on 22 January 2012
The BBC's excellent `Sherlock' has just completed its second series of three episodes in early 2012 and has been met with high praise and acclaim from both critics and viewers alike. Created and written by Stephen Moffat (of Dr. Who and TinTin) and Mark Gatiss (of The League of Gentlemen), `Sherlock' is a contemporary update of Conan Doyle's classic stories, placing Holmes and Watson squarely in London in the 21st Century; a time of laptops, satellite navigation and text messages. In fact, modern technology and science is to play a very significant part in each episode.
Many elements of the original stories remain, such as Holmes' Baker Street address, his violin playing and his arch enemy, Moriarty. Other elements are transfigured cleverly to reflect modern day society and events, such as the recent return of the injured John Watson from the War in Afghanistan, as opposed to the Anglo-Afghan War of the late 19th Century. Instead of keeping a journal of his adventures, Dr. Watson writes an internet blog. There are some very neat touches that tie in the modern day sleuth to Conan Doyle's Victorian one, which fans of the original books should have great fun spotting. Holmes becomes inextricably linked to the deerstalker by the media after picking up the hat simply to hide himself from photographers, but hates and derides the association thereafter. His addiction in `Sherlock' is to cigarettes, and gone are the allusions to opium usage. Each episode is based on a story by Conan Doyle, but brought forward cleverly and thoughtfully to the 21st Century. For example `The Hounds of Baskerville' (Series 2, episode 2) centres on mysterious sightings of a large beast near `Baskerville', an M.O.D research facility on Dartmoor.
The casting is perfect, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are each superb as Sherlock and Dr. John Watson respectively. Sherlock is a brilliant man, eccentric, pompous and extremely arrogant and Cumberbatch manages perfectly to keep him just on the right side of likeability. By contrast, Freeman's Watson is dependable and level headed, while playing him with the same kind of bemusement that he portrayed so well as Tim in The Office. Andrew Scott is equally excellent as a menacing and manic Jim Moriarty.
The show's creators are to be applauded for the ceaselessly wonderful script. It is clever, witty and maintains a very high standard throughout the six episodes with hardly a wasted or misplaced line. Though each series seems disappointingly short at just three episodes long, each episode is feature length at 90 mins, and perhaps a shorter series is best to give the writers the time they need to maintain the quality of the script and ideas they have produced thus far.
`Sherlock' deserves it's high praise and popularity, and it certainly represents a major triumph for the BBC as one of the best and most original dramas they have produced in many years, possibly of all time.
Blu-ray disc quality, as you would expect and hope for such a stylish production, is superb. Extras include a 'making-of' documentary, and the original 60 minute pilot. This episode was fully filmed but the BBC declined to air it, instead requesting a re-write and re-shoot.
on 25 January 2012
If you're a fan of TV shows such as 'House' or 'The Mentalist', I can pretty much guarantee that this will be right up your street. The BBC have brought Sherlock out of the 1800's and straight into the modern day, and have cleverly used mobile phones, computers and other modern gizmos and gadgets as integral parts of the plots. For example Watson now documents cases on a blog, and Holmes has a website 'The Science of Deduction' (both of which are actual websites set up by the BBC to compliment the show and are well worth a look!).
This show is a family favourite in my house, with each of us trying to be the first to correctly guess who did what and why, although the show is so well orchestrated that we rarely get it. When Sherlock reveals exactly what happened and explains how he knows its always a case of 'Of course! Why didn't I think of that?!'
Each series contains 3 great 90-min episodes, loosely based on actual Holmes books, however don't be put off if you think 'I've read the book so I know what's going to happen' - trust me when I say you most probably won't! These episodes can also be watched time and again as each time you watch it you spot something new that you missed first time round. First series are 'A Study in Pink', 'The Blind Banker' and 'The Great Game', and the second series are 'A Scandal in Belgravia', 'The Hounds of Baskerville' and 'The Reichenbach Fall'.
With some brilliant actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch (Holmes), Martin Freeman (Watson), Andrew Scott (Moriarty) and Rupert Graves (Lestrade) to name but a few, and some cracking scripts, this show is a definite must see.
This box set includes 4 dvd's including all episodes from series 1 and 2, the original pilot episode that was never broadcast (Also called 'A Study in Pink', however several big things in the plot were changed before it was re-filmed for series 1, but still good to watch), audio commentaries of some episodes, and 2 production documentaries (1 for each series).
