There have been rumors circulating like crazy surrounding Season 4 of BBC’s Sherlock, from how exactly Moriarty pulled off his fake death to whether or not Irene Adler will make a return cameo. There’s also that little issue of how show co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat keep hinting at the season’s tone with words line “tragedy” and “devastating.”
To make matters worse, fans of Sherlock have until late in 2017 when Season 4 begins to stir up even more speculation. Filming doesn’t even begin until 2016.
There’s one thing we do know now, however, is Sherlock Holmes, John and Mary Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft Holmes, and the entire gang will return to television for a Victorian era special this holiday season. BBC One sealed this promise by tweeting a new official photo of Sherlock stars Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in full Nineteenth Century garb this week.
This one-time story will have no tie-in to the continuity of the current series set in modern day. Instead, it will stand alone as its own story as a holiday treat for fans of Sherlock in all his forms. No definitive date has been announced, but the special will air as always on PBS in the United States and BBC One in the United Kingdom.
Avid followers of the series have had a chance to see behind-the-scenes photos of the cast on various fan sites, but finally having this officially released photo just seems to enhance the anticipatory excitement for Sherlock lovers.
No matter what Season 4 brings viewers, not to mention no matter when it finally airs, viewers can rest assured the team of Holmes and Watson will return to television this year, if only for a brief and fantastic journey back in time to 1895.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner. It’s the one time of year when you “legally” have to shower Mom with love—and gifts! Of course, we’re kidding (sort of). While most moms do love the homemade cards, hugs, and brunch offers, a lot of us also love to get a gift that keeps on giving. So instead of giving your mom (or yourself) the same old wilted flowers, consider one of the gifts listed below in our 2015 GeekMom Mother’s Day Gift Guide.
Accessories Bookworm Shoulder Tote
Haul around your mom gear in this large zippered bag from Blue Q. It’s waterproof, wipes clean, is made from recycled materials, and is crazy strong. It measures 11-by-15-by-6.25 inches. One percent of the sale price supports The Nature Conservatory. And if the bookish design doesn’t do it for you, check out the same tote with a Da Vinci design or a Batista design. [$13.30]
“I Aim to Misbehave” Car Decal
This car decal serves two important purposes: It shows off your mom’s love for Firefly and that she is one spirited lady! [$6]
Multitool Hair Clip
Made of stainless steel, this creative hair clip for Mom is a secret multitool. It’s a screwdriver, wrench, trolley coin, ruler, and cutting edge, always handy and helpfully keeping her hair out of her eyes. [$9]
Ogio Hudson Pack
GeekMom Dakster is a huge fan of Ogio bags. As a mom on the go, her go-to laptop bag is the Ogio Hudson Pack in Peacoat blue. It fits her laptop, iPad, iPod, writing supplies, and all without feeling bulky on her back. [$64.99]
Pelican Elite Weekender Luggage
Built for the adventurer, this luggage will take any beating the cruise line, airline, or any other transportation service can throw at it. GeekMom Dakster likes having her bag around to protect her costumes when traveling to conventions. [$445]
The Sprite Bag by Pixelle
“Level up your look” with the subtle touches of The Sprite Bag by Pixelle. It’s just the right size for a mom on the go and comes in white or black. [$49.99]
Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers
Everyone needs a pick-me-up every now and then. For the days when Mom is feeling the weight of everything on her shoulders, hand her Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers. It has 128 pages of happy thoughts, with cute drawings and animals to accompany each one. [$11]
Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for Your Sassy Side
Stitch some snark with this updated anniversary edition of the now-classic book that upended the ladylike craft of cross stitching. “Eat, Drink, and Be Quiet” may add some charm to your kitchen. If you have no intention of making any of the designs, just leave it out to shock your Great Aunt Rhonda next time she visits. [$11.50]
Ultimate Star Wars
A trained tauntaun of your own would be a fantastic gift. Sadly, Echo Base won’t ship them to Earth. Instead, consider this newly released large-format hardcover book to explore the Star Wars galaxy chronologically. It’s packed with in-depth information about characters and storylines. Yes, it has photos of tauntauns. [$26.49]
Clothing Banned Book Socks
Ankle socks with a kick, these Banned Book Socks feature titles on one foot and strike-outs on the other. Wearable all year ’round, not just during Banned Books Week. Made of nylon, polyester, spandex, and cotton; machine wash. [$10]
eShakti Gift Card
eShakti lets Mom customize clothing in sizes from 0-33. With numerous patterns and styles, she can pick out her favorite neckline, hem length, and sleeves style. The online retailer features a wide variety of fabrics. GeekMom Fran likes the cotton dresses very much. Did we mention that most dresses feature actual full-size pockets that you can put things in? Yes. [Varies]
Friendly Oak Geeky Tees
Printed on super soft American Apparel tees, these women’s shirts come in a variety of geeky designs: An octopus in a top hat! Sloths! Hot air balloons! Pirate ships! Bugs! Books! Dinosaurs! Bats! [$18 to $19 each]
High Commander Cardigan
Mom is the ultimate power in the universe, and now she can show her Imperial strength with the High Commander Cardigan from Her Universe. The light sweater is perfect for everyday cosplay, but subtle enough to pass as a simple gray sweater. But true Star Wars fans who catch a glimpse of the insignia on the front will give Mom a knowing smile. [$50]
Hot Topic’s Orphan Black Fit & Flare Dress
