Monday, January 30, 2012

One more post about Arkham City: DLC Roundup

Even though the Internet at large is pretty much finished talking about 'Batman: Arkham City' and have moved on to other gaming pastures (Skyrim, Mass Effect 3 pre-release discussion, playing outside, etc) it should come as no surprise to anyone that it still plays an important role in my day-to-day life and that I still spend a lot of time thinking about it (particularly in light of my previous review, which perhaps had too much of an unintentionally negative slant to it).

It's certainly the best Batman game ever made, and honestly while there were some awesome elements in 'Arkham Asylum' that were sadly omitted in its sequel (most notably the 'cinematic' look of the original, the camera was in a lot closer for the fights), I think 'City' comes closer to what I've always wanted from a Batman game. Mostly because of the player's ability to freakin' roam around an open-world Gotham (sort of) and has tons of familiar locations from the mythology.

But aside from that, there's the plethora of downloadable extra-content available for the game.

Frankly, DLC is a very new thing to me. As a tightly-budgeted student, it always took an extra effort to buy games at all, let alone shelling out more money for additional features. And honestly, outside of content for games like GTA (which became available on a separate disc later on, anyway) most DLC seemed incredibly hokey and over-priced. Not to mention that seeing as I didn't have my own credit card, it was just too much effort to go through the hassle of borrowing the money from my father and paying him back.

Well, needless to say I have my own credit card now (to be more specific, it's one of those "Why haven't these always been available?" Visa debit-card dohickey gadgets) and I've been purchasing just a LITTLE bit more DLC for my games. First and foremost though, has been for Arkham City.

Wisely taking note of the massively-positive fan reaction to 'Arkham Asylum', WB Interactive made the wise economic decision to stretch out the extras for their next Batman hit, by making players pay for almost half a dozen challenge maps (mostly in separate packages) as well as two additional playable characters. In fact, if you bought the game second-hand, you even had to pay to download Catwoman (who forms a significant, but not entirely compulsory portion of the game's story). Some people saw this as a bit of an excessively shrewd dick-move on the part of WB. Certainly, it wasn't very convenient for people who bought the game second-hand, but I just see it as a clever marketing technique.

Anyway, let's take a look at the different downloadable content available for the game. First and foremost, there's the "Iceberg Lounge VIP Room".

Like the free "Totally Insane" map for 'Arkham Asylum', this map is basically a non-stop combat-survival environment, where endless waves of enemies attack Batman, until the player is defeated. While the concept sounds monotonous (and probably looks it, to people who aren't actually playing), it's hopelessly addictive and it's not until you really start racking up a high score that you begin to realise just how innovative, amazing and utterly Batman-like the combat system really is. There's really nothing quite like racking up an x400 combo while you play Hans Zimmer's 'The Dark Knight' soundtrack in the background.

"The Joker's Carnival" is a similar map, but it develops and expands on the original idea of unlimited waves of enemies attacking you. In this map, there's a time-limit and a level-up system. When you defeat a set number of enemies without being hit, you level up and a new, more advanced wave of enemies attack you (basic thugs, followed by armoured thugs, followed by mystical ninjas, followed by one-armed scythe-wielding behemoths, followed by Titan monsters). Every time you level up, there's a set of bonus points that you can 'bank' (think "The Weakest Link"). When you 'bank' points, they're added to your overall score and you go back to Level 0. If you don't bank the points and you get hit, then you go back to 0 and the points are wasted. It's a lot less complicated than it sounds and it really adds to the enjoyment of a 'survival' mode when you can get more points in less time and the enemies get more advanced. The best part is that if you rack up an x100 combo (which is easy enough if you've played the combat challenges for a decent amount of time), the Joker himself jumps into the ring.

Other downloadable combat challenges include "Wayne Manor Armory" and "Freight Train Chase" that come exclusively with the Nightwing and Robin bundle packs, respectively. Wayne Manor is just another basic three-round combat set-up and while the environment is really nice and the enemies are decently realised, it's not really any more impressive than any of the combat challenges that come with the game. "Freight Train" is one of the most peculiar and interesting maps available for the game. Instead of the basic 360" third-person view, it takes the form of a side-scroller, with 3-D characters. It involves your character running from left to right to get to the end of the train and disable a bomb, all the while dealing with waves of enemies. It's an interesting idea, but it ultimately fails, as you have to contend with a camera that isn't fast enough to keep up with you, making it extremely difficult to get a Perfect score.

