TV Review: Sherlock Season 1 (2010)

Posted: October 2, 2012 in TV
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Episode 1:  A Study In Pink: Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) meet for the first time.  Watson is a veteran, just returned from Afghanistan, and Holmes is a consultant to Scotland Yard.  They try to solve five seemingly unrelated cases, apparent suicides that are really murders.  A strange drug is found near each of the dead bodies.  Sherlock and Watson trace the murders to a taxi with an American tourist inside.  Is the tourist a serial killer, or is there some other explanation for the murders?

Episode 2:  The Blind Banker:  An Asian museum curator disappears, a banker and a journalist are killed.  Holmes and Watson track the murders and disappearance to a group of Chinese acrobats appearing at a London circus.  What do acrobats have to do with a string of unexplained murders?  Sherlock Holmes figures it out as only he can.

Episode 3: The Great Game:  There’s a killer strapping bombs to innocent people in London and daring Sherlock to solve previously unsolved cases or he will detonate the bombs.  At the same time there’s a fake Vermeer being shown in a London art gallery, and there’s a missing thumb drive with top secret British Missile Defense plans on them. Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) wants Sherlock’s help on this.  Are these events related?  You bet they are.  Watch Sherlock deduce each piece of the puzzle.

Sherlock is a great show.  The first thing I noticed were the production values, the camera angles, the lighting, the direction.  These are not ordinary tv shows, these are like little 90 minute movies.  The show has a definite edginess to it. This is not your father’s tweedy, urbane Sherlock Holmes.  The character has been brought elegantly into the 21st century, he uses cell phones, and laptop computers, no more magnifying glass for this Sherlock.  There are lots of rivalries being set off on this show.  Sherlock has a doozy of a sibling rivalry with his brother Mycroft.  The police are decidedly not pleased to have Sherlock the “consulting detective” stepping all over their turf, and it’s not at all clear if Sherlock and Dr Watson are friends or rivals, they are alternately both friends and rivals.
Both the writing and acting are crackling good. There is actual banter between Holmes and Watson, they compliment each other and in turn hurl insults at each other, just like friends do.  Watson is more than an assistant and roommate here, he figures out parts of cases and is more than handy with a gun.  Benedict Cumberbatch is a fantastic Sherlock Holmes, as spry of foot as he is of mind.  Cumberbactch reminds me vocally of Alan Rickman. Martin Freeman is Cumberbatch’s equal as Watson, part friend, part sidekick, part protector, they have an amazing chemistry, like brothers or close friends, it’s hard to imagine such good chemistry with actors working together for the first time.  They are also very funny together and have superb comic timing. Sherlock is not to be confused with the American knockoff, Elementary, with the gimmick of a female Holmes, for the promise of some manufactured sexual tension.  This is the real thing, intelligent, stylish, and demanding of your attention.
Watch this show, you won’t be sorry.

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