Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer TV: Sherlock & Star Trek

The shows I do watch are ended for the season, or wrapping up.  There are only a few episodes left of Season 5 of Mad Men (and last week's episode made me sad), Mythbusters carries on destroying everything in the name of science - even when its clear that Jamie and Adam are not really invested anymore, Parks & Rec has called it a day for 2012, and I've not seen a new American Experience since April, I think.

So its time for me to try to catch up!


You guys have recommended Sherlock to me a few times, and so last night I finally watched the pilot on Netflix.  And then tonight I watched the second episode.

Y'all, that was pretty good, right?  I mean, I'm not wrong on this?

hello.  We're British.

I was never the world's biggest Sherlock Holmes fan, but I have read several of the short stories* and the Robert Downey Jr. version didn't work for me very well.  Too much Tony Stark with an accent, and a bit of a goof trying to crack himself up.  I'm not sure Peter Cushing is my ideal Holmes, or even Jeremy Brett (although dude looked the part), but they came much closer to the aloof, mannered disposition that I associated with the character.

I wasn't particularly skeptical of a modern-day take on Holmes.  The core concept should work just fine in any era, even if I do roughly associate it with gas light and deer-stalker caps.  And, of course, Moffat on the show never hurt anything.  So... hey, gang!  Thanks for the suggestion.

The mysteries in both episodes are definitely Holmes-worthy and I like the modern touches and flourishes with CGI and editing.  Clearly the passion Moffat showed for The Doctor went back into this show, too.

Also worth mentioning:  This Cumberbatch fellow is pretty darn good, and who doesn't like Martin Freeman?  Nobody, that's who.

Star Trek

It also turns out Star Trek is now on Netflix Streaming, which makes Jamie not at all pleased.

I know I talk about how much I love Star Trek on this site, but then I don't seem to watch it.  Tragically, that's a polite bit of deference to Jamie's dispassion for the original series.  I don't know what she doesn't dig about Kirk & Co. in their space camaro, flying around picking up space chicks and fighting with local toughs, but I @#$%ing love that show in the least ironic way I can muster.  Not as much as some, of course.  Or even a whole lot of other people, but as far as TV shows go, its about as invested as I recall ever getting into a program short of Justice League Unlimited.

And now all 80 episodes are on Netflix, where I can stream them to my heart's content and do something I've long dreamed of doing: watching them all in order.  Whoo!

The episodes are digitally remastered, which is great for image and sound, but they also couldn't leave well enough alone, what with all the fancy CGI these days.  The interstitial shots of the Enterprise are enhanced or replaced with CGI, and the space-scapes and planets are either cleaned up or outright replaced with CGI planets.  Its not distracting, but I kind of wonder:  why?  We could have done just fine with the old visuals.  Oh, well.

Starting with "The Cage" is interesting.  I hadn't ever really seen it outside of "The Menagerie", and it was creepy as hell seeing Spock smile and other things that would disappear by the televised pilot.  But its too bad Majel Barrett got bumped to Nurse Chapel.  She would have been an interesting Number One.**

But moving on to episode 2, "The Man Trap", you get going with all the classic elements, not the least of which is Lt. Uhura.  But its the appearance of Kirk and McCoy, the familiar sound effects, ship's hallways, beeps and bloop on the bridge.

My argument for why all 80 episodes are must TV.

Anyway, I'm not looking for a whole lot more.  I might watch Season 2 of Game of Thrones, but with the Olympics coming soon and enough movies backed up, I'm pretty well set.

*I still think "The Speckled Band" is quite brilliant.
**Hmmm... may have found a new name for CoWorkerKristi


Simon MacDonald said...

So glad you caught up on Sherlock. It is 10 times better at depicting a true Holmes/Watson than the latest Downey Jr/Law movies. Wait until you get the the end of the first season then onto series 2. I love the familiar female character introduced in series 2.

Star Trek: TOS on Netflix. There goes a week.

J.S. said...

Let me start by saying I like Sherlock an awful lot right before following up by saying that the show can start to feel a little gimmicky at times. Keep in mind that even in their initial incarnation the Sherlock Holmes stories were always tales that emplyed an interesting but reliable bag of tricks.
Also, Sherlock's Moriarty is one of the better television villains to come along in quite some time.

The League said...

You know, yeah. But I think of Sherlock Holmes as "the original eccentric, gimmicky, misanthropic detective". Its amazing how that's become such a staple, from "House, MD", to "Bones" to "Numbers" to pick your mystery show. At least this is actually supposed to be Holmes, so we're at least getting basically the original formula.

Only ep. 2, so no Moriarty yet, except in "we dare not speak his name" sort of way.

Jake Shore said...

Sherlock is fun. Benedict Cumberbatch was made for the role. I only wish there were more episodes. Has anyone watched "Jekyll" on BBC. It's been on my Netflix due forever, but I haven't quite pulled the trigger on watching it.

As far as Star Trek, I actually think the new special effects and the remastered look breathe some new life into the series. After watching one of the non-remastered episodes on youtube, there was a stark difference.

Simon MacDonald said...

@Jake Shore,

I've watched the first two episodes of Jekyll and I rather enjoyed the new take on it. Unfortunately, my DVR blew up and I haven't gotten around to sourcing the rest of the episodes to watch.

The League said...

I keep forgetting that SimonUK gave me Jeckyll on DVD. I need to give that a whirl.