These days, Renwick is no longer the primary source of Impossible Mystery-related television. Given the air date, series 5 will be hot on the heels of Sherlock, which lately is demonstrating superior writing both in terms of said impossible mysteries and in terms of character development, a concept which has been lost on Renwick since, well, forever.
With that in mind, I had rather hoped he might step up to the challenge and up his game somewhat. I mean, "...Savant's Thumb" was a complete shambles of half-arsed concepts haphazardly thrown together, a plot with more holes than a crocheted blanket, and all of the character WTF-ery that came with it. I was already worried that the lack of Joey would make the series completely unwatchable (I don't like Polly, and I don't like what's happened to Jonathan as a result) but had hoped there might be SOME redeeming features, maybe a bit of the original magic that made the show so good in the first place, i.e. a bloody good Impossible Mystery with a Brain-Twisting Solution - something to really get our teeth into like in the good old days.
But no. Apparently, in the first episode, Renwick has chosen to send up Sherlock instead - something about a criminology student who fancies himself a bit of a Holmes-type character (though obviously his hero is Jonathan Creek, which says an awful lot, as ever, about Renwick's God Complex) but it transpires all his deductions are wrong. In the source I read this from, a Radio Times article, Renwick is even quoted (by Alan Davies, in fact) as enjoying Sherlock Holmes, but preferring the Conan-Doyle originals. I take that as a sly inference that he actively dislikes the modern re-imagining (or indeed feels threatened by it), hence his "homage".
Which, you know, is fair enough. Each to their own. I didn't get into SH at all until the Robert Downey-Junior films and latterly the BBC series, which to my mind is a key reason why modern (or swashbuckling) re-imaginings are a good thing. New blood brings new interest. (Ironically, another concept which Renwick himself has failed to grasp...)
But come on. Seriously? A month off the back of the long-awaited series 3 of Sherlock, with all its superior talent and understanding of its online fanbase (this is a major point to mention, I think, in our modern age), Renwick is risking a parody of the show and its main star, plus the associated risk of alienating an entire fanbase who might actually be interested in Jonathan Creek? I'm starting to wonder if it's just elaborate self-sabotage - making the series so unbelivably bad that people stop watching it and the BBC stop demanding new episodes, because he wanted to retire the character years ago and couldn't because demand is too high.
Is he finally now, at this juncture, considering Creek to be his own take on Sherlock Holmes? If so, it seems he's jumping on the bandwagon - there have always been shades of Sherlock in Jonathan (and of Watson in his so-called "sidekicks" [don't get me started on the fact that the female characters are apparently infinintely interchangeable]), but that's where the similarities end. Yes, it was undoubtedly an influence, but nothing more than that. Unless Adam is Jonathan's nemesis a la Moriarty, I don't think Renwick ever intended it to be a true interpretation.
The thing which I'm finding fascinating lately with this fandom - and a thing which I've only really become aware of because of Tumblr, which makes it look like there is actually a fandom in the first place :P - is that it contains the same breed of fans that we get in Phantom of the Opera where they love it unconditionally no matter how bad things get. I guess it's my dumb luck to get lumbered with TWO brain-eating fandoms which ultimately disappoint me on so many levels, but it's really weird that they would share that parallel in particular. I follow a JC-related blog which comes across like that (though I suspect there's an element of playing Devil's Advocate, too) and all of the reactions I've seen to the Sherlock-parodying news have been really positive, really excitable - though I'm not sure any of them are from fans of both shows. (Is Creeklock even a thing? And on that note, when the hell did we get portmanteaus for shows as well as ships?! I am so very old...)
It boggles my mind. And makes me really uncomfortable to point out all of this stuff on Tumblr because I think I'm in a tiny minority in an already-tiny fandom, and quite probably one of only a handful (if that) with such a depth of knowledge of the show's characters, its history and the batshittery of its creator. I kind of don't want to burst their little bubble of hope and excitement, but at the same time I would feel really self-satisfied (in a masochistic sort of way) if the three new episodes do turn out as disappointing as I fear. It actually felt pretty good after "...Savant's Thumb" to find that other people were just as WTF as I was about it, and maybe that'll ring true this time around as well...
I dunno, maybe it's because the Tumblr fanbase is quite young - as is all of Tumblr - and made up of fans who discovered the show quite late in the day and thus didn't have that first-time-around shock of Maddy's departure, or Carla's arrival, after the series 3 hiatus. I know full well how much that can paint your view of something, when you don't experience a cliffhanger first-hand, or learn all the canon in reverse, or get spoilered before you start. But for those of us who were there from the beginning, who saw this show in its glory days and watched it fall to pieces, it's really difficult not to get on a soapbox and chastise all the happy fangirls for getting overly excited about a thing that will inevitably be a big pile of epic fail.
I will be SO GLAD when this is all over. I've never felt that way about a fandom before, but it's actually reached a point now where I want to stop worrying about it and let it rest, so my headcanon can flourish without being scuppered by ill-advised "character development". :P
I am tempted to livetweet the new series when it's on, as I suspect I will have rather a lot to say once the incoherent silent rage has worn off, and it might be helpful to have a point of reference. :P
In other news, Paul and I have made a start on marathoning all eleven seasons of Frasier. :D We're currently halfway through season 1 (because they're only short, of course) and it's really great fun finally getting to see all the early episodes I missed the first time around. I didn't start watching properly until season 7, and even then managed to miss a few episodes (including the finale) because of Channel 4 rescheduling it...
So obviously, I spent the weekend reading fanfic (Niles/Daphne was one of my first 'ships, of course, then latterly Frasier/Roz) and episode transcripts and prematurely rewatching the season 7 finale on YouTube because OH MY GOD THAT EPISODE. (Resolving seven years of unrequited feelings / UST: ur doin it perfickly.)
Also I am amusing myself by retrospectively ascertaining where my Niles-crush came from whilst simultaneously trying to fight it off with a big stick (I think it was just lying dormant all these years). I can't even blame the frivolity of youth this time around. :P
It's a relief, actually - with three separate rewatches (X-Files, Buffy and now Frasier) in addition to the Grand JC Watchathon (which I must get back on track with), I do at least have something with which to distract myself from the above-mentioned fail...
And I'm determined to do a Farscape marathon this year as well, as Lloyd was nice enough to get me season 2 for Christmas. Not quite sure when, though - maybe when we're a bit further through Frasier and have finally finished Twin Peaks (it transpires watching a mind-mangling David Lynch show on a 12-inch screen at bedtime is not the best idea; we've moving it to the big TV downstairs instead...) I might actually attempt proper episode recaps this time around, as it's another of those fandoms which will benefit from being Older and Wiser. :)
(Oh, speaking of the TXF and BtvS rewatches, Denise and I have hit season 2 of both now. Which means abduction arc / "Irresistible" (a.k.a the Episode That Turned Me Into A Shipper) / "Humbug" (first comedy episode); and Spike, respectively. :D)
I think this is quite long enough. I'll try to update before the Creekfail occurs, but I promise nothing. ;)