The latest season of the BBC show Sherlock seems to have upset a lot of people, with its change of pace and fantastical storylines.
When, after the second episode, Guardian critic Ralph Jones accused the show of turning the character into “Sherlock Bond”, one of the script writers, Mark Gatiss (who also plays Mycroft Holmes in the show) responded in an unusual way. He responded in verse.
We love his little poem – and here it is in full, for your amusement:
Here is a critic who says with low blow
Sherlock’s no brain-box but become double-O.
Says the Baker St boy is no man of action –
whilst ignoring the stories that could have put him in traction.
The Solitary Cyclist sees boxing on show,
The Gloria Scott and The Sign of the Fo’
The Empty House too sees a mention, in time, of Mathews,
who knocked out poor Sherlock’s canine.
As for arts martial, there’s surely a clue
in the misspelled wrestle Doyle called baritsu.
In hurling Moriarty over the torrent
did Sherlock find violence strange and abhorrent?
In shooting down pygmies and Hounds from hell
Did Sherlock on Victorian niceties dwell?
When Gruner’s men got him was Holmes quite compliant
Or did he give good account for The Illustrious Client?
There’s no need to invoke in yarns that still thrill,
Her Majesty’s Secret Servant with licence to kill
From Rathbone through Brett to Cumberbatch dandy
With his fists Mr Holmes has always been handy.
I do want to congratulate Mr Gatiss for dealing with the negativity in such a classy way. He makes some good arguments and I am sure he is right about the whole source-material thing (though I am not going to check).
The thing is, I sort of agree with the critics. I think the Guardian fellow was really just articulating what we were all thinking – we want the old Sherlock back! The TV show we fell in love with was about a likeable eccentric genius who solved mysteries in a cool way, and had an entertaining love-hate relationship with Watson. Over the past series and a half though, the writers have thrown all this away, with ridiculously overblown story lines and character developments that had most of us shouting “Oh, come on!” at the screen:
- Sherlock becomes an action hero
- Watson’s wife is actually a top assassin.
- Sherlock has a sister with supernatural powers (the only explanation for what she managed to do, I think)
- Moriarty recorded a series of pieces to camera before he died just to confuse Sherlock’s viewers
- Mrs Hudson is now a badass!
The final episode of the series reportedly had its lowest viewing figures ever, and I can see why. It is well-known that Mark Gatiss is a horror movie fan, which perhaps explains why half of the final episode was clearly intended to be a tribute to the “Saw” movies. However it actually came across more like The Crystal Maze.
I am going to give the last word, as well as my award for #TwitterPoemOfTheWeek to Twitter user @History_Man who responded in verse to Gatiss’s response in verse, and summed up my feelings perfectly: