I have one word to describe the first season of Sherlock, and that word is: Wow! Although I pretend to be hip to entertainment news, I was somehow unaware of the existence of this show. A friend recently told my husband and me about it, and we were able to catch the first episode when it aired on PBS. It was love at first viewing. I don’t know how to explain it, we just clicked. We laugh at the same jokes, we don’t have any extended periods of uncomfortable silence, and we finish each other’s sentences. You know how it goes. I should probably thank the friend that introduced me to the series that changed the last three Sundays of my life from bleh to “omg, the new Sherlock is on tonight.” I usually don’t do shout outs in my posts, but thanks, Brad– I owe you one (just one…he he).
Sherlock is a modern-day take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories (it aired here in the States on PBS under the “Masterpiece Mysteries” series). Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Sherlock, the genius detective (it’s debatable whether or not he is a psychopath) who has superior intellect, an eye for detail, and a knack for solving crimes. Sherlock has his newly acquired flatmate, Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman), to assist him with his cases. Each of the three episodes is a separate mystery to solve with a common thread throughout. As most of the fun in this series is trying to solve the mystery, I will end the synopsis here to avoid spoilers (you’re welcome!).
Personally, I have never been much of a Sherlock Holmes fan. I hadn’t read any of the books, and sadly didn’t think much of the Robert Downey Jr. version from last year. After watching this version, however, I kind of want to read the books. Darn you BBC and your love for classic literature!!
Besides, usually when I watch TV, I tend to multitask. I thought this had no reflection on the shows that I watched, but now I wonder. When I watch Sherlock, that is all I do: no checking email, no playing a game on my phone, no cleaning the house– it’s just me and the television. Now, this isn’t just because I find the story fascinating, it has a lot to do with how it is told. Since the show is set in modern-day England, the characters make use of smart phones, computers, and the like. Instead of having the actors read each message out loud or via an internal monologue (which can honestly be more than a little clunky), the messages pop on the screen. This, along with trying to solve the crime with the main characters, forces my full attention to the show. And I love it.
I also think the acting is pretty darn amazing. Yeah, maybe it is to be expected of any BBC show, but the characters of Sherlock and Watson seem to have made the transition from the Victorian era to the present one flawlessly. While still using some of the typical Sherlock Holmesian ways of solving crimes (magnifying glass, anyone?), they are also doing internet searches on their phones (I think the young people call this “googling” nowadays), tracking people with GPS, and running tests in crime labs. Cumberbatch is perfect as the extremely intelligent, virtually emotionless detective (he totally kicks RDJ’s butt here, sorry) and Freeman is just awesome as Watson, the Afghan war vet who tries to deal with the erratic genius of the famous detective (take that, Jude Law!).
Perhaps on a more subtle note, I really found myself drawn to how the show is shot. Some of the wide, exterior shots are so cool—half of the screen looks like it had Vaseline smudged on it, with a portion of the frame in focus. It’s just good stuff.
The series is available on DVD, and is so worth checking out (or try to see if they are still airing it on PBS). I was sad that there were only 3 episodes– I found myself wanting to watch more. As Martin Freeman was just cast as Bilbo in The Hobbit, I hope the wait won’t be too long. Run and buy yourself a trench coat and a magnifying glass—they will come in handy as you try to solve the crimes before Sherlock does.
Have a wonderful day!
Netflix Queue: Ha! I am just kidding– this wasn’t on my Netflix queue. It should have been though.