Daily Archives: September 20, 2020

TV Review – Sherlock (2010 – 2017)

I’m a high functioning nerd, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of the BBC series, Sherlock.

I heard good things about this over the years, but was never an early convert. It came out in 2010, right around when Hollywood made the Robert Downey Jr. movies and ABC came out with their Elementary TV show.

It just seemed like the entertainment community had gone gaga for Sherlock and had created too much Sherlock supply for not enough Sherlock demand.

But I found myself developing a Sherlock interest as of late and decided to give it a go. And you know what? It’s pretty great.

As a Yank, I had to get over a few things. It’s made by BBC and is, you know, British…and made for a British audience…not like what we’re used to i.e. something filtered down for us Americans to enjoy what with all our fast fun and guns and monster trucks and so on.

Another interesting point is that each episode is roughly an hour and a half long. Thus, there are less episode. It shifts from season to season but you’ll notice seasons that are like three or four episodes long. Each episode is basically like a full length movie, so while you get less episodes, you get stories that are told in better depth.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock as the self-proclaimed high-functioning sociopath. His friend, roommate and assistant detective, Dr. Watson is played by Martin Freeman.

Cumberbatch and Freeman were in everything in the 2010s. Cumberbatch, most noticeably as Dr. Strange in the Avengers universe. Freeman was The Hobbit, though he also was a SHIELD agent in the Avengers.

Funny thing is as I watched this show, I realized how these two became so big over the past decade.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are given new breath as the series is set in modern times. Watson keeps a blog on Sherlock’s adventures. Sherlock only puts on his hunting cap to mug for social media photos. Sherlock’s love interest/nemesis Irene Adler is a dominatrix with a phone full of photos of the rich and powerful in compromising positions. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a secret government experiment, and so on.

Overall, I enjoyed it. One thing with TV is I usually turn to it when I need a quick brake, whereas I usually put on a movie when I’m done for the day. You might want to leave the episodes till when you’re done for the day too, unless you don’t mind pausing and watching later.

My main criticism? The show ends rather abruptly as of the 2017 season. I don’t know why other than I assume Cumberbatch and Freeman are busy being in everything now.

My complaint is I thought they handled Sherlock’s longtime nemesis, Moriarty, well in an episode where Moriarty (SPOILER ALERT) frames Sherlock, making it look as if Sherlock is less of a genius and more of a weirdo who fakes crimes so he can solve them and garner media attention. That episode has a lot of thrills and chills and pretty much resolves the Sherlock vs. Moriarty arc.

Watson’s wife Mary comes in later with a whole SPOILER she’s a secret agent storyline and then before you know it she’s out of the picture. Moriarty comes back posthumously, sort of dangling the possibility that Old Jimbo might return from the grave at some point though the series has already used the old bringing a character back from the dead trick already so…I don’t know. Seems like they could have left Moriarty dead and moved on.

The show ends with an episode with a startling reveal that Sherlock and brother Mycroft have a long lost sister who is the world’s foremost psychopath, so evil that she can manipulate anyone, to the point where she apparently turned all the guards and staff at the prison she has been held in to her own personal slaves for years, thus trapping Sherlock and Watson and Mycroft in her own house of horrors.

It was interesting to watch them escape, but then the series just ends on a meh note. Watson finds a DVD left behind by Mary and all that happens is Mary basically says that Sherlock and Watson will keep going on solving crimes.

In other words, it was one of those holy crap we have to end the show but we didn’t have time to end it so we’ll piece it together really quick.

Perhaps there’s the rub. Each episode mainly focuses on a case, thus bits of the characters’ personal lives are worked in. The cases can’t necessarily go on forever and I suppose cases don’t always tie in together in a neat little ark.

(Except usually in Sherlockian lore, the underlying idea is that Moriarty is behind it all, so the big Sherlock vs. Moriarty showdown might have been better off left for the end.)

Overall, I enjoyed it and I’m hoping for further episodes down the line. Since the episodes are basically movies, they could always make another movie.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Mulan (2020)

Be a man, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney’s live action Mulan.

God, I’m old. When I was a young lad, newly minted driver’s license in hand, I took a girl to see the cartoon version of this movie and we were blown away by it, for it was ahead of its time. I think it might have been like my first actual date.

In the blink of an eye, 22 years and my hair are gone and the original film is now considered culturally insensitive because it had a talking cartoon dragon who, I’m just saying, sold the movie.

And what the hell happened to that girl anyway? I’d look her up online but I’m worried she might have lost her hair too.

Fun sidenote: She taught me how to put sauce on Taco Bell tacos after the movie. Up until then I didn’t know you were able to request a sauce packet to squirt on your taco. It blew my mind and I think of this girl whenever I squirt sauce into my taco and yes I know how that sounded and I’m sorry for poor phrasing but you’re the one with the dirty mind because I’m just meditating on a time when I was young and innocent and blown away by things that seem silly and trivial to adult eyes. And yes, I stand by the decision of taking a date to Taco Bell.

But enough about me. Mulan is back, in live action form this time. There’s a cast of martial arts movie maestros including Donnie Yen and Jet Li. Liu Yifei takes on the role of the everyone’s favorite girl who pretends to be a boy so she can save her father by taking her place when the Emperor comes looking for soldiers to fight an invading army.

Lots of dazzling special effects, stunts, swordplay, etc. It is more of a fantasy war epic. I don’t really know what the kids like nowadays but I assume they will like it. Merch opportunities are gone as there won’t be any cuddly Mushu stuffies to sell and if Disney doesn’t like that, they aren’t saying anything.

I have to say I still like the cartoon version better, because, and OK, I get it, if you cut out the un-woke parts, the part where Mulan takes out the invading army by starting an avalanche is cool and also the part at the end where it looks like its a celebration only for there to be a surprise ending where Mulan has to foil the bad guys once again….cool stuff.

Also, you can’t beat the Emperor’s line in the old one. While encouraging the captain to go after Mulan, he says, “You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.”

That line always stuck in my head. There was a girl I met later in my 20s who was one of those girls. I wish the Emperor had been around to remind me that you don’t meet a girl like this every dynasty, so I guess I can blame the rise of communism for missing out a great catch and the fact that now the highlights of my day are microwave dinners for one and writing on a blog that is only read by 3.5 people.

Sidenote: I actually did look this girl up and she kept her game tight so…yeah I don’t know, since I didn’t I probably did her a favor by being an oblivious dummy who decided to play the field without realizing that the field was destined to play him.

At any rate, this new Mulan is still pretty good and worth a watch. Is it worth the 30 bucks that Disney makes you pay for it via Disney Plus? Eh, that’s up to you. Theaters would have been packed for this so Disney missed out on all that revenue, so I get they have to make it back somehow.

It does make me wonder about the future of film. While people sometimes cheer the downfall of movie theaters, I think people have to remember that a lot of these special effects heavy blockbusters can’t be made unless you have that first wave of ticket sales, then the second wave of rentals and then finally whatever is left that comes from cable and streaming.

So, let’s keep hoping that COVID goes the way of the dodo, or the Mushu (sorry, Eddie) and that theaters will be at full capacity and slinging popcorn soon.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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