Americanization of Sherlock Holmes: how bad an idea is this?

I’m seeing initial waves of nerd rage over this news that CBS is trying to develop its own pilot for a modernization of Sherlock Holmes, set in New York City. The timing of this, given that there is another active modernization of Sherlock Holmes in production with the BBC, is not a coincidence; note that this article says that the producers of Elementary apparently approached the producers of Sherlock to ask about taking their show over to the States, and were rebuffed.

I’m just full of “buh?” about this, myself. Mostly negative “buh?”, too, expanded out from the comment I just dropped on criminalelement.com’s post on the matter.

Part of it is the ongoing weariness of the trend of remaking every single idea that was ever popular in the last 50 years over and over and over and over and over. This goes for TV AND for Hollywood movies. Enough with the remakes and reboots already.

Part of it is the disgust with the idea that any fun concept out of non-American media or culture has to be Americanized in order for American audiences to actually watch and enjoy it. Certainly this doesn’t seem to be a problem at all for American geek culture–though I sadly admit that it’s a legitimate concern once you’re outside said geek culture.

Part of it is certainly the bad timing of trying to launch this show while Sherlock itself is still in active production.

But really, what it boils down to for me is just not trusting that the idea won’t suck. Mostly because of the fear that in transferring Holmes and Watson not only to the modern day but out of England entirely, too much will be lost that make these characters recognizably Holmes and Watson. And even more importantly, I’m leery of the risk of cultural appropriation, since so much of what makes these characters who they are is that they are, in fact, British.

I’m not inherently opposed to another attempt to modernize Holmes, mind you. I’m not even inherently opposed to porting Holmes and Watson over to the States–in the hands of suitably awesome writers, such a porting could be pulled off. There was a graphic novel a while back that explored an alternate history for Superman, asking the question of what would have happened if baby Kal-El’s ship had crashed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas. userinfosolarbird, who’s read it, liked it quite a bit.

However, I’m much leerier about American TV writers, who by the very nature of their work are trying to attract as many viewers as possible and therefore have to think about things like “how much do we have to screw around with the source material to make it appeal as much as possible to our target audience?”, doing this with non-American cultural icons. Even if those icons are now in the public domain.

So yeah, I’m extremely dubious. Though I also have to admit that I’m curious enough that I’ll keep half an eye on this and see what reviews are like once the show finally shows up.

What do you all think? Does this have DO NOT WANT stamped all over it for you, or are you willing to check it out when it airs? Here, have a poll! (And if you’re reading this on LJ or DW or Tumblr, please to click over to the original post to leave your answers!)

Americanization of Sherlock Holmes: Good idea, bad idea, or wretched?

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New haircut, with pic!

I am generally about as low maintenance as it is possible to get with one’s hair. “Have I washed it lately?” and “have I brushed it lately?” are about the only hair-related questions I ask myself, and regardless of what the answers are, I find that there are few hair issues I can’t solve by stuffing it into a scrunchy and hiding it under a hat. I also very rarely get it cut or styled.

But that said, every two and a half to three years or so, I hit a point where my hair becomes officially Annoying, and it is time to whack it off and start over again. I have now reached that point. This time around it’s underscored by the fact that my beloved and I are going to a nice dinner on Tuesday night, at which I must dress more formally than usual, and so I wished to do something to my hair to maximize its ability to look decent without me having to do anything to do it.

Therefore she and I went to Great Clips yesterday and a very nice lady gave me the shortest haircut I’ve had in some time. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have Starbuck Hair now, and given my affection for my and Dara’s Crazy TV Girlfriend, this is not a bad thing. I do however promise to not paint weird things on walls, to run afoul of crazy Cylon stalkerboys, or go off on a last doomed mission to find Earth. (I make no promises about avoiding swooning, though, if either Jamie Bamber or Michael Trucco happen to show up.) Also, now I totally want a Galactica flight jacket all over again.

Behold my Starbuck hair!

Shorthaired Anna is Shorthaired
Me the day after my March 5 2011 haircut!

Vacation in review

I’ve got to say, two weeks of just hanging out at home has been one of the nicest vacations I’ve had for a while. It hasn’t been fancy or exciting or expensive, but it sure has been relaxing. The last few times I’ve had this much time at home have been surgery recovery–and by comparison, this has been more like the Longest Weekend Ever. All things considered, an excellent way to round out 2010.

