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BBC'S Sherlock Film and Lit 2013
Transcript of BBC'S Sherlock Film and Lit 2013
It is the first story to feature the character Sherlock Holmes, who would become one of the most famous and iconic literary characters. Pink "A Study in Pink" is the first episode of the BBC series "Sherlock". It was first broadcast in July and August 2010. Written by Doctor Who veterans Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Steve Thompson. it is based off of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous Sherlock Holmes, and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. Dr. John Watson is back in modern-day London after serving in the war in Afghanistan. His therapist urges him to express himself in a blog. But nothing much ever happens to Watson, and it's not that he's haunted by the war; he longs for it. Enter an eccentric roommate: Sherlock Holmes. He plays the violin when he's thinking, sometimes doesn't talk for days, and has a dubious career as a self-described consulting detective. When what appears to be serial suicide cases surface in London, a desperate Detective Inspector Lestrade reluctantly asks for Holmes help. To Sherlock, a crime spree is like Christmas, and he wants Watson to tag along. The game is on! Dr. John Watson returns to 1878 London after serving in the war in Afghanistan. Injured in the war, John Watson is too sick to work or find any excitement in his life. He begins living a "comfortless, meaningless existence". Enter an eccentric roommate: Sherlock Holmes. He begins to keep extensive notes on Mr. Holmes, which is the frame by which the story is told. Holmes plays the violin when he's thinking, sometimes doesn't talk for days, and has a dubious career as a self-described consulting detective. When a desperate Detective Tobias Gregson asks for Holmes help to solve a complicated murder, Sherlock reluctantly agrees with the good Doctors urging. The game is on! In both the book and the show, Dr. Watson is searching for someone to share the burden of rent in London. He meets an old school friend* who says that Watson is the second man today to seek a flatmate. He offers to introduce Watson to Sherlock, with some warning that the man is a bit odd...
((*Curiously, in the novel, this friend is unnamed and never seen again. In the show, his name is Mike.)) Let's Talk About the "What" Or, in This case,
The "Who"! Without a doubt, Sherlock is genre fiction; mystery. It is told in a series of novels, not just one story. As such, the 'what' changes from piece to piece and is inconsequential. There really isn't much 'what', and that is not what made the novels classics.
What made the stories famous is the "who". There are two important characters in the story (and in this scene)!
What is important is their friendship. Most adaptions neglect to expand upon Dr. John Watson's character because he is seen as merely Sherlock's lacky. This is not the case in the book, and
it's not the case in BBC's adaption! Though the books are told through the 'frame' of Watson telling Sherlock's story: "The reader may set me down as a hopeless busybody when I confess how much this man stimulated my curiosity, and how I often endevored to break through the reticence which he showed on all that concerned himself. Before pronouncing judgement, however, be it remembered how objectless was my life, and how little there was to engage my attention. My health forbade me from venturing out unless the weather was exceptionally genial, and I had no friends who would call upon me and break the monotony of my daily existence. Under these circumstances, I eagerly hailed the little mystery which hung around my companion, and spent much of my time in endeavouring to unravel it." In this sense, think of Dr. Watson of the "Red" of this piece. While he is telling Sherlock's story as if it is not his own, it really is about their shared life. Dr. John H. Watson In fact, in both the novel and the adaption, Watson is very similar to Red. In the original story, Watson is left crippled from war. He lacks the ability to work or make friends, and Sherlock is the means by which he learns to live again (and go on to marry, but let's stick to “A Study in Scarlet”). In the television show he is left stagnated from the war, unable to feel joy and his life is lackluster at best. Again, Sherlock is the means by which he learns to live again (though so far, no marriage. (Season 3?)) Watson, oft overlooked, is a BAMF in his own right. He was an army doctor in Afghanistan, and only came back to England once he got a rifle wound to the leg. Within the novels, he is the one who always carries the gun in he and Holmes's most dangerous encounters. We all know the Watson portrayed by most stories, following Sherlock around and shouting “Astounding!” and “How did you know?” This does, in fact, happen in the book, but only as a point of constant comparison: Watson's a smart man. He is a medical doctor with a clear, cool writing style. He's someone we respect, and whom Sherlock respects (another point of Watson's awesomeness is that he gains Sherlock's respect). And if Holmes is smart enough to make a war vet doctor feel dumb, well then, Holmes must be brilliant. Also Watson, in literature and film, fills in gaps that Holmes lacks: he's the one who adds human interest to Holmes's stories, and who provides medical assistance that Holmes can't handle. Sherlock Holmes Sherlock is not just a character, he is a legend. After my love letter to Watson, I have to keep this short. The good news is most people already know about Sherlock even without reading any of the novels. Sherlock Holmes ((After my love letter to Watson, I have to keep this short. The good news is most people already know about Sherlock even without reading any of the novels.)) Sherlock is not just a character, he is a legend. He is brilliant. In many ways, Sherlock Holme's was the one of the first English literary superheroes. His knowledge is vast, he has an uncanny ability to notice things that other miss and connect them together in a second. His “powers of deduction” are so quick and well-trained that in the novel it is difficult for him to explain them to a 'normal' person. While I concentrated on how cool Watson was because it is usually under-appreciated, what makes Sherlock a great character are his flaws. He seems to always know everything he needs, wins every fight and more. This character would be flat and dull, and his tales long forgotten if not for his flaws. This is a man who uses drugs when he is bored, tends to become depressed, is rude, dismissive of the police and is even a bit lazy. He is jaded, unless a subject interests him. He does not know the earth revolves around the sun, but in their first meeting (in the novel alone), jumps out of his seat with excitement when he discovers a new process which can prove if blood has touched an object after it has been washed away. He often forgets about others emotions, but he is not emotionless. As I said, he jumped for joy within the first moment of meeting him in the story. In the television program, he winks playfully and smiles at John, taking great joy in confusing the man with his knowledge. And while he brings joy to John Watson, his friend in turn keeps him grounded. Each episode of BBC’s
“Sherlock” is very cinematic.
