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Trowbridge College

We Love T.V Assignment


By Harry Burbidge
My chosen T.V program is a multi-strand (focuses on more than one
case/characters), Non Linear (uses flashbacks) BBC Crime drama series
Sherlock.
Crime Dramas contain sub genres, including mystery (with a
resolution), as we see Sherlock, a consulting detective, figuring out
mysterious cases baffling the police and eventually finds out the
culprit/villains intention in the end.
Sherlock also contains comedy, as Watson is referred to as Sherlocks
companion, leading to people thinking both Sherlock and Watson are
gay.
The series contains well-known characters, including D.r John Watson,
Mycroft (sherlocks brother), Miss Hudson, Lestrade and Moriaty.
Some episodes are based on renowned novels from the Sherlock
franchise, including the Hounds Of Baskerville and The Reinchback
Fall.
The Hounds Of Baskerville novel was about someone using a large
dog to intimidate people.
In the new series, a modern scientific theme was applied, as the culprit
use hallucination gas to trick people into seeing a Hound.
The story has a convincing concept, as animal testing and hallucination
gas are real life scientific scenarios.
Animal testing is a major social issue, which audiences can debate, if it
is ethically correct, or not.

Famous lines from the novels are included too.


For example, in the novel His Last Bow Sherlock addresses to Watson
Theres an east wind coming, Watson, which is applied by Watson, in
referencing Moriaties return (His Last Vow).
Crime Dramas include sidekicks. In this case, Dr. John Watson, whom
was usually out of his depth, in accompanying Sherlock in dangerous

scenarios, being very un-prepared. He also possessed a lesser intellect


than Sherlock.
Martin Freeman often portrays characters, out of their depth. For
example Tim Canterbury, in The Office, who doesnt like working
there, and Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, who is unprepared for a
quest.
Thus audiences will feel assured Martin Freeman can portray Watson
accurately.
Crime dramas involve conflict between different policing methods.
For example Detective Inspector Lestrade argues with Sherlock on how
to approach a situation and Sherlock responds, the police will intervene
and sometimes runs of, without inclining information.
Crime dramas, involve dedicated police making sacrifices to their
private lives, as detectives are stereotyped to be worked dedicated,
but spend their personal time drinking, or gambling money away.
Sherlock is very engrossed in his work, but is not very socially active
with people he knows.
Benedict Cumberbatch previously portrayed highly intellectual (e.g.
BBCs Hawking) and rude/arrogant characters (e.g. Charles in Heart
Beat), which matches Sherlocks characteristics (Intellectual, yet
boastful and insensitive).
Sherlock was originally depicted as odd, mysterious and detached from
friendship and love, by his work.
The new series however, has developed Sherlock into a modern form,
by representing him as being autistic.
Whenever Sherlock analyses some evidence/a witness, extreme close
ups of stains (e.g. on a shoe) and annotations are used to enable the
audiences to focus on key details and easily understand what Sherlock
is noticing.
Quick paced cuts and swipe transitions/sounds (when one shot cuts to
another) are also used, to retain our attention span to the sequence.
Freeze frames of people are used, with the camera slowly/quickly
panning around the still image, giving the audience time to process the
scenario and be more visually engaged.
A well-balanced paced voice over of Sherlock prevails through each
shot, making it easy for audiences to listen too.

This conveys autistic people have a general/high level of intellect and


are very analytical with particular things.
Sherlock is a white male, a typical strong lead role, audiences are
familiar with.
However, Sherlock conveys social imperfections.
For example in series 1 episode 3 'The Great Game', John Watson asks
Sherlock if he cares for the peoples lives in danger.
Sherlock responds by asking 'Will caring about them help save them?
In series 2 episode 1 (A Scandal In Belgravia), Sherlock openly states
Lestrades wife is having an affair.
Sherlocks insensitive and truthful nature creates ironic humor and
conveys autistic people can be very truthful about things, without
thinking how it affects others.
In another scene, Molly Hooper, asks Sherlock if he would like to go out
with her for coffee, which audiences could tell was implied as a date.
Sherlocks literal response is ' Black, Two sugars please, which
creates ironic humor and conveys autistic people sometimes take
things literally.
Sherlocks is proclaimed to have a lack of sexual orientation, being asexual. This implies autistic people lack compassion/affection.
However, in The Reinchback Fall Sherlock fakes his death, in fear of
Moriaties men shooting his friends, Watson, Lestrade and Miss Hudson.
Sherlock is able to fight villains and take them out, breaking audiences
perception of autistic people being like robots, as they can defend
themselves and be compassionate.
Sherlocks autistic traits of intellect and lack of social interaction, relate
well to audiences expectation of a detective. Thus creating an easy
identifiable character and educating audiences about what autism
actually is.
There are rarely any autistic protagonists, making Sherlock more
unique.
Some of the characters dislike Sherlock, due to his truthfully rude
nature, causing audiences to debate whether people with autism
should be more thoughtful, or if we should be more understanding.

