The Question That Must Not Be Answered


I’ve fallen behind on my Doctor reviews and I apologize for that.  I’ll get to them, maybe in a batch or something, but I’m still watching the show and keeping up with it.

So, the BBC dumped a whole mess of posters for upcoming episodes including this one for “The Name of the Doctor.”  And lookie whose name is in the credits!  That’s right, River is back.  I suspect that we won’t actually learn the Doctor’s for real name, but I have a feeling this episode is going to be legendary.  Clara and River in the same place can’t be good, especially not with all the flirting between Clara and the Doctor.  By the finally, I fully expect the TARDIS to be a Snog Box.

I’m also looking forward to “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS.”  As big as it is on the inside, we rarely get to see much beyond the control room.  It would be really cool to see all the crazy passages and hidden rooms that are flitting about in there.

From: Bleeding Cool

Of All the Sherlocks I’ve Known Before


I love me a good mystery.  Trying to figure out the solution before the characters do is one of my favorite games to play while watching crime dramas, cop shows, thrillers, sci fi, pretty much anything where a seemingly unsolvable question is asked of the audience.  So it should come as no big surprise that Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is my favorite fictional detective.

There’s something about Holmes that transcends generations.  Maybe it’s his absolute devotion to observational deduction.  Maybe we’re drawn to his lovable bastard persona.  Maybe we just want to see if we can be as clever as Holmes and deduce the solution before he does.  Whatever the reason, you can find Sherlocks and Sherlock-inspired characters throughout the generations.

I’ve seen many versions of Sherlock and I love them all.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are six of my favorite Sherlocks.

John Gielgud

John Gielgud

I’m a huge old time radio fan and the 1950’s BBC radio version of Sherlock Holmes was my first introduction to the character.  John Gielgud’s voice will forever be connected to Holmes in my brain.  His version of Holmes was more joyful than I think Conan Doyle intended.  You could hear him almost laugh as he would explain his reasoning to Watson.  I always imagined Gielgud smiling cheek to cheek as he read his lines.  You could tell he had a blast playing the character.  Far more genial and warm than other versions of Holmes.

The best part about the radio version is that they laid out all the clues before you to figure out yourself.  I rarely did, but I never felt cheated when it came to the big reveal.

I also really liked the theme.  It was just a solo violin noodling about.  Playful and fun and still rings in my head when I hear the name, Sherlock Holmes.

Jeremy Brett

Jeremy Brett

Jeremy Brett played Sherlock Holmes for the Granada Television version from 1984 to 1994 which ran for 41 episodes.  The thing I like best about Brett is that his version of Holmes has no indoor voice.  He’s always shouting his dialog like every single word is the most important.  And it usually is.  And it’s bloody hysterical.

Brett’s Holmes is much more abrupt than Gielgud’s and suffers no fools.  Watson is more like a punching bag than a true partner.  Were it not for the fact that Watson stands in for us as audience members to ask Holmes to explain shit to us, you could imagine Brett’s Holmes would be happiest figuring this shit out on his own.  He’s more cold than I generally like from my Sherlock, but he’s still fun to watch accuse the shit out of villains.

Rober Downey, Jr.

Robert Downy Jr as Holmes

I don’t think it’s possible for Downey to do anything without swag.  Try as he might to make his version of Holmes in the 2009 film, Sherlock Holmes, and 2011 sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, as socially awkward as possible, his swag comes through.  It makes for an interesting combination that works perfectly for film.  Downey’s Holmes is fairly needy with an addictive personality.  He deeply depends on Watson and finds it difficult to deal with Watson’s impending marriage.

Though I found both films to be thoroughly entertaining, I felt robbed of the opportunity to figure out the mystery.  I don’t know why Hollywood thinks audiences are drooling idiots, but there was a lot of hand holding in the films.  The director might as well have broken the fourth wall and yelled LOOK, YOU DAFT GITS, THIS IS A CLUE.  That, and a handful of things that we couldn’t have figured out on our own because we didn’t get all the information on screen made for poor mystery stories as they stacked up to other Holmes tales.  Still, I loved both of them and didn’t regret paying for full price movie tickets.

Jonny Lee Miller

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock

What’s interesting about ABC’s Elementary is that you can’t really talk about Holmes without mentioning Watson.  It’s not just the gender reversal with Lucy Liu playing Joan Watson.  Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes genuinely needs Watson as a sounding board.  She brings a second pair of eyes that see things he might miss or otherwise ignore.  The interplay between the two of them is really fun.  Watson is Holmes’s equal which we don’t see that often.

