Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is called the Freak by the police force but finds himself with a new partner. Doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman) has just returned from battle in Afghanistan and is trying to reenter society. When a mutual friend introduces him to Sherlock, Sherlock and Watson find themselves sharing 221B Baker Street and working as “assistants” to the police on some of the biggest crimes. Under the watchful eye of his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), Sherlock flaunts his intelligence and skills as Watson tries to temper his ego. When Holmes and Watson are faced with their toughest mystery, they learn a man named Moriarty could be their biggest competition.
The show aired on BBC One from July 25, 2010 to August 8, 2010 in three parts (each episode is about hour and a half). It was created by Doctor Who veterans Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and received critical acclaim for its modern take on the character.
Sherlock Holmes is a hot commodity now. The character is public domain so it is easy for writers to use an adapt. This series throws Sherlock in a modern London as an almost Asperger’s Syndrome type of personality who cannot connect to those around him. The character does have empathy and is rather vengeful if he is wronged, but most important is being right (no matter what the cost).
I much prefer this modern take on Sherlock Holmes to Guy Richie’s big budget movies. The series does employ some of Guy Richie’s style with how Sherlock figures things out. You get to see a bit into how Sherlock’s mind works. The show is slick without being “too cool” like the movies and Sherlock almost works more like House (from House) in that he’s right but wrong at the same time.
The casting in the show is great. Benedict Cumberbatch goes a fun job of bringing Sherlock’s ego to light. He can be cold and cruel without even realizing it and still shows (especially in the last serial “The Great Game” that he can be fallible. Martin Freeman who played the laughs perfectly in the original Office, also can take a serious turn while still getting some humor with his exasperation with Sherlock’s lack of respect for him. I have liked the few appearances by Mycroft and would love to see more of him in the second season and the show does a great job setting up Sherlock’s rivalry with the rather bizarre portrayal of Moriarty.
I do always find it strange in modernizations of story that the previous “fictional character” doesn’t exist. In this situation, Arthur Conan Doyle’s character never existed, and in turn, the ideas of the mystery wouldn’t exist since Doyle really helped develop the “mystery tale” (along with Poe). To erase a cultural icon like Sherlock Holmes from existence has ramifications that would be hard to understand and the basic crime-solving methods/mystery stock that exist today would not exist if the character didn’t exist…It is a strange paradox that raises general questions that a series like this can’t even answer (is someone like Basil Rathbone who portrayed Sherlock with great fame even known?)
Sherlock is worth checking out. At around four and a half hours it passes quickly and is quite fun. I quickly set out to get season two after finishing this collection so that is a good sign that it was interesting instead of series where I ho-hum about watching the next season and decide I’ll wait. Long-live Sherlock and keep up the clever writing.
Sherlock—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 A Study in Pink Airdate: 07/25/10
A series of suicides all match and police report that they are linked. As a man named Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) investigates the deaths on his own, he determines that they are murders. Sherlock is also meeting a new flatmate named Doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman) who is an Afghanistan veteran trying to get over his injury and rebuild his life. When Watson begins working with Holmes on the crime investigation into the suicide, Watson is contacted by a mysterious man (Mark Gatiss) and asked to report to him on Sherlock’s activities. As Watson and Sherlock search for the killer, Sherlock’s curiosity might be the death of him.
1.2 The Blind Banker Airdate: 08/01/10
Sherlock and Watson are called into a bank break-in by one of Sherlock’s former classmates. Two deaths are quickly tied to the break-in, and it appears that the killer escaped from a locked room. Watson and Sherlock are pulled in on a mystery to uncover a series of ciphers that tie the crimes. The path leads to the British Museum, a strange Chinese circus, a smuggling ring, and the search for the real target as Watson experiences the worst first date with his new girlfriend Sarah Sawyer (Zoe Telford). Plus, who is the man called M who is masterminding the whole organization?
1.3 The Great Game Airdate: 08/08/10
Watson’s blog about Sherlock Holmes picks up speed and now it appears to have some followers. As Watson investigates the theft of government documents for Mycroft, Holmes finds himself facing a master criminal mind using innocent victims to force Holmes to solve increasingly difficult crimes. Has Holmes met his match with the mysterious man known as Moriarty?
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