Thursday, August 30, 2012

BBC's Sherlock: Massive Review

This is late, I am ashamed I am so sorry. o_O

It's exciting, it's addicting, and it's utterly brilliant.

The Splurge is gonna be a little massive for several reasons:

1) I will do a mini-review on each episode. Which is six reviews. This won't be overviews on the plots, not really. I'll just splurge on each episode, trying to be as articulate as possible. 

2) Pictures.

3) Quotes/Clips/Fanvideos

4) A general Pros/Cons list at the end

5) It's Sherlock and I can't shut up about it. So there. Don't say I didn't warn you.


I'm prefacing this with the fact that before watching, I knew very little about Sherlock Holmes. I knew he lived on Baker St. and he had a sidekick named John Watson; that he smoked a pipe and had a hat and solved something to do with dogs and Baskerville. But I had never read any of the stories (this has been remedied now, I assure you). 
I shall assume you know at least as much as I did. If you know more, then very, very good for you. 

Now. Let us begin. Bear in mind, Sherlock is has a rating of TV-14.


S01 E01
A Study In Pink

This is the introduction. This is where we meet John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street... and how those two met each other. The case is as exciting as all get-out, and as intelligent as the books. The translation of Sherlock into the modern world was completely believable. They include a lot of little tributes to the original stories, instead of trying to copy them, and that makes it work.
Benedict Cumberbatch is THE perfect Sherlock Holmes. And there is no other John but Freeman. Sorry, Downey Jr./Law fans. Sorry.
Anyway, translating Sherlock's brilliant but rather eccentric character and making him work in the 21st century was..... amazing. There are no words. I pretty much guarantee you will love it.
Swearing aside, there is one inappropriate (mutable) conversation and one awkward (skippable) conversation. Otherwise fantastic. (Email me if you would like my edit notes for all the episodes.)
Yeah. A Study In Pink is a very "classic-y" feeling Sherlock episode. The perfect introduction to 21st-century Sherlock. And it's much more brains than brawn.
The sort of disconnect Sherlock has with the real world, and yet somehow seeing it more clearly than the rest of us, it's shown perfectly. The practical John Watson, the rather presumptuous Anderson, sweet Mrs. Hudson and steady Lestrade are a fantastic balance for his..... Sherlockness.

S01 E02
The Blink Banker

This one is a case dealing with Chinese smugglers, two murdered bankers and much strangulation. A lot more intensity as far as action/peril goes. This one is just as brilliant as the first, if not more so. The one thing with watching Sherlock is, you really have to stay on your toes. It's easy to miss something.
Anyway. Not too much so say. This is a good episode. Enough funny, enough brains, and quite a bit of action and intensity as well. And nothing really objectionable (There is one statue at the museum that is singled out for a reason in the episode. But it could use some... clothing. This could be a problem for some people. But that's it.)

"I always hear 'punch me in the face' when you're speaking, but it's usually subtext."

S01 E03
The Great Game

And here is where we meet Moriarty. This episode involves a series of puzzles that Sherlock has to solve  within a certain number of hours. If he doesn't solve one within the time restraint, someone with a bunch of bombs strapped to them is blown up. Yeah. It's a fantastic episode though. The relationship with Sherlock and his older brother Mycroft surfaces again, and also we get to see Sherlock when he's bored. Hysterical.
The one thing, which seems slightly less absurd by this time, is the severed head John finds in the fridge. Sherlock has all sorts of things lying around he uses for experiments, all of which, we assume, have some sort of importance. But yeah.... there's a head in the fridge.
Moving on. A lot of things culminate in this episode, and we finally get to meet Moriarty, who has been lurking in the shadows of the previous two episodes.
And if you watch The Great Game, the ending will pretty much guarantee you will be watching Season 2.

"I'm not a psychopath, I'm a highly functioning sociopath, do your research!"