Rather than having a 12+ episode season of thirty minute
episodes, Sherlock has three
90-minute episodes per season.
One for each of the writers. This is of course how they trick you into watching the entire series in one night. Things to Watch For:
Distance Between Characters
Depth of Field
Setting Currently, there are six episodes in total. Mise En Scene Setting The Setting of the official meeting has not changed from the novel. Watson is introduced to Sherlock in a laboratory within the hospital. Both men are that of science; Watson, medical science; Sherlock, his own self-proclaimed Science of Deduction.
Laboratories are also seen as very impersonal and foreign places to those who are not familiar with it (as Watson, admittedly, is not). It is alien, and while Watson, his friend, and indeed Molly who is an employee within the most macabre section of the hospital (the morgue), seem to stand and walk with a trace of awkwardness in their steps (though Molly most likely because of her thinly-veiled affection for Mr. Holmes), Sherlock seems to be the most comfortable. This helps define Sherlock as a character. Odd and impersonal.
Also, in the books it is often specified that though Sherlock was organized, his home was very cluttered and messy. This shows up in the apartment in the future as well, but given the cluttered nature of Sherlock's area of the laboratory, it can be guessed that this is his comfort zone. Cinematography When we pay attention to the camera position during Watson's first encounter with his old friend, it's clear that although they are shown sitting closely on the bench, during the close-up shots the cameras depth of focus is so small it creates distance that doesn't exist, showing how jaded John feels from the world and other people who have not experienced war. Even the colors drain when John fills the frame, while his friends background is green and bright. Sherlock's scene mimics this, but to an even greater degree. Sherlock stands far from Molly, closer to the corpse. He is rarely even in the same frame as she is, and during the beating, she literally stands behind a glass wall. He is so separated by his 'quirks' that relating to others is completely impossible. His color is entirely removed from his face with shadows, perhaps a subtle hint that Sherlock does not notice this distance, but the people who care for him (Molly) do. The camera also often hits Sherlock from a very subtle low-angel, putting Sherlock in a position of power (Benedict Cumberbatch is also quite tall and Martin Freeman is a hobbit which helps a lot with this). Sometimes not so subtle... While meeting Sherlock, Watson keeps his distance from everyone, even the friend he arrived with. Sherlock also stays isolated behind a table. Until Sherlock forcibly enters Watson's personal space while grabbing the phone, forcing the interaction which they both desperately need. Finally, during the deduction the camera zooms into Sherlock as we see into his mind, and away from Watson as he is 'dissected'. Music There is no music during the first scene with Watson and his friend, but it picks up with Sherlock. Watson's entrance into the lab kills that music. Only to be picked up again with a sharp twang when Sherlock piques John's interest. “Afghanistan or Iraq?”
Sherlock's presence in these scenes introduces the music, mirroring how the detectives presence in Watson's life brings him new motivation and happiness. Other Random Tidbits... The Riding Crop is a direct reference to the book.
In the story, before Watson meets Sherlock his old school friend warns him of Sherlock's oddities, including this back-and-forth: "Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape."
"Beating the subjects!"
"Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes."
"And yet you say he is not a medical student?" Suggested Asperger’s Syndrome. Many have suggested that the character Sherlock Holmes may have had a mild form of autism, commonly known as Asperger’s syndrome. Symptoms of the condition can include:
A lack empathy/inability to relate
Formal style of speaking
May avoid eye contact or stare at others
Talk a lot, usually on favorite subject; inability to tell when boring the listener
Internal thoughts are often verbalized
Extremely heightened senses
Highly intelligent/logical way of thinking
Tendency to mimic others, especially people they like ->
Typically only keep few, very close friends
Can go days without speaking, and eating very little, especially when drained The theory that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have known an undiagnosed autistic person, and based his character off of their mannerisms is far from new. It's been proposed since the condition was first recognized. The BBC adaption takes this to a new level, actually confirming the diagnoses within dialogue:
Detective Lestrade: I suppose he likes having the same faces back together. It appeals to his... his...
Watson: Aspergers? This acknowledgment of the condition can be both good and bad. It brings awareness, but some argue it spreads some negative stereotypes about the syndrome. All of these elements combined helps to make BBC not only the best modernized interpretation of the novels, but I believe also the truest-to-direct one as well. The friendship developing between John and Sherlock is very clear. We see the connection between characters.
By concentrating on Watson developing as a character rather than Sherlock's side-kick, giving Sherlock his very real flaws in much more direct manner, and addressing some long-dormant issues of mental conditions that were alluded in the original stories, BBC's "Sherlock" has gone above and beyond any other adaption, and there have been hundreds. 10/10 Would Recommend The argument is that it spreads the stereotype that Aspergers patients lack the ability to care about other. This is not the case, those are sociopaths. However, in the show, Sherlock shows a great deal of concern for the people he cares about.