Can whole-heartedly recommend 'Sherlock', a show that will have you on the edge of your seat and guessing like mad, but that you can watch over and over again and never get bored of :)
on 10 September 2012
A couple of years ago I was introduced to the world of Sherlock Holmes through Guy Ritchie's film, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and consequently began to read the books. I remember watching the trailer for Sherlock and doubting that the series would work, never have I been so glad to be proved so wrong.
First and foremost is the script Moffatt, Thompson and Gatiss seamlessly made the script accessible to Sherlock newbies whilst simultaneously adding in one-line references to make Sherlockians snicker, anyone who has read the books can tell that they're fans of the originals. By bringing Sherlock into the 21st century they have also managed to remain completely true to Conan-Doyle's books whilst giving the franchise and new and exciting change. Sherlock just fits beautifully into the 21st century, John Watson is invalided home from Afghanistan - just as in the original. Whilst the Victorian setting added to the beauty of the stories I think the focus was always meant to be on the characters and their interactions, and the writers to just that. Sherlock, as Conan-Doyle, was at the forefront of the science of the time and Sherlock using a mobile phone or the internet is doing the same for the modern age. The writing is - simply put - a joy to behold.
Then there's the acting. Benedict Cumberbatch is, as always, exemplary and he was born to play this role, keeping Sherlock both true to the originals and just on the side of likeable. Over the series Cumberbatch beautifully portrays Sherlock's slow shift to becoming more human and by the end of series two he had me in tears. Now I can barely remember a time when Cumberbatch wasn't a household name! Martin Freeman was also the perfect choice, the complete opposite of Cumberbatch's portrayal Freeman really brings the production down to earth, his reaction shots provide the audience with something to relate to and he has a beautiful understated way of bringing John Watson to live. Together their chemistry is enthralling and electric.
I must of course, give a shout-out to the secondary characters as well, Andrew Scott rightfully won his BAFTA for his chilling and hilarious Jim Moriarty but equally impressive are Una Stubbs as the motherly Mrs Hudson, Rupert Graves' exasperated father-figure Greg Lestrade, Louise Brealey as the likeable Molly Hooper all add to the perfectly cast show. Even Mark Gatiss sneaking in as Mycroft Holmes, whom he plays magnificently. You have to keep an eye on them during any scene they're in.
Finally I must highlight those behind the scenes, the directors for being so endlessly inventive, the costume designers for really bringing the characters to life, the hauntingly fitting soundtrack, even the guy who taught Cumberbatch the violin - they all played a vital role in bringing the best thing on the box in years to life, watching unlockign Sherlock and listening to the commentaries really drew my attention to the smaller details.
So thank you BBC for Sherlock, you've restored my faith in British television, long may it continue.
on 27 April 2012
Have you ever sat through an hour or so of really rubbish television program and thought, "why isnt anything good on TV these days?"
Then the answer is, there is you - but you've missed it!!! If you like crime stories, detective stories, thrillers, are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, sleauth type, mystery solving stories - or say you dont like any of those and yet want to watch something VERY cleverly written and executed, then the SHERLOCK series is a must watch!!
You will ask and beg for more once you start on this series!!
Series 1, Episode 1 "A Study in Pink" takes us through the meeting of 2 odd characters, Sherlock Holmes (a sociopathic, genius whose only obsession is to solve crimes) and John Watson (a war hero who has been invalidated home from Afghanistan), played by a perfectly cast, masterful Benedict Cumberbatch and a subtley understated Martin Freeman. An unlikely friendship begins when Sherlock asks John's help in solving a crime. The soldier who was bored back in civilian life is suddenly thrown back into the realities of death - and sees the city in a different way - like a battle ground. What is striking about this episode is its wonderful honesty to the original work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles "A Study in Scarlet". Watson's wonderment at Holme's abilities, his efforts to make his new friend more "human" and trying to understand the strange genius he is in company of, is potrayed so wonderfully that the original writer, 122 years later, would be proud!!
Sherlock and John solve more crimes in Episode 2 involving a Chinese smuggler gang and mysterious murders and we get some great comic moments such as when Sherlock fails to understand why a date is more important than an oppurtunity to gather evidence. Episode 3 "The Great Game" is the one you'll watch again - not one, not two but 5 cases one after the other - someone is challenging Sherlock - solve this case within this deadline - who else but his arch enemy, Moriarty ? Without giving anything away, this episode is a masterpiece of crime solving fiction. It ends at a cliff hanger that will make you scramble for the next episode!!