S02 E01
A Scandal In Belgravia

.....this epsiode. It requires some SERIOUS editing. Irene Adler is a rather... bold character. And yeah, that's an understatement. There's an entire scene that is much better skipped, and several short sequences as well. Watching an edited version with someone that's seen it before (or, again, if you want my notes...) is a good idea.
However, the raciness aside, it's a very good episode. Perfect balance of wit and brains and humor. There are three cases that float through this episode. And there's actually quite a bit of character depth that wasn't quite reached before. (Sherlock actually makes an apology?!)
There's a lot that makes Belgravia worth a watch. Once is fine. It's not an episode that I feel a great need to watch over and over again. One watch is plenty. You just kinda need to it balance out the following episodes.
Which leads us to Baskerville.

S02 E02
The Hounds of Baskerville

This one is rather the thriller of the season. My least favorite in some respects, my favorite in others.
The thing is, there's quite a lot of comedic relief, which is important since The Reichenbach Fall is the next episode. The great thing about the humor in Sherlock is that it's always, always in character, which is why it's so funny.
Baskerville involves genetic mutations, a gigantic hound, and a guy who's slowly going crazy after his dad was killed 20 years ago. There's quite a bit of screaming and rather intense scenes. However, it's quite worth a watch because of 1) Sherlock showing up at the flat with a harpoon. 2) Him telling someone to shut up and smoke. 3) His mind palace. 4) More character development. 5) Fantastic quotes.
Yeah. I really love and really dislike this episode. Love because there is so much.... Sherlock. And dislike because it's got an overly thrillish edge. Which, I mean, I'm not really objecting, it's just that thrillers aren't my thing. But I would totally watch this episode again.
Plus, the ending segues into.....

"It's going to start very soon Sherlock. The Fall. Because I owe you a Fall."

S02 E03
The Reichenbach Fall

It is very much full of emotions. But I'm a girl. Pardon me.
This is where Moriarty makes his move. He has everything a criminal mastermind could want. Except the ruin of his only rival. And seriously.... he plays the game well. The final showdown between Moriarty and Sherlock is NOT something to be missed.
Reichenbach is really the payoff for watching the first five episodes. It's deep, much deeper than the previous ones. We have developed characters that we are fully familiar with, who are now in a treacherous game laid out by our favorite, chewing-gum loving psychopath villain. (Moriarty, I don't think, stays completely accurate to Doyle's character. However, translated into a different time period, I've gathered that they did a good job.)
Again, a lot of tributes to the original stories instead of translating it directly. Reichenbach is definitely my favorite episode, but not one I would watch all the time simply because the gravity of it. But it's brilliant. Fantastic, and nothing really objectionable, as far as my memory serves me.

But really. Watching Sherlock is worth it for Reichenbach.


General Pro/Con list:

• Fair bit of swearing in each episode
• Smoking/nicotine patches, etc. Though, to be fair the original Sherlock did drugs too. It's not like they added that or anything.
• Some sort of gay reference in probably every single episode. (It's clear that Sherlock and John are not, of course. However, people allude to them being so, on multiple occasions. That would be the topic of the awkward conversation in A Study In Pink; the first time we meet Jim Moriarty in The Great Game, he pretends to be gay in order to make a very forgettable first impression on Sherlock. Irene Adler professes to be at one point, and there's a gay couple in the Baskerville episode.)
Half the references are on the subtler end. The other half, not so much. Very few of these instances are actually important to the story.
This here is just wrong. Season 3 doesn't even start shooting until January.

• The pure brilliance of Sherlock, much thanks to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Benedict Cumberbatch.
• The quite humorous relationships between Sherlock and: Mycroft, John, and Lestrade. (When you've got a friend who's a sociopath....)
• Brilliant casting.
•Good music.
•Good editing
•Fantastic little effects like the way they show text messages. (Just watch it to see what I mean. ^_^)
• The wit.
• The humor. (Seriously, Sherlock is so much funnier than it may appear.) The pure sociopath insanity that Sherlock is....  it's undeniably hysterical at times.
• Martin Freeman as John Watson. Seriously. He's perfect.
• The complete joy of seeing another rendition of England's most celebrated character ever. I would have gone into mourning and attacked Doyle in the street too, if I had been around when he wrote the story that killed Sherlock off.

The brilliant thing about this Sherlock is, in the words of Moffat, they "blow the fog away from him." Meaning we, in a way, get to see the inner workings of his brain, we get to see how his minds works in the moment. His observations are open for us to see, and it's really quite fantastic.