In brief, here’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks:

  • Saw and enjoyed both Tron: Legacy and Tangled. Both were quite pretty, and while T: L had less plot than one might have liked, it actually had more plot and emotional weight to it than the first one did. And I say this as a fan of the first one, which I rewatched during this downtime, too! As for Tangled, I liked it more than I expected it would, given my prior fear that it’d screw up my favorite fairy tale. It was Disney by the numbers, but then, Disney does do awfully catchy numbers.
  • Did Longest Night with , in which we did what seems to be becoming my yearly tradition of rewatching The Lord of the Rings. We are sure you’ve noticed by now that the sun did, in fact, come back up.
  • Speaking of Solstice, and Christmas by extension, I didn’t really want much loot this year thanks to having gotten the Awesome Guitar of Awesomeness. But a few lovely bits of loot were had nonetheless! Most notably, Dara gave me a really clever little capo that lets you capo individual strings and therefore simulate different tunings. I also got Peter Jackson’s King Kong on Blu-Ray from , Matt Smith’s just-concluded series of Doctor Who from , a B&N ebook card from , a lovely hardbound copy of a Norwegian graphic novel from , and the obligatory pile of stocking stuffer candy.
  • The Thursday before Christmas, Dara and I went downtown and spent a lovely afternoon at Ummelina, the spa on 4th. We did their two-person Pacific Rim package, and mmmm relaxing. This was redeeming the gift card I got Dara back in April for her birthday, since we’d decided that “while I am on vacation” was an excellent time to do so. After the spa, I did a lightning-quick raid on the marketboys, catching them JUST as they were closing up shop and surprising them by my arrival. They looked pleased to see me! Or at least pleased to sell me literally last-minute raspberries. ;)
  • Christmas Day itself was fairly quiet. Dara and I went back downtown for the aforementioned viewing of Tangled, and afterwards had Chinese at a place downtown we hadn’t tried before. We didn’t care for the place much, but they were awfully overworked that night so we couldn’t quite hold it against them. And the food, while mediocre, was revived by Dara later for two more meals’ worth of nomming. So it was a win in the end.
  • Have been doing a lot of trying to fill out all the achievements on Plants Vs. Zombies, as well as trying to play through the new levels in Angry Birds. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
  • The high point of Christmas Day was definitely the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and big kudos to BBC America for having actually broadcast it in a timely fashion and uncut, as I previously posted!
  • Also as previously posted, Dara and I had an almost impromptu totally blottoed viewing of “Spock’s Brain”!
  • Also watched a lot of MST3K as I was seriously in the mood. Bought one of the DVD box sets we hadn’t owned before and watched all of those, as well as The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (PERFECT followup to “Spock’s Brain”) and Hercules Against the Moon Men via YouTube, streamed over the Blu-Ray player. (Which worked amazingly well, I might add, and way better than playing those same videos over any of the computers in the house would have done. Even given that it’s on the exact same network!)
  • Some light reading was done, and way less writing or editing than should have been (read: none to speak of).
  • Caught a cold, which was NOT so fun. But really, it didn’t change much of what I was doing anyway, except while I was shaking it off, I was doing the same things with added blankets, Nyquil, and sneezing. George was very, very happy to occupy my lap the whole time regardless.
  • And last night, we finished off the year with a lovely visit from Jenny as well as , , and their children, for consumption of homemade pizza, some more boozahol and snacks, and playing of Rock Band 3. Jenny stayed overnight with us so she wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Issaquah with a bunch of drunk New Year’s Eve partiers out on icy roads, and we got up to have tasty breakfast cooked by Paul. A great way to finish off the old year, and start a new one, indeed.

So yeah. Feeling ready and rested if not tanned, and rather looking forward to getting back into the swing of normal things on Monday. Bring it on, 2011!

Merry Christmas and Happy Doctor Who Day!

No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, I hope it’s going splendidly for you! If you’re with loved ones, may you have excellent food and presents; if you’re spending it alone, may you have something handy to pamper yourself, maybe good music or food or books.

If you are a writer, may your muse give you a present of the best possible words for the stories you want to tell.

And if like me you are a fan of Time Lords, may you enjoy the Doctor Who Christmas special airing tonight! Thank you, BBC America, for airing the new special here in the States in a timely fashion–and uncut as well! :D

and I are going out tonight to see Tangled at Pacific Place and then we’ll be looking for somewhere nice to have Chinese food for dinner! After that, we are totally all over the Doctor Who.

Enjoy your holiday, all!

