Posts Tagged ‘tv’

We have finally come to the end. I say ‘finally’, when in fact it’s only been 12 days. But what an emotional rollercoaster those 12 days have been: I’ve laughed, cried, sworn, shouted, cried some more and heaved a huge sigh of relief that they didn’t finish with ‘aliens did it’. But in all seriousness, I thought that this final episode almost made up for the travesty that was the second episode of the series (it feels weird saying ‘series’ – it was only 3 episodes!) but the pain is still there. Anywho, let me talk you through the things that I enjoyed in particular about this episode.

Oh yes, there will be spoilers – *bonus points to whoever gets that reference*

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Ah Mary, I must admit I didn’t really care for you in the second episode. I thought your involvement in the series was just to introduce the ‘Sherlock-John-Mary’ love triangle into the story. But boy, did they surprise me this episode: Mary shot Sherlock! The moment she turned round to face Sherlock in Magnussen’s apartment I gasped – okay, maybe not ‘gasped’, but I did that ‘furrowing confused’ look that people who know me might recognise. I particularly enjoyed the way that Mary’s prior behaviour was referenced and tied into the fact that she was a ‘baddie’ – remember how she recoiled when the name ‘Cam’ was read out in the telegram at the wedding? C.A.M. = Charles Augustus Magnussen!

To be honest, I’m surprised Mary survived the finale – not because I’m being particularly harsh, but because in Conan Doyle’s work Mary actually dies at an unspecified time between The Final Problem and The Adventure of the Empty House. But hey, she’s alive. I hope that the awkward dynamic between her and John will play a role in Series 4.

Sherlock Dies

The few minutes after Mary shoots Sherlock is one of the best things I think I’ve seen on British television. Sherlock retreats into his ‘mind palace’ and deduces how to try to survive the shooting. I won’t go into full detail about it here, as I believe it needs to be seen to be appreciated, but in short – it was beautiful. Beautifully shot, beautifully written and beautifully played. More of this, please!

(I tried to find the clip on YouTube, but the only thing I could find is the scene split into about 20 clips of 30 seconds each – hopefully someone will upload the full scene in due course.)

Mind Palaces

Oh Moffatt, you little teaser! At the start of the episode we were led to believe that Magnussen wears some kind of Google Glass-esque device that allows him to recall information he has on people. But no, he does it with his mind! There were no vaults underneath Appledore (the stunning Swinhay House in real life) it was all just in Magnussen’s head. I must admit, the fact that he did the actions whilst ‘searching’ through his mind palace was a little silly, but hey, whatever works for him. Mind palaces are a genuine phenomenon and, if used correctly, can be an extremely useful tool for those that are not blessed with eidetic memory.

If you want to try your hand at constructing a mind palace, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started – http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Memory-Palace

References Galore!

It really does show that both Moffatt and Gatiss have read their fair share of Conan Doyle: evident from all the references they sprinkle into their writing. Here are some that I noticed:

  • Bees! Janine says she’s retiring to a cottage in the Sussex Downs, where she has to remove some beehives. This is a reference to the story ‘His Last Bow’ where Sherlock retires from being a detective to keep bees in the Sussex Downs.
  • Bill ‘Billy’ Wiggins is a character from some of Conan Doyle’s work, so hopefully he will appear in future episodes.
  • The ‘East wind’ is a nod to the outbreak of WWI – rather fitting.
  • A.G.R.A is a cheeky nod to ‘The Sign of Four’ in which Mary Watson’s case involves treasures from the city of Agra in India.

There are probably a few more hidden there, but it’s still nice to see that there is some love for the source material on the part of the writers.

The Ending

Yeah, it’s time to talk about that ending. In one word – ‘Moriarty’! Did we miss him? Indeed we did. Whilst this sets up the show nicely for the fourth series (Christ knows when that’ll surface) it does however throw up a lot of questions: is it really Moriarty? Did he fake his suicide? Or is it someone masquerading as him? So now are there going to be endless fan theories on how Moriarty faked his death? Something tells me people won’t be as keen to solve this one as they were to try to work out how Sherlock managed it. Time will tell, I guess.

*
So that’s the end of Sherlock, for the forseeable future at least. A fourth and fifth series is in the pipeline apparently, with a rumoured Christmas episode due out (at Christmas time funnily enough). Overall, I was somewhat underwhelmed with this series – I think I’m just going to try to erase the second episode from my mind – it’s only saving grace was the finale. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what The Dynamic Duo of Moffatt and Gatiss have in store for us next series.
Tom
Advertisements

Sherlock is officially back! Sadly, he’s only back for three episodes – and then we’ll have to wait another two years for three more episodes. Ah well, let’s make the most of each episode while we have the chance.

