TV – Sherlock: Season 3: A+

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While my favorite episode remains season 2’s “A Scandal in Belgravia”, season 3 has some fantastic episodes, including the funniest of the series so far. It introduces Mary, who melds wonderfully into the cast, complimenting Sherlock and Watson’s relationship without disrupting it. Both of the main actors have found extensive work on some great films, but Sherlock continues to showcase their best performances.

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Movie – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: B+

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Perhaps my love of the first Hobbit was excessive. Possibly, I overlooked its faults due to my love of The Lord of the Rings. But this time, I just couldn’t get past some things. It wasn’t about the titular Hobbit, but rather out-of-theme wizard duels, forced love triangles, and epic end-of-the-world stakes. While Bilbo proclaimed his famous, “I’m going on an adventure!” in Unexpected Journey, he now is forced to wade through a grimdark epic instead. That said, there were moments when the light adventure story I longed for came out, most notably during the river-riding scene, one of the best cinematic moments of the year. And Smaug’s scenes with Bilbo were stupendous, though Smaug’s video game boss fight with the dwarves was decidedly not. Everything padding the film so as to trilogy-ify the story did nothing but bog it down, but even more so than part one.

Movie – The World’s End: A+

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I love me some good wordplay and The World’s End is bursting with hilarious dialog. But that isn’t to say the action wasn’t up to par too. All the actors were at their best, especially Pegg and Frost. And it was full of great tie-ins to Wright’s other two films in his “trilogy”, though they risk moving from “signatures” to “evidence of a lack of ideas.” But not yet. Right now they’re still delicious icing on an even more tasty cake.

TV – Sherlock: A+

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A lot of thought went into this show. Details and nuances often delight and then disappear into the pull of the engaging plots. The introduction of Mycroft is perfect and Moriarty is re-imagined better than I could’ve hoped. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is exactly right but Freeman’s Watson really makes the show for me. The first episode of the second season is a masterpiece.

Movie – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: A+

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While the Lord of the Rings trilogy is epic and awesome, The Hobbit is fun and energetic. I was surprised to find myself more impressed with the visuals than I was with LOTR. The exposition flashbacks were especially amazing, each dwarf and orc looking fantastic. The only time I felt it dragging was when they departed from the primary source material to further establish its position as a prequel (and no doubt pad the length enough to account for 3 three-hour films.) As Peter Jackson had done before, everything lived up to, or exceeded, what I had envisioned.