Among the downloadable Stealth Predator maps, there's "Wayne Manor Main Hall", "Black Mask" and "The Batcave". Of these three, Wayne Manor is my favourite, as it's full of interesting little hidden entrances and destructible walls and all kinds of funny little things Bruce Wayne's house would have in case of emergency. "Black Mask" is fun, but no different from any of the other Predator Maps. "The Batcave" was always going to be a disappointment, as it didn't include as many familiar elements as people hoped (where's the giant penny?) and it would have been more fun to roam through the cave at your leisure, rather than have to deal with irritating villains. It's a bit of fun though and it's nice that it's considered to be a training exercise and not a real mission.

As far as the downloadable characters go, they're all a lot of fun and they're a great inclusion to the game. It's a pity that you can't play as Robin or Nightwing in the main city section of the game and not simply the challenge maps, but that's always a possibility for a future update to the game. And at least you can play as Catwoman. As far as combat goes, Nightwing is probably the most effective of the new characters as he's incredibly fast and really easy to get to grips with. Personally, I've really gotten used to Robin though and I feel his smooth-handling is most similar to Batman's (who remains my favourite combatist in the game). Catwoman is fun to play as and her combat is probably the most unique of all the characters. She's definitely the weakest character of the lot though and sometimes it's harder to string combos together with her as she can be a bit more unresponsive than the other, more agile characters. It's fun playing as a woman for a change though.

The other most significant downloadable contents is the assortment of alternate skins available for the characters. Robin and Catwoman both get two skins, Nightwing gets one. Batman gets a whopping eight, including one that was released entirely free, as a thank you to all of the fan support.

Additional skins have ALWAYS been the cherry on top as far as superhero games go, particularly for long-time fans like myself. When you follow these characters for years, you tend to see them incorporate different visual motifs that end up tugging different heart-strings. So it's a delight to be able to celebrate as many of them as possible when you're embarking on simulations such as these. Most fans will agree that even the worst superhero games have been slightly bettered by the simple inclusion of a few extra outfits ("It's just like getting new clothes!" as my girlfriend so wonderfully put it) and when they're added to exemplary games like the Arkham series, it just makes a perfect thing even better.

I won't go into detail regarding all of the skins, but I will say that I think it's just terrific that the developers went to the trouble of putting skins in the game that resemble the Animated Series counterparts of all the characters. Admittedly, Robin's is a bit jarring-looking (his head is HUGE), it's a shame Nightwing's mullet was omitted and I don't think it was a good idea to cel-shade the outline around the Animated skins; but I think they're a great addition and it really feels like you're playing through an episode of the Animated Series, when you're using one of these skins; especially as Batman with Animated veteran Kevin Conroy's voice!

Other skins I really like include the excellent Batman Beyond skin (with pop-out wings instead of a cape, just like on the show!), both Frank Miller skins (Year One and Dark Knight Returns) and the aforementioned Free Batman Inc. skin. The Batman Inc. skin fits the look of the game the best and it's a much better use of Batman's alternate logo (with the yellow disc encompassing the bat emblem) than any of the other skins that feature it.

As for the other characters, I think the Red Robin skin is outstanding as is the Long Halloween Catwoman. Nightwing only gets an Animated skin, but I love his default skin so much that I don't really mind that there are no decent extra skins.

The only glaring omission where all of these extra skins are concerned is the oft-mentioned, conspicuous lack of any costumes from the Batman movies. It seems odd that there should be issues concerning rights to different 'looks' of Batman, when Warner Bros. own everything to do with Batman lock, stock and barrel. Personally, I'd go as far as to say that I'd be willing to pay €50 (the price of the actual game itself), if it meant we could get movie-skins for all of the characters. There's just so much potential there, between the various 'looks' Batman has had in the movies (Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney and Bale have all had two Batsuits each and you're going to have to FIND me a Batfan who does not want to play as a pot-bellied Adam West), not to mention Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer, Julie Newmar, even Halle Berry), Robin (Burt Ward, Chris O'Donnell) and even, technically Nightwing (Robin's costume in "Batman & Robin" was basically a Nightwing costume and it was also the best thing about that stupid movie). While I'm happy enough with all of the costumes as is, a "Movie Pack" would bring the game to dizzying new heights of awesome and I for one would be more than willing to pay top dollar for it. Hopefully WB have something like this planned in time for the release of "The Dark Knight Rises" (particularly as there does not appear to be any tie-in game planned).

