“Mrs Hudson took my skull.” – Enjoying BBC’s “Sherlock”
I’ve had several folks pipe up lately and ask for new television show recommendations and normally I can only suggest either ones they’ve seen or some that are older and not as well known (like Due South). Now I can suggest a new show that I think many folks will enjoy.
Sherlock is a BBC series that takes the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and brings them to life in a modern setting. No, this isn’t anything like the Robert Downey Jr. movie so don’t panic. Instead, it brings in some amazing actors such as Martin Freeman as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch (who I’d never heard of) as Sherlock Holmes to bring to life characters that many of us have loved since we were kids.
I admit that I was hesitant to watch the first episode of this show. Perhaps it was the hype. Perhaps it was the length (an hour and a half per episode is definitely not for casual watching). In any case, I finally finished watching the first full episode this week and I have to admit, I’m now hooked and want to watch the other two episodes that are currently out. The first episode “A Study in Pink” is loosely based on the first Sherlock Holmes novel “A Study in Scarlet”. The first time we encounter Sherlock Holmes is through text messages and it sets the tone for his character and the show.
They take the character of Holmes and don’t even try to make him warm and fuzzy at all. Instead he maintains that curious detachment and connection from other people’s emotions while still displaying bursts of his own emotions at socially inappropriate times. Even Holmes remarks that he’s not a psychopath. He’s a highly functioning sociopath. Watson has been updated to modern times as well but still keeps the basic nature of the character: a doctor, recently wounded in a war, and sometimes completely thrown by Sherlock’s actions. The actors in the series, Cumberbatch and Freeman, are completely and utterly convincing as Holmes and Watson and I find myself now picturing them when I think of the characters from the novels.
The effects in the series are very few with only the wording of text messages overlaid on the screen or the discoveries brought up in text as Holmes brings out his powers of deduction. Even with the text reminding you that it’s very much a television show, it’s still easy to simply look past that and get lost in the mystery itself. By the end of the episode I was dying to know which was the right pill (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you watch it) and I actually gasped at Sherlock’s ruthlessness to get an answer from a particular man. And don’t think there’s only seriousness in this show, there’s plenty of moments where I couldn’t stop laughing. The dialogue and interactions between all of the characters is so well done that they can go from hilarious statement to serious pronouncement and you don’t mind at all!
If you were ever a fan of the original novels, if you enjoy an excellent murder mystery, or if you’re just looking for a new show to try out, I suggest you try “Sherlock”. Luckily the first season (all three episodes) was just released in the US on dvd. So put it on your queue and let me know what you think!