PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery series just wrapped up the second season of the BBC series Sherlock on Sunday, and in case you missed it, this week you can buy it on DVD. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation has been reinvented many a time (most recently by Robert Downey Jr.); this series puts the criminal-catching mastermind in present-day London, with episodes evoking the original stories, but veering off from there. “The Hounds of Baskerville” (Episode Two), for example, centers on a top-secret military research complex on the English moors. Sherlock Holmes, circa 2012, is an anti-social, somewhere-on-the-spectrum genius, but not all that easy to like. Still, the filmmakers have fun with the canon (especially his trademark hat), but are smart enough not to tinker with the key ingredient: mystery.
America has a complicated relationship with its cars. Today they’re more like a habit we can’t quit, but once upon a time, the smell of gas was like the perfume of a first love. Veteran Detroit journalist Paul Ingrassia has captured those tender moments in Engines of Change, the inside story of the makes, models and men behind it all. And the men are fascinating, especially during the 1950s and ’60s, with creative geniuses run amok, building — and selling — everything from the 1959 Cadillac’s massive tailfins to the dangerous Chevy Corsair. It’s got a bit of a Mad Men feel to it. Ingrassia’s conceit works nicely, as he covers the span of our automotive history in 15 cars, from the mass-produced Model T to the oil-habit-busting Prius.
When I first heard the guitarless English band Keane, I was hooked. I stayed hopelessly addicted to Under the Iron Sea for months. Their follow-up records, Perfect Symmetry and Night Train, not so much (but still pretty good). With Keane’s fourth full-length record, Strangeland, I’ve got that feeling again. The keyboards have been recalibrated to their proper doses; where Perfect Symmetry was too over-the-top in evoking ’80s Brit-pop, it’s just spot-on this time. Melody, tempo and an all-around lighter touch push “Sovereign Light Café” and “You Are Young” into the realm of pop perfection. The other 15 tracks come pretty close, too. Keane has always lived in the shadow of their London mates also known as Coldplay, but no more: Strangeland is flat-out better than Mylo Xyloto.