Monday, February 03, 2014

Akira Sherlock Downton Abbey

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If you happen to be a fan of Akira the manga or the anime, you might like to hear this podcast about Katsuhiro Otomo‚Äôs stunning science fiction masterpiece.  I remember watching it many years back on the Sci-fi Channel and being blown away by it, although not totally understanding it.  It's a bit bombastic and over the top, but you'll hardly forget some of the scenes from it, and the artwork is fantastic. 

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I really can't think of two television series more differently paced that the BBC Sherlock, and the BBC Downton Abbey.  Sherlock is very fast pasted, and throws multiple images at  you quicker than a Waring blender.  I always feel exhausted after watching an episode, and to be fair, the current season 3 has been a bit  uneven at times.  I thought the season opener, which continued from the great cliffhanger of Season 2, concerning the confrontation of Sherlock and his nemesis, Moriarty, was a bit of a letdown.  Perhaps letdown, may not be the right word for it, I thought you just had to suspend disbelief a great deal.  Even so it was still a pretty great episode the way it was handled, showing different perspectives on how Sherlock survived from the former season. 

Last night on Sherlock, they aired a really good episode called, His Last Vow.  I was thoroughly engaged  by it.  In it they presented another arch and powerful villain for Sherlock to encounter, Charles Augustus Magnussen.  He was supposed to be someone that all of England, even Scotland Yard, and the politicians were afraid of.  He was known for his blackmailing ability.  That may not seem like that deadly of a power, but it turned out to be so.  There were many unveilings within the episode, one concerning Watson's wife, to whom he had recently married, a  look into Sherlock's home life, his upbringing and relationship with his brother, Mycroft, and their mother and father, Sherlock taking on a  junky protege (no kidding, weird), a new love interest for Sherlock, and so on.  It was really a great episode all the way around.

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Downton Abbey on the other hand moves pretty glacial slow, and I can well  imagine some people might be turned off by that or might feel it would try their patience, or they might think it's too stuffy or highbrow.  I felt the same way, but I  have to admit, once I watched a few episodes I got hooked pretty easily.  It does move pretty slow, but the scripts are so well written, and it's so well shot, that it's hard not to be engaged by it.  Plus the characters are all pretty interesting.  This is Season 4 for it, and I really picked it up around the third season, which was the one that hooked me.  I went back and watched the first two seasons and got caught up, and so when Season 4 started I was up to snuff.  So far, this season strikes me not being quite as good as last season, but there are a few plot threads that I'm curious as to how they'll play out, particularly involving the rape and misfortune that happened to the servant woman, Anna, and her husband.  There's also a plot thread concerning two of the male and female servant that are dredging up dirt and so forth.  I'm not entirely sure what their plans are, but you get the feeling they are trying to undermine someone with their plans.  I may have missed on that particular plot point, so I'll have to go back and re-watch parts to Season 4.  It's one of those shows that you can watch again, however, as more will reveal itself on multiple viewings.


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

Thanks for pointing out the Akira podcast. i'll have to give that a listen. I revisted and reviewed "Akira" last year for my blog. It is one of those movies that is amazing visually, but not one that I return too very often. With this last viewing I figured out why - it is a very angry film. That must turn me off on some level, but the movie itself is really a visual marvel. I've heard the manga is a masterpiece. I need to check it out.

I've really been enjoying the BBC version of Sherlock. Great casting, great writing and some really fun adaptations of classic stories. My wife adores Cumberbatch, and this series is why. But she is also a huge fan of Holmes. She read all the stories when she was a kid, and grew up watching old 1980s series with Jeremy Brent. I got into those a couple years ago when they were on Netflix to download. Loved them, but they took them all away before I could finish the series. Hope they come back. Brent was excellent in the role, really very close to the way the character is portrayed in the original stories.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I've enjoyed the Sherlock series too. Stephen Moffat, the writer, also penned several of the Matt Smith Dr. Who episodes. If you like that quick pacing, but done in a more fantastical style, you might want to give them a try. I wasn't a big Matt Smith fan, but I really started getting into the last season with his new helper Clara. There are some cool episodes.

I like Jeremy Brett too, and think he may be my favorite actor to portray Holmes, and those BBC productions are second to none.

I have a few of the older Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce movies from the 40's and they can be fun too. You can find some of these on YT. Also if you prefer a more horrific take on the character, check out the Hammer production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. It stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

I read your review on Akira, and thought it was well done. I didn't know that they'd remastered the original Akira, which actually I caught off the Cartoon channel after I'd read your review. I haven't heard the podcast yet either, but will get around to it soon.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger SFF said...

El Vox,

As always, love your observations and reflections on the latest pop culture you have been devouring.

I have yet to see Sherlock.

I know a friend who absolutely LOVES Downton Abbey. They can't get enough of it.

Like Roman, Akira is just a tad too angry for my taste and I just never connected with that anime. It is a visually impressive, hand drawn picture though. It deserves classic status even if I'm not a huge fan of it.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

SFF--yeah, I get behind in my writing, and prefer the devouring better. I guess I'd rather eat than do dishes (believe me). ;)

Downton and Sherlock have pretty big followings, and I get into them about the same. The Sherlock programs are very short, I think just three per season, that's real short. I forgot to mention though I enjoy Elementary too. There's a lot of good programs on TV these days, I like that. Cheers.


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