The Sign of Three (Sherlock season 3 Episode 2) TV Show Review

The middle episode in the previous episodes has usually been my least favourite of the three, so I was expected the same of this episode as well. However, The Sign of Three turned out a lot better than I thought it would. The first paragraph will be a spoiler-free review for those who are still waiting to see the episode, until I say “SPOILERS BELOW” where it will be filled with many a-spoiler.

The Sign of Three was written by a Sherlock writer who we hear very little about; Stephen Thompson as well as Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Thompson was the same person who wrote my least favourite episode The Blind Banker but also my favourite pre season three episode The Reichenbach Fall, an episode whose credit is mostly given to the two co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. Thompson’s previous middle episode being my least favourite, I was a little worried about how The Sign of Three but it turned out that I had no reason to be. Being slower-paced than The Empty Hearse it was still exciting, emotion-filled, but most of all, hilarious. This episode was single-handedly the funniest episode of Sherlock aired to date, and I found myself laughing out loud more than once while watching. Of course, it ticked both boxes because it made me cry as well, making it a well-rounded and brilliant episode which is typical of Sherlock.

SPOILERS AHEAD (this includes the images as well)

What can I say, other than this was the wedding of the year. I didn’t expect to be based around the wedding, I expected the wedding to just play a small part in the story, but I was wrong. The story wrapped itself neatly and subtlety around the wedding of John Watson and Mary morstan in a way that showed off the brilliant cinematography that was used in the episode. And I really loved the way they did that. The way they moulded smaller stories of cases and stag nights and conversations into the very essence of the wedding. The wedding was the main event, but that fact did not take away from all of the little stories that came together in The Sign of Three.

Now, for what I thought of the actual story. I felt like not much actually happened. There was a recap of some old cases, a stag night, a wedding and an attempted murder, but nothing really seemed to chang. I’m not necessarily saying this as a negative, I just found it interesting how, although so much appeared to happen in the episode, at the end of the day not much happened at all. A wedding began, and a wedding ended, with not many altogether life-changing events occurring.

But then, of course, they were the more subtle things that the episode implied. The Sign of Threeof course, meaning that the family of John and Mary was going to have a baby added. I feel like the whole episode was telling us one thing that can be summed up in one of Sherlock’s quotes;

“You hardly gonna need me around now you got a real baby on the way”

The whole episode seems to be about how John marrying Mary is going to split them up. Mrs Hudson talking about what happened to her and her best friend, Mycroft saying it’s the end of an era and Sherlock leaving a wedding early. “I mean, who leaves early at a wedding?” I don’t know what it is, but I feel like these last two episodes are leading up to something bad happening. No one has died, nothing bad has really happened. They’re been cheerful and funny and exciting, but what will the next episode be like? That’s pretty much what The Sign of Three has left me feeling; what’s going to happen next?

One of my favourite things about this episode was Sherlock’s best man speech. I don’t know what I expected, really, but what was actually shown just made my heart soar. It was rude and abrasive, and yet touching and sweet in a way that only Sherlock Holmes could do. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I especially commend Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting nearing the end of the speech when he had to pretend he was giving he pre-written prepared speech, when instead he was actually trying to solve an attempted murder. I thought it was incredible how he made it seem like he was in two places at once, working on the case, and putting on a show.

Then of course there were the drunk scenes. I don’t think there’s much more I need to say about them except that they were hilariously amazing.

On that point, I noticed a new technique that has been employed this season, less so in the previous episode but a lot in this one. I found this method quite revolutionary, rather like the one that was used in Sherlock‘s first episode, with the text messages and deductions appearing as writing in the air. The technique I’m talking about is the way in which the background changes between what’s actually happening and what’s happening inside Sherlock Holmes’ head. I just think it’s incredible the way they did it, and I personally have never seen it done so flawlessly before. At first they used it to almost surprise us, but afterwards it was used so seamlessly that you barely even noticed, just enough to make it interesting.

The cinematography was absolutely stunning. I don’t think there was have been a single screen-capture that couldn’t be printed and hung in a frame. One of the things I’ve always admired about Sherlock was the cinematography, and this episode certainly showed it off.

