Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

English: Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh

English: Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On CBS, ‘Elementary’ has now run for 2 episodes. It is another attempt at a modernized version of Sherlock Holmes. If you’re unaware why I say “another,” we are nearing the third season of ‘Masterpiece Mystery: Sherlock’ on PBS (look, more reasons to support PBS—and the first two seasons are now available on Netflix), created and lead written by the guy that every Whovian has learned to worship, Steven Moffat.

Being that this one has come out so closely along with ‘Sherlock,’ it is a bit unavoidable to try to compare one to the other, and the key comparisons, I would say, would be in how the two do in dealing with the modern treatment of some of the two most famous characters in mystery history, Doctor John Watson, and Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes. ‘Sherlock’ actually does the best at staying true to the original source, every story that has been written so far has been a detail-for-detail modernization of the original stories—it’s basically a set-up of, how would these mysteries happen in modern times, plus, how would someone with a mind like Sherlock deal with them now, basically, the deductive reasoning in a digital information age. Where as, ‘Elementary’ has been taking a few more liberties with the concept—Doctor John Watson is now Doctor Joan Watson, played by Lucy Liu, and Sherlock now lives in New York after a drug abuse past, and something yet unmentioned in details happened in London, and the stories so far are completely original.

So far, about the only resemblance that our new Sherlock in ‘Elementary’ comes to the one that most of the fans know is in his detective techniques. But, of course, this is the part that should be considered important (although the relationship between Holmes and Watson is important too, but I’m still letting that get flushed out a bit before I say anything—although, if this becomes another bit of the male and female characters start doing it and making all stories later just awkward, then I will greatly mark them down—it’s just too cliché for me, and I say all this with the concern about the set-up so far in mind). Both shows have actually made sure to quote Sherlock’s “attic theory” (though ‘Sherlock’ quoted it in detail, where as ‘Elementary’ mostly paraphrased), so at least with this in mind, we can at least assume that at some level the writers are trying with some effort to keep Sherlock “thinking” like Sherlock, and for at least two episodes, I have not yet seen any noticeable flaws in this

So, my rating for the show so far is 4 out of 5. I can’t give it a full 5 because the changes so far are just making me too uneasy (mainly with Watson, I just so see a future relationship set-up going on that bugs the crap out of me). And I honestly would give it a 3, but the fan-boy in me resists—as some friends may know, a lot of my school-days short-stories were modernized Sherlock Holmes stories, this is one of the key things that gave birth to D’arc Lyte (although, I get a little more noire with him, he does use more of a deductive reasoning style still).


Green Arrow using one of his trick arrows in B...

Green Arrow using one of his trick arrows in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On CW, ‘Arrow’ is now only one episode in—I know, I’m writing about it already, which must mean I was impressed… or dramatically horrified. And it is actually the former; I came in with doubts and was greatly disproved so far.

If you don’t know, ‘Arrow’ is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, the character that also appeared in the series ‘Smallville’ to serve more or less as the closest they could get to a Batman-type character without actually being Batman (he was put in right after Nolan’s Batman jolted the popularity, the timing made it a bit obvious what the motives were).

In ‘Smallville’ his back-story was that he was a rich kid who’s parents were killed in a plane crash that left him stranded on an island, until he returned to use the power of money against the criminal element. This version, is slightly different—this time he was on a ship with his dad, his girlfriend’s sister, and some guy that I don’t even know if he got more than a single line—the ship was stuck in a storm while Oliver did his girlfriend’s sister, and then the boat flipped, suddenly we’re in the water, and the dirty sister’s gone in the depths, and daddy and un-named friend are in a raft. Details are given gradually through jumbled flashbacks in the episode, but eventually, it’s revealed that daddy killed his friend and him so Oliver could live—it sounded as if this should be mysterious, but little was hinted at the why—and then Oliver got to an island where he lived for 5 years until picked-up by a boat.

It is very vaguely hinted that a lot more went on during his time on the island, such as the panning over to a mangled mask of what most comic readers will recognize as Slade Wilson (a.k.a., Deathstroke). However, we are so far left with only the vague hints, simply, something happened, and he went from being a typical spoiled rich-boy brat, to a hardened fighter who can handle himself rather well with a bow, and a grudge attached to a yet to be explained list.

My doubts in this show were based largely on ‘Smallville’s’ handling of the character. Though, I didn’t hate the way they did it, I just didn’t think they did it in a way that would have allowed the character to be able to survive too well on its own—apparently I wasn’t completely alone on this idea, hence the slight re-write. Plus, the promo trailers they were showing were just completely confusing and out of context and with the ‘Smallville’ take on in still running through my head, I just had no idea what was about to happen with what looked like a hot mess.

But my doubts were shot down with at least this episode. This episode showed a dark and gritty (almost complete opposite in setting from ‘Smallville’s’ brighter side) character that had no issues with killing (definitely different from most comic book-type characters). How well will this dark grit hold up will be left to see, since I’ve seen shows in the past that were really dark for the pilot, only to lose it completely afterward, and the director of this episode, David Nutter, actually directed the pilots of a few of the shows that are coming to mind—so, I’m for now still not getting my hopes too high… or at least trying not to.

