Tag Archives: tv

Holmes, Sherlock Holmes

the iconic Holmes look

Pretty much anyone who has known me in the past, oh, two or three years, knows that I’m obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. I’ve always had a love of the Victorian era, as well as intelligent, fast-paced gothic tales, but I will admit that it took reading about Guy Ritchie’s 2009 film to get me into 221B Baker Street and the rest of Holmes’ world. Since then, I’ve read every single one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about the iconic detective. And maybe it’s because I’ve been looking or maybe it’s because Robert Downey, Jr. inspired people to bring him back to life, but Sherlock is everywhere these days.

First of all, there’s a second movie called A Game of Shadows coming out at the end of this year (in which we get a lot of Moriarty action, I hear, and Stephen Fry as Mycroft(!)). The trailer is here:

Beyond Hollywood, there’s a fantastically adapted modern-day interpretation of the Sherlock Holmes stories in the form of a mini-series on the BBC (the first series was a cruelly brief three episodes, but they are currently filming a second, and to my knowledge whole, series). It’s called simply, Sherlock, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch (not a name you forget easily) as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson (busy guy, what with The Hobbit filming currently as well). The show practically uses the original stories as scripts for each episode, with clever exceptions where necessary to make modern little details like transportation, technology, acquisition of knowledge, etc. Its trailer is here:

how many pipes does one man need?

And while movies and TV shows are all well and good, I much prefer pages to screens. However, as I said before, I’ve read every story. Of course, I love going back and rereading them from time to time (the novels are long enough for a day or two’s time and the stories are perfect for before-bed reading), but it’s such a fantastic moment to discover something new. And I’m waiting for two of them.

The first is released October 25th and is an anthology of stories written by popular, modern-day authors and inspired by the Holmes tales. Titled A Study in Sherlock (a play off Doyle’s first ever Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet), the collection is positively bursting with names: Alan Bradley, Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, and Laura Lippman, just to name a few. I, for one, have high hopes. It was preordered weeks ago, and the countdown has finally begun.

what an enigmatic title!

The second new addition to the Holmes repertoire is a new story, written similarly to the way Doyle himself wrote his. The novel has been sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, and promises to be a thrilling story presented as if it was written by Holmes (or Watson) at the time at which the events took place, but sealed with instructions not to open it for 100 years, which I think is just the cleverest of touches. The new book is called The House of Silk; it’s written by Anthony Horowitz; and it comes out November 1st. I can’t wait.

And whatever shall I do to while away the hours as I wait? Why, plan my Halloween costume, of course. That’s right. I’m going to be Sexy Sherlock Holmes. “Can it be done?” you ask. Well, you just wait. There’s proof of that to come.

RIP Paste


Today, a really sad thing happened.  Paste Magazine closed its doors.  I thought it was a joke at first, but I shouldn’t have.  I mean, come on, an innovative, independent culture mag that isn’t afraid to take risks and express genuine opinions?  How long was that really going to last?  Paste‘s Twitter account (which is fortunately still up & running) kept me going through many a slow day at work with its relevant and intellectual pop culture focus.

I felt like I got to know Josh Jackson, Rachel Maddux, Nick Marino.  I have them to thank for introducing me to Frontier Ruckus and Menomena, talking me into Wolf Parade and The Love Language, informing me about Band of Horses and Mumford and Sons.  The staff loved Lost and Mad Men and Modern Family.  They wrote about composers and directors and authors.  I always sort of imagined what it would be like to work there, set it up as a bit of a dream job.  And now what?  Everything has changed.

The official word is that Paste is not actually gone for good.  The physical publication is finished.  From now on, into the foreseeable future, the magazine is a purely online publication, which is something that’s been happening a lot in our time, but also something I never liked for Paste‘s future.  I enjoyed taking a copy or two with me on a plane; I liked the stack piling up on my coffee table.  I liked that the editors didn’t seem to have some obnoxiously blatant political agenda (Rolling Stone, I’m talking to you).  Paste‘s mission was to unearth real talent, to showcase the independents, and to glorify wit and high art.

I am proud to have been a supporter Paste over the past few years.  I like what they’re about, and I’m sorry to hear that they’ve not been as wildly successful as I believe they deserve to have been.  But it’s not the worst thing in the world.  Paste is still out there, and all the more, there are still thousands of people who care about its future and remain loyal to its ideals.