Sherlock contains the encoded message that people with Autism can
be heroes too.
Preferred:
Audiences will think more positively about autistic people and
understand how sometimes they can be mis-interpreted, by other
people.
Negotiated:
Audiences will not feel influenced to believe autistic people share these
traits, due to either not caring, or having previously held opinion.
Oppositional:
Some people may think Sherlock is falsely mis-representing autistic
people, due to their own representation of autistic people.

Crime Dramas usually involve middle class protagonists, which


Sherlock meets, due to living in a reasonable accommodated flat in
London, has an eccentric, yet formal fashion and clean complexion.
However, he does dress rather casually when under cover and gets
himself into messy situations. In series 2, episode 2, he comes into his
flat, with a spear and his face smeared in blood.
Sherlock often wanders into territories including alleyways and
underground railways.
Seeing a middle class person, living in a flat, tracking down and
defeating criminals, challenges audiences stereotyping of average
middle class people.

Crime dramas involve different antagonists with versatile


characteristics.
Sherlocks arch nemeses 'Moriaty' enjoys his criminal actions. For
example, when he breaks the glass casing containing the crown Jewels
(in 'The Reinchback Fall'), he listens to music and dances at the same
time.
His conveys exaggerated gestures and facial expressions, in a
somewhat flamboyant manner.

Additionally, he conveys signs of 'Bipolar' (mood swings) often acting


very happy and suddenly depressed/angry.
Moriaty represents a stereotypical personae of a madly insane,
intellectual antagonist.
Another stereotype example includes the Joker, from The Dark Knight,
who commits questionable actions, even for a criminal, such as
burning a huge amount of money and yet being able to kidnap people
and create set ups for Batman.
Moriaty is white. There are a rare number of psychologically mad
villains whom are a different color. Therefore, Moriaties color is one we
are commonly familiar with.
Insane villains are usually set in a male role, as there are rarely many
females portraying these kinds of villains.
Many insane villains can often be very flirtatious/display innuendoes
remarks toward women. (e.g. Jokers flirting with Rachel Dawes in the
Dark Knight).
In series 2, episode 3, The Reinchback Fall, Moriaty is put into the
courtroom by a policewoman, whom he asks to reach for something in
his pocket. He asks in a flirtascious tone.
She finds a piece of gum and places it in Moriaties mouth, which is
already open with his tongue sticking out. Clearly it conveys an
innuendoes persona to Moriaties character.
Moriaties traits all pander to an audiences expectation of an insane
villain.
Another villain named Charles Augustus Magnussen contrasts to
Moriaty. He is more calm, controlled and at ease. When Sherlock tries
deducting his techniques of black mail, Charles continues smiling
casually, but in a mild vacant form, conveying himself to be at
complete ease and that no one, can work out his methods of black
mailing.

'Moriaty' entices security guards working in the 'Bank of England',


'Pentonville Prison' and 'The Tower of London', into dis engaging the
security system.

This communicates issues about companies hiring individuals with a


criminal background and that there should be more secure background
checks on interviewees.
Another social issue is criminal activity and network security.
For example, Moriaty has people strapped to bombs and in episode 3
(The Reinchback Fall) threatens the jury to get him out of prison, by
sending a personal picture of her children through a T.V she is viewing
in a Hotel.
This conveys how easily some people can hack into different devices.
Audiences can debate whether Internet security is really able to
counter hacking threats and if so, how can it be improved and is it
worth the governments time and money?

Crime Dramas usually favor toward male audiences, whom typically


like action and villains.
The lead roles are men, including, Sherlock, Watson, Lestrade and
Mycroft.
'Sherlock' includes minor female roles, such as Miss Hudson, whom
was stereotyped as a typical elderly lady, who cleaned up and served
tea.
The pathologist 'Molly Hooper' stereotyped a talkative woman, who
enjoys going out with men and trying different hairstyles.
However, she is in a high-ranking field of scientific forensics, breaking
her stereotype and conveying women as highly intellectual.
Though an antagonist, Irene Adler' possessed good fighting skills, high
intelligence and independency.
Watsons recent counter part 'Mary', whom represented a rather
average woman, wearing reasonable makeup and dressed nicely.
However, she used to be an assassin for the C.I.A. This widens
awareness for the many job roles women can be capable of.
Thus Sherlock' has succeeded in representing, not only men, but also
women as strong willed, brave and intellectual.
Crime Dramas include graphic depictions of murder (e.g. severe
wounds).

