Jan. 21st, 2014

aruan: (Sherlock - all these things I've done)
I'm not the comedian in my social circle. As the enthusiastic magpie, my forte is effusive bursts of emotion on the esoteric subjects I know a ton about. To that end, I've spent many happy hours between Tumblr and the AO3 "preparing" for the third season of Sherlock. Meta, fic, art - my fannish life of the last two years consisted of little else.

Which was exactly the problem when it came time for The Empty Hearse. )

Back in September, as my newspaper's resident Sherlock expert, I agreed to write episode recaps, which we try to make amusing (nothing TWoP-caliber, but not everyone wants to read a few thousand words on a single episode of their favorite show, either.) The formula works: While I watch neither Homeland nor Scandal, our synopses are often so amusing that I almost forget people die with some frequency on both shows. So it was with that goal to find humor that I approached my recap of The Empty Hearse - and realized what I've been doing wrong from the first scene.

Summarizing something forces you to focus on what's happening in the story, and only that, while being funny puts the drama in perspective. I learned to love the episode by setting aside two years' worth of emotional investment (which still needs a good catharsis - this is the closest I've come). Take things as they happen. Let the characters react in their own ways. Instead of allowing a scene totally jar me out of the story, take a deep breath to consider that the people who made it probably weren't intentionally setting out to fuck with their audience. Allow things to unravel as the writers intended instead of imposing limitations and requirements. I know you're all rolling your eyes, but as a journalist I'm trained to look ahead and anticipate what's next - but the effect is prejudicial in the real world, and joy-killing in entertainment. With that in mind, the episode actually turned out to be damn good, accomplishing everything it needed to without becoming maudlin. I'd give it a solid B+.

tl;dr Sometimes the characters serve the plot, and sometimes the plot is determined by character development - and both are valid storytelling approaches.

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May 2014

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