The Old Adventures of the New Sherlock Holmes

Hello again! I’m back after a long time and with more masala to keep you hooked to your TV sets! Being a huge Sherlock Holmes fan since my early childhood and having read the whole Sherlock Holmes collection, I thought to myself how better can a BBC TV series be after a super stylish, tight film by Guy Ritchie? Well, surprise surprise! Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat catch me thinking on the wrong foot. While Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes would have been over a hundred years old now, this Sherlock Holmes is young, even in 2010!

Sherlock is an adaptation of Doyle’s works in the 21st century and a good adaptation indeed. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Sherlock Holmes, a charismatic, highly functional,laconic consultant detective, a job that he claims, is created and performed by him alone. While Holmes shines in his new character, a guy who prefers to text (SMS) rather than make calls, the character of Dr. Watson, an ex-army doctor and Holmes’ room-mate and side-kick, who writes a blog about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, fails to impress. Not only is Dr. Watson’s character underwritten, but he also misses the acumen and efficacy of the original character by Doyle, despite an earnest performance by Martin Freeman.

Sherlock makes a good impression right from the moment he is introduced to Dr. Watson and the audiences, and their first conversation is as impressive as in the original work, but Watson and Holmes lack the chemistry that Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were able to create on-screen in the Guy Ritchie feature. Doyle’s Inspector Lestrade of the Scotland Yard is now Detective Inspector Lestrade, but unlike the original, almost everyone hates Holmes here. The cases that Holmes works on are similar to the ones in the short stories, though little variations are very intelligently fitted in as they are set in modern times. Holmes and Watson are shown living at 221B Bakers street (the legendary address used by Doyle in his works too), as tenants in Mrs. Hudson’s house, now a modern flat is missing the very famous ‘rocking chair’ that Holmes used to sit on while contemplating a case. A surprise element here is that of Sherlock’s elder brother, Mycroft, who now occupies¬† high post in the British Govt. and calls himself the arch enemy of Sherlock.

Cumberbatch delivers an remarkable performance and shows deep understanding of the character. Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson is good but he does not have much to count upon with a poor script in his hands. Rupert Graves is just about manages to be OK as DI Lestrade, while Una Stubs delivers an honest performance as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson;s landlady.  The three episode season 1 of the show ends with Holmes coming face-to-face with his biggest enemy, Prof. Moriarty and is left open ended to leave the audiences thirsty for the next season scheduled to premier sometime in 2012.

The direction is spotless and the series uses the same music as that in the Guy Ritchie film and is very well woven into the plot and conducted perfectly to get the right effect to the audience. The show grows onto you like a climber vine and you just cannot shudder to even move throughout the length of the 90-odd minute running episodes. All in all, Sherlock is a must-watch; a one of a kind series that takes TV detective shows to a whole new level! A 4/5 from my side to the show and a word of immediate recommendation, specially to Sherlock Holmes fans who could’t get enough of him on the Big Screen.

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Yours Truly!