I watch way too many miniseries. This year’s competition is going to be very rough for me because I like too many of the potential candidates. Here’s how I would like the category to play out, but I doubt this will end up happening.:
All of these shows have compelling writing, directing, and acting. However, I believe this year is Sherlock’s year due to the increased attention industry critics and audiences alike have given the show. Downton Abbey has gained quite a bit of momentum too, but it is at a disadvantage because it won last year. Sherlock this season has tightened up it’s writing, directing, and acting. Although Political Animals is still relatively new, it has a factor going for it that the British shows don’t. 2012 is an presidential election year, and fictional politics becomes more popular as a result. The show is clearly USA Network’s attempt to break away from it’s traditional quirky character procedurals, and it’s already working. If the show can continue to balance successfully the soap opera elements with the more deep dramatic elements, it can do very well.
Best Actor In A Miniseries
Idris Elba- Luther
Hugh Bonneville- Downton Abbey
Benedict Cumberbatch- Sherlock
Cumberbatch’s ingenious portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is quite tough to compete with. Bonneville’s stoic Lord Grantham has a very good chance of winning as well. Elba is a bit more of a longshot.
Best Actress In A Miniseries
Michelle Dockery- Downton Abbey
Sigourney Weaver- Political Animals
Weaver’s portrayal of Elaine Barrish-Hammond challenges the traditional tropes of political dramas. She doesn’t “stand by her man” but chooses to pursue her own career ambitions. She is the center of attention on the show, and the audience can’t look away. Dockery’s portrayal of Mary Crawley has improved considerably this season, but she faces tough competition from her other co-stars.
Best Supporting Actor In A Miniseries
Martin Freeman- Sherlock
It’s extremely hard to pick supporting actors out of shows with many secondary and ensemble cast members. However, Freeman’s portrayal of John Watson had the unique ability to make us laugh and cry at the same time.
Best Supporting Actress In A Minseries
Lara Pulver- Sherlock
Maggie Smith- Downton Abbey
Ruth Wilson- Luther
Although all of these shows have extremely strong female secondary characters, Maggie Smith is on a level that very few people can top. Wilson’s character featured less prominently in this series of Luther, which puts her at a disadvantage. Pulver’s portrayal of Irene Adler was awesome but some might be quick to dismiss her character as nothing but a glorified sex object. This view of course prevents seeing the complexity of her character. I would need to see all of the minseries to figure out which supporting actress stands out the most on Political Animals.
I hope you liked my choices. I’ll be back soon with my own dream Emmy ballots for comedy and drama.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence PBS aired the Sherlock series 2 finale a day before Fox aired the House series finale. Both shows used the same source material for their plots.
WARNING FOR BOTH SHERLOCK AND HOUSE SPOILERS! DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN EITHER EPISODE YET!
Dr. House faces a tough choice in the series finale. He is trapped in a burning building. If he lives, he faces a jail sentence for violating his parole terms. If he dies, he escapes years of pain, loneliness, and addiction. In both situations, the chances of not being there to comfort Wilson as he dies of cancer are very high. He debates for a long time whether to escape or to succumb to the smoke. Hallucinations of Amber, Kutner, Cameron, and Stacy argue with him over the choices he made and reflect on the past.
Sherlock Holmes in The Reichenbach Fall faces a tough choice too. Confronting his archenemy Jim Moriarty has led him to the brink of diaster. Moriarty is pointing a gun at him while both are standing on a rooftop. Either he dies and Moriarty is free to commit more crimes or he lives and Moriarty succeeds in convincing the world that Holmes is a fraud.
Both House and Holmes choose a third way out. House escapes through the back door but leaves a body behind for the police to declare him dead. He contacts Wilson so they can travel the country together. Holmes falls to his death by jumping off the roof, but the audience sees him alive a short time later.
House M.D. from the beginning of the series had obvious as well as subtle Sir Arthur Conan Doyle references. House and Wilson were clearly approaching medical mysteries in the same fashion Holmes and Watson solved crimes. It is very fitting that the end of House was based off of “The Final Problem”, where Holmes faked his death to escape Moriarty.
Even though both episodes were filled with sad moments for fans, take comfort that best friends House and Wilson as well as Holmes and Watson are off having great adventures together.
Sunday’s Sherlock Series 2 premiere on PBS was packed with everything fans love about the show. Afterwards, I decided to read the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story to figure out what was the same and what was different.
Most of the changes from canon to television concern Irene Adler. It is interesting to note that in the story, Watson is married. So far, the miniseries shows Watson as single with occasional attempts at dating.