Now the all important point of dragging Sherlock Holmes out of Victorian London and into the 21st century. The premise of a lot of original stories was that the police were not very good at the time. These days however the police have all kinds of scientific / forensic assistance and how would the producers keep the story fresh and the audience interested and still manage to make Holmes the person cleverer than the police? Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss do a remarkable job handling this utterly brilliantly. So homeless network of 2010 replaces the street urchins of 1888, black cabs replace hansoms, texts replace telegrams and nicotine patches replace smoking pipes.
The writers know their stuff, and the honesty they have displayed to the characters is worthy of an applause. Original lines such as "it is a three-pipe problem", becames a dialogue now as a "three patch problem". Sherlock disliking John's blog about his methods of reasoning is so reminiscent of the opening of the Sign of four, it is adorable to watch such work of art.
Series 2 surpasses all expectations that series 1 forms. Every episode is made with such flair, detail and clever twist. Here the producers tackle the three biggest stories, The Woman, The Hound and The Final Problem. It is ambitious and it is a big ask and everyone involved delivers. Andrew Scott returns as creepily brilliant Moriary. Episode 3 of Series 2 again ends on a cliff hanger, it certainly brought a tear to my eye and got thousands of fans speculating and theorising on "how it was done"
Benedict Cumberbatch has to get a special mention here, he is unbelievably convincing as a genius, yet a man with very few social skills, always seemingly unattached to human emotions. The friendship between the two men is fabulously potrayed and the modern twist totally works! Mark Gatiss is fantastic as Mycroft Holmes and Martin Freeman has played his part so well that at all times, he manages to show on screen what we, the audience are feeling.
I also love the way the producers show that characters in the show often think Holmes and Watson are a gay couple, and that is so reflecting of our society of today - 2 men simply cannot be friends without being gay!! Why is our society become like this?? The series also manages to poke fun at this notion of society, and how the 2 men ignore the talks and carry on regardless.
Another highlight of both the series is the music, which seems to bring every scene to life in a remarkably apt way.
A big pat on the back for the entire cast, crew and team... thank you for bringing credulity back to TV, which is getting more and more dire with over dose of reality and shabbily written characters!!!
'Arthur Conan Doyle's' super-sleuth launched into the 21st century.
Starting at the very beginning when 'John Watson' and 'Sherlock'
the update probably shouldn't work, but it really does.
'Sherlock' as in the original writings has an uncanny power of
deduction using his superior mind, too, along with 'Watson' ..solve
a series of murder investigations that have baffled 'Scotland Yard'
must admit, (only just watched series one and two) I've enjoyed this
'BBC' series more than any previous 'Holmes' presentations that had
.( glad I took the advice of my daughter and took time-out to watch it )
on 2 September 2012
Excellent series - I had seen them on TV, but they are so exciting and entertaining that I wanted to own them. The acting is superb and the whole idea of changing the stories slightly to bring them up-to-date is brilliant. I just want more of these series.
Good extras too - with documentaries about the characters and the making of the series.
I have a blu-ray player now and these are my first blu ray discs - So much clearer on blu-ray - picture is crisp and clear and especially good on darker scenes, which previously would have been difficult to view.
on 5 November 2012
The BBC's Sherlock series, a modern adaptation from the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novels, has rightly garnered a series of positive reviews. It should come as no surprise with the quality of writing from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and the strong acting on show which concludes in two well-written, superbly-acted series comprising three one and a half hour episodes a season.
A modern revision of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories was always going to be a gamble, particularly with many diehard Sherlock fans in the country. However, in this instance, it clearly works. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title role with the social awkwardness and almost comical superiority complex which reflects the true character of Sherlock. However, viewers may well be put off by his incessant arrogance and snobbish exterior. Andrew Scott plays a Jim Moriarty that takes a degree of creative freedom with the series' main antagonist. Ultimately, Scott's Moriarty is a softly-spoken, insane master of crime with characteristics that is more akin to that of Heath Ledger's Joker. The result is a creepier, arguably more dangerous Moriarty which reverses decades of Moriarty being played as the serious, old British aristocrat.
But the real revelation and star of the series is Martin Freeman's Dr. John Watson. Freeman's Watson is loyal to the books with his army background and serious, no-nonsense personality opposite Sherlock's bombastic approach to solving crime. But with the added facet of therapy, Watson becomes a more sympathetic, vulnerable and normal character among the likes of Sherlock and Moriarty around him.
