TV 411: BBC’s Sherlock, The Abominable Bride

sherlockCreated by: Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
Network: BBC
Show Debut: 2010
On Air: 2010 – present
Episode Title: The Abominable Bride
Episode Debut: Jan 1, 2016

What a heart-stopping episode! I usually try to stay away from anything that would scare me, like all things that fall in the horror genre, because I have an overactive imagination. Understanding what The Abominable Bride was all about, you would expect to be prepared. NOT! It was a chilling experience. A good, excited, all things I expected from this series, kind of experience, but still, chilling. From the first 10 minutes!

*** SPOILER ALERT for the rest of this post ***

Episode Story Arch:

The story starts off in 1890s London (which is one of my favorite eras) with Sherlock and Watson being approached by Lestrade with a very troubling case. That’s not unusual and pretty much how things normally start for this detective duo, but the troubling part is, well, troubling. drum roll plus spoiler alert warning: Someone was killed by a someone who was already declared dead gasp! So off Sherlock and Watson go, trying to figure out how a ghost can kill someone and they are trying to solve it with a community where some people still strongly believe in superstitions and all things paranormal.

The breakdown:

I absolutely love this episode.

We start with the story line. I enjoy the fact that this case is taking place in 19th century London. A time before some of the technological advancements of the time and strong believers in superstitions within the community. Where ghosts weren’t too far-fetched and almost plausible. The story keeps a consistent pace and does a nice job weaving in the pieces of the story to create the entire plot. In addition to that, this episode also ties itself to “present day” Sherlock and Watson story lines such as Mary Watson and Moriarty. And my favorite thing about this episode is the blend of past and present. It’s almost like 19th century Sherlock and Watson is running parallel to present day Sherlock and Watson, solving a similar case or, well, a similar problem. The blend of both timelines, stories, and themes was so much fun to watch and put together in a way that just worked. Sherlock and Watson have a moment, the in 19th century time line, where Watson touches on Sherlock’s … love life so to speak, which was a nice play on their friendship side of things. After all, Watson is married and, well, that’s that. With season four on its way, you know Sherlock’s character development has to evolve in some ways, whether he sticks on that trajectory and makes it back to his single self it will be interesting to see how they follow up on this.

As always, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson) continue their great on screen chemistry as friends and colleagues. In addition, you have Amanda Abbington (Mary) and Mark Gatiss (Mycroft) making an appearance as well as Rupert Graves (Lestrade) and even Andrew Scott (Moriarty) in this episode. Oh, and Louise Brealey (Molly) is in this one as well and I love the part she played and how they portrayed her … well, I’ll stop here. I also love this episode because it was interesting to see how Cumberbatch and Freeman portray their personalities across two time periods. How their 19th century counterparts would react to the world around them yet keeping true to their distinct personalities. They did wonderfully, all those who played both timelines. And I have to say, Natasha O’Keeffe, our Abominable Bride was excellent! I mean, chills. Enough said.

And, since I’ve gushed on about the two time periods, may as well continue that into presentation. The set directors and costume designers did a great job giving us the feel of two distinct eras. I’m not an expert on historical accuracy, yet, and even if I was I wouldn’t nitpick here because it was done well enough for me to discern 19th century timeline and 21st century timeline. Camera and sound work were awesome. I know it takes a combination of costume and camera work to give viewers the chills, of course delivery is crucial as well, and they did it well.

I can’t wait to see what comes next. Especially with Sherlock’s whole “I said Moriarty was back not alive” bit at the end of the episode. What does that mean?! Ugh! Season 4 cannot come soon enough.

#TBT: Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

Throwback Thursdays

Remembered because …

It was one of the first books I ever read and the first book series I ever followed.

First published in 1964 by Donald J. Sobol, and discovered by yours truly somewhere in the 80s, this series made me fall in love with mysteries.

I had to have been in the third or fourth grade when I discovered this book in my school library. Third graders had the privilege of checking out books from the school library to read in class during down times. I remember discovering this beloved series. It was toward the back corner of the small library and I remember noticing it because there was a whole bunch of books with similar style covers and I noticed numbers on the spine. Curious, I stopped to investigate and pulled out Book One. I was smitten, instantly. If only because I thought Encyclopedia was such a cool nickname (this was the start of my love cool nicknames, by the way–like Nobody in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book). I was so curious about this boy, nick named Encyclopedia, who helped his father solve cases. Like, actually police cases! And over dinner!

