I’ve watched the old Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes, the new Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and I have to say that the BBC’s Sherlock easily beats them all. I have seen both seasons one and two of this series, but seeing as this is the first one I’ll try to avoid references to the second season. Each season consists of three, 1.5 hour episodes. Warning this post may contain spoilers.
In a word; brilliant. The storyline is brilliant. The acting is brilliant. The filming, directing, everything is brilliant. I absolutely adore this series, so much so that led me to read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock is the Sherlock Holmes stories modernised and set in 21st century London. Despite this, in every other aspect it is perfectly in tune to the books.
The first episode called A Study in Pink (not the pilot, I will talk about that later) starts from the beginning. If you’ve been living under a rock for 100 years and have no idea who Sherlock Holmes is, you could watch this series and it would make total sense to you. The first episode is told through Dr. John Watson’s (played by Martin Freeman) eyes as he tries to figure out Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). Benedict plays Sherlock extremely well. He has such a Sherlock Holmes aura about him; one of arrogance and brilliance. Freeman is also a good John Watson. I hate it when Watson is presented as an idiot and Freeman does the opposite if this. Watson is shown as exactly what he is; a caring invalidated army doctor who admires Sherlock’s skills. One of the unique things about this series is the way writing pops up on the screen to show texts, emails and even thoughts. Whenever I talk to people about this series it’s one of the first things they mention. I’ve never seen it before and I love it!
The second episode The Blind Banker isn’t as good as any of the other episodes. Unlike the other episodes, you can only really watch this once without getting bored. Despite this, it’s still a lot better than most TV shows. I think one of the reasons why this episode wasn’t as great was because it didn’t contain as many of our lovable characters; DI Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss), Sergeant Sally Donovan (Vinette Robinson), Anderson (Jonathan Aris) and Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey). The stories seem to really need them to add extra humor and interest to them. The guest appearance of Gemma Chan as Soo Lin Yao really brought down the episode as well. I can say I am not a fan of her acting and I’m glad she won’t be on the show again.
The third episode The Great Game I thought was even with or better than A Study in Pink. The start of the episode was priceless; so funny! The actual episode has a lot of cases in it that keep your mind racing. It also has the introduction of a character that has been hinted out through the first two episodes; Moriaty (played by Andrew Scott). We find out more about Sherlock and John in this episode too. I think this quote sums it up.
- John: “There are lives at stake, Sherlock! Actual human lives! Just so I know, do you care about that at all?”
- Sherlock: “Would caring about them help to save them?”
- John: “No.”
- Sherlock: “Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.”
- John: “And you find that easy, do you?”
- Sherlock: “Yes, very. Is that news to you?”
- John: “No… no.” Sherlock: “… I’ve disappointed you.”
- John: “It’s good. It’s a good deduction, yes.”
- Sherlock: “Don’t make people into heroes, John; heroes don’t exist, and if they did I wouldn’t be one of them.”
The Pilot was an unaired 1-hour version of A Study in Pink. Although it isn’t as good as the aired episodes I think it deserves a mention because it has some funny and interesting scenes in it. It also shows the difference between good editing and great editing.
The music in this series is also very good. Whenever I think Sherlock Holmes music the first thing that comes to mind are violins and the score for Sherlock does not disappoint in this field. I think the best type of music for a TV show/movie is either when you don’t even notice it’s there, or you really notice it and love it. One of the main theme songs, The Game is On, is here:
Favourite character/portrayal: Sherlock Holmes/Benedict Cumberbatch
Least favourite character/portrayal: Soo Lin Yao/Gemma Chan
Favourite scene: So many! The interplay between Sherlock and Anderson (hilarious) and the end of A Study in Pink, when Watson makes a very good analysis of Sherlock
Least favourite scene: When Soo Lin is explaining about her past
Rating; 4/5 stars