If you read my previous blog post, the one that I literally published a few days ago, you are aware that writing has been difficult for me for a while. The soul (wink!) purpose of this blog has been to practice discernment in the way I consume media. Since the pandemic hit, I consumed a high volume of media but failed to talk about it. Well, let me elaborate… I have over five or six word documents in my desktop that consist of point-form notes about the films and series I watched. I simply left them hanging over there. I know, not cool. While I have zero motivation to review them all for you, I will write about an exceptional series, BBC’s Sherlock (2010-2017) and try to give you the full list of my media consumption with vague ratings down below.
Hazal’s Film/TV Rating Point System
Smooth Writing and Transitions 2 points
Quality of Cinematography 2 points
Satisfactory Ending 2 points
Acting 2 points
On Screen Representation 0.5 points
Genre Compatibility 0.5 points
Soundtrack 0.5 points
Realism/CGI Effects (if applicable) 0.5
Now that you get the idea of how I rank media, you can have a look at my extensive consumption of film and tv productions as well as a few lonely books at the end of the list.
R* – stands for “re-watch”, a.k.a. seeing a production that I’ve seen before
Primal Fear (1996) – 6/10
The Scent of a Woman (1992) – 8/10
The Godfather (1972) – R* – 10/10
About a Boy (2002) – R* – 4/10
The Meyerowitz Stories (2017) – 3/10
The Age of Innocence (1993) – 8/10
Barry (2016) – 10/10
Cep Herkülü: Naim Süleymanoğlu (2019) – 8/10
Julie & Julia (2009) – 5/10
Back to the Future (1985) – 5/10
Back to the Future 2 (1989) – 7/10
21 Bridges (2019) – 1/10
Isn’t it Romantic? (2019) – 0/10
Rough Night (2017) – 0/10
How Do You Know? (2010) – 1/10
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) – 8/10
Notting Hill (1999) – R* – 7/10
Love Guaranteed (2020) – 0/10
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) – R* – 6/10
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) – R* – 2/10
The Holiday (2006) – R* – 6/10
Holidate (2020) – 4/10
The Knight Before Christmas (2019) – R* – 4/10
David Attenborough: A life On Our Planet (2020) – 10/10
Euphoria (2019 – present) – 10/10
Sherlock (2010 – 2017) – S1-4 – 10/10
Emily in Paris (2020 – present) – S1 – 7/10
Gilmore Girls (2000 – 2007) – 9/10
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016) – 8/10
The Politician (2019 – present) – S2 – 2/10
11.22.63 (2016) – miniseries – 9/10
Rick and Morty (2013 – present) – S4 – 9/10
Space Force (2020 – present) – S1 – 2/10
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018 – present) – S1-2 – 8/10
Nailed It! (2018 – present) – S1-2 – 4/10
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (2019) – 3/10
Get Organized with The Home Edit (2020) – 0/10
Queer Eye (2018 – present) – S5 – 8/10
The Name of Rose – Umberto Eco – 8/10
Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez – 7/10
Cileklik (‘The Strawberry Field’) by Meliha Akay – 5/10
[Review] BBC’s Sherlock Season 1 and 2
BBC’s Sherlock is all around a superior TV series. I would not be exaggerating when I say that the series is probably the best TV production I had the privilege to view. In its entirety, there isn’t one plot point that I would do differently. It is so well written, casted, played, and directed; and, it still preserves the gloomy neo-noir feel that Sherlock Holmes exemplified for ages. Arthur Conan Doyle would be truly proud with this modern-day adaptation. Since I can hardly find any fault in this production, this review will likely only be able to highlight the greatness of Sherlock.
“Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist, and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.”
Season 1 starts from the beginning—something that has been lacking from Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. It begins a friendship tale that will last forever in our minds. John Watson searches for a new place to live and he is introduced to Sherlock Holmes. In what seems like an instant, he begins following Sherlock to crime scenes. Right from the get-go the original premise of the series is revealed: Solving crimes is an antidote for both Holmes and Watson’s traumatic psychological states. Dr. Watson suffers while forcing himself to adapt to a normal way of living upon his return from Afghanistan. Similarly, Sherlock runs away from troubled childhood events (later revealed in the Season 4 final). It should be noted that solving crimes is not a way for Sherlock to avoid his addiction. I have to reemphasize though that the audience thinks this is true until the series finale. Both Dr. Watson and Sherlock work to find a way to exist despite the trouble in their curious minds. And, Dr. Watson’s blog is established with its first entry, A Study in Pink in this episode.
