While there’s a lull in my movie-going schedule, I thought I’d take some time to address the other half of my little blogging endeavor: TV reviews! I’m going to try to stick to a series of themes for my TV reviews. Why themes? Because themes are fun! I’d like to start with a “British Invasion” theme because lately, I just can’t get enough of the BBC. Seriously, people, the Brits know how to do some television. Though I have yet to dive into the current British powerhouse, Downton Abbey, I’ve seen a few shows that I imagine to be of equal or perhaps even greater awesomeness. So what’s at the top my list? Sherlock, of course.
I wanted to bring up this show first because it is my absolute obsession right now. Inspired by the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories of everybody’s favorite consulting detective, creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat reimagine Sherlock Holmes and faithful friend John Watson in the 21st century. The result is pure brilliance. The Downey Jr. films have their merits, and I’m sure Elementary, the American version of this idea, does, too (although the idea of Luc Liu as Joan Watson still bothers me a bit), but once you’ve seen BBC’s Sherlock, there’s a good chance it’ll blow any other version you’ve seen out of the water.
Synopsis: “A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st-century London.” –Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb.
The Good: Where to begin?! First of all, the actors are phenomenal. Benedict Cumberbatch (recently brought to the attention of American audiences through his breakout role as the villainous John Harrison in Star Trek: Into Darkness) plays the title role, while Martin Freeman (also recently famous Stateside as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit) plays best bud John Watson. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, a self-described “high-functioning sociopath,” is wonderfully manic—a whirlwind of movement and monologues, ego and genius. Meanwhile, Freeman’s generally calm, kind, and reliable John is the perfect foil. The two actors have oodles of chemistry, and their odd little crime-solving bromance is a joy to watch. It’s no surprise that the two actors have been nominated for a fair share of prestigious acting awards. Of course, creating great characters is a hundred times easier with great scripts, which the actors definitely have. Each episode is filled with witty dialogue and clever deductions, but what really makes this adaptation unique is the fact that it’s in modern times. Sherlock texts. John blogs. They take taxi cabs. Some people assume they’re gay. Touches like these make the story relatable to today’s viewers without losing the flavor of the original stories. Favorite moment: The introduction of Sherlock’s arch nemesis, Jim Moriarty (played by the relatively unknown Andrew Scott), is funny, intense, and completely awesome. In a heartbeat, Scott expertly flips the switch from flamboyant and silly to threatening and psychotic, which definitely keeps you on edge. I have dozens of other favorite moments from this series, but I’ll limit myself to one.
The Bad: Maybe I’m biased, but I honestly believe there’s very little to pick on. I will say, though, that I don’t believe the second episodes of each season are quite as strong as the first and last episodes. You see, Sherlock has a strange setup—there are only three episodes per season, but each one is an hour-and-a-half long, making every episode like a little movie. Though still very good, the middle episodes just don’t have the impact of the jam-packed first episodes and the jaw-dropping cliff hangers in the last episodes. Even so, they’re a heck of a lot better than most stuff on television. Other than that, the only bad thing I can say is that some people might find it hard to get attached to Sherlock for a while. Yes, he’s a remarkably clever, crime-solving good guy, but he’s also a very real character with flaws. He can be cold, arrogant, and even a bit of a diva. But hang in there. He’s worth it. Least favorite moment: Normally, Sherlock figures out cases light-years before I do, but there is a moment in the first episode of season one where I have to keep myself from screaming, “C’mon, dude!” because the answer seems painfully obvious. It’s definitely not enough to ruin the episode, but if I’m solving the case before the world’s greatest detective, you know there’s a glitch.
To Sum It Up: WATCH THIS SHOW. It’s the unique, clever, hilarious, intense, and heart-wrenching product of some of the best actors, directors, and writers out there. Basically, it’s everything good television should be. Added bonus: with only two seasons out so far (both of which are available on Netflix), you could hypothetically catch up in a nine-hour binge session. You know. If you wanted to. But regardless of whether you binge, check it out, enjoy every minute, and join me in geekily awaiting season three (due to premiere later this year or early next year). It’s elementary, my dear readers.
My Grade: A