Friday, January 7, 2011

Watched Lately: Sherlock

  • I admit it. I was the reason my wife and I did not get to see Sherlock back when it aired in the US the first time. I did not realize it was airing until all of the breathless tweets about how great the show was started to cross my phone. So to make amends with my darling wife, I tracked down a copy of the first series DVD set and together we watched all three episodes over the New Year's weekend. Now I understand what all the gushing was about.

  • For those few of you who missed it as well, Sherlock is a modern incarnation of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock has replaced his pipe with nicotine patches and makes his contacts by text message instead of wire, but he still is still the Holmes we remember. If fact, the creators have gone to great lengths to keep as much of the canon intact by finding modern equivalents for anything one might ask.

  • The actors, of course, really sell the show. Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing Holmes. His drive and his wit are there, as well as the aura that he's the smartest man in the room. Though he was good, Martin Freeman was perfect as Dr. John Watson. His everyman demeanor let us explore the world with him fresh. But there is genuine depth to his character as he tries to find his way back into society after leaving the war.

  • For as much credit as I give to the actors, I need to also lavish on the director of the first and third episode, Paul McGuigan. His great sense of style establishes a taut, tense mood that permeate his episodes. It almost felt like I was watching a Michael Mann movie at times. This is not be belittle the efforts of second episode director, Euros Lyn. You can see the great work he's done on Doctor Who and Torchwood. However his workman-like photography and a weaker script make The Blind Banker the lesser of the three episodes.

  • However, many kudos should go to series creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. The way they have updated Sherlock Holmes is nothing less than breathtaking. They managed to evoke not the Holmes right out of Doyle's stories, but instead the Holmes that we collectively imagine. When the frst episode, A Study In Pink, was finished I said to my wife "That was awesome." We went on to watch The Blind Banker right after and The Great Game the next day. I did not want to leave that world for anything.

  • If for some reason you are like me and missed the series the first time around, know that you missed something great. Track down the DVD and dive in. You won't be disappointed.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. i also quite enjoyed it, i ended up watching it on icefilms as soon as it had aired in england. i'm a big mystery fan so it was just a perfect fit.

  2. That wasn't on my radar at all, thanks for the heads up. Added to Netflix que!

  3. I love the move to modern times with the new show, it gives an old character a sort of newness feel to it. I am definitely looking forward to the new season.

  4. Was such an amazing show, I'm glad you got around to watching it.

    I was incredibly impressed with how they modernized it, not to mention the acting, the writing, and the cinematography. The only thing I was disappointed in was it was only three episodes. I know they say you should leave your audience wanting more, but sheesh!

  5. I've heard about this and the good things everyone has said about it, but I wasn't really sold until I read your post. Most of all the gushing I've seen has been like "OMG it's amazing" or "You just have to watch it!"...well, I have no doubt it's a good show, but it's still not much to go on. So thanks for the detailed write up and all the specifics, because this does sound like something I would enjoy. I'm going to make a conscious effort to track it down now.

  6. Yay! Another Sherlock fan. I can't wait for season two.

    My favorite character was that of Moriarty though. I think the young actor played that role in the climax episode to perfection.