The one thing that detracts from this series is that we don’t get all the clues we need to solve the case.  Often times, the NYP detectives will uncover a new piece of evidence that takes a case in a completely new direction.  This usually happens in the third act of an episode so any deductions we’ve made up until that point are useless.  Still, I think it’s a series worthy of the name.  And I like that Holmes challenges Watson to deduce things on her own.  It’s like he’s challenging us to figure shit out.

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

If you didn’t figure out that House was basically the doctor version of Holmes, what the hell show were you watching?  I absolutely loved, LOVED, Hugh Laurie as House.  He fully embodied the lovable bastard aspect of Holmes’s personality with Wilson as his moral compass.

More than any other version, the show did a wonderful job of exploring what made House the bastard he is today, a man who desperately needed connection with others yet did everything in his power to push people away.  The relationship between him and Lisa Cuddy, his Irene Adler, was just heartbreaking to experience.

Like most medical shows, unless you are in the biz there’s no way a regular person could ever figure out the solution.  And even if you are in the biz, the inevitable third act turn where some other condition rears its ugly head is nearly impossible to anticipate.  So we don’t get to follow along with the mystery.  But this version of Holmes is more about getting into his head than anything else.  It’s about the mystery of the man.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of a modern Sherlock Holmes is my most favorite version of the character thus far.  He’s cocky, brash, socially unaware, utterly confident, a complete asshole, yet somehow charming.  The way his eyes look through you is haunting.  Life is so boring that he needs these mysteries to keep his brain occupied.

What I love most about the BBC Sherlock is that it does two things so brilliantly well.  One, we get to follow along with the mystery and attempt to deduce the solution.  There are no deux ex machina last minute clues out of nowhere.  It’s all there for us to figure out.  Two, it explores Holmes’s personal relationship with Watson.  There’s a great bromance going on.  The little in jokes.  The freaking safe word that tells Watson to duck.  There’s a lot going on between those between scenes that we get hints of.  It’s fantastic.  I can’t wait for Season 3 to drop!

It’s Elementary

So those are my favorite Sherlocks.  I’m certain there will be more to come as I grow older.  And I suspect I’ll love every one.  In the end, the mystery is the thing.  I love a good mystery.  I love trying to figure out the solution along with the master detective.  The best is when the solution is revealed and it’s something that my little pea brain could have figure out.

Doctor Who, “The Bells of Saint John”

It’s been a long winter without the Doctor to warm our hearts.  But now he’s back with a plucky new companion.  “The Bells of Saint John” was a great way to kick off the second half of season 7.  Let’s get into it!

For the Whom The Bell Tolls

The Bells of Saint John

There’s a whole bunch of stuff on the side of the TARDIS that I’ve never really paid any attention to.  I never would have guessed that St John was a reference to something on the TARDIS.  I wonder if there’s a deeper meaning than just a logo on the side of a Police box.

What the hell number did Clara dial to get the TARDIS?  While it seemed that her previous two meetings with the Doctor (or three if you count the prequel) were all accidental, this phone call had the feeling of some serious deux ex machina, as if the universe guided her hand to dial the exact wrong number to reach the Doctor.  I have a bad feeling that Clara is a trap of some kind.  She’s a walking impossibility which makes her absolutely resistible for the Doctor.  Moffat is exactly the type of writer to make us fall in love with a trap.  I don’t know if I’m ready for that.  I like her far too much already.

A Jacket of a Different Color

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At first, I thought he was chucking away David Tennant’s jacket which made me a little sad.  But upon further screen shot analysis, I don’t see Tennant’s trademark pin stripes.  So I’m thinking this is Matt Smith’s jacket from the previous part of Season 7.

He also grabs a black tie.  There were a few theories about the Doctor’s tie color flying around during the whole River Song saga, but I don’t know if anything ever came of it.  A black tie could signify much darker times for the Doctor ahead, but I may be reading too much into it.


Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 10.51.54 AM

The Doctor creeps around Clara’s room after he successfully downloads her back into her body.  I know it’s supposed to be a nice quiet scene, but I thought it was a little creepy.  Certainly, the Doctor wants to know more about her.  But why not wait until she wakes up to ask her a bunch of questions?

It did give him a moment to find her unused travel book.  More book imagery.

“Is that what you do? Bring a booth? There is such a thing as too keen.”

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 10.54.10 AM

I died when Clara called the TARDIS a “snog box!”  I suspect that by season’s end, there will be some snogging in that there Time And Relative Dimensions In Sexytime!

Clara also drops the classic “it’s bigger on the inside” line.  I thought she’d go with “It’s smaller on the outside” like she did in Victorian days.  Unless, of course, that’s not the same Clara.

