherlock and Watson back to the 19th century, I thought it could either go very right, or very, very wrong.  Fortunately, I am relieved to say that not only was this one of the best episodes ever, but it also managed to move forward — at least a little bit — the modern-day storyline at the same time.  Let me just take a minute to appreciate the writing genius of Moffat and Gatiss, because it’s my opinion that you can have the very best actors in the world, a virtually unlimited budget and anything else your heart desires, but at least half of the success of a series is dependent on whether or not the writing is there.  Even actors of the caliber of Cumberbatch and Freeman can’t save a bad script.

The episode starts off with a Victorian-era parallel to the scene where Watson’s friend Stamford introduces him to Holmes as the latter is whipping a corpse in the morgue.  Also familiar is DI Lestrade’s visit to 221B, where he chugs Sherlock’s liquor and asks for his help in solving a series of crimes involving a bride who has seemingly returned to the living from having committed suicide.

It turns out the culprit, or culprits, are a group of suffragettes who have just had-it-up-to-here with being marginalized because of their gender.  They take out their frustration on the men who refuse to see them as equals by using some parlor tricks to make it appear as though the “ghost” of Victorian bride Emilia Ricoletti had been committing the crimes.  When Mycroft makes reference to “a war we must lose,” he is referring to the time having come for women to have the same rights as men.  A nice touch is his use of Mary Watson as a spy.  I also loved that they used Molly Hooper disguised as a man, Anderson, and the many nods to classic Conan Doyle stories.

When Sherlock pops back to modern day and is in Mycroft’s jet where things left off in series 3, it’s a mind-blowing moment.  We had a hint that there was a connection to the current series when Victorian Mycroft mutters something about a “virus in the data,” but the episode moves so fast that you soon forget it.  Sherlock’s mental walkabout through his own brain, sorting out a 100-year-old case in order to work out how Moriarty may have cheated death in the present day doesn’t really make a lot of logical sense, but the visit to the Victorian era is so much fun in the end you don’t really care, and I suppose it was a useful way to tie 1890’s Sherlock to the present-day series.

If you didn’t DVR the episode and would like to see it again, it will be replayed on PBS’ Masterpiece on January 10th.  You can also catch it in some theaters (in the U.S. this will be on the 5th and 6th).  Check Fandango for information.  It will be showing up on iTunes and Google’s Play Store on January 7th.  If you live in the U.K. you can catch it on BBC’s iPlayer.

Sherlock is a production of Hartswood Films, BBC One and PBS.

#Sherlock #TheAbominableBride #BenedictCumberbatch #Martin Freeman

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