But, my rating so far is 4 out 5. I swear, I will some day give something a solid 5, but for now, 4 stands because, one, I’m getting nervous about a show I already like… and I hate that; and 2, the sets in the show bug me… reusing the Luthor Castle from ‘Smallville’ was one thing, but the office, too… really? That was a freakin’ sound-stage, that’s not a budget thing, that’s a lack of originality.


brains! (Photo credit: cloois)

Someone tell my brain it’s only allowed to work on one project at a time. It keeps insisting on coming of with more and more side-projects, and it’s making it very difficult to get things done… I guess it’d be cool if it could at least learn to prioritize, but, no, it simply believes in trying to do all the projects at once.

So far I have to finish at least the first book of ‘Ravenblood,’ and then I also have more side-projects cropping up… ‘Natural Selection’ keeps taking my attention, which is cool (sort’of, but part of my brain wants to do more with that too, which simply can’t be), but now a couple other things I was playing with are insisting that I play with them more, and I simply don’t have that kind of time. I did a BS excerpt using my detective character, a character I have had pretty much no chance to make use of yet, but that little bit got my head running on trying to figure a way to finish it–it wasn’t even meant to be finished, it was completely meant to be only BS.

More importantly, if I do come up with anymore side projects, it has to be at least something that could be possibly submitted to something other than simply posted here, which seems to be the issue with a lot of them so far. ‘Natural Selection’ is pretty much stuck here, I see no way around that, which is cool, as I said, gives me a web-comic writer sort of feel I guess (which also hints at something that my brain keeps telling me I should do with NS–thank god my drawing skills are badly out of practice–although I did at least try to draw Bahb once). But, yea, I could always use money as a possible motivator, and something that gets me out there a bit more than this blog and its cute little stories…

So, damn you, voices, one at a time, and wait your turn!

PS: I’ll probably be posting ‘Natural Selection’ soon, and… dear’god, if the voices don’t shut’up, also a ending and/or re-write to ‘Mist’…

Robert Mitchum as Jeff Bailey and Jane Greer a...

Robert Mitchum as Jeff Bailey and Jane Greer as Kathie Moffat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was asked by a writer friend of mine to tell her the story of how we met… except to make up the whole story. Many responses to this were interesting, mine for some reason conjured up my detective character. I have so far used him in a complete short-story only once, plus several unfinished works (with this one now being among those–I’ve just never found the flow for modern mysteries despite the many attempts… just too much damn forensics and crap these days). The character’s name wasn’t used in this because it was supposed to be me in this situation, but for reference, his name is Darc Lyte (in one of my incompletes there’s actually a story behind that name–some other time perhaps). Although I didn’t finish this–didn’t even technically plan to finish it–but after writing the bit that I did, it got my head running on how it actually would of worked out… and even though it’s not written, I have it all in my head how it happens. To amuse myself though, let’s see if others can figure out how it could have worked.

So this is the mission, read my short bit, and tell me how it all ends by responding in comment.

It was a dark and stormy night—a muggy early summer storm. I was sitting in my office, sorting away old case files, when my intercom buzzed.

Anne, or Beth, or whatever the new secretary’s name was spoke through the crackling speaker, “There’s a Miss… um… Mist… there’s a woman here to see you.”

I wasn’t expecting any appointments, and I don’t normally accept walk-ins. I was about to hit the respond button and have the secretary send the lady away with a threat towards her further employment in my office, but before I had the chance, the door opened and a well-endowed, full-figure, red-headed woman walked in, dressed in a tight Victorian style, with well placed leather—business is slow, I figured I might as well give her the chance to tell her case… just to see if it can make ends meet, and pay bills—that’s all.

She spoke with a sensual tone that created an allure only to be challenged by the fragrance of her perfume, “You are the private… dick… of this office?”

“Thank you, the complete discomfort I’m feeling answers why we don’t normally call it that anymore—but, yes, ma’am, I’m the private detective here. How may I help you?”

“Well, detective,” She went on, “This is difficult to explain, but I need you to solve a murder.”

“Oh,” I exclaimed, and almost regretted the required response, “Have you gone to the police about this yet?”

“Yes, of’course I have, but they turned it away without hesitation because… you see,” She paused in search for words, “The murder I need you to solve… is my own…”

I stared in shock and confusion, and if it wasn’t for the frightened composure and her visible attempt to keep from breaking down in tears, I would have assumed her crazy and had an army of white-coats taking her away.

“You’ll have to excuse me,” I said, “But you look a bit healthier than most murder victims I’ve seen—“

That’s when she lost her battle for composure and her eyes became faucets, “Oh, detective, I only wish you would be able to say that two days from now… but… I know I’ll be dead by then.” She got out with me trying to figure out if I translated the crying-woman speak correctly.

Before I could try at any level of rebuttal, she immediately got up from her seat, slapped a file-folder on my desk and stormed out of the office, back into the night and rain. I never saw her again.