So once again, in case you didn't already know, "Batman: Arkham City" is compulsory for any fans who have ever wondered what it would be like to BE Batman. It's one of the most gripping and satisfying experiences I have ever had in nearly a decade of gaming and a lifetime of following the daring exploits of the Dark Knight. While it stumbles a bit where the story is concerned, it never ceases to amaze with its innovative, intuitive gameplay style and systems. I've never played a superhero game as thorough as it and I just hope the best is still yet to come.

P.S.: As far as the DLC goes, if you haven't downloaded any of it since you bought the game and you want to get it all in one go, you can download the DLC Mega Pack (it's called something along those lines) for the very reasonable 1,500 points on Xbox Live, which in real-life terms, comes to about a tenner. Given the hours of enjoyment you'll get out of "Iceberg Lounge" and "Joker's Carnival" alone, let alone the awesomeness of two additional characters (three if you don't already have Catwoman) AND the spectacle of the extra skins, it's well worth the money.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bootleg Blogging: "Figures Warrior" is the Greatest Superhero Crossover Movie I've Never Seen

While perusing through our fair city today, I happened across this astonishing gem of the action figure world for a meagre €2.

I'm utterly stunned by how completely epic in scope this figure-set is. Based on the image-saturated blister-pack, it seems to tie-in to a movie experience that  not only teams up Batman, Spider-Man and Superman (played by Christopher Reeve, as seen next to Spider-Man's left arm) but also a whopping FIVE teams of Power Rangers (meaning that on at least two occasions, a Ranger is teaming up with himself). I find it odd that as such a rabid fan of all of these characters, that I've never heard of this epic movie. To think I was looking forward to something as mundane as "The Avengers" this Summer, not knowing that there had already been a gigantic inter-company crossover movie like "FIGURES WARRIOR: SUPER HERO"! 

First off, let's take a look at the two heroes that come as part of this mighty set. First off, there's Batman, who's wearing some sort of 'West Coast Customs Batsuit' (with stylish, albeit utterly pointless decals), who does not appear to be in possession of a cape (perhaps the perilous plot that forced the hand of so many heroes led to the destruction of the Batcave...and all of his capes). Batman has a bizarre three-pronged design on his head, that almost looks like the head-ridges seen on the Klingon race. Perhaps this movie is so epic that it even ties into Star Trek, making this incarnation of the Dark Knight one of Bruce Wayne's half-human, half-Klingon descendants? It would certainly explain his unusually brownish skin-tone. This Batman is cross-eyed and seems to have extremely swollen lips; perhaps a result of the vicious battle which has just taken place?

Next, we have Spider-Man, but just like the not-so-caped crusader, all is not as it seems with our Webbed Wonder. Spider-Man has not one, but two Spider-Insignias on his chest (one for each pec). Perhaps again that this is some sort of descendant of Peter Parker's? Or maybe Peter himself was bitten by a SECOND radioactive spider, enabling him to do whatever two spiders can?! Just like Batman, Spider-Man seems to be appropriately battle-scarred, as the web-decals on his costume are faded and only cover the front part of his body. The blues are tinged with dollops of red throughout, possibly the blood of our relentless hero's enemies.

Both heroes are equipped with self-styled Justice-Bikes with extra stabilisation (they have stabilisers), with their names conveniently scrawled on them numerous different times. Batman even saw fit to draw a picture of the Animated Series version of himself on the side of his bike. Alas, there must have been so many units of this particular set shipped that on occasion the makers forgot to give the heroes their corresponding bikes, for the shop in which I bought this had multiple packs that featured two spider-bikes. The humiliation!

Between the two heroes and their mighty rides are a miniature army of Spider-Men; two black, three red. Perhaps one of this enhanced Spider-Man 2.0's powers include the mystical ability to duplicate himself into minimen?

Both heroes feature Crime-Stopping Chestlights to light the darkest corners of this Hellish new world wherein the Figures Warrior fight their epic battles.

The bottom of the pack promises that there are indeed "More items available" and that they have "Superior Performance". This has left me scratching my head. Does this mean there's a TWENTY-FOUR-FIGURES WARRIOR SET comprising the entire collection of Power Rangers and Christopher Reeve Superman? And that they have even more mystical, exclusive powers and costumes? If so, point me in the right direction to where I can buy this essential collection! I won't rest until my FIGURES WARRIOR: SUPER-HERO collection is complete!