Hot Topic’s latest television show-themed clothing line is Orphan Black, and the red DNA-patterned flare dress is a standout. One of the best things about this simple dress is you don’t have to be a fan of this popular sci-fi series to appreciate the cool DNA double-helix design. This could be the perfect gift for science teachers… or just any mom who loves and appreciates the building blocks of life. Keep in mind Hot Topic’s women’s clothes tend to run in juniors’ sizes, so it may be a smart idea to get a size larger than Mom would usually wear. Oh, and FYI: This looks cute with another item in the Orphan Black line, the Lightweight Ombre Open Cardigan. [$29.50]
Marvel Ladies Knee High Socks
Comic book fans of Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Spider-Woman will wear these knee-high socks with pride. Whether she’s padding around the house stealthily in Black Widow socks or channeling her inner Princess Sparklefists in her Captain Marvel knee-highs, Mom will feel like a superhero in these ThinkGeek exclusives. [$14.99]
Octopus Arm Cozies
Above the elbow arm cozies are a stylish way to tell Mom she’s cool and keep her warm at the same time. Sock Dreams has several styles and colors, but everything goes better with cephalopods. Made of 95-percent cotton with spandex; machine washable. [$25]
Solar System Knee High Socks
Mom will be walking on the sun with these Solar System Knee Highs from Sock Dreams. Made of 75-percent cotton with polyester/spandex, they’re machine-washable and keep their shape. For all the times she’s found your socks, or told you she loves you to the moon and back. [$10]
Toothless Tail Fin Skater Skirt by WeLoveFine
Help Mom show her dragon pride with the Toothless Tail Fin Skater Skirt by WeLoveFine. It’s flowy, it’s twirly, and it was designed to look like Toothless’ tail fin—complete with a white Viking skull on the back. [$25]
Electronics D-Link WiFi Smart Plug
If you’re anything like GeekMom Rachel, you’re constantly telling someone to turn off the lights. This handy gadget bypasses the people who never seem to learn and allows you to take control. Just plug the Smart Plug into any existing outlet, push the WPS button on your router, and the button on the Smart Plug. Then, you’ll be able to power off (and on) everything that’s plugged in via the mydlink Home mobile app, which is free for iOS and Android devices. [$39.99]
The Martian Notifier is GeekMom Dakster’s new favorite phone accessory. It’s a simple smartwatch whose only job is to send notifications from your phone to your wrist. What’s great about it is that there are no fancy bells and whistles; it’s simple, to the point, and the battery lasts over five days on a single charge. It also comes in white, black, and red. [$95.99]
Me-Shot Deluxe 2.0
Give Mom the gift of selfies with the Me-Shot Deluxe selfie stick. It comes with a remote to help her get that perfect group shot and it’s compact enough to fit into her bag. [$49.99]
Parrot Flower Power
For the mom who lacks a green thumb, this little device can be a lifesaver—or at least a plant-saver. It’s basically a little smart sensor that sticks right into the soil. Once it’s embedded, it can measure moisture, fertilizer, ambient temperature, and light intensity, and will send all of that info to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. In case Mom needs a little extra TLC for her plants, Parrot also has a library with info on thousands of plants, flowers, herbs, and more. [$49.95]
Philips hue Connected Light Bulbs
Sure, you could offer to mow the lawn or do the dishes, but the gift of automated lighting is something that Mom can use every single day. And it’s downright addictive! That’s because the hue offers remote control of lights via any smartphone or tablet. Even better, it’s also a nice decorative element, since the hue can be adjusted to make mood lighting in over 16 million colors. [$199 for the Starter Pack]
Sonos Play:1 Wireless Speaker
Just because Mom isn’t partial to extra-large speakers doesn’t mean that she can’t rock out. This small, mighty speaker is the least expensive in the Sonos line, but still packs the power needed to drown out Dad’s singing. It’s important to know that it needs WiFi or the Sonos Bridge ($49), as well as the Sonos app. Once everything is hooked up, it can stream music to anywhere in the house. Also nice to know is that you can always add on to this gift later, since it works well alone, in pairs, and with every other speaker in the Sonos line. [$199 each]
XSories Large Power CapXule
The Large Power CapXule keeps Mom’s GoPro camera safe and charged with the case’s built-in battery. [$79.99]
Kitchen Goods Don’t Talk to Me Yet Mug
For coffee- or tea-loving moms, for sleep-deprived moms, this white ceramic mug lays out when it’s safe to approach with questions about where your socks are, or whether you should be allowed to wear flip-flops in 20-degree weather. [$17]
Evil Genius or Everyday Super Hero Mugs
Is your mom a superhero, or does she get a certain amount of pleasure from being just a little bit bad? Be careful picking the appropriate one for your GeekMom—or buy both and let her decide how she feels in the morning! [$10.50 each]
KitchenAid Mixer Decals
If Mom has a KitchenAid mixer, it most likely lives on the countertop. Why not help her put a little bling into that permanent fixture? There are an endless number of decal options, from flames to flowers to a Flying Tiger Shark Plane. GeekMom Rachel has a set of superhero-themed decals for her KitchenAid and can tell you that they are easy to apply and stick quite nicely, even after a messy, marathon baking session. [Starts at $9.99]
GeekMom Rachel says that she loves a good cry—but not when that cry is initiated by cutting onions. Her husband got her a pair of these a little while ago. “They make me feel like a superhero and work like magic,” she says. [$19.95]
Triceratops Cake Stand
A 2014 Grassi and Bertoni design for the Museum of Modern Art, these dinosaur cake stands can hold all of Mom’s favorite cakes. Made of porcelain, the triceratops stands approximately 5 inches high, with the brontosaurus being 3.5 inches high. [$130]
Toys & Games Cluedo Sherlock Edition
