Category Archives: television

Discussing the Sherlock that we’re not allowed to watch

The BBC modern-day Sherlock adaption has started its second series in the UK. Of course, under the absurd international copyright regime (to which the local Labor and Liberal parties give unflinching support) run for the benefit of companies that get a kick out of arbitrarily blocking whole continents from experiencing their employees’ artistic works, the only apparently lawful way for people in Australia to be aware of the content of these episodes is to have someone in the UK describe it to them over the phone.

Fortunately, I have cousins in London. They’ve been able to tell me ALL about it.

Which is why I’m aware of the issues that prompted Sarah Brennan to draw this cartoon (sorry if this is a spoiler, but that’s an unfortunate side-effect of accessing the internet whilst waiting patiently to lawfully watch a program broadcast overseas long before you’re allowed to see it):

From what I’ve been told by my cousin, who gave me pretty much a blow-by-blow account so good that it’s almost as if I’d seen the episode myself, the second isn’t an unreasonable criticism of the way Stephen Moffat covered that issue. Instead of the woman with respect to whom Sherlock develops an almost romantic attachment but who is indifferent to him, outsmarts him and then leaves to marry a completely different person, Moffat made Irene Adler a “lesbian” (she uses the word to describe herself, I think) who then falls in love with Sherlock (which is her downfall) and then has to be rescued by him at the end. It was a bit of a waste of a satisfyingly unconventional character in the original books.

But I don’t agree with the first complaint. If they simply transplanted Sherlock’s original arrangement with Watson to the present-day, it would infer things it never inferred in the original. There was never anything to suggest Sherlock had a sexual interest in anyone whatsoever – quite the contrary, and with his reasons clearly explained. And Watson was married to a different character and whilst portrayed as slightly obsessed with Sherlock as a friend, there was never any indication it was sexual. So no, it’s not invalid for Moffat to clarify that his two-blokes-sharing-a-flat-in-2011 doesn’t mean what otherwise it would be taken to mean.

Anyway, I hear the new episodes are – issues above notwithstanding – very good. The first lot, which we bought on bluray as soon as they were available, certainly were. Highly recommended.

(Commenters reacting to the episode will be assumed to have been in the UK over New Years, or have had friends or family describe the relevant parts to them over the phone or something.)