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Hank Moody Blues
11 December 2015 @ 12:49 am
Title: The Fox and the Star
Fandom: The X-Files
Rating: G
Pairing: Mulder/Scully
Spoilers: Set post-IWTB, pre-Revival. I have deliberately been avoiding Revival spoilers, so if anything is accurate it's pure coincidence.
Word count: 662
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine; the book mentioned isn't mine. I have nothing.
Summary: Mulder reads Scully a story.

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Hank Moody Blues
03 October 2014 @ 11:40 pm
There are a few shows from the US's autumn (or should I say 'fall'?) lineup that are slowly making their way to the UK, and I'll give maybe half a dozen of them a try: Gotham, The Strain (I watched the pilot and was less than impressed, so I might ditch it), Intruders, The Knick, Madam Secretary if a UK channel invests in it. But the one that I'm already addicted to is The Leftovers.

Based on a book by Tom Perrotta, it takes place three years after a mini-rapture, when roughly two percent of the Earth's population disappeared into thin air. Instead of going global the focus is condensed to a small American town with a broad ensemble of the most intriguing characters you could ever hope to meet. Someone's shooting dogs. The Chief of Police might be losing his mind. There's a cult called The Guilty Remnant whose members dress only in white, refuse to speak, and chain-smoke to prove their devotion. Bizarre, yes. But also endlessly fascinating.

Episode three, 'Two Boats and a Helicopter', aired here earlier this week and it's one of the best pieces of television drama I've ever seen. It centres on Christopher Eccleston's Reverend Jamison, who produces posters detailing 'the truth' about some of the departed and who keeps getting punched as a result. I won't say any more for fear of ruining it, because it's best to sit down and watch it without knowing what happens, but it was interesting to see how people and events are starting to tie together. And Christopher Eccleston is always inherently delightful to watch.

Although it's an American show it feels European. It's artfully crafted, with stunning imagery and cinematography, and with characters who aren't written to be likeable. Some of them are, but it isn't forced on you. In many ways it reminds me of The Returned, which I raved about last year. Given that it's written by Damon Lindelof, who had a hand in Lost, I just pray that the answers to the big questions have been plotted out well in advance.
Hank Moody Blues
This article was written for British Mensa's Sherlock Holmes SIG. Copyright remains with the author. Please obtain permission before reproducing this article in any form.

He is an arrogant genius with brilliant powers of deduction and a willingness to break the law if he feels it morally justifiable. He is easily bored, enjoys music, and isn't averse to dabbling with drugs. He has one close friend and he lives at 221b Baker Street.

His name is Gregory House.

The character of Sherlock Holmes has undergone a popularity surge in recent years with Guy Ritchie’s action-packed films, the BBC’s contemporary reimagining, and CBS’s New York-based television drama, Elementary, all hits in their own right. With each reincarnation the debate about the best modern-day Sherlock begins anew. Oft-forgotten amidst the Downey Jrs, Cumberbatches, and Millers of the world is Hugh Laurie, whose portrayal of cantankerous doctor Gregory House earned him six Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe Awards, and critical acclaim from all four corners of the earth. But Laurie’s Sherlock was neither English nor a crime-fighting detective; add the fact that he didn’t even play a character called Sherlock Holmes and putting his name forward for consideration begins to look a trifle foolish.

But House and Holmes are certainly cut from the same cloth and have more in common than synonymous surnames. Not only do they share an address – albeit on different continents – play musical instruments, and take drugs of various descriptions, they also pride themselves on baffling others with their deductive reasoning and ability to identify lies. While Holmes fights deadly criminals House fights deadly diseases, and both are more concerned with, and gain more satisfaction from, solving problems than the feelings of the people involved in their cases.

If that sounds too much like the generic phrasings of a fraudulent psychic – is there any other kind? – then consider this also: House replicated Holmes’s feat of faking his own death, although the former did so by fire and not water. Characters with the surnames Adler and Moriarty appeared in episodes of House, and House’s best friend was named James Wilson in homage to John Watson. Most interesting, however, is the fact that Sherlock Holmes himself was inspired by a real-life doctor, Thomas Bell; ouroborically it was long-believed that a Thomas Bell was House’s biological father.

So while Gregory House may not be immediately identifiable as Sherlock Holmes there are more than enough similarities between the two to recognise that this House is indeed a Holmes. He isn’t the fast-talking, smirking genius-cum-Action Man that is Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock, stripped of subtlety, nor is he as cold as Jonny Lee Miller’s representation. And while there has been praise for Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal criticism has been levelled at his Sherlock for being pretentious and mean-spirited. Nobody can argue that House did not have moments of unkindness but he was often impolite and provocative in order to save his patient’s life, or if he was detoxing from Vicodin and suffering from chronic pain in his thigh. He was rarely rude without reason, and Hugh Laurie brought such warmth, wit, and vulnerability to the role that it was difficult to dislike House even when he was at his most caustic.

People not readily associating House with Holmes must be the sole reason for Laurie’s name not being mentioned more often in discussions about modern Sherlock actors. His nuanced performance, worlds apart from his wide-eyed, slack-jawed turns as affable, dim buffoons in Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, has been rightly hailed as magnificent, inspiring a generation of straight-talking, discourteous lead characters such as Lie to Me’s Cal Lightman and Shark’s James Stark, none of whom survived the television networks’ culls for very long. Quite clearly there was something special about House, about Laurie, and it’s about time Sherlock Holmes fans acknowledged that.