TV Series: Sherlock

on Friday, March 16, 2012
His popped collar gives him power. 

So I don't want much television because most television is total crap. I haven't found it worth my time to sift through all the garbage in an attempt to uncover something that will be only mildly entertaining, and since watching TV takes so much time anyway I tend to not bother. TV also has a knack of starting something off fresh and original (like Pushing Daisies) and then either falling into a typical inter-character dull drama (The Office) or just going totally off the rails (Pushing Daisies again). This is also why I'm not all that miffed Firefly only got a first season: who knows if they wouldn't have messed that up?

Anyway, point is that I usually not watch much TV, and when I do it tends to be British TV (like stuff on the BBC) because they are actually funny and subtle and usually have original ideas. So, since I hate every show, it should be worth noting that I think Sherlock is one of the best things I've seen ever on television.

It's premise isn't exactly novel, after all those not-quite-as-good movies with Robert Downy Jr. are making mad bank at "modernizing" (or in that case "steampunkizing") Sherlock Holmes. The difference is that Sherlock completely modernizes it, setting it up in a modern day London. It also actually adapts the stories to fit in this setting without losing the original integrity (for the most part). Rather than being a writer, Watson blogs their adventures. Sherlock very clearly has a form of Asperger Syndrome, something characters point out but never really bring up with him. While Downy's Holmes was a jerk, he was sort of a crazy, likeable one. This Sherlock (as he is called, not Holmes) is very much true to the original character in that his only real likeable trait is the fact is he extremely intelligent; his social skills are horrendous and he has Watson as the soft-spoken, sensible foil. The balance works out extremely well.

Both the writing and the acting are superb. While there are a few missteps (the second episode of the first Series isn't that great, and the way a massive cliffhanger at the end of Series 1 resolves at the start of Series 2 plays like a huge cop-out), as a whole the show is very watchable, extremely witty, and immediately grabs you into its world. Again, this might be due to the loyalty to the source material, but Sherlock works on that fundamental level that good television does: it makes you care and takes you on a trip.

Each Series has only three episodes, and each episode is about an hour and a half long, so the length of a short movie. The have reoccurring characters but the main mysteries don't really carry over between (except the end of Series 1 to the start of Series 2), so they are great to just sit down and watch one episode (if you can) and you can leave it at that.

As it stands, this as Breaking Bad I consider to be the best shows on television. Smart, funny, clever, and exceptionally well acted, Sherlock is a treat. The first Series is on Netflix streaming, so if you have that you really should get on it.


buddy2blogger said...

Great post about the series.

I respectfully disagree with you about this version of Holmes being very faithful to the canon. The canonical Holmes was a Bohemian gentleman, who while being reserved and aloof, was definitely not a sociopath by any stretch of imagination. Watson remarked about Holmes at the end of The Final Problem - " ..I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known".

Can't imagine Cumberbatch's Holmes fitting that description. Just my 2 cents though :)

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