post mortem: sherlock series 3

Living in Toronto while I work in Miser-auga means my only free time is between 10pm and 6am. This leaves very few non-alcoholic options for spending my time. Thanks to the return of some of my favourite shows, the opinions of the nerds on the internet and the direction of my own tasteful nerd circle, I’ve found a few shows to keep myself entertained.

I must say, it’s been a while since I’ve had this much to watch on a regular basis, and I’ve been mostly pleased.  As promised, I do intend to make my rounds and review those series that have caught my attention. Now, I know it’s a tad late for some of these, but dammit I have an opinion and a keyboard, so you leave me no choice. And don’t make me warn you about spoilers. You’re reading a review posted well after the day of release. Deal with it.

In other news, it’s Groundhog Day. That means that I will repeat this day a number of times until I get it right. That means I will make a different decision each time as to which review I ought to post. That means I will likely be repeating myself a lot, and periodically checking Facebook to see if my friend Joey has posted another status of,  “Phil? Phil Connors???!!!

Ready? Here we go

Take 1 – Sherlock: A Post Mortem
in which i briefly summarize my thoughts on series 3, recall the twistings and turnings of the fanbase, and puke a little in my mouth


For those who missed it, the Sherlock team delivered a small Christmas present to its fanbase before Series 3 began. A mini episode that – in its brief seven minutes – gets a lot of work done, while seeming to do very little at all. For those who simply see what they’re looking for, and tend to not really look for anything, there isn’t much to it. But for the types who enjoy being encouraged to look closer (read: most people who find Sherlock appealing), it does several jobs while hardly batting one dominatrixy eyelash.

In canonical Doyle style, there are some throwaway references to absurdly worded cases that the great detective dismantled, some cheeky mentions of unimaginable minutia that did the bad guy in. This short provides some colour and a bit of context for the beginning of the new series, while also giving some screen time to some of the much-neglected secondary characters. In doing so, it maintains Holmes’ beloved airs of elusiveness and constant looming and teases the fans who have spent the past few months yearning for more Sherlock in futility. In my travels through the internet, I’ve seen the kind of desperately cobbled-together material that fans have MacGyver’d just to get their fix:

People really miss the show when it’s not on. The webisode quickly gave them a present – something to devour, then lick the wrapping paper once it was finished. There were little details that made us squee, grander exchanges that reminded us of the dynamic we’d been munching on for six episodes, and tiny hints of where the background characters might end up in the next series. I admit, however, that it took me a few views before I recognized Anderson with his grubby sweater and new hairdo which seems to have been inspired by Peter Parker’s traumatic Spiderman 3 jazz number.

There was much humming and hawing when the first two episodes of the ever-so-limited three-episode series were released. To be honest, this was one of those moments when I really felt the creative divide between writers and viewers. I proudly carry a membership card to both clubs, so I feel I can appreciate the secret threads that each side pulls to make the other twitch. There was much talk of how the first episode gave the fans hope that this new series would contain a compelling enough villain to ease the loss of Moriarty. The second sparked a loud and pointless slew of complaints over it being too light and cheery, with no real substance. But true detectives will see all the minor hints, remember the unanswered questions that were only fleetingly posed in the premiere (e.g. Mary being a liar), and appreciate the allusions to all the off-camera cases that the duo solved that were unrelated to the overarching stories thus far. Writers will see the ruse and smell the false security more easily than a sensible woman can detect the stench of Axe on the douchebag making a b-line for her at the pub.

There’s just so much I can specify here, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it justice without a scene-by-scene commentary in video form, and I certainly don’t want to have to count myself among those fans who create things like this.

By all measures, Episode Three Delivered that which its preambling two episodes promised.

As a result, the singular story told by Series 3 was a success. And now, for those who took the voiceover’s advice at the end and waited until after the credits, Series 4 is a big deal.

From this, I can certainly deduce one thing:  we’ll be seeing more shit like this until its release.

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