Monday, January 9, 2012


BBC Television series

Series 1

Won over by the crime drama Luther, I decided to take another trip into the realm of British television. Sherlock is a modern-day take on whom else, Sherlock Holmes. Setting Holmes in our current generation is a simple and yet surprisingly easy premise to grasp. As it’s straightforward to turn a lot of what makes Sherlock Holmes fascinating into something that persists even today.

A thing like Doctor Watson, Sherlock’s trusty assistant, is an Afghanistan war veteran to keep up with the times. Instead of writing about each completed case for instance Watson blogs about it. Instead of being a traditional drug addict Holmes is addicted to Nicotine patches. Grounding the show in the now, isn’t distracting at all as I thought in initially might be.

Benedict Cumberbatch really takes Holmes to an even more eccentric place than any iteration I’ve ever seen. To the point where Holmes is so enamored with the riddle that each killer presents that he doesn’t even care if people die. Sherlock Holmes is unlikable by the end of the first season; he’s an emotionless brilliant man but Watson (played by soon to be Bilbo Baggins, Martin Freeman) is the only one that actually cares for the fate of the innocent.

The show never gets too far ahead of the viewer, which is exceedingly helpful. Some shows get so trapped in their own ideas that they leave the audience behind, even the Robert Downey Sherlock Holmes is a little too reclusive in his approach to a crime – so much so that we are left in the dark to the how’s and why’s of the actual mystery itself.

Cumberbatch plays Holmes as a man that sees the world completely different, even mocking the average person’s intelligence. The show still holds your attention as clues are usually presented in the form of text that subtly pops on the screen when an idea forms in Sherlock’s twisted mind.

Martin Freeman is the glue that holds things together: that might sound like a somewhat benign thing to say. But even though Holmes outshines Watson when scouring a body for clues. It’s Watson’s grounded realistic thought that keeps the show from revolving solely around Holmes and his great wit. Watson may not have much input in the investigation front, but his touch of sanity keeps the audience from completely loathing Holmes, which is nice.

Each episode is the length of a short film. But the mystery, and performances keep you from realizing the movie like length; so viewing fatigue doesn’t set in. A show like this can become overwhelming with the amount of information you are presented with. But even the final episode, where Holmes has to solve five cases, never gets too bloated with facts that your head explodes. The show is smart but not so clever that you ask, “what?” Every five minutes. 

I continue to be impressed with the quality programming on BBC. Yes it’s probably been at the forefront of great TV for years now, but sometimes it takes awhile for people to gravitate towards what is popular. Luther and Sherlock are two shows I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past few months. Don’t be afraid to think and dive into the unknown, Sherlock will help you with that anyways.

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