Eagle-eyed fans of the BBC’s Sherlock know even the great sleuth himself enjoys Cluedo (or Clue in the United States), provided he wins. Now, the BBC has come up with an official Sherlock Edition of the classic mystery game. There’s a reason the original version of Clue is still a tabletop favorite, and now this version has made it even more enjoyable to match wits with friends and family around the table. A perfect Mother’s Day gift for those treasured family game nights and those who are still waiting… and waiting for Sherlock Season 4. [$39.49]
Fiesta Sea and Shore Series 36” Giant Octopus
Ignore all descriptions that allege this stuffed creature is a child’s toy. Those staring eyes, curling tentacles, and soft body make for an awesome cephalopod pal for someone your age too. You don’t have eight arms to attend to all your mom-ligations, but at least your giant octopus does. [$69.99]
A beautiful board game to play with the family. Players compete to see who can stay on the board longest. For two to eight players, ages eight and up. Each game takes about 20 minutes to play. [$24]
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
If Mom has fond memories of playing Final Fantasy or other Japanese RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a no-brainer. It looks fantastic on the New Nintendo 3DS, with phenomenal voiceovers, a sweeping story, classic JRPG elements, and a big world to explore. Hours of epic gameplay just might fill that Dragon Age-shaped hole in any RPG fan’s life. Just FYI: This title is only compatible with the New Nintendo 3DS. [$39.99]
It’s cold outside! You need a nice geeky feature to curl up in front of and keep warm! You know you do. We have animé, live-action, super hero, science, and a peppering of BBC. Find a little something for yourself or for a certain geek on your list.
Adventure Time: The Complete Third SeasonAdventure Time fans will really enjoy this DVD, which features our friend BMO on the box. While we all know how fun the episodes themselves are, true fans will also enjoy the DVD extras, such as the Lego introduction, interviews with show creator Pendleton Ward, as well as the concurrent commentary tracks, giving fans backstories and inspirations behind the episodes. $24.96
Batman: Season 1-3 Blu-rayPOW! BANG! BOOM! Looking for a nostalgic way to introduce a mini-geek to Batman but don’t want to break out the Arkham Asylum just yet? How about the bright colors and terrible puns from the original? $174.99
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey If you missed this show’s original 13-episode run on Fox, a little binge-watching is in order. Designed as a follow-up to Carl Sagan’s 1980s series, this incarnation has a similar format to its processor—but with way better production values and the backing of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the stunning 4-disc set is a feast for the senses, covering interesting and entertaining topics that will delight the entire family. Just a few of those topics include the “Cosmic Calendar,” evolution, oceans, the Earth, atoms, and even Sagan himself. $29.99
Cowboy Bebop: The Complete SeriesNice to see you again, Cowboy! Due out in mid-December, the remastered Blu-ray version of the popular animé series promises to be even more beautiful than standard definition. Three, two, one, let’s jam… $49.99
DisneyNature’s Bears DisneyNature’s Bears is a touching account of the year-long journey of a bear family in Alaska. GeekMom Patricia’s sons know and love the film’s narrator John C. Reilly from Wreck It Ralph; his flavor of humor in the narration is right up their alleys. He instills incredible personality into the film, and his storytelling makes this my favorite DisneyNature film to date! You don’t want to miss this amazing cinematography, either! $23.44
The Gamers: Hands of FateAfter a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dead Gentlemen Productions produced this gem. Straying from their normal RPG roots, this Trading-Card-Game-rooted story has the best production value to date for the group. If you aren’t familiar with the nerdy production company, go back to the beginning of the company’s offerings; start with The Gamersand check out their YouTube series JourneyQuest. $20
Guardians of the GalaxyThe blockbuster hit from this year is available for pre-order and will be released mid-December. This entertaining game of keep-away is a perfect geek gift. $19.99
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series Take a trip down memory lane and introduce the kids to the magic (and chaos) of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. All five seasons are in this box set, with Pee-Wee Herman and his friends Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne, Reba the Mail Lady, and Captain Carl embarking on all sorts of adventures. Included with the 45 episodes is over four hours of interviews with the show’s writers, actors, musicians, and set designers. Kids will love the episodes while the adults will love the stories behind the chaos. $96.99
Sailor Moon: Season 1 Part 1 23 episodes of the original, newly re-dubbed Sailor Moon anime are collected in this Blu-ray set (also available on DVD). Fans of Sailor Moon will be delighted to own this new set, which features both subbed and dubbed episodes without alterations to the story or characters from the original Japanese series. $79.98
Sherlock Limited Edition Gift Set A reason to purchase all three complete seasons of BBC’s Sherlock again, with every episode available in both DVD and Blu-ray format, several hours of extra content (including behind-the-scenes interviews), original character art work, and nifty little busts of Sherlock and John. $136.29
Living in the southern U.S., it’s hard to get interested in balls of yarn during the heat of summer. But when fall kicks in, I always want to start crocheting or knitting. Here are patterns (many of them free!) for eight projects to kick start your cool-weather crafting:
The limited edition set includes the complete Seasons 1-3 on both Blu-ray and DVD, with a bonus disc of behind-the-scenes featurettes, cast and crew interviews, never-before seen outtakes and deleted scenes.
