Webseries: Whitlock – A Study in Starlet
Whitlock – A Study in Starlet
by Redmond Fitzpatrick and Lauren Tess
Whitlock Season One consists of five approx. 5-8 minute long episodes which evolve around the slightly grumpy Sophie Whitlock (Lauren Tess, who also co-wrote the series), a private detective and serial tea-spiker, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, who gets a new flat mate, the slightly gullible, happy-go-lucky and open minded Fawn Watkins (Mary Guilliams). The first meeting turns out to be an interview for which Whitlock spikes Watkins’ tea so she will talk about herself without inhibitions. Passing the test, Whitlock accepts her as her flat mate. Soon after the move, the mystery of a killed Hollywood starlet leads Whitlock on a chase through her neighborhood. Since she doesn’t have a driver’s license, she talks Watkins into driving her and in this roundabout way she very soon she becomes a proper sidekick.
The series is funny, colorful, over the top, and a very Californian take on Sherlock Holmes. It might not quite fit in with the other updated Sherlock Holmes adaptations, and should be watched rather as a light hearted parody than a serious adaptation or homage, but it does offer its own individual take on a genderbent, Californian Sherlock Holmes. Some of the dialogue is quite corny and the case itself is rather heavy on Hollywood stereotypes, but I found that upon a second watching the series is quite entertaining and grows on you and in the end I was disappointed that there were only those five episodes.
The female Holmes and Watson characters are a delight and the actresses have a wonderful chemistry which, after a slightly worrying start due to the unsolicited drugged Q&A upon their first meeting, develops into a genuine, if not (yet) friendship, but definitely a believable mutual interest in living and working with each other.
The case itself is a little silly, but follows the tropes of detective stories perfectly, with red herrings, scattered clues, wrong suspects, false suspects and deductions. Another highlight is Detective Ledet (Alexis Jacknow), who is weary of Whitlock’s methods, but has to admit that she cleverly solved yet another case in the final episode.
While the series is relatively short and, because of its remote setting and different tone and approach to the matter, takes a while to get used to, I dearly hope that more episodes will be produced, because the female cast is doing a wonderful job at finding a new angle to the detective and his sidekick and it is clearly a labor of love. You can watch the first series A Study in Starlet here or buy the DVD on Amazon.
Maria teaches English Literature at Leipzig University, Germany, published a German introduction to Sherlock Holmes and is a fan of all things Holmes – but especially of the Canon stories and Sherlock BBC. Contact her at @stuffasdreams & firstname.lastname@example.org