on 30 December 2010
I must admit that I had never read the original Sherlock Holmes stories. I was familiar with them, of course, and have many friends who hold them in high regard. I was also a big fan of the tv show House, whose main character is based on Sherlock Holmes, but that was pretty much my knowledge of it. I watched Guy Richie's 2009 movie Sherlock Holmes, and walked away feeling nothing, despite liking the actors in the movie.
And then I watched BBC's contemporary adaption simply named Sherlock, and there it was, the magic that made me fall in love. I had not expected it at all, but there was no denying that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had created something extraordinary. That the stories work so well put into modern times, who would have thought? I think Gatiss made a good point when he in an interview said that one reason it worked so well was that since they did not have to spend a lot of time and energy creating a visually convincing Victorian London, it gave them much more room to focus on the characters. And I am a character-focused viewer, and Sherlock gives us a beautiful and modern take on who two young men like Sherlock and John, as they call each other, would be like today, running around London, hailing cabs, bickering and occasionally grinning at crime scenes.
It also got me into the original Conan Doyle stories, and there is no doubt that Moffat and Gatiss adore them as well. The show is literally littered with reference, names, places and lines and conversations from Conan Doyle's stories, remixed and put into other situations and with other people. The show can be seen by a Sherlock newbie, but I must say that it definitely gives you an even more pleasurable experience watching the show while snickering at all the familiar bits from the old material.
The cast is spot on, too. Benedict Cumberbatch is a perfectly intense, flamboyant and otherworldly Sherlock. Even his physical appearance match with the description of Sherlock Holmes in Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet". As his room mate and newfound friend, Martin Freeman's down-to-earth jumper-wearing everyday man is the perfect anchor for a Sherlock that doesn't always know when he goes too far.
A real gem for both new and old Sherlock Holmes fans indeed.
on 15 August 2010
What more can I say other than I enjoyed them so much that I've watched all three episodes twice? Cumberbatch's dark, thrilling Holmes was perfect for the modern setting and the growing relationship between him and Martin Freeman's quietly brave Watson was kept integral to the plot as it always should be. And what great plots they are, although I would expect nothing less from Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss who rarely fail to impress me: They clearly know their Sherlock Holmes and borrow selectively from the original short stories and novels to create something that is new and fresh. Each episode is clever and thoughtful, with interesting modern twists; such as the particularly effective use of text to allow you to see what Sherlock is thinking as he surveys a crime scene or texts on his phone. It really is worth getting past the images of gaslight and hansom cabs that Sherlock Holmes normally brings to mind and letting yourself be drawn into the show. I thought I would hate 'Sherlock' when I first heard about the series and I couldn't have been more wrong.
on 25 January 2011
How good is Sherlock? Brilliant. I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan since watching the Basil Rathbone films in the school holidays when I was a kid, and then reading the books my father had. I approached this version will slight trepidation. I was reassured that Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat were the creative forces behind it, but nevertheless...
I needn't have worried. All the 3 episodes are fantastic. The chemistry between Cumberbatch (Holmes) and Freeman (Watson) is terrific, and the storylines are pacey and gritty. The camera work showing Holmes analysing the scene is just one of the neat touches that allows the viewer to be involved with the action from start to finish.
The Blu Ray comes with commentaries on the 1st and 3rd episode, as well as the pilot version of the 1st episode. Gatiss, Cumberbatch and Freeman narrate the 3rd episode, and they are relaxed and jovial. Whilst there is not the technical insight about scene creation, character research, etc that some may crave they talk candidly about the film making process and their memories of how scenes were crafted. Frequently going off track to come back again make the commentary engaging.
Any Sherlock Holmes fans worried about this defiling Sir Arthur's creation need fear not. Whilst Jeremy Brett was probably the definitive Victorian Holmes, this is an excellent adaptation and worthy of attention
on 2 December 2010
I didn't watch this first time around,I confess to being a little snobby about an updating of the Holmes story. I am now watching the re-runs on BBC3 and was genuinely surprised and pleased to be really entertained by this clever adaptation. To me Basil Rathbone is Sherlock Holmes, I absolutely HATE the over the top maniacal performances of Jeremy Brett, but Benedict Cumberbatch was very good as the detective.
The texting, E'mailing and blogging were good ideas and I felt that the spirit of the originals remained. Critical reviewers on these pages have cited 'over-production' whatever that means, and sloppy dialogue. Sadly they have also been critical of the many people who have written favourable reviews, and somewhat arrogantly have suggested that the current TV viewer,and by implication the positive reviewers,are incapable of appreciating good drama or being critical of what they, the critics, see as poor drama.
Personally I found the series well acted and well written and worthy of the praise it has received. To compare it unfavourably to 'Monk' and 'House' as one reviewer has done is pretty incomprehensible as is the rather boring old chestnut that we cannot make drama of as high quality as American TV. Give me British TV every time, and, more of 'Sherlock' please. This Holmes afficionado for one would be pleased to see another series.
on 10 November 2010
This is a modern day rendition of Holmes and Watson. It s slick, quick has excellent characterisation and is filmed in a manner to keep one on one's toes.
The modern day London setting didn't matter to me at all as the lead actors performed with much aplomb being both instantly recognisable from previous incarnations and easily fitting into the present day.
The plots are an amalgam of Conan Doyles' original stories with modifications allowing them to fit in with their modern settings.
It's a hoot from start to finish.
on 3 October 2010
I'm french, and first discovered the series on the internet, before buy it. I am an inconditional of Sherlock Holmes since ever, and was immediately seducted by this modern version.
To summarize my impression in three words : I loved it!