Book Log #77: Naked Heat, by Richard Castle

Naked Heat

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m still greatly, greatly amused that the Richard Castle books even exist–it remains an excellent marketing ploy for an enjoyable TV show. That said, I didn’t quite enjoy Naked Heat, the second of the Nikki Heat series, as much as the first one.

Most of this I attribute to the overall style of the writing seeming less focused somehow, enough that I genuinely wondered if books 1 and 2 had different ghostwriters. In this installment, mind you, the writing was still competent; this was more of a matter of certain stylistic quirks popping up here that I didn’t see in the first one, just little nuances of phrase and such that gave the prose a slightly different flavor this time around, and one I wasn’t entirely sure I liked.

I still roll my eyes at a character name like “Nikki Heat”, as well the convention of referring to detectives Ryan Raley and Esposito Ochoa collectively as “Roach”. That’s a cute enough nickname if used in dialogue, but it was used a bit too much in the narrative this time. (See previous comment re: certain stylistic quirks.) Also, we’re far enough into the show at this point that I kept spotting plot points from various episodes, which made it a bit too obvious that yes, this book really is just a thinly disguised episode of the show.

That said, I did quite also like the progression of Nikki’s and Jameson’s relationship, as it’s going down a track that we haven’t seen in the show. We also get some backstory on Jameson and get to meet his mother (so far, in the Nikki Heat version of the universe, there’s no analog for Alexis from the show).

So all in all, very fluffy reading–and if you’re a Castle fan, you’ll probably keep having the urge to swap in the “real” character names if you read this. The mystery to solve is fun, though, and there are worse ways to spend your time. Three stars.

Weekend of Turkey, Battlestar, and Potter

As is our custom at the Murkworks, we had our annual Homeless Waifs Thanksgiving Day Turkeyfest, and this time around we had a very respectable turnout of 16 people, including children. Much obliged to , , , , , , , , , and Mimi’s friend Chad who all showed up to make a wonderful evening. Callie brought her stepchildren with her as well and they were charming little tykes and very happy to play with the various toys we had around the living room.

has been spending the week with us as well, and we’ve been doing various low-key amusements since he’s had to be on call for work, which means he doesn’t have too much time free. We have, however, had quite a bit of fun attending both the Battlestar Galactica and Harry Potter exhibits downtown; last night, too, we saw the new Harry Potter movie.

Friday afternoon was exhibits day. We wandered downtown and had lunch at the Dick’s not far from Big Fish, as it turned out. It was really kind of weird actually getting that food in a sit-down restaurant. was amused by overhearing a nearby child asking another child, “Y’gonna drink that ketchup?”

From there we wandered over to the Seattle center to hit the exhibits. We tried Potter first, only to be told that we wouldn’t get in any earlier than 6:30. So we bought tickets for that time slot and hit the Battlestar exhibit instead.

The BSG exhibit was super-tiny, but what it had rocked. There were several excellent costumes from both the old and new series, an assortment of props, and interesting little snippets of videos spaced around the area. We were happy to see some of Starbuck’s stuff in particular, since Dara and I do miss our crazy TV girlfriend Kara, even now. ;) The big draw for this exhibit though was hands down the two Vipers and the Cylon raider, full size! took oodles of pictures. They’ll be going up for viewing soon enough, as soon as she figures out where to put them, I expect (her Flickr account is full).

Since we had time to kill, and since we hadn’t actually explored the Experience Music Project part of the building, we wandered around through the rest of the place as well. That was kind of neat, especially the display about indie music history in Seattle. The huge exhibit on Jimi Hendrix didn’t mean as much to me just because I have no background with his music; plus, I think I was a bit nonplussed by the huge sculpture of instruments in the lobby. I couldn’t help thinking gosh look at all those instruments that aren’t getting played, although they did look cool, I must admit. And apparently, the sculpture is set to play at certain times, though we didn’t catch that part.

, , and also wandered through the Science Fiction Museum. I’d been in there before so opted not to look at that part; I wanted to check the swag shops and get me a Battlestar shirt, and also just see what else they had for sale. All in all a good way to kill time.

The Potter exhibit was doing mad crazy business, as you might expect on a holiday weekend, the first weekend following the opening of a Potter movie as well. It too was smallish, although bigger than the BSG exhibit. And unlike with the BSG exhibit, pictures were not allowed.

