Monday, December 24, 2012

So, I Saw an Episode of Elementary

'Leviathan,' if anyone's curious, and other than a few opinions from my Ffnet friend and from the Ghostbees tumblr, this is my only experience thus far with this series.

Initial thoughts?

It's alright. I'd watch more of it. Pretty decent procedural. Not much in the way of action or excitement, for a change, which could be a boon or a bane depending on your tastes -- personally, I don't mind the slower pace. The mystery-of-the-week seemed to hold together fine, had a twist or two and a decently-handled red herring, no obvious plotholes, and was neither so easy that the viewer was yelling at the detectives nor so mystifying that the answer came out of left field, but even so it was far from perfect. There never seemed to be an emotional drive in the story -- this case didn't mean anything in particular to Sherlock or Watson, there was no reason to feel anything toward the client, and there was never an emotional connection to any of the potential (or real) antagonists, which means that the extremely sedate 'climax' of serving a court order to a man in an interrogation room had absolutely no impact. Two people were murdered in this episode and I never cared, because they weren't so much people as they were props.

Then again, this episode's mystery could have been taking a backseat, since there was a fairly strong subplot about Watson's relationship with her mother and brother, which lead into being about her relationship with Holmes. Those parts came across as a bit heavy-handed, but not bad -- I feel like I'd have to see more of her interactions before I can really judge them.

The real high point of the whole thing was Lucy Liu's Joan Watson, both in how she plays the character and in how the character is written. I love Lucy Liu and she does a great job here, both as Holmes' foil and as a character in her own right -- although she could stand to lighten up a bit. The 'sober companion' drug-counselor thing seemed a little weird at first, but as the episode played out and I gave it more thought, it actually made perfect sense as a take on Watson. Why not? He always did disapprove of Holmes' more self-destructive habits and made some effort towards taking care of the man, so why not take it a step further and just introduce him her in a caretaking role?

Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock, on the other hand...

Okay, when things got down to business, he played the role well. He's not abrasive like Cumberbatch or manic like Brett or petulant like RDJ, but he does bring a certain je ne sais quoi to the performance that I kind of like. Elementary's Sherlock is smart and not-quite-right, but his observation skills weren't underlined with fancy effects, he didn't feel the need to deride everyone around him for existing, and his social skills weren't too shabby -- in effect, the audience was never bludgeoned with HOMGQUIRKYGENIUS. He certainly doesn't have the sheer force of presence of the likes of Cumberbatch and Brett, but he's not a bad variation.

...When he's working. The episode, however, opened with Watson finding that he had not one, but two women (sisters, apparently) in his apartment in t-shirts and underwear, both very perky and more than happy to engage Watson in conversation. Sherlock later explained something about studying differences in identical genetic sources. I... the less I say about that the better, I think. I don't have a problem with a sexual Holmes, per se, even a heterosexual one, but... that whole scene was all sorts of surreal.

Although, even with a heterosexual Holmes and a female Watson, I didn't see a whole lot of subtext going on. Sure, there was plenty of fuel for the inclined shipper, but I never got the feeling of sexual tension added in just because the leads were of the opposite gender. Maybe there just wasn't as much in this episode. I wouldn't really mind if that sort of thing developed, but I kind of liked them interacting just as weird semi-friends.

Two further points, more on Jonny Lee Miller himself than on his portrayal: I was seriously thrown for a few seconds when he came on screen, because he looks a lot like BBC's Moriarty at first glance, and that was weird. This was not helped by him spending the entire episode with a layer of stubble, which is my second gripe. I'm slightly more okay with him having stubble than with RDJ, because at least here it's an explicit AU, but I'm more bothered by the fact that the stubbly look doesn't really suit Miller, and it's a shame because he looked to have some nice, boyish features that would show best with a clean shave.

So, yeah, that's my not-so-in-depth take on Elementary after having seen one episode in the midst of a season. Even if I wasn't planning on my Sherlock Showcase, I think I'd give this one more of a chance before I judged it too harshly. It's certainly got some potential.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

So I was in Italy, part three

Fixit notes on last couple entries: It's 'Castel Maggiore', with a 't', and the cat's name is spelt Emilia, not Amelia. Also, the last few entries are being updated with pictures where appropriate. I'll apply cuts in places so as to avoid loading issues.

Anywhoodles. I need to hurry it up so I can get to posting Bunraku fics, so let's see if I can get the rest of this in one go, and how obnoxiously long this entry gets as a result.

Obnoxiously long entry and a few pictures after the cut.

So, I'm moving soon, but...

It's starting to get a little nerve-wracking, realizing how little time I have left to finish things up at home here. I've only got one more day of work left, then another week before I have to have my bus tickets bought, and then two weeks and it's off into the wild blue yonder.

What makes it worse is that the validation deadlines at my school are coming up hard, and I haven't heard anything about my housing in about a month. Last I heard it was 'under review'.


Edit: And just a few hours after posting this I hear that it's finally gone through. Turns out I'll have somewhere to stay, after all!