The music was good, but to be honest I didn’t find it as incredible as it was in previous episodes. It just didn’t take the limelight in The Sign of Three, but in staying that it still set the scene in the perfect way background music is supposed to, it just didn’t have it

Favourite character/actor: Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Least favourite character/actor: Major James Sholto (Alistair Petrie)

Favourite scene: Sherlock’s best-man speech

Least favourite scene: When Mrs Hudson gives Sherlock tea

Rating; 4.5/5 stars

Picture Sources

All pictures/gifs: http://bbcone.tumblr.com

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The Empty Hearse (Sherlock Season 3 Episode 1) TV Show Review

Can I just say, IT’S BACK! After two whole years of waiting, the first episode of the third season of the BBC’s award winning series Sherlock has finally aired. The first paragraph will be a spoiler-free review for those who are still waiting to see the episode, until I say “SPOILERS BELOW” where it will be filled with many a-spoiler.

Firstly, for those who haven’t seen it, this is the mini-episode Many Happy Returns that is to be watched before The Empty Hearse:

The first episode of the series, called The Empty Hearse, was written by co-creator Mark Gatiss. It did not disappoint. It had everything a Sherlock fan could have asked for. Action, romance, deductions, amazing cinematography, and of course, brilliant acting by the show’s stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It was like a fanfiction reader’s dream! A brilliant assortment of references and actions that by no means diminished the essence of the show. The crack-shippers will be happy, and so will the more traditional Sherlock Holmes fans like myself. The music, if possible, was even better than in season two. It consisted of some of the older tracks, and well as some new tracks, and new takes on old tracks. As a whole, I really liked the episode and thoroughly look forward to the rest of the season.

SPOILERS AHEAD (this includes the images as well)

Now, a more in-depth review of the episode, for those who are lucky enough to have already seen it.

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in this episode was John’s reaction when he saw that Sherlock was indeed alive. I have to admit, it was a bit different from what I expected but the multiple beatings that John gave Sherlock were more than enough to make me happy. I actually really like how they didn’t make John forgive Sherlock straight away. He was angry, and rightly so. I love how his character was written after seeing Sherlock was alive. It just gave him so much more depth. I’ve always thought that John was portrayed as a sort of one-dimensional character. Not to say that his character doesn’t have depth, more that we rarely saw it. In The Empty Hearse however, we definitely saw it and it was brilliant. Martin Freeman, of course, did a great job of showing this new character development. I especially loved his acting in the train scene when he thought that the bomb was going to go off.

Speaking of character development, one word; ANDERSON. I don’t think a character has ever had such a quick and convincing turn-around that didn’t seem totally cliche. And it just seemed so natural. I never thought I’d ever feel so empathetic towards him. Another great character development was with Mycroft. We barely got to see any characterisation for him in the previous seasons, but in this one episode we really got to see him for who he is; a lonely man who feels like he has no equals.

Special mention of Amanda Abbington who did literally played the best Mary Morstan I have even seen. She made the character so likeable and I could genuinely see how Mary and John could get along together so well, and her friendship with Sherlock was one of the highlights of the episode.

I really, really liked all the shoutouts to the fandom. The Sherlolly kiss, the Sheriarty almost kiss… The way they did it was just absolutely perfect. In fact, the alternate theories were absolutely perfect. When I saw the bungee-jump one, I honestly thought that was what happened and became so confused that I hadn’t seen the bungee cord! The humour, was just amazing. It really helped lighten up an emotion-packed episode. Speaking of emotion-packed, it made me both laugh out loud and cry which gives the episode a big tick for me.

No fanfiction needed with scenes like this:

Then there’s the actual explanation of have Sherlock Holmes survived his multi-story fall, which I was pretty happy with. Although, it was way more extravagant than any of my theories. The only part I guessed right was the ball under his arm to stop his pulse.

The only real downfall I can find with the episode is that it sometimes felt like it was all over the place, switching back-and-forth from John’s to Sherlock’s point of view. However this could also be due to the stop-start nature of the player I was watching it on. *shakes fist at BBC iPlayer* But anyway, I found this to be a very minor setback.

Fun fact: The actors who played Sherlock’s and Mycroft’s parents, are actually the parents of Benedict Cumberbatch.

The music *sigh* was amazing. Like I said in my first paragraph, I thought it was even better than in the previous seasons. The most notable song was the one that played when the bungee-jump theory was being shown. It was an awesome mix of the usual Sherlock theme with electric guitars.

I highly recommend, that if you haven’t already, you give John Watson’s Blog a good read. It’s really very entertaining.