Of course I kept going back and continued reading the series when allowed to. There are three cases that continue to stick in my mind, even after all these years (because we’re talking twenty something years here). I can’t remember their respective chapter titles i.e. “Encyclopedia Brown and the case of …” nor do I remember which book they came from, but I remember the reason he solves the case. The first being that the robbers loaded the patient into the ambulance incorrectly. The necessary medical equipment is usually found at the “back” of the loading area so the patient should have been wheeled in head first not feet first into the ambulance. The second one being the thief couldn’t have been the boy with the broken arm, even though the item was found on him because why would he put the item in his left pocket when his left arm is broken and in a sling? He would have had to reach across his body to put the item in his pocket. And the last one being the shirt belonged to a girl and not the boy because the button holes were on the left side of the shirt and not the right. And is because women’s shirts have the button holes on the right side so there are less chances of “exposure” to their passengers when they are driving.

And lessons like that were added to my brain, along with random tidbits. Like I’m sure it was because of this series I know that odd numbers are the front of the page while even numbers are on the back. And if it’s not directly because of Encyclopedia Brown it’s because of my love of mysteries, which started with him.

Unfortunately, I stopped reading the series somewhere in the fourth grade. My family moved and my new school didn’t have the series. I didn’t rediscover (when my mom could, she would take us to the public library in home town) public libraries until middle school, but I never forgot Encyclopedia Brown.

The series spans 29 books from the years 1963 to 2012, the last one published posthumously. It is one of my reading goals to return to this series and finish it all.

Hats off to you, Donald Sobol, for creating a mystery series that was fun and easy to follow! You are the first author to turn me into a repeat offender.

TV Addict: Crime Time in the 90s

I have always been a big fan of mystery and crime solving. From Encyclopedia Brown to Sherlock Holmes … oh, wait, this is a TV post not a book post *shifting gears* … From Murder She Wrote to Sherlock, I’m an avid fan. I’ve watched most TV Crime show, or at the very least a lot of them. Watching the last season of White Collar and now Psych, one of the last crime solving TV that I’m following (Sherlock on BBC is still going, thankfully, even if it’s only three 1 1/2 episodes per season), I’ve gone a little nostalgic and started pondering some of my crime time favorites. So, list time!

Top 5 Favorite Crime Solving TV of the 90s (that’s long title!)
In order of the least watched to the most watched

Midsomer Murders (1997-present) – I really enjoy this show and don’t get to watch it as often as I like to, even with all these OnDemand options. I watched this a lot in it’s early years and tapered off around 2000. I watched it here and there through out 2003-2005, but haven’t watched any of the new ones. Which is a bit sad to me. Which I am now putting back on my TBW list. This was one of the first shows, if not the first, mystery TV I watched that was British TV and not American.

Poirot (1989-2013) – Oh, gosh, Agatha Christie. Maybe this shouldn’t count on my TV list since it’s based on a book character … ah, what the heck. I love him. Sherlock will always be my first love as far as detectives go (actually, if I’m honest, it was Encyclopedia Brown. Discovered in the 3rd grade) but Poirot is the next. And I didn’t realize the show ran as long as it did! Work is so inconvenient 😉 . But, I watched it when I could and enjoyed all the episodes I did. His style is … awesome!

Matlock (1986-1995) – Ah, Matlock. This was one of the shows I’d watch over the weekend. I’m not quite sure why I remember watching this show over the weekend, whether or not they had a special slot on Saturdays, but I remember I could watch their marathons all day. It was funny as heck and I loved that the investigation ended in the courtroom. I really did.
Diagnosis Murder (1993-2001) –  And if Saturday mornings was full with Matlock instead of cartoons, Diagnosis Murder was the show I’d actually leave the playground to watch. Call me crazy for leaving my friends playing outside to run home and watch this every Thursday evening, but crazy I was. There was TGIF and then there was Diagnosis Murder. And my grandmother supported this crazy obsession by actually changing the channel a few minutes prior to it starting so I could come in straight from the playground to the living room and not missing a thing. Crazy I tell ya!

Murder She Wrote (1984-1996) – Watched every. single. marathon. For some reason, this show wasn’t one of those shows that I remember a time slot for, but I remember the marathons. And I remember the in-between shows that would play at random slot times. This was one of the shows I learned about Venice, Italy and fell in love with it. This is where I learned that the book publishing world is a little askew. This is where I learned not to be friends with a mystery writer because her friends always seem to be in danger or end up dead, except for that doctor dude. Oh, and this is where I wanted to move to Cabot Cove because it seemed like such an awesome place to live. And the fact that this show is based on a writer and a book-lover is irrelevant!

Honorable Mentions
And only honorable mentions because I didn’t watch them as frequently as my Top 5 and while I love watching them more than those shows that didn’t make my list, I would change the channel on a couple of episodes, unlike my top 5 where I watched every minute.

Father Downing Investigations (1989-1991) – Crime solving nuns and priests? What’s not to love about that?

Columbo (1971-2003) – I loved this cross-eyed detective, but for some reason, it was hard for me to catch an episode. I remember watching when I could, but there were times when I just couldn’t get interested in one or two of them. I loved his character though.