I like you. I said I like you.
Yah, do you know what sort of things I did because of you? In order to go to school with you, I waited in front of the gate for an hour. Until you came back from the study room, I couldn’t even sleep a blink because I was so worried. “Why is she late? Has she fallen asleep again?” Hey, all of my concern was always you. You!
When we coincedently met at the bus, when we went to the concert together, and when I received that shirt from you on my birthday. I really thought I would go crazy because I was so happpy. I wanted to see you a dozen times more a day, and I was just so happy whenever I saw you. I have always wanted to tell you since a long time ago. I like you so much. I love you.
Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was selfish and unkind. He taxed the village to fill his castle with the most beautiful objects and his parities with the most beautiful people.
Reasons to watch the New Russian Holmes series (2013)
I’ve blogged a lot about this show over the last month or so, but I’ve been meaning to make a big post about it all in one place, so here we go!
A brief intro for those who care:
Sherlock Holmes (2013), or, as it seems to be popularly called, New Russian Holmes (as opposed to the old Soviet Holmes), is an eight-episode Russian-language Sherlock Holmes adaptation directed by Andrei Kavun, starring Igor Petrenko as Holmes and Andrei Panin as Watson. It first aired in Russia in November 2013, but has had no official English release.
Because it is excellent. I don’t want to spoil people too much because discovering things yourself is really the best, but let’s be a bit more specific:
The opening credits:
Even before the first scene, we get treated to a beautiful opening sequence with really great music, but this isn’t just a sequence to shove credits in your face, it’s not even just an aesthetically pleasing series of shots of Watson’s notebook, the opening sequence forms part of the episode and part of the series as a whole.
Every opening is unique, from the images to the voiceover, and is as much a part of the story as the substantive scenes themselves.
The refreshing take on canon:
If you’re going to watch this, you need to know that the fundamental premise of the show is that the ACD canon lies. Watson’s “stories” are just that: stories. Holmes in real life is different, Watson is different, Mrs Hudson is different, the cases went differently, hell, even Gregson is different. So if you’re looking for a faithful replication of canon, this isn’t the show for you, but once you take on board this fundamental premise, it’s fantastic because it forces you to think about canon in a new light, and to consider the implications of Watson as an unreliable narrator.
You’ll get to see how and why Watson came to write “canon” the way he did, and you’ll get to see how everyone reacts to it. Every other adaptation (with the exception of Bert Coules’ radio series perhaps, but even that adheres to canon quite strictly) treats canon as more or less the “truth” and bases their version off that to create an output; this show treats canon as the output, and works backwards to imagine the “true” series of events behind it. This aspect (at least for me) was one of the most delightful themes to watch develop throughout the episodes, and it really shows how much original thought and passion went into the conception and creation of the show.
Watson as the true protagonist:
This sort of follows on from the fundamental premise of the canon stories being mere stories. Watson is the person through whom we get to know Holmes; everything we read is Watson’s doing, so it’s natural that the protagonist should also be Watson. We see the world from Watson’s perspective.
It’s not a story about this genius Holmes and his sidekick Watson, it’s a story about Watson and his adventures with this intriguing man, Holmes, and in that way it makes the show very grounded and very real.
Holmes the nerd:
For some reason, Igor Petrenko’s Holmes has been likened to Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes, but I don’t think that’s accurate at all. Whereas RDJ’s Holmes veers more towards grubby cocky action hero who happens to be good at reasoning (and I don’t say that with any scorn), Petrenko’s Holmes is very much grounded in the same sheer intellect that defines canon Holmes, only this version is a more flawed, nervous character, which I think makes him more interesting. Petrenko does an excellent job with the quirks and mannerisms of the character. He also keeps insects in jars in his room.
Watson the military man:
A lot of adaptations emphasise Watson’s role as a doctor, but few seem to remember that he was also a soldier, so it’s refreshing once again to see this series not only acknowledge that military background, but to explicitly keep it front and centre the entire time.
Watson the surgeon:
For all its joviality, the show doesn’t shy away from graphic realities either. Watson is more than just a doctor, he’s a surgeon. We see him handle the scalpel more than he does the stethoscope.
Watson the badass:
I know I’ve posted a lot about this but seriously Panin’s acting is really one of the highlights of this show, he was such an excellent actor, absolutely convincing in his role.
Brand new revised subtitles by yours truly!
Over the last two months I’ve gone through and edited all the English subs for the series, so hopefully everything will read a lot smoother! Any remaining mistakes are entirely my responsibility.
Sort of reminiscent of the tone of the Soviet series, this series shares that light-heartedness, but it sure as hell isn’t a joke either. It’s not dark and edgy for the sake of being dark and edgy. It doesn’t pull the cheap trick of taking advantage of your feels. The series sets out to tell a story and it tells a beautiful story and you will genuinely love the characters for who they are. And you will feel good about it. Yes, you will even love Lestrade.
Watson taking a bath:
The hilariously bad English (I laugh in good faith):
The creepy autopsy man:
This weird ass scene:
Moriarty hiding in the first fucking episode no less
not showing you, you have to spot him yourself
And finally, their timeless friendship:
Never has a show felt more genuine or more satisfying to watch when the final credits roll. This is a Sherlock Holmes that has had thought, love, and appreciation poured into its making, and it shows.