Fandom-pleasing swag include a collector’s box, original art cards by artist James Hance, and stately little mini-busts of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman), which are begging to be on every Sherlock fan’s book shelf.
The entire set is available for pre-order for $179.98 from the BBC Shop, but will be available from other Blu-ray and DVD sellers.
This package makes me regret my decision to purchase the individual seasons the moment they hit the stores. I have gotten my money’s worth of these discs, but now they seem like a mere obstacle to justifying why I should purchase this box set — extras and all.
Having looked it over in a pathetically materialistic way, I have arrived at a very logical conclusion. Should the Blu-Ray version set land in my lap on Christmas morning, I could give all three of my old seasons, which are in DVD form, to my father, whom I’ve recently recruited into the Sherlock fandom. This way, my family can enjoy this wonderful series and its extras in even more clarity, and my father can have his own set of this series at his own home. It’s a win-win plan that would even make Sherlock himself proud.
Geeks and tea go together like Picard and Earl Grey. Granted, it’s the height of summer and a hot drink might be the furthest thing from your mind, but you can start planning ahead now for cool autumn nights by checking out this list of phenomenally unique teapots. Some are blatantly nerdy and some are subtle references to your favorite shows, but all are must-haves for tea-sipping geeks.
This officially licensed Doctor Who teapot, which comes in blue and chrome, is practically a must-have for any Whovian who needs a super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. (ThinkGeek, $39.99)
The Design II porcelain teapot and cups fit snugly together to keep warm even in the cold vacuum of Federation space. Saenger’s sets are unique and wonderful conversation pieces themselves. (Saenger Porcelain, $275)
Each spring, we try to make one Easter egg that stands out from the others using simple decoupage methods with little more than paper or string.
This often includes a look at whatever geeky passion is prominent in the pop culture world, and choosing five of our favorites from this and past years. With exception of the Spider-Man egg, each of these eggs took less than an hour to complete, and kids of all ages can make or help make them.
To use a real egg, gently poke a small hole at both ends, poke a toothpick into one end and mix up the yoke a bit, then hold the egg over a sink and slowly blow into one hole. The contents should easily ooze out the other end, leaving a lightweight, hollow shell. If working with younger kids, a plastic egg will work fine for most of these ideas.
The first three eggs use a basic decoupage method. Paint the egg with a layer of decoupage glue (like Mod Podge) or use one part water and one part school glue. Then, paste the images on the egg. Paint another layer over the top to seal the image. It will dry clear.
• The Classic Geek. The simplest by far, this egg is a scrapbook-style collage of all things geeky. Find small images from old comic books or magazines and layer them over the egg scrapbook-style. This lets you celebrate as many fandoms as you want on one egg. This also works well as a Christmas or holiday ornament.
• BBC Sherlock’s Wall. The floral, black and white, and much-abused Sherlock wallpaper is a quickly recognizable pattern among BBC fans, and free downloadable wallpaper patterns can be found on several fan and design sites. Print this pattern out on lightweight paper and cut it to fit around the egg. Keep in mind that the pattern will overlap itself a little on both ends of the egg, but it won’t be too noticeable. Once dry, use a toothpick and yellow craft paint to draw on Sherlock’s “happy face,” then gently bore five “bullet holes” near the face using a small screwdriver or drill bit.
• Game of Thrones “Paper Bag” Egg. This is a craft I did when I first started writing for my old blog, as well as for a site that was at the time called IHOGeek. I’m proud to say that thanks to a tweet or two from famous Game of Thrones fans like actors Aziz Ansari and (so I’ve been told) Nathan Fillion, this egg idea went viral…and there really is nothing to it!
Cut some round or tear-shaped “dragon scales,” about a half-inch wide, from a brown paper bag. Overlap them in scale pattern until covered. Run the side of a black crayon over the scales to antique them before adding the final layer of decoupage.
No, I don’t let my kids don’t watch Game of Thrones (obviously), but they do love dragons. This egg could just as easily hatch a Norbert, Toothless, Saphira, or Smaug.
• The Fourth Doctor’s Scarf. This is a straightforward string art pattern to make, as it involves just coiling different colored stripes (green, red, yellow, blue, beige, etc.) around the egg to resemble the striped pattern of the Tom Baker-era Doctor Who scarf. To be more precise, alternate the widths of each color. If you’re really a perfectionist, check out these Fourth Doctor scarf patterns designs.
Not into Doctor Who? This same idea can be put in place to make some Hogwarts house scarves.
• Spider-Man’s Web. This egg is a little more time-consuming. It also includes three more materials in addition to the floss: a balloon, about 20 seed beads, and a spider (either the small plastic novelty-like ones that accumulate around Halloween or a little craft store jewelry charm). You can also cut a small Spider-Man symbol out of paper (about a half-inch wide), if you can’t find these other items. The end result should look like a little spider’s web with a “radioactive spider” dangling in the middle.