There were a whole lot of lovely costumes from the various movies: school uniforms and casual clothes for Harry, Hermione, and Ron; various teachers’ robes; Quidditch uniforms; and a lot of the Yule finery from Goblet of Fire. Those were neat, but I liked the set pieces better, such as the furniture from the Gryffindor dorms, Hagrid’s hut, and the big wardrobe and giant jack in the box from Prisoner of Azkaban. And there were props galore, including a Gryffindor notice board, a whole heck of a lot of Quidditch-themed props, and more. Big, big props though for the full-size figures of Buckbeak the hippogryph and a couple of the centaurs.

This of course leads nicely into talking about the movie. We did see Deathly Hallows last night, and since I never did get around to reading Book 7, now we’re getting into stretches of the story that are actually new to me (modulo the big best-known spoilers, which I am aware of at this point, yes). It was quite a bit different dealing with Harry, Hermione, and Ron outside the context of Hogwarts, and I rather liked that, even if the pacing of the movie could have used a bit of tweaking. Three words: too. Much. Camping.

(Paul in fact turned to us after the credits started rolling and said, “OH NO JOEL! CAMPING!”)

Dara noted and I agree with her that this is the first time that Voldemort and his followers really seem like a serious threat. The action scenes were certainly awesome, and I quite liked what we saw of the Malfoys and Bellatrix LeStrange. I must admit though that every time I see Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort I keep thinking “SAD MUPPET HAS NO NOSE!”

One more day of vacation tomorrow. We’re going to wander around Pike Place (and I am likely to do a fruit run with my marketboys), and then amble in the direction of I Heart for serious sushi goodness to send James home again on a tasty note.

Book and TV catchup

Let’s clear out the backlog of new ebook and print book purchases, shall we?

Picked up in print from the Norwescon dealers’ room:

  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, and The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks. The former is a graphic novel adaptation of a section of the latter. I’d already listened to an audio copy of the latter but didn’t have a print copy, so picking one up was required!
  • Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith. This is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, basically setting up how the Bennett sisters became such infamous zombie slayers! Okay, yeah, I couldn’t resist.
  • Chicks Dig Time Lords, by assorted folks. This is the essay collection I wanted, billing itself as being all about Doctor Who, by the women who love it. Pretty much required reading for me!
  • The Mystery of Grace, by Charles de Lint. Urban fantasy. Because apparently I still need more Charles de Lint in my life!

And, yoinked in ebook form down from Barnes and Noble:

  • Dead Matter, by userinfoantonstrout. Book 3 of the Simon Canderous series. Urban fantasy.
  • Embers, by Laura Bickle. Urban fantasy. Bonus points for the heroine on the cover actually having a head!
  • Compromised and Revealed, by Kate Noble. Historical romance. Bought on the strength of the userinfosmartbitches review of the forthcoming The Summer of You, and which I will also be buying as soon as B&N has it on their ebook store.
  • Master of None, by Sonya Bateman. Urban fantasy. Heard some nice buzz about this one and have to frankly admit that I was drawn to it because the guy on the cover kind of looks like Sawyer on Lost. (Mmm, Sawyer!)
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. SF/Horror/Humor. Bought in ebook form, and this time NOT as a replacement for the print copy, just because this book is that awesome.

This brings the total for 2010 up to 104. And it’ll be going up to 107 as soon as Barnes and Noble lets me buy userinfojimbutcher‘s Changes, Ann Aguirre’s Hell Fire, and the aforementioned Kate Noble!

And as soon as I buy the brand new Amelia Peabody, A River in the Sky, it’ll be 108. There is, indeed, a new Amelia Peabody. Y’all may remember I have expressed some disappointment in Ms. Peters’ last few efforts, but this one? This involves the Ark of the Covenant. As an Indiana Jones fangirl, I think I’m morally obligated to check this one out. Plus, I did engage in the handy “Get a free sample” B&N ebook feature, and it started out strong enough that okay, yeah, I’ll be buying this too!

Meanwhile, userinfospazzkat, userinfosolarbird, userinfomamishka and I did a lovely doubleheader of this week’s Castle and the brand new Eleventh Doctor tonight. Picoreviews: speaking of Indy, as an Indy fangirl, I am now solidly in favor of Nathan Fillion playing Indy if they ever pry the part away from Harrison. He just looked too adorable in the fedora. ;) And, Eleven? Yeah. He’s a keeper. Brand new icons will be required. And I’ll be posting more in depth about the new Doctor tomorrow, I think!