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Six Sentence Reviews; Sherlock (seasons 1 and 2)

sherlockSo Sherlock is good: well written, extremely well directed, clever and entertaining. But that doesn’t mean it is without fault. The gender politics are abysmal: not only are the women almost exclusively minor or secondary characters, they are almost entirely foils or mistreated beyond all measure. And sadly I think Steven Moffatt has taken Sherlock into a very (recent) Doctor Who-ian space – with the bad guy so uber-powerful and the need for Sherlock’s response to be so extreme, that you wonder how the next series can be anything but anti-climatic. However, one can hope. But sometimes one wishes one had seen how he had solved all the mysteries that get referred to in passing!

3 responses to “Six Sentence Reviews; Sherlock (seasons 1 and 2)

  1. Allie

    I don’t think it’s purposely written to be gender-biased. The episodes stay pretty true to the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (sometimes with mash-ups and modernizations, obviously). When the original tales were written, those gender politics were the sign of the times. I think that during that time (mid to late 1800s), the only times women were conveyed favorably in literature were when women penned the novels (Alcott, Austen, etc.). Even then, there was still a huge emphasis on marrying – finding a man to secure wealth and happiness.

    Needless to say, I’m very happy that I am alive now, a time when nothing is off-limits for girls/women, even if my favorite TV shows contain the gender politics of the 1800s.

  2. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I think the Conan Doyle stories are very interesting when it comes to gender (for the time, obviously). Women are central characters in a lot of them and many of the stories are about women confronting patriarchy. The fact that Holmes is essentially the only way out for these women from the traps that patriarchy sets for them is pretty fundamental. Holmes makes a bit of a show of being a misogynist (not something that’s borne out by his actions), but in fact he’s almost always an ally of women because he has no time for social conventions. The racism in the stories makes me cringe more than the gender politics!

    Also, one thing I’m not sure the recent reboots have totally appreciated is that the appeal of the stories is as much in the fact that they are compelling stories as in the figure of Holmes himself – I feel the reboots are making it a bit of a cult of personality thing.

  3. Melissa

    I think my big concern is that way characters like Molly, and to an extent Mrs Hooper are consistently treated as the butt of Sherlock’s cleverness, and are simpering in a corner somewhere most of the time. Poor Molly – she really is just a cipher for SHerlock’s insensitivity. And of course it is a woman who is the psychologist who gets shot at in Hounds, and in Pink we don’t even see here but she is a cheating woman with garish taste…. I don’t disagree with the comments about the original books, nor that there is any intention to marginalise women. And Belgravia is a whole different kettle of fish, noting that here still a woman to succeed is clever and manipulative and has to use sex. Hopeful that the next season might change things up a little bit.

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