A movie-screencap from "Figures Warrior: Super Hero"

I also really want to see the film that this action figure line seems to be based on. I'm stunned that they somehow managed to get Christopher Reeve to return for a fifth outing as Superman. I'm even a bit confused, as Reeve had long since broken his back and become paralysed from the neck down by the time the first Spider-Man movie came out, not to mention by the time most of the series of Power Rangers on display came on air. Perhaps they just stock footage from the many deleted scenes from "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace"? Also, why did the producers choose to go with George Clooney as Batman when "Batman & Robin" polarised audiences so completely? Perhaps the unusual blend of Power Rangers and Superman, coupled with Clooney's ill-advised return was what led to this movie tanking at the box-office and never being mentioned ever again? Either way, I really want to see it and will pay top-dollar for the DVD.

Seen above are Batman and Spider-Man, riding their mighty Justice-Bikes (as best they can) enroute to the next perilous Figures Warrior mission. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why everyone who owns a television should watch "Sherlock"

Yes, I know, I haven't been around in a while. Between work, my birthday, Christmas as well as all of the wealth of interesting bits and bobs that I acquired for my birthday and for Christmas, not to mention my weekly writing duties for the Superman Homepage, I've let "Feeling the Fury" slip out from under me. I never even got around to fixing the new logo. I'm going to try and focus on posting something every Wednesday, as I had originally planned to do.

Anyway, let's get to the reason we're all here.

"Sherlock" is one of the best products of television entertainment I've ever seen.

To give you a bit of background, I wouldn't consider myself much of a "Sherlockian". I've read exactly one of the novels, none of the short stories (even though I have a complete collection up in my room) and with the exception of bits and pieces of the older Basil Rathbone films, the only Sherlock Holmes films I've seen are the only-okay Robert Downey Jr. films and the hilarious Asylum Films mockbuster rip-off where Holmes fights a robotic dinosaur (I have also seen "Basil: The Great Mouse Detective", like a million times; does that count?). At the same time though, as Holmes has held an unusually comfortable spot in the public domain (and has thus been referenced and included in countless types of other stories across multiple generations of popular culture) for the past hundred years or so, I'm fairly up to speed on the various trappings of his stories: private/consulting detective, deerstalker, magnifying glass, Watson, Baker Street, Victorian London, Moriarty.

This is all anyone needs to enjoy "Sherlock", BBC's fabulous reinvention of The World's Greatest Detective (sorry Bruce).

The intention of the show was to resurrect the original intention of the stories: to tell great detective mysteries starring an intriguing anti-hero. Most of us know that while Sherlock Holmes is certainly still joined at the hip with the term "detective story" it's also fair to say that at the sound of his name, we immediately conjure up images of a foggy London lit only by the murky glow of gaslight; the sounds of the clip-clop of horses pulling carriages on the cobblestone roads. The legend of Holmes has been unintentionally bogged down by the bygone era in which his adventures take place. And that's where "Sherlock" comes in. Where Conan Doyle's original stories were set in the troubled, cynical time of the 19th century, BBC's "Sherlock" is situated in the identically troubled, cynical era of the 21st century, gloriously fetishising all that makes modern life so much fun (smartphones, the Internet, shiny buildings, mp3 players, the insanity of the media, etc).

But simply pointing out the environment of the series doesn't really do it justice. It adds to the atmosphere that "Sherlock" lives somewhere we can actually believe in, but what of the man himself? The delightfully-named Benedict Cumberbatch (the fact that he has such an elegant name actually gives plausibility to the concept of someone being named 'Sherlock Holmes' in the 21st century) breathes new life into the sleuth, resurrecting all of his classic mannerisms, with a more appropriately relevant manner of speech. Cumberbatch's Sherlock is an incredibly difficult individual to put up with, as he (quite correctly) believes himself to be above and beyond all of the 'idiots' with whom he associates (even his closest friends and allies). One of the show's trademarks is how it presents us with Sherlock's unique brand of "Detective Vision" by stylishly popping text up on the screen so that we the viewers have some understanding of the web-like spasms of deduction that are bouncing around Holmes' mind. Cumberbatch is second-to-none and delivering lengthy conclusions and deductions at lightning-fast speed to the other characters; for a lesser-actor it would mean death-on-arrival for their career, as the speeches could potentially come across as boring exposition. In the hands of Cumberbatch, nothing isn't interesting; nothing isn't relevant to the case.

