20th Century Sherlock: ZERO EFFECT

We’re wrapping up Sherlock Holmes Month here at the Atomic Junk Shop, and since we started it with the fourth season of Sherlock, I thought it’d be appropriate to finish it with a look at an earlier attempt to create a Sherlock Holmes for the modern day: ZERO EFFECT.

Released 19 years ago on January 30th, 1998, ZERO EFFECT didn’t make much of a splash in theaters, but it developed a cult following on home video. Written and directed by Jake Kasdan, it stars Bill Pullman as quirky private investigator Daryl Zero and Ben Stiller as his beleaguered assistant, lawyer Steve Arlo.

Sherlock Holmes and the Watson Problem

This week, I’m going to talk about the Watson Problem. But to get there, I have to talk about Sherlock Holmes first. (That’s the trouble with these two. You can’t talk about one without also talking about the other.)

I’m getting a bit tired of Asshole Sherlock Holmes. We’ve had variations on him for 30-40 years now, and it’s getting a bit stale.

SHERLOCK 4.3: “The Final Problem”

A friend of mine shared a fan theory about the Series 4 finale of Sherlock. Basically, the theory was that Sherlock had spent all or most of S4 inside of his Mind Palace. I hated this idea, mainly because “It was all a dream” is one of the lamest ways to end a story imaginable. And besides, Sherlock has gone to that well once before. Two dream endings in one series would really be pushing it.

Now, I’m kind of wishing that they went with it.

…So Can We Talk About the SHERLOCK Series 4 Premiere?

I just finished watching the Sherlock Series 4 premiere as I write this, and like most fans of the show, I have a lot of thoughts about it. I’m going to keep it spoiler-free to start out, though, and just talk about my feelings on the show in general. I’ll give you fair warning when I’m about to get into S4 spoiler territory.

Originitis and the Power of Mystery

When I was a kid, comic books would recap Batman’s or Superman’s origin every once in a while. In comic strips, you’d get an annual Sunday page of The Phantom’s origin “for those who came in late”, but the rest of the time, you could count on the Ghost Who Walks fighting evil as usual. On TV, syndicated reruns of shows like Batman and Star Trek would give you a throwaway line at best. But now, origin stories are everywhere.