First, pour a little decoupage mix into a small dish. Cut three or four two-foot strands of light blue, beige, or white yarn, and string a few red or blue seed beads randomly on each. Dip each strand in the mix, careful not to get them tangled, and drag your thumb and forefinger down the strand to wipe off the excess mix.
Blow up the balloon a small ways, so it is fairly egg-shaped. Lay each strand over the balloon in a web-like pattern. Use as many strands as you want, but leave a gap big enough to fit your spider through on one end. Let the egg dry overnight until the strings are stiff, and pop the balloon to leave the outer string art shell.
Finally, hang the spider image or charm on an additional piece of floss and place it through a gap big enough in the shell to accommodate the spider. Position the egg upright and position the spider so it is dangling in the center of the egg. Tie it off on one end. This egg looks best hanging, so leave a little floss at the end to hang it.
Note: I have done this craft with a real egg shell. It looks good, but it takes a little extra effort to crumble the shell and clean it out of the string egg. If working with kids, balloons are the easiest option.
Hang onto each of these eggs and keep an ever-growing basket display of geeky and creative happiness. Who knows where the bunny trail will lead you this year?
About one year ago, I came across a simple image on Pinterest. It read:
“The Doctor & Sherlock knock on your door. The Doctor asks you to be his companion. Sherlock asks you to be his blogger. Who do you choose?”
A simple premise, but a very tough decision! Who would I choose? I repinned the image with my own comment, “Depends on The Doctor. 9th for me, yes. Sherlock would be interesting but quite rude, right?”
Since then, that pin has been the one I’ve received the most comments on. First observation: Nobody on Pinterest can type or spell. Second, Doctor beats Sherlock! I pulled the data from the Pinterest comments and added to it the votes I received from the GeekMoms, for a total of 48 responses. Out of 48, 14 chose Sherlock, 20 chose the Doctor (in any incarnation), 7 tried to connive their way into picking both, 5 people had complicated answers (i.e. “it depends on the Doctor,” along with other factors), and finally 2 people went rogue by choosing Martin Freeman/Watson.
Some of my favorite comments were the arguments about ways to choose both. Good point, Madisyn, good point.
Perhaps the single most interesting answer I received came from my husband. “Why would I be a companion? I’d just be the freaking Doctor!” Is it just my husband or are all men this cocky?
What is cute, silly, educational, fun, magical, and leaves you wanting more? All the videos rounded up for your viewing pleasure:
Leaves you wanting more: At the top of the post. It doesn’t really tell you ANYTHING, but this will still get fans of Sherlock going.
Cute: Here is an anime girl dancing to “Moses Supposes” from the classic movie: Singing in the Rain. Damn adorable.
Educational: I made this little clip for my video editing students. Considering how many of us are putting together family videos to share this time of year, I thought ya’ll could learn something: Why Music Matters
Magical: I was checking out some origami videos and came upon this gem. Take a short break from work, get a cup of green tea, and watch.
My Son’s Picks
Silly: My fifteen year old son recommended this as his favorite video this week. Absolutely ridiculous. Freddie Wong is always entertaining, but be sure to check out the videos showing how it was made afterwards too.
Fun: And he also is bouncing over the new Lego feature film. Here’s the trailer:
When a show or movie reaches out and grabs its fans, they can be inspired to create amazing things. Geek fandom is known for crafting exquisite costumes, food, jewelry, and more, all for the love of a show. I recently discovered some geek-inspired beverages—officially licensed and not—that are perfect for grabbing a cup and settling in to re-watch your favorite episodes.
Sherlock Tea from Adagio Teas
Adagio Teas makes a wide variety of blends based on many different tastes and fandoms. At Adagio you’ll find tea blends inspired by movies like Harry Potter and the rebooted Star Trek, and shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and True Blood, all packaged in tins with striking fan art.
The Sherlock-inspired teas caught my eye immediately. Some of the most memorable scenes in BBC’s Sherlock happen when a character has a cuppa in his hand. There are 31 blends created by Cara McGee, so fans of both the show and the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will find something to suit their tastes. Fans who dream about a particular relationship on the BBC show will even find something that’s just their cup of tea.
I’m dying to try the MORIARTEA, described as a “spicy chai backed by more ginger. Guaranteed to burn the heart out of you. Because that’s what people BREW.”
Doctor Who Tea from Adagio Teas
Cara McGee of Adagio also created twelve tea blends inspired by Doctor Who. One of Adagio’s highest ranked fandom blends is the TARDIS tea, which sounds absolutely lovely: “Ethereal earl grey and enchanting black berry with notes of vanilla.”
You’ll also find blends created with the ninth, tenth, and eleventh Doctors in mind, and brews imbued with the essences of Captain Jack Harkness and companions Amy Pond, Rose Tyler, and Martha Jones. Cara McGee seems to be a true Whovian. Her ode to River Song in the form of a tea blend says simply for its delightful description, “I could describe this tea, but that would be spoilers.”
And if you find yourself in need of a good cup of a tea—I hear it’s just the thing for heating the synapses—you can pick up a TARDIS mug from ThinkGeek to complete the experience.
