January 6th, 2017

victorian man

A Bit Not Good, Mr. Gatiss

After a mere year and three days absence from this journal, I have got the itch to recommence my mental meanderings. And with the advent of a new Sherlock episode nearly a week ago, one whose neuron destroying levels of tedium I have not yet fully recovered from, what better way to do so than to air my frustrations at the travesty this once superb series has degraded into.

Except, in setting myself to undertake such a task, find that I cannot even summon the indignation required to methodically list the numerous and glaring absurdities and eviscerations of character which served to sever any remaining emotional connection I as yet harbinged towards the dramatis personae of this program. The severing of these ties began with the unwarranted spat betwixt Sherlock & John in The Empty Hearse, and the too-swift inclusion of Mary into an episode that ought to have been more focused around the tying up of plot holes without John's unreasonable histrionics at learning his friend was alive.

As a "Holmesian" of the "old school", I find The Empty House to be such a remarkable story of true friendship and forgiveness - concepts Mark Gatiss is apparently unfamiliar with were one to judge based on the character interactions within the episodes primarily written by him - that I cannot abide their friendship being cheapened; sacrificed, as it were, at the altar of Tumblrite fangirls ravenous for such melodrama.

Now it appears that John is in the midst of another such tantrum, and we must all tune in to next week's installment for the anticipated reconciliation. But I no longer care one whit about the dysfunctional, ugly relationship betwixt those two, and do not give a fig if they never speak to one another ever again. We cannot say this for the Sherlock Holmes of the original stories, and it would be no exaggeration to suggest theirs is one of the greatest friendships in all literature. The love and respect conveyed in Watson's accounts is of a profundity BBC Sherlock gave us but a glimpse of in the first series, with subdued hints in the second. With Mary's entrance, all chemistry fizzled, and the series has long since descended into The East Enders.

What it has become now is the lowest, most banal form of entertainment, an extravaganza of overblown visual effects, painfully atrocious scripting, and levels of thespianism which convince me how far up its own nether regions this series and its actors have become lodged.

Were this not enough, Mr. Gatiss has decided to compile insult atop injury and not only insult the intelligence of Sherlock's audience with The Six Thatchers nonsensical, logic-defying conceptualizations and soap opera dynamics, he apparently went a step further in relating to a certain segment how intellectually deficient we actually are.

Having admirably fought with myself throughout to remain awake until the end, I admit TST did not have my fullest attention. Therefore, it was that in perusing the criticisms of this unwatchable debacle, I infrequently came across accusations of Gatiss utilizing the episode to promote atheism and (less infrequently) other political agendas. I remained perplexed until I came across a quote from Sherlock, which read thusly:

"God is an invisible magic friend that only stupid people look to for help."

I have a difficult time believing this was not intended as a direct insult against Christians (as such expositions almost always are) in consideration of the context - i.e., the disrespectful Christening scene with a spastic priest - to follow. Nonetheless, he has succeeding in insulting the acumen of quite a few billion people of varied faiths, which is, of course, a perfectly acceptable form of discrimination.

Mr. Gatiss seems to fancy himself cleverer than thou despite the fact his writing indicates otherwise, and presents himself as an authority on the Holmesian Canon, so it is that I wonder how Sherlock Holmes' undeniable belief in God flit past his radar. Perhaps he needs to re-read The Empty House, wherein Holmes states: "Halfway down I slipped, but, by the blessing of God, I landed, torn and bleeding, upon the path." In The Veiled Lodger, Holmes references Catholic dogma when he suspects the object of his investigation might commit suicide. "Your life is not your own," he said, "keep your hands off it." Let us also not forget his entire “There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion” speech in The Naval Treaty, where he conjectures the existence of Providence from the "extras" provided by Nature. I wonder, too, whether he has forgotten Holmes' first meeting of Victor Trevor, facilitated by a bull terrier which latched onto his ankle as he "went down to chapel." There are, of course, more examples, but I believe the aforementioned are sufficient.

Such derogatory dross I simply will not stand for, and it is with a heavy heart that I permanently turn my back on what was once the only television program I would condescend to watch.