A few weeks ago, the BBC aired the epic conclusion to the trial series of ‘Sherlock’ – a modern-day re-imagination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous series of short stories and novels.
For the uninitiated, Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is an uber-intelligent but somewhat eccentric and sociopathic man who works as a ‘consulting detective’ for the British police. We meet Sherlock through the eyes of Dr John Watson (played by Martin Freeman) – an ex army doctor looking for a flatmate. Watson very quickly becomes Sherlock’s assistant and brings an element of normality back into the picture.
The format is a little different from what I’m used to in TV series. There were only three episodes commissioned (although BBC big-wigs are apparently very interested in producing more) however each episode is 90 minutes long instead of the usual 45 minute long serials. Each episode feels like a little movie and the extra length allows for more complex story lines with plot twists and sub plots. As Sherlock is broadcast on the BBC, there are no ad breaks from beginning to end making for a much more cinematic experience.
Without going into the plot, I’ll try to summarize my opinion of the episodes below.
A Study in Pink
The first episode: ‘A Study in Pink’ was written by Steven Moffat, perhaps most well known for the Doctor Who episode ‘Blink’ and for saving the series from the death grip of Russell T. Davis. Dr Watson’s background is very quickly established and reinforced when he meets Sherlock for the first time. Sherlock’s introduction is quite possibly the best piece of television writing I have seen an a long while. You instantly get what the character is about and how he thinks (a very important component of the series).
Most new TV series take a while to set the scene before plunging into the real plot of the episode. However, despite having 90 minutes to play with, ‘A Study in Pink’ was very fast moving at the beginning (probably to get into the action quickly at keep people’s attention) and you arrive on the first crime scene within about twenty minutes.
I must admit that I’m a bit of a Moffat fan but this episode was – in my mind at least – an amazing introduction to the new Sherlock Holmes and I was very eager to watch the second.
The Blind Banker
After the exciting first episode, I couldn’t wait for the next. But after a week of waiting that felt like an age, the BBC finally aired episode two: ‘The Blind Banker’. This episode was written by Stephen Thompson and kept pretty consistent with the first but was a little weaker in some areas, particularly in understanding Sherlock’s thought processes (which was shown very well in ‘A Study in Pink’).
There were a couple of recurring themes from the first episode but I couldn’t help feel disappointed that even after two episodes, we have yet to see or hear Sherlock’s famous violin which was mentioned briefly in ‘A Study in Pink’.
Overall I would still say the episode was enjoyable. Perhaps not quite as good as the first but I was still eager for episode 3 – the series finale.
The Great Game
And now for the thrilling conclusion: episode three ‘The Great Game’ written by Mark Gatiss was a very fast moving episode and has a lot going on. The thinking sequences which I felt were week in episode 2 came back stronger than ever making for some genius deduction from Sherlock. With plot twists at every turn it really was a roller coaster ride right to the finale.
An now, here comes a spolier:
All the actors in Sherlock were brilliant but in particular I felt that Andrew Scott who played Moriarty was the best. He felt very creepy and unstable, in short – perfect for a villain.
And now I’ve probably got to wait until the Autumn to see more. I can’t wait. It’s my new favorite show.