The brewmasters kicked off their beer series with a blonde ale that embodies the Lannisters. “Iron Throne is certainly fair in color and soft in appearance, yet it still possesses a complexity and bite to be on guard for,” said brewmaster Phil Leinhart on the ale’s official web site.
The Iron Throne Ale sold out quickly, but luckily the brewery promises that their next beer in the series will be available in larger quantities to satisfy the throngs of Game of Thrones fans. The Black Stout, inspired by the Night’s Watch, is a brew described by Ommegang’s Mike McManus as “a hearty and robust beer to fortify those heroically standing watch at the Wall. Like their lives, the beer is dark, complex and bold.”
The labels, created by artist Juan Ortiz, use a minimalist look to capture “The Trouble With Tribbles,” “Mirror Mirror,” and “The City on the Edge of Forever.”
Downton Abbey Wine from Wines That Rock
If you prefer a wine inspired by the past rather than the future, you’ll be happy to hear that a licensed Downton Abbey wine is coming soon from Wines That Rock. Although little is known about the wine, Wines That Rock assures fans that the Bordeaux clarets and whites will be authentic, thanks to a team-up with a vineyard with “over 130 years of experience in creating the world’s best wines so these are wines the Crawley family would have been proud to serve at Downton.”
The wine should be released in time for the premiere of the fourth season of the show on PBS.
Here’s a teaser for Sherlock Season Two, which will start its PBS Masterpiece Mystery run in the US on May 6th.
The series chronicles a modern day Sherlock Holmes and his adventures solving mysteries. Knowledge of the book series is helpful but not necessary. The adaptations loosely follow the originals with modern twists. Sherlock was co-created by Steven Moffat, the lead writer for Doctor Who. Several of us GeekMoms had the privilege of meeting him this year at a PBS event.
If you’re totally unfamiliar with Sherlock, I suggest you go watch the first season now, even if you think that the premise sounds lame. I promise it’s incredibly clever and packed with action. You can watch Series 1 on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and PBS. You’ve got less than a week to get caught up. Go! (Some PBS stations will also be broadcasting a Sherlock marathon Sunday to give you one last chance to catch up before the new episode airs.)
The great part about the show airing on PBS is that it’s available for free. If you can’t tune into a local station, you can watch online shortly afterwards, just as PBS did with Downton Abbey.
The second season promises to be every bit as awesome as the first. Perhaps even more so. However, I do have one beef. This broadcast is nearly half a year after everyone else in the world got to see it. I’m reminded of the Oatmeal. I suspect a lot of people are.
Moffat’s other baby, Doctor Who, eventually started broadcasting episodes in the US on the same day it aired in the UK. This was partially as a reaction to the rampant piracy and complaints about spoilers, and that was with just a two week delay. When will PBS finally do the same for Masterpiece shows?
At any rate, watch (or re-watch) Sherlock on May 6th, and come tell us how much you love it!
Last weekend saw the first-ever Official Doctor Who Convention at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Wales. The Centre is famous among Whovians not only as the fictional headquarters for Torchwood 3, the Cardiff branch of the organization tasked with protecting the Earth from aliens (the headquarters are beneath the plaza in front of the Centre), but also as the real world filming location for multiple episodes of the show. The Millennium Centre has so far served as the hospital in season two’s “New Earth” and the Two Streams quarantine facility from season six’s “The Girl Who Waited” along with a brief spot in “The Sound of Drums,” so it seemed the perfect location for this enormous gathering of fans; and gather they did. Over the course of the day (the convention actually stretched over the full weekend with Sunday’s events mirroring Saturdays so fans need only attend one day) I heard of people traveling from all over the UK, Europe, North America, Canada and even as far as Australia to attend. The event lasted from 9 am to 6 pm and was so cram packed full of things to do that I barely found time to eat. This post will focus on the three panel sessions in the main theater, with a follow-up post focusing on the smaller events.
The attending fans were split into two groups, Oods and Silurians, who attended the events in different set orders. My first event was the “Creators and Directors” panel hosted by Gary Russell. This panel focused on the production of a single episode, appropriately enough “The Girl Who Waited,” and featured input from its Writer Tom MacRae, Producer Marcus Wilson, Millennium Effects Director Neill Gorton and Robert Allsop — the man responsible for creating the Hand Bots. Together they explained the challenges they faced during the production of the episode and the ways in which they solved these. Some of the original ideas for the episode were explained. The Time Glass was the initial concept that sparked the story; however, it was originally going to be used for looking into a prison. In this case series six already had a prison episode, and so the story was re-worked to change the location to a quarantine facility. Tom explained that he was aware that Rory was rarely at the center of the story and so he wrote the episode to be a “good meaty story” for Arthur Darvil whom he already knew. He also explained how he dislikes “spaceships for the sake of spaceships” and prefers to write stories about humanity — “loss, ageing, all those things you see in a gritty realistic drama,” but to tell those stories “in a completely different, impossible way.” “All the impossible stuff,” he says of writing Doctor Who, “is about talking about real things;” the show is a “heartfelt drama about relationships and people and humanity, but told through the prism of science fiction.”
