Sunday, November 7, 2010


"I am the closest thing to a friend that Sherlock Holmes is capable of having."

"And what's that?"

"An enemy."

So I found out the other day that there's a new Sherlock Holmes miniseries being made - a modernized one, no less. Normally that would be the sort of thing that I would avoid like the plague, but I found out about this through a blog post that described it pretty favorably, so what the hell, right? Anyway, long story short, I'm halfway through the first episode and getting the next few and at this rate (and with 1.5 hour episodes) I probably won't have time to think about anything else to blog tonight. XD

(Mild spoiler alert for the rest of the episode. No major plot details, but some things that you wouldn't have expected.)

You know what surprised me about this show? Not the writing; it was entertaining in that dry fast-paced British way, but I was expecting that. Not the way they modernized (though I was pleasantly surprised by how well they did some things - instead of bolting technology onto a classic plot, they basically wrote a new story with things like cell phones playing a central role). Not the story: it was about on par with one of the better episodes of something like CSI, which actually makes it pretty decent, but then again you expect that these days.

What surprised me was the characters. They are far darker than those in any other Sherlock Holmes adaptation I've seen. Watson doesn't just have a vague background as a military surgeon - he has flashbacks, sees a therapist, and discovers halfway through the episode that he misses the danger and excitement of being in a war zone. Holmes, meanwhile, is practically amoral - in his own words, a "high-functioning sociopath" - and cares about nothing except for solving crimes to avoid boredom. He's even occasionally a jerk about being the smartest guy in the room (admittedly, the original Holmes did this from time to time). The character is reflected in the other characters, too. The police don't like him (which was also present in the original stories, I suppose, but not to this extent), with one of them referring to Holmes as "the freak" and even speculating that he might end up on the other side one day.

Inevitable comparison: How does this compare to the Sherlock Holmes movie that came out last year? I enjoyed the film, but more as a Robert Downey Jr. movie than as a Sherlock Holmes movie. RDJ drew comparisons to Hugh Laurie (who stars in another Sherlock Holmes spinoff), and it was a fun movie to see, but that's just it: it was more "fun" than "interesting".

The next episode is about to finish downloading, so I'll leave off on this note: I think this adaptation has the potential to be Interesting.


Kiriska said...

I watched the Sherlock miniseries a month or two ago and still can't quite decide how much I like it. Not being a big fan/very knowledgeable about the original books, I don't have much to to compare to. I was largely indifferent to the 2009 movie adaptation and admit to mostly being amused by its (to me) overt homofaggotry.

I decided to watch the miniseries solely because Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame) was directing. I was entertained, but not terribly impressed by any aspect. I think my favorite part is just Cumberbatch's acting/portrayal of Holmes. Everyone likes a good asshole, right? I dunno. I'm hoping the second season wows me with a story at some point.

P. Static said...

Yeah, the second episode was decidedly mediocre compared to the first. Arbitrarily, my opinion of the entire miniseries now hinges on how much I like the third episode! :D

Kiriska said...

Hey! I was like that too! The first ep was good-okay to me. Second ep was disappointing! Third episode was "...well, I guess I will have to watch the next season. :|"