Monday, January 16, 2012

TV Review: Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in BBC 'Sherlock'
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in BBC 'Sherlock'
The BBC series Sherlock is a contemporary take on Arthur Conan Doyle's stories and novels set in the Victorian era. Benedict Cumberbatch has an amazing screen presence and makes a great Holmes for the 21st century. I find his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes to be quite faithful to the Canon.

Benedict has the right physicality to play the legendary detective. His rich baritone is the icing on the cake. This is one of the best casting choices in a long time and full credits to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in BBC 'Sherlock'
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes 
Conan Doyle had created Dr Watson as a competent and loyal ally of Holmes. The BBC adaptation hits a home run on this count as Martin Freeman is a pitch-perfect Watson. Freeman embodies both humanity and humility, two qualities that Holmes more than often seems to be totally lacking in. He won the BAFTA TV award for Best Supporting Actor for his work and he truly deserved it.

Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson in BBC 'Sherlock'
Martin Freeman as Dr Watson
The character of Molly Hooper is not part of the Sherlock Holmes canon and has been created especially for this series. Loo Brealey is a nice addition to the stellar cast and makes Molly the adorable girl-next-door whom many of us have come across in our lives.

Loo Brealey as Molly Hooper in BBC Sherlock
Loo Brealey as Molly Hooper with Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC 'Sherlock'

The series has had 2 seasons so far, with each season consisting of 3 90-minute long episodes.

The first episode “A Study in Pink” is based on A Study in Scarlet, the novel that introduced Sherlock Holmes. This is easily the best episode of the season. Click here to read the full review of the episode. Click here to check out the amazing number of Canonical references in this episode.

The second episode, “The Blind Banker” had Sherlock locking horns with an international gang bent on smuggling antiques. This episode is relatively less interesting compared to the first episode. Click here to read the full review of the episode.

The final episode, “The Great Game” introduced us to Jim Moriarty, the modern day version of Professor Moriarty. There are a lot of nods to the original stories and the final scenes between Moriarty and Sherlock were great. Click here and here to check out the amazing number of Canonical references in this episode.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 1:

In keeping with the modern times, there are some conspicuous departures from the original stories:
  •  Holmes and Watson maintain their own blogs.
  •  Holmes texts Watson instead of sending telegraphs.
  •  Holmes uses nicotine patches instead of needles.
  • Three-pipe problem is now a three-patch problem.
These changes remind us that we are watching a revisionist, albeit an entertaining take on Holmes. Particularly appealing is the way Holmes’s patented system of making observations have been picturized. Using onscreen text and numbers literally to show Holmes’s train of thoughts and deductions, the series makers have successfully introduced Sherlock Holmes to a whole new generation. The series won the 2011 BAFTA TV award for Best Drama Series. Steven Moffat was awarded the 2012 BAFTA Television Special Award for his contribution to television.

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators of BBC 'Sherlock'
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators of  'Sherlock'

The second season opened with “A Scandal in Belgravia”. We meet a very modernized version of Irene Adler as she tries to outwit Sherlock. Mycroft and Moriarty too have some significant roles in this episode. Click here to read the full review of the episode.

This was followed by “The Hounds of Baskerville”, the dramatization of arguably the most famous novel featuring Sherlock Holmes. Most of the supporting characters have been changed. The episode is my favorite in the second season and has Sherlock do some actual sleuthing to solve a mystery. Click here to read the full review of the episode.

The season ended with “The Reichenbach Fall”, based on The Final Problem. The writers have done some of their best work here. Unfortunately, Andrew Scott goes so way over the top as Moriarty that he seems more like a caricature of a criminal mastermind rather than being one. Click here to read the full review of the episode.

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: CumberbatchwebFanpopThe SunWikia

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  1. So, Freeman won the BAFTA TV award for his role as John Watson? That's so great! :)

  2. @Rima - Hopefully, Cumberbatch should win the award for the next season :)

  3. Oooh, very creative review. I haven't known Freeman won the award, well deserved.

  4. Wonderful review! I totally agree with you on The Reichenbach Fall. I loved the plot and indeed, Jim Moriarty was undermined as a villain during that episode.

    1. Always a pleasure to hear from a like-minded Sherlockian :)

    2. Thanks, buddy2blogger.
      I can't find my earlier postings on your site.

  5. Great review! I've only seen the first series so far. I look forward to watching the rest.

    Keep up the great work.

  6. I agree with you that Reichenbach Fall was the best of season 2. While I had liked the others, this one hit it for me where the others didn't. I like how they spun it, though while surviving a waterfall is a stretch to believe, I really don't know how they plan on explaining Sherlock's leap (we're in for a long wait and I'm curious to see what they do).

    1. Sherlock probably had help from Molly, the Baker Street Irregulars (one of whom collided with Watson). There was also the stationary truck and the life size dummy that we saw earlier in the episode in 221B Baker Street... So many possibilities :)


  7. This series is just phenomenal! I always love watching it and really need to watch S1 again.

    1. BBC Sherlock is definitely an entertaining watch.

  8. Freeman totally deserved that BAFTA! I can't wait to see him in "The Hobbit". An incredible talent.

    Thanks for reading and commenting on my review at

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Ron. I read your reviews and loved your sense of humor. I have started following your blog as well :)