Type: tv show – British
Creator: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss
Genre: Mystery/Crime, Drama
Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson’s adventures in 21st Century London. A thrilling, funny, fast-paced contemporary reimagining of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic. (source: bbc.co.uk)
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. What do you think of? For me, it used to be the old-school version where a tall, slender man wears a deerstalker hat and a cape coat smoking a pipe and standing next to a short, round man who wears a bowler hat and carries an umbrella. Now, when one says Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, I think of a blueish-purple scarf, a trench wool coat and colorful knitted jumpers.
Where do I begin? Maybe I’m being brutally biased or honest, but this show does deserve a 5/5 rating or maybe even a 10/5 rating (okay, now my bias is showing). I am head-over-heels with crime tv shows: Bones, Psych, you name it (okay, I have yet to watch CSI, but aside from that!), and I have always been fascinated with Sherlock Holmes. Granted my closest exposure to Sherlock Holmes is Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective starring Basil, a mouse that is awfully similar to the “high-functioning sociopath.”
Now there are fans who believe John Watson and Sherlock should be a couple, and I cannot tell you the number of fanart I see online, especially on tumblr, where… well, let’s just say it’s not suitable for a young audience. I must admit, however, that this chemistry is due to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman who play Sherlock and John respectively. I watched the unaired Pilot episode—buy Season 1 on DVD to check it out—and right off the bat, you can see these two play off each other well. I absolutely adore the awkward facial expressions that Freeman/Watson has, and Cumberbatch/Sherlock’s lighting-speed monologue. How he does not get tongue-tied is beyond me!
Cue the sounds of the violin, the instrument associated with Mr. Holmes. The soundtrack has always appealed to me, especially the opening and “Sherlock’s Theme.” When season two came out earlier this year, I was bashed with gorgeous tracks, particularly in the first episode of season two, A Scandal in Belgervia. I cannot tell you how many eargasms I had
; maybe Benedict Cumberbatch’s silky voice played a role as well. Nevertheless, I feel the music can’t stand alone if you listen to them outside of the show, which is why I marked one star down. In fact, when I listened to the OST for season one, each song was a bit choppy as if it were jumping from one scene to the next. It may seem frivolous for me to mark it down because of that, but I think a soundtrack should support its own weight for it to be amazing (e.g. Murray Gold’s “I am the Doctor”).
The transition from one scene to the next and how some scenes are angled are meticulous and seamless. They’re quite artistic for a tv series, but I think that’s how British dramas roll (I witness similar cinematography in Luther as well). Moreover, they take this artistry to the next level, especially in season two. I definitely recommend buying season 2 dvd and watch the behind-the-scenes clip. One word: astounding. I think what sets this show apart from other modern adaptions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work is the additional text floating on the screen, which to give you a sense of how Sherlock’s mind works. John Watson’s website seen in the episodes is an actual website and you can read entries of their cases; Sherlock’s website is pretty fun to navigate around too
(designer in me finds it funny how Sherlock’s website is grungy while John’s is clean). These little aspects make the characters seem more real, and they’re great fan service. The script is witty and entertaining. There are references to the books—with a hint of modernism, of course—and to British culture. An example of this is Sherlock explaining to Watson how his brain works. I recall in the few pages I read of A Study in Scarlet how he says his brain is like a file cabinet (correct me if I’m wrong, Holmes fans!), but in the show he says his brain is like a hard drive.
I took off a star from originality because the show is after all based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, and I must give credit where credit is due; however, creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss do a wonderful job incorporating stories of the Sherlock Holmes and integrating them into the 21st century.
The downside to the series is it wait between each season and there are only three episodes per season. The plus side is each episode is 90 minutes long, so it is like watching a movie each time.
A fabulous fansite to check out while waiting for season three, which is scheduled to be in production in March 2013, is sherlockology.