The moment he says ‘Bazinga!’ I’m hunting you down, Moffatt and co.

And what an episode it was – John and Mary got married! And Sherlock, being the best man, had to deliver the best man’s speech at the ceremony. See, even from the initial premise of the episode, it felt like I was about to start watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’. For those of you who have been living under a rock, TBBT is a programme about physics nerds who try and ‘fit in’ with normal life, with amusing results. Now don’t get me wrong, TBBT is a brilliant show (even if they sometimes get their maths wrong…) but it’s NOT Sherlock. I do not want to see Sherlock morphed into a Sheldon Cooper-esque character in which the audience laughs at how he ‘struggles to fit into normal society’. 

Is it just me or does this whole season feel out of sync with the calendar? I mean, the first episode clearly should have been broadcast in November, and this episode should have been some sort of ‘Christmas special’: what with all the joviality and funny bits (“Let’s laugh as Sherlock gets drunk and talks silly“). Speaking of the whole ‘stag night’ segment, the whole thing felt cheap. It felt tacky. It’s been done countless times before, all with the same end-result. Protagonist tries not to get drunk; protagonist gets drunk; protagonist does something silly; audience laugh. I did appreciate the ‘Sherlock’ian element in that they attempted to solve a crime whilst drunk. But in short, I could have done without the whole segment – it was cringe-worthy.

However, there were some redeeming qualities to last night’s episode: I loved the courtroom scene. That was an excellent visual representation of how Sherlock’s mind works and I applaud the writers for coming up with these inventive ways of showing ‘his methods’. The cases themselves were very good, although I am a little doubtful as to how realistic the murder was. And again, visually, Sherlock is a beautiful programme: the incorporation of text and graphics into the scenes is done flawlessly and is so adult. I think that was my issue with last night’s episode: it didn’t know who (in terms of audience demographic) it was aiming for: you have the adultness in terms of style of programme and complexity, but then you have the childish side to it: getting drunk and getting into fights blah blah blah. In my opinion, Sherlock has two choices: either become the new ‘Doctor Who’ or recognise it is a more serious crime programme and continue in that manner. Don’t sit on the fence, it starts to hurt.

So in short, I’m somewhat underwhelmed with this episode especially considering it’s been in production for two years. Next week’s episode, however, looks like a return to the Sherlock that we know and love. Plus it’ll be the season finale so I’m hoping that Mr Gatiss is pulling something out of the bag.

If you agree with my review or perhaps disagree (or even if you’re completely ambivalent) let me know in the comments!

Sherlock continues next Sunday (12th) at 8:30pm on BBC One.

Tom.

sherlock3s

Guess who’s back…

Two years ago, practically everyone in the world was asking the same question – “How the hell could he do it?!” No, I’m not referring to Captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia, but rather a certain detective that graced our screens on BBC One. Yup, Sherlock Holmes and his faked death that had everyone on the Internet up in arms about how he managed to do it. There were fan theories flying around left, right and centre: people adamant that they’d worked it out, only to be discouraged by co-showrunner Steven Moffatt who kept teasing ‘There’s still something that everyone’s missed’.

But finally after two years of waiting for answers, last  night we finally got some… or did we?

N.B. For those of you who don’t know what a ‘review’ is – it’s where I look at the episode and comment on individual parts of it, so, if you haven’t seen the episode yet then don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happens – pretty self-explanatory, huh?

The episode opened on what I, and most people, thought was a stylish ‘Previously on Sherlock’ segment. However this went further – it started to explain how Sherlock faked his death. In terms of the pace of the show, it made sense – give the fans what they want and then you can get on with telling the story. And then Derren Brown appeared. I immediately imagined the entire Internet now cursing showrunners Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, demanding their heads on a plate for making the world wait two years only to have the answer be ‘Derren Brown helped him do it.’ But my fears quickly subsided when it turned out to be just someone’s theory on how Sherlock faked his death. The opening segment was very well done and I’m sure it had most people’s undivided attention as they waited expectantly for answers.