Clara Oswald For the Win! OSWIN!

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“It’s never about the security. It’s about the people.”

This Clara became a super computer genius when she was partially downloaded. The Clara trapped on the Dalek planet because a computer super genius when she was transformed into a Dalek.  Or did Dalek Clara already have some computer skills?  Is Dalek Clara rooftop coffee Clara in the future?  Does rooftop coffee Clara get separated from the Doctor in the future and get turned into Dalek Clara?  How does that fit in with Victorian nanny Clara?  Are they three different Claras?

This rooftop cafe scene was really charming.  And I know I’ve been saying “I loved” a lot in this review, but I fucking loved the interaction between the two.  My favorite companions are the ones who challenge the Doctor, who aren’t completely taken by his whimsy.  That’s why Romana I, Donna, Amy, and now Clara are among my favorite companions.

The Great Intelligence

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 11.10.25 AM

We learn that the Great Intelligence was ultimately pulling the strings.  I know he’s a classic Who villain, but that’s about it. I hope he shows up again.  He’s seems like the right kind of bastard for the Doctor to face.

So we got a lot more questions than answers and possibly a big bad for the rest of season 7.  Not a bad way to bring back the Doctor.


Doctor Who Prequel Time! Prequels are Cool!

Doctor Who returns this Sunday with “The Bells of St John” and we’ve got this little prequel web video to get us all excited. You’ll figure out who the girl is halfway through the thing and it will make you shake your first and yell “MOFFFFFAAAAAAAAT” at the top of your lungs! I can’t wait for this part of Season 7 to kick off. I expected a rocky transition, but Clara has totally won me over!

Ghost in the Shell, ARISE

AZM Ally Elliot Fox sent along this trailer for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell prequel, ARISE. It’s going to be a four part mini series chronicling Mokoto Kusanagi’s history before joining Public Security Section 9. Each episode will be fifty minutes long and will be shown in theaters before being released on Blu-ray and DVD.

Ghost in the Shell was one of the early anime movies I saw so it has a special place in my heart. That said, this trailer doesn’t really do anything for me. We get the classic scene of Kusanagi jumping off a building which is a nice call back to the movie and the series. And I am sort of curious to know why she’s called the Major. But honestly, I feel like they’ve done so much with the development of the world through Stand Alone Complex and Second Gig that this seems like unnecessary filler. Kusanagi’s past isn’t nearly as interesting as the evolution of fully self-aware AI.

Still, more Ghost in the Shell is sort of a good thing. The first episode airs in July.

Nerdshaming is BULLSHIT

First, we had Tony Harris complaining about “Fake Nerd Girls.” Now, we have Portlandia with this faux PSA.

Fuck. This. Bullshit.

I’m not sure what you’re point is here, Brian. If the term “nerd” is shameful, why do you care if some random girl at a bar claims the label? Are you trying to save the guy she’s chatting up from an evening of sex? Is she preventing you from talking to the guy at the bar about TNG and Skyrim? Are you afraid that other people will associate you with the girl because she calls herself a nerd?

Are you trying to warn cute girls that if they call themselves nerds they will be ostracized? I mean, seriously, what is the fucking point of this entire fucking thing?

The entire reason you have a TNG to nerd about is because people from all walks of life fell in love with the original Star Trek after years of reruns. If Star Trek TOS nerds kicked everyone else off of their lawn, there would be no TNG. There would be no video game industry if it didn’t appeal to a broad spectrum of gamers so you’d have no Skyrim to nerd over. There would be no Avengers movie if the comic nerds kicked everyone else off of their lawn.

All those things you mentioned in your nerdshaming PSA, all of those things depend on non-nerds spending their money so nerdy things can get made. So really, what’s the point in shaming people away from your toys? Get. Over. Your. Shit.

Urbance, A Gorgeously Stylized Update to Romeo And Juliet

This trailer for Urbance from Steambot Studios is absolutely stunning. No word on when or where it will premier, but we have a description of the story:

In the big city, gender war rises. Sex is prohibited because of a genetic deadly virus. Ruled by hate and anger, boys and girls grow up apart from each other, forming rivals gangs.

Among these lost teenagers, Kenzell and lesya will fight adversity and defy all the rules in order to live their love and restore peace.

It’s an interesting twist on the star-crossed lovers angle. You can bet in a series starring mostly teenagers, that separation of the genders won’t last too long. From the detailed backgrounds to the slick animation, every frame of this trailer is dripping with neon awesome. I can’t wait to see it wherever it drops!

From: Steambot Studios

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