CBS has brought a contemporary Sherlock Holmes to America and added a whole new look (and gender) to Dr. Watson (played by Lucy Liu) in their hit show Elementary. I hear it is very good. I’m sure it is. But I have a problem with it even though I’ve never seen it.
It’s not the BBC’s rendition of Sherlock Holmes, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the world’s greatest detective, and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson. (Freeman starred as Bilbo Baggins in the second installment of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, and I kept waiting for him to help Gandalf solve a crime.)
Having read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and novels as a kid, I love that the producers are steeped in the history and nuances of the Victorian Holmes. They have done a masterful job in bringing him to life in modern London while honoring Doyle’s original stories. It is obvious they are raving fans. And thank you to another fan, my daughter Lindsey, who introduced me to the BBC iteration.
Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is clever, quirky, humorous, dark, and intelligent in sufficient measure that fans (like my wife and I) put up with a second full-year hiatus as we waited for Season Three to arrive without abandoning ship. This is not normal TV viewing. The first two seasons had only three episodes each. It helps that each episode is ninety minutes long but I could still do with more.
The other reason not to start watching with Season Three is how Season Two ended. So if you haven’t seen that, stop reading now, and consider this a spoiler alert.
Sherlock is so well done that we can (and do) forgive each long wait for new episodes … and for the pain and suffering the producers inflicted on us when Sherlock fell to his apparent death at the end of Season Two. His unforgettable return created a masterful interplay between Holmes and Watson as they painfully … awkwardly … hilariously reconnect. At the end of Season Three’s opening episode, “The Empty Hearse,” you realize “we” were Watson, and we too wondered why Sherlock let us think he was dead without a word for two long, painful years.
But the return was so satisfying that we, like Watson, have to forgive Sherlock. He’s just too fun to be around to stay mad at him forever.
In my humble opinion, Cumberbatch is the best Sherlock ever – and Sherlock is the best show on TV today. Well, at least for three episodes every other year.
Poor Russell Brand was humiliated after he had to publicly apologize to the Jonas Brothers after making fun of them for wearing chastity rings throughout his gig as host of the MTV Video Music Awards. At least he can take comfort that Courtney Love, perhaps best known for shooting heroin while pregnant, is defending him and declared on Facebook that the brothers are ‘asses’. Ouch. That’s got to hurt coming from Courtney.
Good for Brand that the international community is coming to his defense as well. Sharon Owens of the Belfast Telegraph frets:
I just hope he makes it out of the US in one piece after calling President Bush a “retarded cowboy” at the MTV awards. Apparently he had a go at professional virgins the Jonas Brothers too. But somebody made him publicly apologise for what he said about promise rings. Spoilsports!
What sparked all the talk and controversy was 17-year-old Jordin Sparks, American Idol winner and pop diva, who interrupted her moment as a presenter to let Brand know, “Not every guy or girl wants to be a slut.”
Gasp. What cheek!
But seriously, it’s true. In some circles she will be criticized harshly while English comedian Brand calling a head of state “retarded” will barely raise a stir.
Speaking in the context of a world war filled with both heroes and cowards, another Englishman, C.S. Lewis said, “We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” I wish I could say things like that but all I can come up with is a little repetitive: “we scoff at virtue and wonder what happened to virtue?” T.S. Elliot once said, “In the twentieth century we are obsessed with turning roses into weeds.” So far the 21st century moral garden doesn’t look too different.
I don’t know the full significance of the placement, but it is interesting that King David, writer and collector of Psalms, began that work with a simple proverb (Psalms 1:1, NIV).
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
In our connected age that is virtually an impossible task.
I’m guessing this incident will be good for Brand’s career. But it is good to know that the ‘shock jock’ was out-sparked by a simple defense of honor.