Favourite character/actor: Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Least favourite character/actor: This is actually impossible, because all of the credited actors were actually amazing

Favourite scene: The Sherlock survival theories

Least favourite scene: The bonfire scene

Rating; 4.5/5 stars

Picture Sources

All pictures/gifs: http://bbcone.tumblr.com

Doctor Who (Season 2) TV Show Review

I watched this season directly after season one, and was very excited to see how the new Doctor would compare to the previous one. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Doctor Who series 2 This season was released in 2006 with Russell T Davies continuing as head writer and executive producer. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat stayed on as writers and were joined by Toby Whithouse and Matthew Graham. It was directed by returning directors James Hawes, Euros Lyn, Graeme Harper, Ashley Way, Dan Zeff and James Strong. All episodes were produced by the returning Phil Collinson and executive producer Julie Gardner.

There aren’t many TV shows that I can watch one episode after the other and resist the urge to skip over the opening credits. With Doctor Who however, the opening credits along with theme song is the part that I’m waiting for. And whenever I watch it, it always brings a smile to my face. The one downside of these credits is that they seem a little old-fashioned, like they are from a 70s show, but I don’t care. I still love them and is just brings a bit more of a science fiction feel to the show.

While it took a little while to get used to, I think that David Tennant pulls off the Doctor really well. While the essence of the character he plays is the same, there are a few small differences, differences that I really like. He’s a great actor and I really enjoyed watching him in this role. Christopher Eccleston was was first Doctor, but after this season I would have to say that Tennant is my favourite. I also really like the relationship between the Doctor and Rose, and how it progresses during the season.

I think the standard of this season continues to increase from the end of last season. The first few episodes of season one seemed to be just the writers and directors getting on their feet and figuring out what works. There was none of that at the start of this season however, it started off well and continued to have a high standard of episodes. I can easily see how this show could become an obsession. There are some shows that I just couldn’t imagine people becoming obsessed with, even if they love it, but Doctor Who is Doctor who the doctor and rosenot one of them. I don’t know what it is about it. I’d say it’s because it’s so cool, but it’s not really. Maybe it’s because it’s classified as one of those so-called ‘nerdy’ and ‘geeky’ shows that makes it so popular and awesome. Which isn’t a bad thing either. I love a show that is more than just a TV show. It means that there is so much more to experience while and after watching it.

The one thing I was very surprised about with the show in general, was the humour. Single sentences and witty lines that are usually said in some of the most serious times that just instantly lift the mood and make the viewer laugh. I really didn’t expect this before I starting watching the show. I expected it to be a completely serious show but was pleasantly surprised.

I love how emotional the show is. I found myself crying (if only a little bit) every two or three episodes. Then there is the season final. It was so sad and intense. I felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest. Other Doctor Who episodes had brought me to tears before but this one just crossed the line and tore me apart. I both loved the final for how well it was done, and yet hated it for making me feel the way it did. It would definitely be on the list of saddest moments in television history. A brilliant ending for a brilliant show.

The music seemed to be a little different in this season, written once again by Murray Gold. Not the starting theme, but the music used throughout each episode. More emphasis seemed to be put on it, which I liked, and yet it still suited the show just as well as it did in season one. It was the reason why a lot of the episodes were as motive as they were, especially the final. This song in particular really helped to set the scene for the final:

Favourite character/actor: The Doctor (David Tennant)

Least favourite character/actor: John Lumic (Roger Lloyd Pack)

Favourite episode: Doomsday

Least favourite episode: Love and Monsters

Rating, 4.5/5 stars

Doctor Who (Season 1) TV Show Review

Just to confirm, this is a review of the series that aired in 2005, not the one that aired in 1963. I’ve been urged to watch this show for ages, and was previously turned off by the bad CGI. However, the fans of the show didn’t relent and I found out that the writers of Sherlock were also writers of Doctor Who. So eventually I gave in and decided to watch the show. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

This season of Doctor Who aired in 2005 and was directed by Keith Boak, Euros Lyn, Joe Ahearne, Brian Grant and James Hawes, and written by Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss, Robert Shearman, Paul Cornell and Steven Moffat. I was surprised by the number of people writing the show and noticed that each writer has their own unique style. The Doctor was played by Christopher Eccleston and his companion Rose Tyler way played by Billie Piper.

To be honest, while I did enjoy the first season, it started out not being as good as I heard it was. The only reason I wanted to watch the first season at all was to get enough background so I would understand the future seasons which I heard were better. This season was a bit disappointing until one episode; Father’s Day. All the episodes before it were just average, but this one really stood out and showed me how good the show could actually be. That was when the episodes starting to improve massively. When they went from being, ok, to good, to great. This great caliber of episodes continued until the end of the series and I began to see how I could become a huge fan of the show.