To choose two "historic" references, this series seems a perfect compromise between the performance of Jeremy Brett and the newest and most dynamic of Robert Downey Jr.
Benedict Cumbertbach undoubtedly deserves a leading place among the best Holmes ever seen on screen. Elegant, nervous, capricious and moody, alternately charming and detestable but still incredibly endearing... He does not play, he IS the character, Martin Freeman is a marvellous Watson, and the secondary characters are all very well "drawed". And, extremely important, they have the age of their characters ... Finally!
The spirit is faithful to the works of Conan Doyle, and references are fun (Sherlock has quit smoking ... John found him lying on the sofa with three anti-nicotine patches stuck on his arm: "It's a three-patch problem").
The transition to the twenty-first century doesn't causes any problem, modernization is highly succesful, and blogs, sms, London cabs, etc. ... replaces perfectly newspapers, telegrams and other fiacres.
A series that takes place among the best ever made on the subject, and amply deserves to be pursued.
I first encountered 22A Baker Street at school when I was awarded a hardcover edition of the collected works, all the stories under one cover. Reading all the stories over time, I grew accustomed to the Victorian life, the deerstalkers, pipe smoking, violin playing and all the idiosyncrasies of this detective and the relationship with his military doctor friend and revolver wielding biographer.
When I imagine Holmes and Watson, it is the Victorian pair I see. I am a traditionalist, which made it very difficult to consider the modernised new version with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I saw Guy Richie's 2009 movie, "Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and disliked what had been done to the characters, although it is a clever film.
"Sherlock" surprised me. I liked it as they seemed to have taken the characters' essence and put them into new modern bodies living in recognisable settings. The quirkiness, genius and eccentricity of the Holmes and the straight-laced, traditional military attitudes of Watson in exciting, fast-moving stories.
Expected pleasure down to sharp writing, clever filming and great acting.
on 21 November 2011
Being a bit of a Sherlock Holmes purist, I must admit that I didn't really enjoy this when it was originally aired on TV. I'd come to it with blinkers on, and never really gave it a chance (switching off in disgust at the point where Holmes declared that it was a `three patch problem')!
However, having just recently obtained a copy of the first series I have just watched the whole of the first episode (A study in Pink) and can't believe how much I enjoyed it! Not only is it funny and gripping, but also very cleverly thought out in the way that certain aspects of the original novel have been brought to life with a modern twist. The casting of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is perfect too - I just feel ashamed that it's taken me so long to appreciate it, but as they say better late than never!
For anyone else who loves the original Holmes, I say give it a chance - it's still not everyone's cup of tea I'm sure, but if you open your mind, you might, just like me, be pleasantly surprised.
on 18 March 2012
I am a Sherlock Holmes fan since I was a child, I have read all stories and novels (some of them more than once), and I have seen lots of TV and cinema adaptations: I have to admit that, in my opinion, this is the best by far! It is brilliantly written and directed: Sherlock Holmes and friends just as they have been described by Conan Doyle, but with much more humor. The stories, though very different from the original ones, are a perfect adaptation to modern times and have hints to the Sherlock's universe which I find really amusing, and I think all fans would agree on that. And the cast! What can I say? Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play this part! He IS Sherlock! Martin Freeman plays a really intense Dr. Watson, Una Stubbs is a lovely Mrs. Hudson, Mark Gatiss is a SUPERB Mycroft... All the cast is just as good!
About the episodes: the first one (A Study in Pink) is absolutely brilliant. It is my favourite of the three: Sherlock and John meet for the first time, and you can see their relationship starting and developing. It has some scenes which I cannot stop watching and rewatching, and laughing for! The third one (The Great Game) is completely breath taking, but I won't say anything else to avoid spoilers to those who still have to watch it. The second episode (The Blind Banker) is the one I liked the least, but I have already watched it twice anyway!
In conclusion, this series is absolutely a must-see!
The quality of the blue-ray is very good. It contains two discs with the three episodes, and audiocommentaries for episodes 1 and 3. Commentaries unfortunately do not have subtitles, which is quite disappointing: they are really interesting and people would like to understand 100% of what they are talking about, but some passages are a little challenging for those like me, who don't have english as a mother tongue... The discs contain also an interesting behind the scenes (Unlocking Sherlock) and the pilot, which is the first version of A Study in Pink, shorter by 30 minutes and different in many aspects, so definitely worth seeing!
on 11 December 2010
OK, I have been a fan of the Sherlock Holmes novels/short stories for many years, and own more than one copy of the literature and can say that I have read the books at the very least over 20 times each. It was always the perfect form of escapism for me, the characters, the "innocence" (if you like compared to the modern world) and the settings. To say nothing of the language and dialogue which always makes me smile as folk back then knew how to speak and write English!
I liked the early Jeremy Brett TV episodes as they seemed quite faithful to the original work, and authentic (I imagine); one problem I had with this version was the sad and shocking decline of Jeremy Brett. I find the later episodes painful to watch as Brett's Holmes just dosn't meet my personal mental version. A very sad and unfortunate decline.
So, when I heard about this new BBC version I initially shunned it, thinking it was going to be some trash that the BBC squeezed out to fill a Sunday evening schedule.
How wrong I was! I think that the updated version has worked perfectly, not only in the attention to detail, the modernization and the humour, but the casting is absolutely spot on. Holmes is fantastic, everything I would have wanted from a Holmes. Watson gets well deserved portrayal and again is perfectly cast, and at last Lestrade is not such a fool.
I shall be buying this DVD, as I have already watched them on iplayer several times. Like the books, each time you read/see the story something new crops up. Escapism is back!