An episode of Snelheid.
Written by: Petike
Air date: February 29, 2016
Pilot episode. Around Sinterklaas, someone stole a priceless gem from the hotel suite of the countess of Neutral Moresnet. Flashforward to some two weeks later. Christmas is coming soon, and disaffected ASB-fighting veteran Pieter Molenaarzoon is at a crossroad in his life. When he least expects it, he meets an unusual new friend and both of them begin to form what will become a legendary detective duo. Can our heroes solve the case of the recently stolen Opal Wart in time for Christmas ?
The episode's storyline is a combination of the crime plot from the Canon's short story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (by A. C. Doyle) and elements from the Sherlock episode A Study in Pink (by S. Moffat), itself an adaptation of A Study in Scarlet.
Regular and recurring characters
As with any new series/show, writing the first ever episode can be the greatest hassle and take a good while. Since the concept for the show started very spontaneously in early 2015, it took a few months to really reach a consistent direction. The earliest draft of the script was something of a test run, mostly consisting of select scenes from Sherlock's pilot episode, parodied through an AH.com and Dutch lens. Later, as the idea of how to adapt the original story had further developed, confidence grew and the rather ramshackle draft started to slowly feel like an actual script with a beginning, middle and end.
Despite this, the idea to adapt The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle was there almost from the very beginning. Rather than straight-up parody the usual introductory story, A Study in Scarlet, or its adaptation by Sherlock and other SH series, choosing a lighthearted and small-stakes story felt more organic for a beginning that has to introduce most of the show's characters and concepts. Parts of the episode still parody A Study in Pink, but these are all character introduction moments, rather than the crime plot itself.
Modernising a detective story set during Christmas time proved somewhat tricky. There are numerous differences between a traditional British Christmas season and a Dutch Christmas season, not the least of which being the latter's fairly big emphasis on gift-giving during Saint Nicholas' Day (Sinterklaas). Another issue was the Christmas goose of the original story, poultry that has since mostly gone out of fashion in the UK for Christmas dinner, and wasn't much of a Dutch Christmas meat to begin with. Hence, the change of the goose to a current fad toy which could conceal this case's stolen gem. Originally, the toy was simply a stuffed animal, rather than the AH-themed furby send-up from the final draft, though this detail lasted only shortly.
The mentioned-only character of Horner from the original short story is considered a suspect and put to court based on fairly debatable evidence. This makes sense given the more limited capabilities of criminal science in the latter half of the 19th century. However, given Snelheid's 21st century setting, with its much more advanced crime investigation methods, Horner's counterpart in this episode is in less of a danger of getting falsely sentenced for a theft committed by someone else.
An additional reason for making this pilot episode double as a Christmas-themed episode is to avoid possible future clamouring for “Snelheid Christmas specials”. ;)
This first episode was very well received by its readers ("amazing work, would read again", "a surprisingly very nice read, the final line was genius", etc.). The reception in terms of the number of readers was smaller than in the case of other AH.com comedy series, due to a somewhat smaller exposure before and during the time of the premiere.