Sherlock is rated 'T.V 14, meaning partial nudity, violence and


disturbing imagery is included.
For example, in one episode, we see a dead victims bare buttocks for
a brief second, passionate kissing, suggestive intercourse (e.g. two
people in a car), and people on drugs.
Audiences of 14 and over (typically males) develop an interest in
action/crime based programs/films with James Bond styled agents
and masterminds wanting to take over the world.
As well as a detective, the series has adapted Sherlock into a crimefighting hero knocking Hench men out, chasing after criminals in
Londons streets and on one occasion, shooting a villain.
Each episode is a typical film duration (an hour and a half). The novels
of Sherlock Holmes were scientifically and politically accurate. The
new series of Sherlock needed to follow this by having the case being
solved in a slow, methodical and realistic manner.
However, the content must have boundaries.
For example in series 2, episode 2 'The Blind Banker', when a spear
stabs a criminal, the blood injuries are concealed, due it occurring at
night time. However, we can see the spear in front of the chest,
convincing us the criminal was stabbed and fulfilling our desire for the
villain to be defeated, without being too distressful.
When a bombing occurs (the great game) we only hear the sound
effect and news footage of the ruins.
To ensure audiences below 14, are not exposed to the content, the
program is scheduled at 09:00, the water shed hour, when adult based
content is broadcast and young children should be in bed.
This is convenient for adults and earlier generations usually watch
programs in the evening, to relax.
Sherlock is also made available on mobile apps (e.g. I tunes
episodes can be downloaded to watch any where and any time), Netflix
and BBC I player (via internet T.V services including B.T and Smart
T.V). Many youths will watch programs it through these devices.

Other issues include health and mental problems soldiers encounter,


having returned from war.

John Watson came back from Afghanistan, but suffered psychological


issues.
According to Mycroft, John Watson missed the thrill of being in the
battlefield, explaining his enthusiasm for chasing criminals and solving
crimes with Sherlock.
This conveys how hard soldiers find it, to re adjust back into civilian life
and that we should try to be more understanding of it.
This can cause debate on whether there should be more high quality
rehabilitation centers to assist in fully recovering soldiers.

Political issues surround secret services, ensuring Englands security.


In Sherlock we see M.I.5 agents going undercover, perpetrating
different people to gain inside information. For example, Mycroft at one
point impersonates a German soldier, in order to rescue Sherlock
Holmes.
In series 2 episode 1 (A Scandal In Belgravia), a plan deployed to
counter terrorist attacks on planes is briefly mentioned.
These hypothetical plans could potentially assist the government in
conjuring up strategies to protect the U.K from terrorists.
In series 2, episode 1 ( A Scandal In Belgravia) Irene Adler is captured
by a terrorist group in Tarachi, intending to behead her.
This increases awareness that Britain is trying to do its best to defend
us from terrorists.

Preferred: Audiences will agree Britain is doing its best, by deploying


under cover agents and concealing missile plans.
Negotiated: Audiences may understand the message, but will not
show much notice, or be so interested about Britains security and
may be too enthused about Sherlock, or the criminals, rather than
what Britain is actually doing to conquer crime based scenarios.
Oppositional: Audiences may disagree that Britain is doing
everything in its power to defend us.

They may find the methods, such as having people go under cover, to
be morally wrong, in terms of their own safety.

However audiences can be sparked into debating whether the


government really is doing its best to protect us and what can be
improved.
Additionally, the audience can put themselves in the governments
shoes, deciding what actions and decisions they would possibly take.

Sherlock is very fast paced with action. During chase scenes, quick
cut transition of cars driving past occurs. When the car shot ends, we
immediately cut to a scene of Sherlock/John running.
The use of fast cars driving symbolizes London, busy movement and
thus the quick paced and highly pumped tension of the scene.

When Sherlock is waiting for something to happen, a slow cross fade


(two shots intertwined, with second shot becoming less faint) occurs,
creating a slow pace. It conveys Sherlock is possibly going through
different feelings at the same time. For example, there may be a one
shot of Sherlock sat down and another of him looking out of the
window. This would convey Sherlock to feel both cautious and scared
at the same time.
Flash backs occur, when Sherlock re counts on a clue/victim. In The
Reich back fall, text representing a phone message appear (visual
engagement), as well as texts saying 3 days earlier.
As we can see, Sherlock is an engaging and educational media
source, by creating a heightened action drama, making us aware about
autistic people and government issues.

Bibliography
Crime Drama conventions:
Miss Thornton. (May 19th 2010 ) Crime Dramas - slideshare, Available
at:http://www.slideshare.net/aashley79/crime-dramas-4153853 (Accessed: 24th May 2015).

Flamboyant definition:

Charles Augustuss Magnussens character information:


(12th January 2014 ) BBC One Sherlock: About Charles Augustus Magnussen,Available
at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01pphk4 (Accessed: 24th May 2015).

T.V rating information:


'Jonathan-kronheimer', 'paedsamo2010', 'EvanHamilton', 'mkrandom' and 'light-ning-volts' (7th of May
2015) IMDb Parents Guide for "Sherlock", Available
at:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1475582/parentalguide (Accessed: 24th May 2015).

Additional information came from episodes I downloaded on I Tunes.


Therefore I cannot give a link.