We learned that the episode was scripted to minimize the use of Matt himself as it was filmed back to back with “Closing Time” — a very Doctor heavy, Amy/Rory light story. The use of CG effects in the production was also discussed; whilst CG is often equated with “big” scenes — battles, sweeping alien landscapes — it is often actually used in small parts such as the images in the Time Glass and the sparks in the final fight scene. Tom explained that his personal brief for the Hand Bots was to come up with something that “would finally get made into a toy.” That hasn’t happened yet, although a Hand Bot will be included in series three of the collectable figures by Character Building. However, towards the end of the panel, a full scale Hand Bot was brought onto the stage to allow the audience to see the episode’s main baddie in the flesh, so to speak. Neill discussed the difficulties in aging Karen Gillan by 37 years so she could play “old Amy,” including discussing some of the prosthetics and makeup techniques used. The casting team had initially considered casting another actress until Karen specifically requested to play the part herself. Finally, one of the most fascinating anecdotes was related to one of the final scenes where “old” Amy’s hand is seen through the glass door panel from the inside of the TARDIS, creating one of the most heartbreaking moments of the season. Tom hadn’t realized you could see through the glass until he was on set; he checked with the production office as to whether the glass was see-through in canon and discovered it was (you can see out but not in) which prompted him to add in that specific moment.
My next event was the “Meet the Stars” panel, which was naturally attracting the most excitement from the crowd before it even began. Matt, Karen and Arthur all appeared onstage along with series head writer Stephen Moffat and executive producer Caroline Skinner. This is the first time any of them had appeared at a convention outside of last year’s San Diego Comic Con and it was immediately obvious that these are people who genuinely love the show they work on, Stephen describing himself as a “Doctor Who geek” who still reads articles in the papers to see what is about to happen on the show before remembering that he already knows. Together they talked about working together, their experiences filming the show and what they had been up to lately. On being asked where he gets his ideas, Stephen explained that to him it was about trying to reproduce the “way it used to make [him] feel” when he was a kid, rather than focusing on the details of the show he remembered. Matt also added in that the show is “not bound by space, by time, by genre, by logic” which allows them to “reinvent the wheel” every time; a lot of the show’s excitement comes from the stakes being so high he points out later, “it’s life and death every ten pages and as an actor, it’s literally — the world is going to end.” Karen revealed that the actors have a lot of say in the character’s wardrobe: “I think it’s really important to have an input into what you wear because that makes you feel like the character” she said, before adding that she likes the new direction Amy’s wardrobe is taking in season seven. This wasn’t the only revelation about the forthcoming series during the session; we learned that the day before had seen Karen and Arthur spending most of the day suspended upside down on set, much to the amusement of both Matt and Stephen. “When I was upside down, I did see [Stephen] just walk in and start giggling,” Arthur pointrf out, “that’s what Stephen does,” added Matts, “I get idle threats of ‘I can make you naked…’”
The second half of the session was given over to audience questions, and there were a lot, as most of the audience seemed to have their hands in the air. Karen was asked about her move to London from her small hometown of Inverness, “I was quite young when I did it so I had blind optimism on my side” she said; when asked if it was scary, “in retrospect, it was scarier.” A popular subject throughout the panels was the Doctor’s love life, especially his relationship with River Song. When an audience member asked if we could expect any more romantic scenes in the future, Matt piped up with his own thoughts on Eleven’s apparent confusion when anyone kisses him, “I just think he finds it ridiculous. What are you doing? Why are your lips touching mine? That’s silly!” The final question of the session came from a young member of the audience who asked Matt how you make a Sonic Screwdriver. Matt went on to surprise everyone by explaining the entire process before ending the session by leaping off the stage to offer a plate of jammy dodgers to those in the front rows. I’ll leave it to Matt’s excellent description to share:
“Well it’s basically essentially an amalgamation of TARDIS energy and the Doctor’s wizardry of mind. So what he does is he finds a load of different parts and he feeds them all into the TARDIS which atomizes them, very cleverly, and then after it atomizes them it spits them up through a tube which comes out right to the top of the TARDIS, bops out, bops back down, goes through a little paint job process where it goes psssshht then it whizzes out the TARDIS and there you have a Sonic Screwdriver.”
My third and final panel session was Doctor Who Uncut. Whereas the first had focused on the production of a single episode, this session covered the production of an entire season, from initial casting — naturally a hot topic given last week’s announcement of new companion Jenna Louise Coleman — to the order in which episodes are aired. Hosted by Barnaby Edwards, the man who has sat inside the Daleks since 2005, the panel included Stephen Moffat, Caroline Skinner, Casting Director Andy Pryor, Production Designer Michael Pickford, “Rebel Flesh/The Almost People” Director Julian Simpson and Director of Photography Stephan Pehrsson who explained the endless meetings, read-throughs and decision making that goes into bringing the show to the screen. Stephen explained that after he has pitched an overall season concept, he then begins assigning the individual scripts to the writers he believes will suit them best, sometimes offering multiple episode concepts to the same writer until he sees their eyes light up. Stephen revealed that when he writes a scene he really wants to see on TV, he comes up with ways to make it integral to the plot to avoid it being cut. There is even something he has written into the new season that he is worried about: “This morning I was thinking how can I make it more relevant to the end of the episode so they’ll actually do it,” he admitted.
This session also featured one of the biggest surprises of the weekend: the first teaser trailer for season seven which will air later this year was premiered, promoting gasps of shock and delight from the crowd.