The first difference is right in the title of the episode. The original story is called “A Scandal In Bohemia”. Bohemia no longer exists as an independent political entity and it is now known as the Czech Republic. Although Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) is to the east of historical Bohemia, it is more in the public consciousness than Bohemia. Belgrade has connections to the Kosovo War, immigration to Western Europe and the UK, and global terrorism/counter terrorism. The latter is the most important, especially given the criminal activity in the episode.
Irene Adler in both versions is “The Woman” who bested Sherlock Holmes. She lives and works outside society’s boundaries of decency and respectability. She is beautiful as well as cunning. Although Adler in both versions had romantic and sexual encounters with wealthy men, her occupation was radically different. Irene in canon was a singer and adventuress. Television Irene is a dominatrix to the rich and powerful. Sex workers today are scandalous in the way singers and performers would have been in Doyle’s day.
Another major difference between the story and the show is that Moriarty and his agents were never mentioned in connection with Irene Adler. She was a antagonist with motives and actions independent of other established villains. Having Irene under Moriarty’s influence was a necessary change given the more global scope of the crime
Sherlock Holmes in the original story was hired by the King of Bohemia in disguise as a nobleman. He assisted various European royal houses in the past and was considered trustworthy enough to handle this case. Mycroft and his associates do not appear in the stories.
Although technology changes, Irene’s secret keeping remains the same. In the story, she dated the King of Bohemia. She kept the love letters and photographs even though they broke up and the King was set to marry another woman. The smartphone files in the television show were just as likely to have personal and political consequences if leaked.
Only minor changes were made to Sherlock’s attempt at entering Irene’s house in A Scandal In Begravia. Both versions of the story featured Sherlock in a clergyman’s uniform and a staged mugging. However, actors were hired by Sherlock to fight in front of Irene’s house in the original story. Watson alone beat him up on television. In both versions, Watson created a fire inside of Irene’s house. Since the story was written before the invention of indoor smoke alarms, Watson had to throw a flammable object inside of the house. Once the fire started, Irene rushed to safeguard her secrets.
Irene in both instances was able to escape Sherlock and manipulate events in her favor. In the story, Irene sends Sherlock news that she is happily married and the secrets are safe. In contrast, on television Sherlock continues to crack the code of Irene’s smart phone as well as her personality. At the end of the episode, Irene manipulates Sherlock into helping her escape.
Overall, the first 35 minutes of A Scandal of Belgravia stick fairly closely to the original story. The rest of the episode’s plot moves towards the foiling of Moriarty’s latest plot. Most of the changes are related to either changes in technology, society, or changes made to accommodate the new plot points of the episode.
Check back next week when I pit The Hounds of Baskerville against The Hound Of The Baskervilles!
Thursday’s Sherlock sneak peek screening and Q&A at the Apple Store was far more intimate than Wednesday’s PBS event. About 100 fans and members of the press were able to see producer Sue Vertue and co-creator Steven Moffat. We lined up several hours before the event began, which resulted in front row seats!
The audience waiting for the event to start.
Highlights of the Q&A included:
- Vague discussion of various theories to explain the cliffhanger in the series finale. Moffat and Vertue responded with poker faces.
- Surprise reactions to the growth of the “We Believe In Sherlock” movement.
- Comparisons between filming Sherlock and filming Doctor Who.
- Moriarty in this series was purposely portrayed in a different fashion compared to other versions.
- Both had a vague vision of a modern day retelling of Sherlock Holmes for years before it finally entered production.
- The portrayal of Holmes and Watson as friends who can laugh while they work.
- Comparisons of the relationship between Watson and Holmes and the relationship between the Doctor and his companions.
- Vertue admitted she didn’t read the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle until the show was in development.
A close up of Vertue and Moffat.
Sue Vertue answering a question.
For those of you who are interested in hearing the Q&A in it’s entirety, it will soon be available in the iTunes store for free as part of Apple’s “Meet The Filmmakers” podcast series.
10,000 people entered. Only 125 pairs of ticket lottery winners and some lucky fans who waited on the standby line were able to attend Wednesday’s event at New York’s French Institute/Alliance Francaise. Those who were able to make it in were able to see lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch, co-creator Steven Moffat, and producer Sue Vertue.
The event started with a 35 minute preview of the season premiere episode “A Scandal In Belgravia” followed by a Q&A session and an autograph signing.
Benedict Cumberbatch listening to a question.
Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue discussing a question.
The panel deliberates.
Steven Moffat talking with his hands.
Check back later for more photos, Q&A highlights, and photos from yesterday’s SoHo Apple Store Q&A!
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