Sherlock

Let’s cut to the chase. Sherlock is a treat.

But would we really expect anything less?

After all this has Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss as creators, both Doctor Who writers as well as Sue Vertue as Executive Producer for the BBC.

With such quality creatives you can breathe easy that such a bold premise as Sherlock is in good hands. This is a seriously concept drama, not simply for the fact that Sherlock Holmes is set in a modern era, but because it opens in Afghanistan. You could be mistaken for thinking you had switched on the wrong channel.

It opens on Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), an army doctor who returns home from the frontline shattered, and counselled by a psychologist. Concurrently we see a Media Conference in which Police are struggling to explain a series of suicides that are inexplicably linked. Throughout the Conference everyone attending receives identical SMS messages. On the screen are texts “Wrong!” bringing a playful sense of storytelling to the telemovie.

When we meet Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) he is found working studiously in a laboratory. He is driven, focussed, deducing facts about those he meets with lightning speed. No thoughtful Mentalist pace here, he’s closer to Dr. House.

He is introduced to the aimless Watson by a mutual friend under the guise of flatsharing 221B Baker Street. The first meeting between the two is amusingly awkward. It becomes even more awkward when we meet landlady Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs). Watson has to keep denying any romantic liaison with his new friend, despite her insistence that in her most-accepting neighbourhood “it takes all kinds.”

When Holmes encounters his first victim (after all that’s what we’re here for) his analytic skills are dynamite. So much is cleverly related by use of thought processes superimposed on the screen, which to explain as dialogue would take an entire scene. This helps give Sherlock a most contemporary edge.

But it is the performances that draw us in.

Cumberbatch is pitch perfect as a youthful Holmes -as commanding as any Time Lord in Doctor Who (was he ever considered for the role?). Freeman looks like he is just warming up as Watson, the rock to the partnership.

The first episode is all about establishing the credentials of Holmes with the audience and the leap of faith with the modern world. It achieves this in spades.

You’ll need to buy into the rules of this world from the get go. Nowhere is there any reference to the fictional character of Holmes. There is no explanation as to why a character who first appeared in 1887 is suddenly in London in 2010. But who cares? This is a spirited, inventive take. It’s elementary.

Sherlock airs Sunday and Monday at 8:30pm on Nine.

13 Comments:

  1. Had it record on the PVR and have watched the first and half way through Monday night’s episode. Benedict Cumberbatch reminds me a bit of Basil Rathbone in his mannerisms but also takes it to a new level. There is a delicious chemistry between him and Martin Freeman and you can see the mutual respect developing between the characters of Watson and Holmes.

    Looking forward to many more episodes – this is brilliant stuff!

  2. It should really be “House is quite like Sherlock Holmes”, seeing as the characters of House and Wilson are loosely based on Holmes and Watson in the first place. They even live in 221B on the show.

    They don’t need to explain why there’s no reference to the fictional Sherlock Holmes because it’s basically a reinvention of the character in the modern age…

  3. This show is great! already watched the first episode and he is quite like house in a sense which is great considering it is my favorite show. I think im the only one, but they could of got another to play sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch does not do it for me. other than that this show is a must watch.

  4. goody, I can hardly keep my excitement with too many good reviews I’ve heard about this series, can’t wait… all three eps in a span of 8 days Sunday-Monday-Sunday, bloody brilliant!!

  5. Yes it’s a little weird at first but I don’t think they need to explain why there is no reference to Sherlock Holmes. They have basically taken him from the past and built a story around current modern times and IMO it works.

  6. Well according to rumours he turned down being the timelord (he was quoted in a tabloid interview – although he has actually denied this now). But there have been consistent rumours in the fan community (even before he spoke about it) that he was certainly in the mix. Matt Smith auditioned for Watson though – the week before he turned out for the Doctor.

    There is a chance that Mr C will actually feature in several episodes of Who this series. The two programs were filmed virtually in tandem in Wales earlier this year.

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