Stephen, as usual, refused to elaborate much on what we could expect from this year’s episodes. However, we did learn that the Daleks would be returning. The Weeping Angels would also be appearing in the Pond’s final episode, which will involve a trip to New York — prompting immediate speculation online around a certain infamous statue. Stephen did rule out a crossover between Doctor Who and his other popular franchise Sherlock, “I have a horrible feeling that it’s a lot more fun in your imagination than it could ever be in reality” he says. One of the last questions asked was where Stephen thought the show would be in fifty year’s time, when it celebrates its 100th anniversary. “On television,” Stephen answered simply. With the way the franchise has been growing over the past seven years, it’s not so hard to imagine that he may well be right.
Entry to the convention was provided free of charge for this review. Come back next week to read about some of the other events that were taking place.
I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes geek since I first discovered Hound of the Baskervilles in the stacks of my junior high school library. After finishing, I eagerly devoured the whole Canon, up to and including the two-volume annotated set by W.S. Baring-Gould. I also tried to regale my junior high circle of friends with tales of Holmes and Watson. In retrospect, this was likely the first neon sign that I was a confirmed geek and not quite like my friends.
Even today, there are few things that make me geek out more than Sherlock Holmes.
At one point, I not only had the stories themselves memorized, I had the notes in the Baring-Gould volumes memorized. Are there two Mrs. Watsons? Was Watson wounded in the shoulder or the leg? Just what really happened to Holmes on his Great Hiatus? What did Holmes mean when he said his brother Mycroft sometimes ‘was the British government?’ Was Holmes really in love with Irene Adler or simply appreciative or having been bested? And just how did that dancing men code work anyway?
And it’s not just Holmes I love. It’s Watson. I adore Watson. I love that he’s so stalwart, that he puts up with Holmes not because he likes being ridiculed but because he sees the inner Holmes, the one who is concerned about justice but is just this close to giving into his demons, particularly drug abuse. Watson is the kind of friend we’d all want to have. Even Holmes, despite his snide comments, knows that.
My gold standard for a good Sherlock Holmes story has always started with a great Watson. Through the years, I’ve read a ton of Holmes continuations, homages, imitators, and adaptations of the characters of varying quality. I want so much to love Murder by Decree. It has Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as Watson. It should be perfect, especially considering the villain is Jack the Ripper. Alas, Mason’s Watson is a buffoon.
I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes movie last year starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. It had a great Watson, which I loved, but Downey–much as I adore him–wasn’t playing Holmes but some other character.
So when I heard Steven Moffat–the man behind my favorite season of Dr. Who–would be adapting Holmes for the modern day, I was extremely skeptical despite the source. Just because he can write the Doctor, it doesn’t mean he could somehow put Holmes & Watson in the modern day and make it good.
But he and creative partner Mark Gatiss succeeded in making Sherlock not just good, but great.
In the original stories, Watson is a wounded veteran of the Afghanistan wars. There’s more than a hint that Watson craves the excitement of the chase as much as Holmes, evident in Watson’s eagerness to jump in when the game is afoot.
In Sherlock, this idea of Watson as a thrill-seeker equal to Holmes is brought to the forefront, with Watson suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and finding life after the army rather dull and unexciting. Geeky aside: fans familiar with the Canon will realize that the writers are riffing on Watson’s wandering wound in a way that references Doyle and makes perfect sense in the story.
Sherlock is what a reclusive detective starved for intellectual stimulation might be today. He’s rude, arrogant and yet still ten steps ahead of everyone. In some ways, he reminded me of one of Holmes’ modern-day successors, Patrick Jane on The Mentalist, who also doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. He just likes being right. Unlike Jane, however, Sherlock lacks charm. It’s his sheer intellectual brilliance that is his one defining trait. In the original stories, Doyle hints that Holmes is viewed as an eccentric by polite society. In this version, Sherlock (perhaps jokingly) refers to himself as a high-functioning sociopath. He’s certainly a good example of the gifted but maladjusted genius.
The writers avoid giving Sherlock the obvious flaws, avoiding any drug use or other vices clear in Doyle’s stories and instead give provide new ones, such as harassing the police via text messages (Holmes always did love telegrams) and becoming so invested in being right that he nearly lets the villain of the first adventure kill him.
But what really makes this show shine is the relationship between the two lead characters. Outwardly, they seem mismatched but inwardly, they’re perfectly complimentary. Watson understands Holmes’ intellectual curiosity, Holmes quickly discerns another restless soul in Watson. Watching the push-pull between them in a true joy. While there have been numerous suggestions and lengthy discussion about whether Holmes is gay, the show stays with the original Canon version of Holmes as an asexual but that doesn’t stop the writers from having a bit of fun with the idea as everyone begins to assume that they are a romantic couple.
Geeky aside again: Martin Freeman is going to be Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. I am somehow haunted now by a mash-up of Tolkien and Doyle, with Holmes being the one who uncovers where Sauron has hidden the one ring.
The three Sherlock movies were broadcast in three successive Sundays by Masterpiece Mystery on PBS stations and the DVDs are available for pre-order at the PBS website. I highly recommend them for any mystery lover and I’m looking forward to the next set of movies, tentatively scheduled for airing in the UK next August. Hopefully, they’ll again be carried on an American station as well. Quickly.