While the storyline is usually good, it’s always a little predictable. There are parts of it that I just didn’t see coming (mainly because it involved alien species I never knew existed), but the ending doesn’t really stretch my imagination like I expected this show to do. The second half of the season was a bit less predictable which may be one of the reasons why I think it’s much better than the first. However, even in the first half of the season, there isn’t so much predictability that I couldn’t enjoy the show. It wasn’t anywhere near as predictable as something like a soap opera.

The acting was done well by both of the leads and the supporting characters. I didn’t find any of the acting to be outstanding, but it was believable which is what is trying to be achieved. As far as the CGI went, it was below average but I didn’t really notice it that much because I was focussed on the story. I now think that I was wrong to judge the series on it’s CGI when it’s actually an insignificant part.

The music, composed by Murray Gold (based on the original theme by Ron Grainer) is just so… sci-fi. I can’t think of another word to describe it. It’s not what I would usually call good music but it’s unique, catchy and different. I think that music should represent the show/movie that it’s used in and this is extremely true of Doctor Who. It just works. Here are the opening credits to an episode in this season:

Considering that I only watched this season to gain background information, I was very happy with what I got from it instead. In fact, when the ninth doctor regenerated, something I was waiting for from the start, I was sad that I wouldn’t see him again. He made a pretty good impression for the short period of time that he was in the show.

Favourite character/actor: The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

Least favourite character: Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley)

Favourite episode/scene: Father’s Day

Least favourite episode/scene: The End of the World

Rating; 3.5/5 stars

BBC Sherlock (Season 2) TV Show Review

Coming up to this season I was really worried. The first season was so short that I didn’t know if it was just luck that it was good. Would this season turn out to be better or worse? It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern with this series. The first episode of each season eases people back into the show, nothing too intense but a good story. The second episode is generally the worst of the season, it doesn’t have much to do with the overall story and is just there. The third episode is epic and stressful and awesome, ending on a massive cliffhanger. Time will tell if the following seasons will be like this as well.

This season was the one that was based on the three most popular of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories; A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Final Problem.

The first episode was pretty good. Despite the large level of nudity (not that anything is actually shown) it’s still rather tactful and these scenes are not the most… Awkward for John. The episode introduced a new character, Irene Addler (Lara Pulver), who is played very well. I admire Pulver’s acting skills in this role. The ending of the episode is very touching, it is one of the first inkling we get that Sherlock (played once again by Benedict Cumberbatch) actually cares. Another moment when Sherlock’s caring nature is shown is when we see his reaction to Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) being hurt. It actually made me scared! One thing that did annoy was the way that the strokes of the violin didn’t match up with the sound of it; I just close my eyes in these parts. The overall genre of this episode, surprisingly for a Sherlock Holmes story, is romance.

The second episode has the genre of horror, but it didn’t really scare me that much. It was very interesting how they made this story modern and I think it was very well done. There was another new, one-episode character in this episode called Henry Knight played by Russell Tovey. Unlike Pulver’s character, Tovey’s just wasn’t as engaging. I felt little pity for him and didn’t think his acting was as good as it could have been. The best part of this episode was probably the ending with Mycroft that continues on with the backstory with Moriarty, but the episode had lots of really awesome small moments in it. It’s these moments that makes me enjoy this episode.

I loved episode three. It had me on edge the entire time. I was constantly feeling worried, angry, surprised and sad as I watched it. It was so amazing that I can barely describe it. I have to commend Martin Freeman for his role of John Watson in this episode. The amount of emotion he showed brought be to tears. There are so many hints and clues in this episode, you can tell that it’s leading up to something. It builds up to massive climax which doesn’t disappoint.

The music, oh, the music! It was amazing. While re-watching the episodes and thinking about which scenes were my favourite, I realised that it was the music that made them. They all had that music that had a fast undercurrent with a slow and strong melody. It sends shivers down my spine. Of course this music wouldn’t be as good is the theme song of Sherlock hadn’t been brought in during season 1. Here’s one of those incredible songs composed by David Arnold and Michael Price:

Favourite character/portrayal: Sherlock Holmes/Benedict Cumberbatch

Least favourite character/portrayal: Henry Knight/Russell Tovey

Favourite scene: When Moriarty is telling Sherlock the story about the knight and when John is in the graveyard.

Least favourite scene: When Henry is reminiscing the past

Rating; 5/5 stars