Possibly my favourite element of Cumberbatch's Holmes are his scolding remarks. In the first episode "A Study in Pink" (a loose update of the very first Holmes story; the one I actually did read the whole way through, "A Study in Scarlet"), while trying to deduce a killer's location, Sherlock shouts at everyone to stop moving and stop thinking, so that he can think. What really gets me though, is when he sick-burns forensic scientist Anderson (who hates Sherlock), asking him to turn around and face the wall.

While Cumberbatch is a grand, delightful, sexy star, beautifully English and thoroughly credible; the show needs a stronger foundation than just its title character. In this regard, Martin Freeman's John Watson is the secret weapon of "Sherlock". As the original comedy sidekick, Watson (like Robin, the Boy Wonder) has always been a bit problematic to portray in any interesting way. He's really only there as a talking-board, off whom Holmes can bounce ideas out loud. Traditionally, he's allowed us the viewers to have someone we can relate to, someone who's mostly clueless to the art of detection and criminology (in the original stories, most of them were actually written as if they were being told by Watson himself). He's the likable everyman, helping the dashing hero. He's Jimmy Olson, he's Rick Jones, he's you or me. At the same time though, Conan Doyle did envision him as something of a romanticised version of you or me. In order to make it remotely credible that Watson would accompany Holmes, he was given a past as an army doctor from Afghanistan.

The "Sherlock" series has expanded upon this idea by making him removed and isolated from everyday life upon his return from the war. Accompanying Sherlock has given him a new lease on life and has returned him to the adventures of war he sorely craves, despite himself. While John (as he is more commonly referred to, in this less-formal incarnation) does certainly provide comic relief, more often than not it's actually at the eccentric Sherlock's expense, rather than the other way around. John is the one who has to key Sherlock in on tact and decency; how to act around people without repelling them completely. A lot of the time, he also has to fill him in on elements of popular culture (Sherlock's never seen a James Bond film, according to John's wonderful meta-fictional blog; Sherlock and Molly have similar sites) and even basic common knowledge like the fact that Earth revolves around the Sun (borrowed from the original stories). John's real, human strength is his total devotion and faith in Sherlock against all odds, even in the face of death.

Just like the viewers, John never stops believing that Sherlock's going to save the day; but thanks to Martin Freeman's excellent, understated performance, we never have any trouble accepting John's alliance with him. If anyone deserves an acting award for "Sherlock", it's Martin Freeman. While Cumberbatch is tremendous at long, complicated, lightning-fast dialogue and wiry, electrified movement; he is still basically chewing big lumps of London scenery in every act. Freeman's performance has to remain quiet and utterly realistic at all times, while the viewers can never forget his military background. Everything in Freeman's performance is beautiful in its subtlety, from the way he moves and holds himself, to the way he restrains his speech at times.

Martin Freeman's earlier role as Tim Canterbury in the original version of "The Office" probably shouldn't go unmentioned, as John and Tim share many common traits. Just like Tim, John is the only recognisably 'normal' person in the crazy world of "Sherlock". Indeed, John Watson almost seems like the kind of man Tim Canterbury always dreamed of being, if he could ever get his act together and escape the dreadful Slough branch of Wernham & Hogg Paper Company. One last thing about Freeman's Watson is that unlike the devilishly sexy Jude Law or the cartoonish Nigel Bruce, Martin Freeman actually looks like the deceptively tough everymen you see on Sky News on the frontlines of Iraq or Afghanistan.

**MINOR SPOILERS (for people who haven't seen the First Series)**

The supporting cast of "Sherlock" are also great; all of them being memorable in their own way. Rupert Graves adds a little bit more competence to Detective Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, who always came across as a complete buffoon in other incarnations. Una Stubbs is Mrs. Hudson, landlady and reluctant housekeeper of the dynamic duo of Sherlock and John, and effortlessly comes across as the kind of progressive, modern-thinking Nana everyone has. "Sherlock" executive producer Mark Gatiss actually plays Sherlock's shady brother Mycroft, leaning from comedic to very serious styles of characterisation. Mycroft's involvement with various branches of the Government both on British shores and abroad is what drives much of the over-arching story of the series (at least in the first two series, anyway). Finally there's Molly Hooper, an original character created for the series, played by Loo Brealey. Molly is the long-suffering, dreadfully sweet young girl who works at the morgue at St. Barts' Hospital and whose schoolgirl weakness for Baker St. detectives allows Sherlock to use her place of work as he sees fit. In a lesser programme, a character such as this would be used and abused as a throwaway plot device; however Molly is developed beautifully throughout the two sets of three stories.

