Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sherlock - The Magnetic Sleuth Rocks Modern Day England

Mark my words, you will enjoy the tantalizing works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in modern day England. Starring an eccentric Benedict Cumberbatch and solid Martin Freeman. This series is for the sleuth in all of us, calling out our inner detective to solve every mystery as Sherlock does. And then laughing like we knew the answer all along [we didn't].

The best part? He doesn't even say Elementary, my Dear Watson. Thank God. A breath of fresh air and as strange as you want it, you got it. Benedict entertains as the great Sherlock Holmes, making him so enjoyable, I hardly miss *shock* Dr. House. All the great witty bantering, eccentric behavior, cutting tongue, and driving intellect has been brandished into a shining penny due to this man's talents.
The best part of the series...drunk games!
Martin Freeman is an excellent Watson, playing an ex-military doctor that needed a kick in the pants to restart his boring civilian life. However, he finds all the adventure he could ever stomach and more when he meets Holmes. They are really made for each other as they balance each other's attributes.Watson is even tempered when Sherlock is out of control, warm when Sherlock is cold, and accepting like no other friend could be to a man so out of place in this world. Watson is the rock while Sherlock is the kite.

The Good:

All by myself...don't wanna be..oh wait, he does.

There is a magnetic quality thrown into Sherlock Holmes by the great Benedict Cumberbatch. He isn't just the superior analytical detective we all know and love. He is an arrogant one with a flavor of strange that makes him lovable, if not wacky. Superb chops are on display here and I feel at the core these characters suit them well. Playing off of each other with a warm friendship that I feel is evident even off screen.

The rest of the cast is very well conceived, bringing to life an array of colorful characters from Ms. Hudson, a sweet old woman who assured her drug dealer husband's death to the ever psychotic Moriarty who makes even the worst of us go, "what the shit is his problem?"


The greatest effects are the ones where we get to be inside of Sherlock's mind. The texting is quite conveniently laid out too. I like the format of it being written on the wall instead of us peaking at the phone itself. Everyone gets it and its an easier, less intrusive way to keep us in the loop. We also have everything from symbols to running through mind palaces or flipping through information like an internet search. It really connects well with today's viewers in understanding his mind by illustrating it like a fast processing computer.

The Plots:

This sums up most of the series...
The plots are interesting. They are based on the original novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but you have to wonder if each one is by the book or some are made up? There are only 4 novels, but there are 56 short stories that exist in the Sherlock Holmes universe. I have not read even close to all of them so its hard to tell if some are loosely based off of some short stories, while other episodes are made up.

As for the set up, as much as I like old England, new England is just as cool and more technology savvy. I think this modern day setting makes it easier for us to relate to Sherlock and his adventures while giving the writers an expansion of ideas to play off of compared to being limited to the technology and possible crime plots of old England. Besides that....its very overdone.

So some plots are great and some plots are not. However that is not why I watch this series. What is really important is watching Sherlock and Watson solve the case and get into trouble. In essence, this is a similar formula to House MD. Everyone knows House is going to solve the case. Nobody cares about the ending.

Everyone just wants to watch House be a total douche to everyone while he does it. Since Gregory House is based off of Sherlock Holmes, I can start to see why I really don't like the endings, nor the reveal of bad guy intent [as I mention later in this review]. Some of the reasoning is boring or not interesting enough. However watching Sherlock solve the case is, as well as who he manipulates or screws over to do it.  Its these interesting interactions he has with the world that make
Well that answers that question...
the series the most fun to watch. Everything else is just bonus.

And like all Sherlock versions, we anchor ourselves to Watson, since he is the "dummy" that asks the questions we all want to know. Although he is far from stupid and that is why Sherlock enjoys his company so much. If it were up to Sherlock, we would never get an explanation and the story would just be awful. John tends to humanize Sherlock in a way Sherlock can not, which creates an excellent balance of dynamics that keeps the story flowing.

The Bad:

The series however has some issues. For one, its only 3 episodes long per season. Granted each episode is like a movie, 1.5 hours never feels long enough. We also have the problem of the season that shows up whenever it feels like. We all know Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both busy men, but its painfully unfair for seasons to come and go with years in-between. Dreadful even. Who can stand waiting? Why does the series producers choose to do this to their audience? Is it really worth the wait or does it always leave a bad taste with the cliff hangers for years to come? How does one build a fan base based on inconsistency? Who knows, but this series certainly has done it.


As I stated earlier, "Was I impressed with the villains?" I don't know about that. This is the single biggest complaint I have of the series. The villains don't strike me as some one I want to hate, but more a get under your skin type of irritation, which makes it hard to get into them.
And apparently he plays the pringles guy on the side too.

The nonsensical chaos of Moriarty bugs me as even the most crazy of bad guys make sense in some manner. I was very upset that the writers chose to kill off Moriarty in the least gratifying way. It was injustice as far as story telling goes. The hero never gets to defeat the bad guy, the bad guy defeats himself to pigeon hole Sherlock.

And what about the last bad guy in season 3? Magnussen [does that sound like cold medication to you? Or maybe the name we would give to snot]? He is the worst of them all. His biggest weapon is knowledge, similar to Sherlock Holmes, but used in a way to black mail people. I was personally glad Sherlock shot him right in the head, but I was more hoping Watson would have due to the face flicking. Like I said...Villains...very irritating lot and I'm not sure if they handle them the way I expect. So at least its a surprise each time.

Blood, Boobs, Blocked?

Evil Sherlock on the Horizon?
This series really should be put on HBO. Maybe I am just a little too use to a new breed of violent television, but the whole show seems rather soft in its display of violence and everything else. Granted, I really don't like seeing sex scenes, so I'm OK with never seeing that. However the little blood there is seems odd to me.

Maybe you can argue its not that type of show, but there is a pristine innocence I find off putting. I am glad Sherlock went dark and killed some one. I hope he becomes darker as the series progresses. It would be interesting. Especially if 'you know who' is still in the picture.

Think of it this way...the whole Batman concept. "Either you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Not that I want him to be a villain per say, but changed in a way that pushes his character forward into the shadows. I want him a bit unhinged for a while....since the last guy actually outsmarted him. I can see that as a jumping point to explore a new depth of Sherlock that we haven't gotten a chance to see yet.

The Ugly: [And the biggest gripes go to....]

Lets pull out the laundry list of undead mofos...

Season 3 - Last Episode - A lot of WTFs and a mess of a story. I was not happy with how they worked the episode in general. It was more sloppy and random than past episodes. Especially after coming off a good high with the first two, this was the messiest I had seen in a while.

Way too many things going on at once and the whole mind palace sequence with Sherlock's dying scene was just too over the top. The episode felt rushed and packed with too much NEW information that didn't need to be there. Either way, I am still looking forward to the next season. TRY AGAIN, WRITERS! I know you can do it!

What do you think of the TV series, Sherlock? Tell me in the comments below!

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DnD Rating: 9/1O

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