The main story arc of this episode was the terrorist plot on London that Sherlock has been drafted in to thwart. Coupled with the sub-plot of Sherlock’s return and how John deals with it, it made for a very good opening episode indeed. I especially enjoyed visualisations of fan theories as to how Sherlock faked his death – it became a running gag throughout the episode. However, by the time it came to Sherlock actually explaining his plan, I am still dubious as to whether he is telling the truth or not. As one can expect from an episode of Sherlock, visually it was beautiful: the ‘Sherlock is thinking’ scenes are done very well as the camera time-lapses through the streets of London; the incorporation of text into the scenes is done perfectly; the music and soundtrack is fantastic. Why, therefore, can’t the BBC transfer this beauty into some of their other programmes *cough* Doctor Who *cough*. Mark Gatiss – who wrote this episode of Sherlock – is a fantastic writer: he effortlessly blends humour, drama and intelligence into his scripts. Why can’t the BBC just make him the E.P. for Doctor Who? Sure, Moffatt has had a good run but we need someone to untangle his ‘timey-wimey’ mess that he’s made with the show. Or better yet, start with a clean slate – hopefully with the introduction of Peter Capaldi this is a likely scenario. Anyway, back to Sherlock.

Overall, it was a very good episode – achieving the standard we have come to expect from this programme. I’m still glad that the BBC haven’t gotten cocky and ‘fleshed out’ the show to have 12 or 13 episodes like most other programmes on the BBC. The rarity of the episodes feels as if the writers treasure each individual episode and it really does show. In short, I’m glad he’s back.

The next episode of Sherlock is on BBC One on Sunday 5th January at 9pm.

P.S. Oh, I totally tried that trick with the rubber ball – it worked!.

Tom.

This is the first guest post I have featured on Twisted Fish and I hope to include many more. It was written by Justin Martin, an entertainment blogger with a passion for technology and science. For more great articles like this one, Justin recommends checking out this blog.

*

Like many young people, I became fascinated with science at a very young age. My prized possessions were my rock collection, star charts, and dinosaur books. I put boogers under a little microscope whenever my mom left the room. Everything was an experiment. It all started with that baking soda and vinegar volcano in kindergarten. The world became a little more interesting that day.

I had a hard time with math in school, so my dreams of becoming a mad scientist never came to fruition. No matter how many times I watched Bill Nye , it didn’t seem like it was for me. However, at the beginning of 2008, I realized I don’t need a degree or fancy job to be a real scientist. Anyone can gain international prestige and make big bucks in the field. All you have to do is make really good meth.

This generation has forsaken Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan in favor of someone a bit more down-to-earth. Most viewers of the television show Breaking Bad have never heard of the Uncertainty Principle, but everybody knows Heisenberg. In the show, actor Bryan Cranston plays Walter White (aka Heisenberg): chemistry teacher-turned-druglord. Teaming up with a drug-dealing former student (Jesse Pinkman), Walt takes the lessons from the classroom to the streets. These two guys made history with little more than a makeshift lab, a handful of volatile chemicals, and a bit of basic knowledge. You can too!

One thing I have learned from Breaking Bad is that anyone can “do science.” It is doubtful that most makers of methamphetamine have the same type of training and experience as Walter White. It’s usually just a couple tweakers experimenting with household chemicals and allergy medicine. These guys are far from professionals, but are they not scientists? They have a searching, inquisitive spirit, and can be both resourceful and adaptive. Can’t get your hands on red phosphorus? Just crush up some match heads! No access to hydrochloric acid? Maybe mixing bleach and ammonia might work. Nope. Just killed yourself with nerve gas. Oh well. That’s science. Better luck next time!

Breaking Bad goes out of its way to get into the real science of the underworld. The producers even hired a special science adviser to maintain consistency. Professor Donna Nelson made sure every one of Walt’s chemistry rants was completely factual. The only real error on the show is the trademarked blue meth! Although the DEA censored many details of the actual synthesis process, they did help with recreating real-to-life meth labs.

I still talk occasionally with my high school chemistry teacher, and he told me that Breaking Bad has actually motivated several of his students to become more involved in class. Seeing another side of the coin was enough to break their negative opinions and open their minds to new ideas. Whether or not they plan on using this knowledge for good or evil remains to be seen. Luckily, the show does a fine job of presenting the dark side of the business. It doesn’t exactly glorify the lifestyle.

Another thing I learned is that nothing beats experience, training, and knowledge when it comes to science. You can’t just dissolve a body with hydrofluoric acid in the bathtub. You gotta think things through! Breaking Bad also shows us that it’s damn hard work to be a scientist. Either you become an under-appreciated high school teacher, or you have to get shot at, threatened, and blown up on a regular basis.

The greatest idea that Breaking Bad presents is the value of breaking boundaries. No one makes history by teaching high school science. You won’t get anywhere by following the rules. Old formulas can always be improved upon. Great risks are necessary for great rewards. We don’t condone illegal behavior, but do what you have to do to put yourself on the map. Think outside the box, and never look back. Every problem can be solved…so find your own solution.

*

I’m hoping to include more guest posts in this blog (and that’s not just because I’m too lazy to write my own material…honest!), so let me know if you want to see more of them!

Tom