Finally, there's Andrew Scott as Moriarty, the one point of contention for viewers, where the cast is concerned. Truthfully, I can see why people aren't enamoured with him, but I view him as an acquired taste. I might be wrong, but I believe Scott is the only actor to have played Moriarty who has actually been Irish. Not only this, but in "Sherlock" he is given the manner of a cocky, pompous young brat who stinks of money, privilege and excessive intelligence, the likes of which I encountered so many times as I grew up. For some people, he comes across as hammy, but for me, he never ceases to be sinister and always gives off creepy vibes of total insanity.


If there is anything I could possibly criticise where the show is concerned, it would only be regarding the actual plots of the 90-minute episodes. The first episode "A Study in Pink" had a wonderfully exciting, pulpy plot to it that was plausible, easy enough to follow and connected well with the other episodes. "The Blind Banker" however, was a lot weaker, much more convoluted and had a rushed feeling about it. The first series finished off with "The Great Game" which brought back the first episode's excellence and reminded us why this was such a high-quality series.

The second series has been a triumph from beginning to end. I liken the step-up in scope between the first and second series as similar to "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight". Like "Begins", the first series of "Sherlock" was a fun, character-driven adventure story that had us cheering the whole way through, certain that the heroes would emerge victorious. Series 2 of "Sherlock" was more epic in scope, with far grander villainous plots, greater stakes and a far lesser certainty that everything was going to turn out okay for Sherlock and John. I don't want to give too much away, but the finale "The Reichenbach Fall" was very similar both in story and tone to "The Dark Knight". Like "The Blind Banker" the only episode of the second series that could be regarded as 'filler' was once again the second episode, but luckily enough, it was an excellent filler episode at that, and a tremendous update of the most well-known Holmes story "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (renamed here as "The Hounds of Baskerville").

For me, the most frustrating aspect of "Sherlock" has got nothing to do with the actual series or its level of quality. It's got more to do with the fact that it exists at a time when another, very different version of Sherlock Holmes is conquering the silver screen.

Don't get me wrong, Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" films are a fun waste of two-and-half hours and there certainly are worse superhero films (I consider Holmes a superhero, the same way I consider James Bond a superhero, by the way). There's some spectacular action and combat in them and as much as I'd love to at times, it's impossible to dislike Robert Downey Jr. when he's onscreen. Unfortunately, unlike "Sherlock" and other versions of Holmes, Ritchie's movies aren't really detective stories. They're much more based in an adventure format, with fisticuffs and derring-do the main centrepieces; the focus on detective-work is usually only used to advance Holmes and Watson from one explosive setpiece to another, with no real mystery to solve. In a lot of ways, this reminded me of the kind of detective-work that takes place in a Batman story, where the question is rarely "whodunnit" but more "we know the Joker/Riddler/Two-Face/Whoever did it and we have to find them using DETECTIVE WORK". In fact, in the wonderful side-missions of "Arkham City" where Batman is trying to track down the mercenary Deadshot, there's a scene where he finds the remains of a sniper rifle Deadshot used and it's almost identical to a scene in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" where Holmes tries to track the movements of one of Moriarty's cronies the same way. Again though, they're enjoyable films. It's just very frustrating that millions of people are watching them, and may not even be aware of the vastly superior BBC series. Indeed, I was having a conversation with someone at work recently about how much I enjoyed "Sherlock" for about five minutes and he agreed with me wholeheartedly, adding that it was a wonderful time in the cinema and he couldn't wait to see Robert Downey Jr's next film!

Returning to the topic of "Sherlock" itself, the creators have already announced that the third series is definitely happening, as soon as Cumberbatch and Freeman (who are deservedly on their way to Hollywood fame and fortune as the villain of the new "Star Trek" and the star of "The Hobbit" respectively) are available. Both stars have expressed an eagerness to return for more Baker St. hijinks. I'll be waiting with my hilariously-out-of-place deerstalker and my stylish £1,500 Belstaff coat at the ready.

By the way: Have I mentioned how awesome the music in the show is? It's awesome. Thanks to David "James Bond movies" Arnold for the epic opening theme and the awesome action theme that I have as my ringtone.