Let’s be real, we’ve got the headstrong, hot-headed princess Allura in a long abandoned and forgotten castle with no one but Coran to keep her company. I couldn’t just not make Allura the beast. I wanted to make Coran all the pieces of furniture but finally decided to put his mustache to good use. And obviously Shiro’s gotta be the beauty fresh from the Galra gladiator ring.
[Disclaimer because this is still getting attention:
This isn’t about any ship
It’s barely about the show
It’s more about the male and female gaze
NOT all women see the same thing NOR all men NOR other genders
I DO feel that different people in life (pick a gender/class/race/sexuality), for whatever reason, have to and do develop different skills in evaluating other people and it’s better to be aware of that than sweep it under the carpet.
I do some massively generalizing, and I apologize for doing so, the only reason I did it was for expediency in an effort to sum up the situation as I see it.]
Why the dismissal of women’s readings of Sherlock bothers me so much
Male showrunners and actors: They’re just friends. Why are you reading sex into this?
Female fans: They obviously want each other.
Male showrunners and actors: No they don’t. You’re hysterical and oversexualized and deluded.
Female fans: No we’re not. It’s OBVIOUS they desire each other.
Male showrunners and actors: NO THEY—
Female fans: YES THEY—
Film and television are visual mediums. The text comes from what we see, not just the script, and definitely not extra-text commentary. Sherlock especially is a strikingly visual story that is all about looking.
Any woman with any sense of self-preservation spends her whole life learning to read the male gaze. The reason is not because women are constantly checking to make sure they are desirable (as many men like to think); the reason is because women have to. The consequences for not noticing when a male gaze equals “desire” are very dangerous, and so obvious I don’t even have to explain them. Any woman who walks through a parking lot at night, who has to spend her days avoiding a co-worker who sexually harrasses her but not enough to make it worth it to fight back, who deals with members of the public service who laugh at her when she is being threatened (I am thinking of that woman in San Francisco who tried to get a BART bus driver to call the police when a man was threatening to rape her and got ignored)—any woman who LIVES ON THIS PLANET has to learn to be aware of the male gaze and interpret it for signs of arousal and/or danger from a young age. This is SO MUCH BIGGER than “women want romance” or “women want love” or any of that ignorant shorthand for “women aren’t reading this show correctly.” It is definitely bigger than Sherlock.
If a man stood right in my personal space and stared into my eyes I would know how to interpret that. If a man licked his lips while staring at my face I would know how to interpret that. If a man belitted and chased off my romantic partners I would know how to interpret that. If a man asked me to reach into his jacket and pull out his phone I would damn well know how to interpret that. Any time I have tried to brush aside suspicions under these circumstances, I was proved right that I should have trusted my instincts, and I wound up in dangerous situations (luckily, nothing terrible resulted thanks to being able to escape, but the danger was real). If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but it’s better to err on the side of caution because the alternative is so much worse. Women have to err on the side of caution. People are right when they say the sexual tension moments in Sherlock are brief, but that doesn’t matter: if you’re a woman you have to take even the briefest flashes into account. There is a reason we call these moments “eyefucking.”
Sherlock is all about the power of sight, of the gaze, specifically the male gaze. (There’s a whole article in that, but I’ll resist.)
We get Sherlock POV when he interprets a scene, with those subtitles and graphics; we get John POV for everything else (that’s my reading, anyway; Watson is the narrator of the Sherlock Holmes tales, after all). There are only a few establishing shots/omniscient narrator scenes that aren’t from John or Sherlock’s POV, e.g. the victims at the beginning of ASIP, or Moriarty texting in front of Big Ben in ASIB or in a cell in THOB. We briefly see Irene’s POV as she looks at pictures of Sherlock (in that beautiful sequence where they look at pictures of each other), but that’s about it. (I’ve never been certain whether that dream sequence of Irene interpreting the “bed scene” was from her POV or Sherlock’s or both.) I have hopes we’ll see Molly’s POV in TEH but of course I haven’t seen it yet.
The denial of the male showrunners of Sherlock and the firm disagreement of the female fans just proves to me that even in the 21st century, men and women live in different worlds.
5 men: There’s no sexual tension.
Thousands of women: Yes there is.
5 men: Clearly you’re wrong!
I don’t need this ship to be canon, it’s not the differing opinions that bothers me. The writers are free to write whatever they want and I’m on board. I just want some acknowledgement—from the world at large—that women’s perspective on human interactions is just as valid as men’s and doesn’t come from wishful thinking. Quite the opposite.
[edit: Disclaimer: Not all women viewers see sexual tension. Not all male viewers don’t. You are free to interpret a piece of cultural iconography any way you want. So am I. Again, I love the show no matter what direction they take it in, though I reserve the right to offer criticism. You are free to ignore the silencing of women’s experiences if you really want to suck at life. I don’t think the showrunners are sexist even if they exhibit sexist behavior occasionally. I don’t think their disagreement is meant to be hurtful. But it is what it is.]