I wish all the best to the employees that poured their lives into this publication and lost their foundation today.  Thanks for being amazing.  And to those still making it happen online, thanks for pulling through.  It’s worth it, I swear.


the last physical issue


The Piemaker

Over the summer, I’ve had a little more spare time than I normally do.  I have been trying to split my time evenly between watching old TV shows on Netflix Streaming and reading good old-fashioned fiction.  I was doing really well with the balance until I realized both seasons of Pushing Daisies were available.  I was a huge fan of The Piemaker and Chuck from the beginning, often likening it to a whimsical blend of Dr. Seuss and Big Fish.  Watching every episode over again has only deepened my disappointment with ABC in dropping the show mid-second season.  Pushing Daisies was entirely unique in concept, creative design, cinematography, storyline.  I’ve never seen such a vibrantly visionary idea played out with such originality and success.  Each character was accessible and radiantly portrayed, each script subtle and eloquent.

oh, the colors!

This fairy-tale story was about a piemaker named Ned who can bring dead things back to life simply by touching them.  With the help of Emerson Codd, a local PI, Ned uses his ability to solve murder cases, but things get complicated when a murder victim turns out to be Ned’s long-lost childhood crush and he decides to break the rules and let her live.  However, due to the critical condition of Ned’s supernatural power that once he touches something alive, touching it again will resume its original (dead) condition forever, Ned and Charlotte “Chuck” Charles cannot touch.

Other characters include Olive (magnificently portrayed by the lovely Kristen Chenoweth), who works with Ned at The Pie Hole; Emerson Codd, the dry-witted private investigator; and Chuck’s aunts, quirky shut-ins who know nothing of their niece’s alive-again state.

The costumes and set are anachronistic and vintage-y, imaginative and rich with color.  Basically, I’m madly in love with everything about this show.  I mean just look at the fabulous Swoozie Kurtz and Ellen Greene as Aunts Lily and Vivian:

how can you not

And really, can you blame me for falling so hard? Lee Pace is the main character!  Just look at that mug:

beautiful man

Aaand you can’t hate Chuck either (even though Ned’s head-over-heels for her and not you).  Not only is she pretty much the most charming character on the show (and in the history of the world), with a breezy attitude and an incandescent smile, but she also sports some of the coolest fashion.

Chuck has a thing for bees

and pie

Television suffered a great loss when Pushing Daisies was cut.  Is that too dramatic?  No WAY.  I wish there was some sort of cult following in revolt over this… yes, even 3 years later.  Who’s with me?

Bad TV

So, I have this totally uncharacteristic obsession with bad TV.  I like to shrug it off and tell myself that I watch it because the melodrama is hilaaaarious, the characters absurd(!), but in the end… it’s not just an I’ll-watch-this-because-there’s-nothing-else-on sort of fascination.  I actively seek this nonsense.

I resisted Grey’s Anatomy as long as I possibly could, which ended up being only a season and a half (I stayed strong throughout my senior year of high school but broke down with the pressure of dorm-wide viewing parties freshman year under the guise of being more social.) and have, to my everlasting annoyance, kept watching… even after everyone else seems to have let it go.

I got talked into Gossip Girl as well.  At first, it was just a girls’ night trash fest sort of thing, but then I found myself renting all six DVDs of the second season in a matter of a week in order to watch the season three premiere in real time.

Probably my most innocent infatuation is with The Nanny.  There are hours-long marathons on Nick At Nite to which I fall asleep on a frighteningly regular basis.  I also invariably stop to watch every Fresh Prince I stumble upon.

Now, this sounds like I just watch TV on an endless loop, which is definitely not true.  I like to think of myself as an intellectual, and I try to enrich my life with culture and art.  But everyone has their crux, right?

Anyway.  I said all of that to say that I have a new obsession (one that, despite the track record I’ve just described, is actually quite well done): Veronica Mars. It’s an unfortunate interest, because the show was canceled at the end of its third season and hasn’t aired for a few years now.  I discovered all the episodes conveniently available to me courtesy Netflix Streaming and was, of course, immediately consumed.

The show is about Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell, who I know as Sarah Marshall), teen detective.  She divides her time among school, helping her dad with his detective agency, and doing investigations of her own as most often commissioned by her high school classmates.  The show starts out a little high-school-y and delves into a few sensational extremes, but there’s something charming about the quippy banter and keen sarcasm so rampant in the dialogue.

From what I’ve read, the show didn’t have the millions upon millions of viewers that broadcasting companies require to continue producing a show these days (which is ultimately why it was canceled), but the few million VM did manage to win over were impressively loyal.  Upon the cancellation of the series, fans sent more than 10,000 Mars Bars to the CW, hoping that the network would reverse its decision and renew the series.  The following clip is from the episode that inspired the grand gesture, entitled “Mars, Bars.”