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Sherlock Review

Sherlock Season One Review

 

 A couple weeks ago we talked about Sherlock Holmes and the shadow that it cast upon the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I think of Sherlock Holmes as a large oak tree that Doyle tended to, without the shade that it provided he might not have had the time or the freedom to expand his other writings and who knows maybe without Sherlock Holmes, Doyle would have continued on as a poor doctor fighting to make ends meet.

 

  Like an oak tree, Sherlock Holmes has grown and branched out in ways that I am sure that Doyle never envisioned.

 

  In recent years there have been several interesting takes and interpretations of the character and stories, especially in the movies. It was only a matter of time before a new television series based upon the character would appear on the horizon.

 

The many faces of SHerlock Holmes

Your sexiness may vary.

 

  The BBC (British Broadcast Company) gave the green light to a new Sherlock Holmes series that would be unlike any other that had come before it. This would be a much updated version of the characters and stories set in modern day London.

 

  For anyone who watches a fair amount of BBC programming, you get used to the odd transmission schedules and number of episodes released per year. On this side of the pond we get upset with anything less than thirteen episodes in a series per year. The first season of the new re imagined Sherlock made up a total of three episodes, each ninety minutes in length. Season two should hit the airwaves over in England in 2012.

 

  The first thing that one notices when watching the new series is the strong similarities between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who and with good reason, as both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss the creators of the new series just happen to be writers on Doctor Who. In a weird twist of fate Matt Smith actually auditioned for the part of Watson but was turned down and later went on to become the newest actor to play the role of the Doctor on Doctor Who.

 

Matt Smith Doctor Who

Doctor Who was almost Doctor Watson

 

  The first episode A Study in Pink is a very different retelling of the story A Study in Scarlet. The episode opens with flash backs of Doctor John H. Watson's (Martin Freeman) time in the Afghanistan War. Discharged and now living on disability John finds himself sinking further and further into debt, when a chance encounter with an old school friend gives him the opportunity to split the costs of a new apartment with an acquaintance of his old friend named Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch).

 

Sherlock & Watson

Is it just me or does this look like the opening of a music video?

 

  Meanwhile a serial killer is on the loose in London but all of his victims seem to have committed suicide. Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) is desperate to solve the case and turns to Holmes for help. As the other members of Scotland Yard do not like to work with Holmes, he invites Watson along to the crime scene as his own personal medical expert.

 

  The series uses a nice mix of both new and old elements that keep readers of the original stories guessing till the end and yet you find the show is filled with several aha moments that make those same readers smile.

 

 The writing and performances in the series have been brilliant so far with the only exception in my mind being the reveal of Moriarty (Andrew Scott). He was unlike any Moriarty ever seen before and came across as a very cartoonish villain.

 

  Benedict Cumberbatch brings an interesting take on the role, presenting Sherlock as a highly functioning sociopath, while Martin Freeman's turn as Doctor Watson is everything that Sherlock is not, having the empathy that Sherlock lacks, but being very intelligent in his own right. The two actors play very well off of each other and the friendship between Holmes and Watson is very believable.

 

Sherlock run

I think he owes us money!

 

  There is a very different relationship between Holmes and the police in this series. Inspector Lestrade is very uncomfortable bringing Homes in on cases, but knows that Holmes is an invaluable asset, while many others in the department sees Holmes as a freak and remain openly hostile toward him, Especially Sergeant Sally Donovan, who thinks that one day they will turn up to a crime scene only to find out that it was Sherlock who had committed a crime out of boredom.

 

  Mycroft Holmes (played by writer Mark Gatiss) is much older than Sherlock in this incarnation of the character and seems to have some unknown position within MI-6. The sibling rivalry between Sherlock and Mycroft is well done, with poor Watson getting caught in the middle.

 

  Overall a fantastic updating done to a timeless character. Sherlock Season One is available now on DVD and Blu ray.

 

Final verdict for Sherlock 8.5/10

 

~Professor

 

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