I am on a Sherlock Holmes roll – and it really looks like these next few months will be Sherlockian apocrypha and folk horror, considering the books that are piling up (virtually) on my ereader.
Now, there was a time, before Facebook, when I was one of the Hounds of the Internet, and I was a lot more into Sherlock Holmes and related matters than I am now. I started out as a Sherlock Holmes fan in middle school, and read the stories and watched the movies etcetera.
But like Steely Dan used to sing
Those days are gone forever
Over a long time ago.
Or so I thought.
You see, I basically missed out on the last big Sherlock-related fad of the last decade.
I enjoyed the Robert Downey Jr. Movies, but we all know that’s Sexton Blake, not really Sherlock Holmes he’s playing. As for the two TV series set in modern times, Sherlock and Elementary, I tried to watch them, but such was my distaste for the leads that I let both series go.
But I like to read a good pastiche once in a while, and I still love the Jeremy Brett Holmes.
And Peter Cushing’s, and Basil Rathbone’s.
Then, censorship brought me back into the fold.
I was reading an article, you see, about a new series by HBO, called Miss Sherlock, actually a Japanese production that pulls a gender-bender on the old Conan Doyle stories, casting Yuuko Takeuchi as a female Sherlock Holmes, complete with 221B address, a brother in the Civil Service and a doctor as a sidekick, the perpetually embarrassed and bewildered miss Tachibana Wato, also known Wato-san.
So yes, you get Miss Sherlock and Wato-san.
I was intrigued, and clicked on the trailer, to see what the show was like – and bumped into a “this content is not available in your country” notice.
Which basically means that some Italian TV network optioned the series and they are not allowing the visualization of anything that does not go through their channels.
I find it extremely stupid.
As a result, I went to Youtube, and found some nifty fan subs of the first episodes of the series.
I like subbed Japanese movies and TV series and cartoons, because they bring back memories of the little Japanese I studied so many years ago.
So, what about Miss Sherlock?
Well, I liked what I’ve seen so far, and I plan to see more.
And if it’s true that Yuuko Takeuchi gives a whole different spin on the character – is there anything more anti-conformist than a high-heeled woman investigator in Japan? – it is also true that there is a moment, about ten minutes into the first episode, in which for a fleeting moment miss Takeuchi is clearly channelling Jeremy Brett.
The facial expression, the mannerism, the moves.
I had to go back and re-watch it twice.
Admittedly, the 46-minutes episodes are thin and somewhat predictable, but really, these are Sherlock Holmes adaptations – we’ve seen it all before, dozens of times. Once again, the trip is more important than the destination.
The early episodes show Tokyo from a different angle, often presenting the seedier side of the metropolis and this is in itself refreshing. Factor in the excellent leads and the spirited acting by Takeuchi, and this is a great way to spend three quarters of an hour with something intelligent.
Takeuchi brings a physicality to the role that is quite surprising, and the Holmes/Watson relationship is quite nicely developed. And yes, I know, fanfictioneers will have a field day with this one, but quite honestly, that’s not my circus, nor are they my monkeys.
It’s going be Holmes and folk horror for the cold season.
And the start is quite promising.