The Blind Baker (E2) is the only episode I was a touch of critical about because it was evident that certain Asian stereotypes were evoked. While I am aware the series is based on Doyle’s original storytelling, I do not think it is necessary to give life to old stereotypes in a modern-day adaptation (to vaguely recall— aggressive vs. passive Asian women, ninjas, Asian circus that preserves a ritualistic imagery). With scenes in the museum followed by the oriental representation of Asian circus acrobats, the episode reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Putting aside the out-of-date representation in the episode, it felt too stretched out and perhaps it could not contain the excitement that the first episode promised.
In The Great Game (E3), the audience is expected to be quite literally disturbed. This is the episode where everything we learn that the ultimate villain, a.k.a Moriarty, is about to play a climactic symphony. A very disturbing game is set up, clues are given, and Sherlock is to solve the so called problems in order to keep random people who are kept hostage by Moriarty alive. There are several small plots within the bigger plot until the viewer realizes this is all Moriarty’s big plan. I particularly enjoyed this style of narrative because of how it feels like watching separate episodes (with each clue given by Moriarty) that also flow together smoothly in the bigger picture. Finally, the season’s ending that risks Watson’s life, reaffirms us that the duo will save each other’s’ lives over and over again.
“But this, this is far more intimate. This is your heart. And you should never let it rule your head. You could have chosen any random number and walked out of here today with everything you worked for. But you just couldn’t resist it, could you? I’ve always assumed that love is a dangerous disadvantage. Thank you for the final proof.”
This season is particularly interesting because it reveals so much more to Sherlock than is imagined about his personality. In the very first episode, A Scandal in Belgravia, the British government is threatened by a paid sex goddess (I wouldn’t know any other way to describe Irene Adler). While Adler is a very sexualized woman (although not graphically), she is also a smart addition to the series. Her looks alongside her mind attracts Sherlock Holmes. In fact, up until this episode the audience is certain that Sherlock is either gay or asexual. However, the ongoing affiliation with Irene Adler proves otherwise. This is especially a funny episode because of Sherlock’s lack of emotion towards Adler who constantly flirts with him. Moreover, the cheesy ending gives this episode brownie points (a.k.a Adler’s password, “I am SHERLOCKED”). However, the episode is particularly important because it proves that Sherlock is not a sociopath as he claims. While he seems okay with Adler’s punishment by the Brit government, he secretly helps her live, and writes a beautiful ballad for her (another brownie point!).
Season 2 continues on a high point with the classic and probably most popular Arthur Conan Doyle story, The Hounds of Baskerville. Because of the paranormal aspects of its writing, this may be the best episode out of all that I viewed throughout 4 seasons (believe me, this wasn’t an easy decision). The classic tale is told by a hound attack survivor and Sherlock believes there must be a logical outcome that somehow could be found in the ghost story. And so, it begins, Sherlock and Watson travel to gloomy Dartmoor. There’s more to the story than a monstrous animal; in fact, there are several lab experiments that are believed to be secretly run by the government. By the end of the episode, Sherlock realizes the horror of the story is the reflection of a chemical drug that has psychological impacts. Such good writing and excellent CGI work to top it all off. This tale is particularly hard to standout because of its numerous remakes; however, the production team –no doubt— nails it on this one.
The Reichenbach Fall, the season 2 finale; I am starting to think this season deserves ALL of the praise. Sherlock is now famous, and the dangerous criminal mind Moriarty is somehow (well, willingly) captured. He influences the public to turn over Sherlock. In fact, even the police whom Sherlock has helped suffer from those seeded doubts… Could Sherlock be a fraud? By the end of the episode there is a “rooftop showdown”, in which Moriarty wants to confirm he beat Sherlock. Moriarty threatens Sherlock with Dr. Watson and all of his loved ones’ lives over his own. Well, there is a wonderful plot twist… Moriarty kills himself and hence, leaves an infinite command to the assassins that await to kill Sherlock’s loved ones. And without any other choice, Sherlock kills himself, too. And the audience, including myself, cry for 5 minutes straight… only to find out that… well… he is alive! Martin Freeman really shines in terms of showing what true grief looks like in this episode and the next. Thus, season 2 finishes a small segment of Sherlock’s grand journey at peak.
Well, that is a wrap for me today. I’ll be back with Season 3 and 4 reviews of Sherlock sometime soon. Have you seen Sherlock? Will you consider seeing it after this review? What other things have you been viewing or reading lately? Comment down below. I’d love to hear more from you.