The negatives to the programme is that the second episode in both series are the weak links, "The Blind Banker" does not match up to the drama, humour and excitement in the other episodes and the "Hounds of Baskerville", while a decent episode, fails to fulfill on its horror moments.
All in all, a must-watch for Sherlock fans old and new. With a strong opening, thrilling final episodes, brilliantly adapted storylines and strong character performances, this is among the best of British television over the past decade.
on 9 September 2012
I love Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and now I'm head over heels in love with BBC Sherlock! If you love the original you'll love this - it's guaranteed.
I am stunned at the quality across the board with this BBC production.
The writer's are pure geniuses to have written such thoroughly entertaining, enthralling, dynamic and cunning scripts. They themselves are long time fans of the original Conan Doyle works and very familiar with them as you will come to enjoy through all the subtle, and not so subtle, hints that litter the dialogue, characters and backgrounds.
The actors are an onscreen delight to watch - Sherlock, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and John played by Martin Freeman - these iconic characters synonymous with London slip seamlessly into the modern era.
This box set consists of six episodes (three ninety-minute episodes per season) and the original sixty-minute pilot of "A Study in Pink" (Which is also amazingly good and fun to watch what was refined and what was kept). The Visual and Audio quality is very, very high and the soundtrack amazing. All in all I didn't find a single thing to criticise its all just that good!
"A Study In Pink",
"The Blind Banker",
"The Great Game"
Special Features: Commentary by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue,
Unlocking Sherlock - The Making Of..
"A Scandal in Belgravia",
"The Hound of Baskerville",
"The Reichenbach Fall"
Special Features: Audio Commentaries,
Roll on season three! Which BBC will begin shooting in January 2013!!!
on 15 April 2012
As an avid Sherlock Holmes fan, I usually don't expect much from new adaptations as there is enough rubbish for quite a sizeable scrap heap ((hint: the last two films starring Robert Downey jr. and Jude Law being the top of the heap). But after having read some great reviews praising this series, I had to give it a go. I must admit that I also was skeptic of the idea of placing Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century (yeah, I am quite a traditionalist), but upon seeing the first episode, I was stunned. What a great performance! Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely brilliant in the role of Sherlock Holmes, the film makers could not have asked for a better man to do the job. Case in point, the introduction scene where Watson meets Sherlock for the first time is outstanding and captures strikingly the acuteness of Holmes' abilities in a mind-blowing way. Watson, played by Martin Freeman, is also a great choice by the film makers. I feel he embodies the personality of Watson as I personally have imagined him, but with adding his own flavour to the character as well, which is good. Andrew Scott also makes a dazzling performance, blending a perfect mix of cunning, intelligence and pure insanity for the role of Moriarty.
The episodes are well-directed and thrilling. They are not predictable, as the film makers have based the episodes on the real Holmes stories but changed them with new twists, which I like very much. The Sherlock Holmes universe shouldn't be static, even I realise that. There are six episodes on this DVD, each and every one are well-made though I for some reason particularly liked the first and the last episodes the most. That is a matter of taste. If you like Sherlock Holmes, you will like this series. I strongly recommend you to get it! As for myself, I cannot wait to get my hands on the third season!
on 12 March 2012
The BBC's Sherlock series follows the Conan Doyle stories and characters so faithfully that few fans of the Conan Doyle 'canon' can complain that their hero has been changed out of all recognition. He has, however, been brought up to date and utilises modern technology in an exciting way, relevant to any contemporary thrill seeker.
The stories are fast moving and packed with clues, in-jokes and Sherlockian references, often needing several viewings to glean as much as possible possible from each episode. The script is witty, clever and very, very funny with well choreographed action sequences as well as Sherlock's cerebral moments.
What makes the series rise over the rest, however, is their interpretation of Dr John Watson, Sherlock's hapless sidekick. He comes over as a slightly comical but very sympathetic character and one who has no idea how sexy he is. Dr Watson has true integrity and is a caring man, but one who is damaged and vulnerable too, which doesn't hurt his attractiveness to women. Sherlock manages to sabotage his attempts at romance and he works his way through a string of unworthy girlfriends - one can only hope they are saving him for a woman who is a worthy match for the good man. I'd like to personally thank the whole Sherlock team - creators, writers, dressers and particularly Martin Freeman - for giving us the unique John Watson.
I heartily recommend the first two series of Sherlock and especially on DVD so that it is possible to rewatch, rewind and review at your leisure. I hope that others get as much pleasure from the series as I have so far. Enjoy!