And really, there's just something about Sherlock Holmes. You just can't help but admire, and totally love him. And as far as film/TV reincarnations of him go, I would say BBC's Sherlock will top them all, always. The completely appropriate use of technology, the intriguing and quite complex cases, the aloof but impossibly irresistible Sherlock, a very grounded and down to earth John, a fantastic Mrs. Hudson, a great Lestrade, and unforgettable Moriarty.... they just did a really, really good job. Nothing more to say than that. They did an incredibly good job.

So. Whaddabout you? What do you like most about Sherlock? Biggest dislike? Have you even seen it?

(Hope this was sufficient, Teenage Writer :D)


Pathfinder said...

I love the characters. Definitely. It's nice to finally be able to relate to one.

Jess said...

I haven't seen it and I'm already laughing at the quotes with the pictures. (Didn't watch the clips though; do they spoil anything?) Probably won't be able to watch it for a while, though. *sobs* (There is a downside to having younger brothers that have to watch EVERYTHING with you. And also a downside to *cough* British humor. ;-D) Oh well, someday, someday, it is definitely on my watch list.

Hannah Joy said...

Sounds awesome and hilarious. But yeah, as Jess said, younger brothers. :-( Oh well.

AND....reading this, I KNOW you would enjoy BBC's Robin Hood. :-D :-D Seriously, there is nothing that I would object to in that except kissing, a few instances of not-too-well-disguised-but-not-that-obvious-either gay references and some potty humor. Oh and there is one scene in one of the episodes in the 3rd season that is not so great, but skipping is easy (although I wasn't in possession of the remote at the time...). Annnnyway, just sayin'. Since the next season of Sherlock doesn't come out for a while............

Ok, I'll stop ranting now. I just think you would enjoy it. Oh, and it has Richard Armitage (I probably told you half of this stuff already, but I can't remember). :-D

The Director said...

Of course I wouldn't post spoiler videos! WATCH THEM.

:D I'll definitely be checking out Robin Hood! Sounds a little like Sherlock in it's... skippage ;)

Farjag said...

Yes, Sherlock is awesome! And while I personally like the Downey/Law movies better, Cumberbatch and Freeman are a little more how I imagined the characters when I read the books.

In the end, Sherlock Holmes is awesome, and a well-done adaption, even better!

Hannah Joy said...

Yep, same sort of idea as Sherlock as for skippage, but sounds like much less, as Robin Hood is rated PG (or its TV equivalant) rather than TV-14. So you wouldn't have to skip a lot, I don't think. :-)

Oh and we will watch those clips soon. :-) *chuckles*

Hannah Joy said...

Oh yeah, and did I mention before that the first few episodes of Robin Hood are pretty cheesy? So if you don't like the first few episodes you should continue to watch, still. Basically, don't judge it by the first few episodes. But I think you'll really like it nonetheless. Since it seems like your humor is very similar to mine and they are just really good. :-D

Jess said...

Haha! Just watched those clips. XD I wish we could watch all of those right now. Must... not... give in... to instant gratification desire...

Miss Jack Lewis Baillot said...

The picture of Cumberbach falling...that is too funny 8-D
I LOVE this show!!! I've yet to see the last one...but that is because I had season two issues. Adler...however, I've heard the last one is amazing. Though part of me doesn't want to see poor Watson watch his best friend die. Oh, Watson is going to be SOO mad in season three.

Brilliant show though. And amazingly close to the books. And the actors!!! They are prefect!

The Director said...

@Miss Baillot
I think Belgravia was the worst the season got. Reichenbach will be nothing.... just more EMOTION. O_O You'll love it, of course you will.

And haha yeah, he's going to be pretty upset :P The three words for the next season are RAT, WEDDING, and BOW, if you want a puzzle....

Rachel Rossano said...

I saw the first series and not the second, yet. I can't wait until I get my hands on it. :)

I love the writing for these. They are extremely well done. Fast paced, smart, and fun. For one of them, I got slightly ahead of Sherlock, but I suspect that the audience was supposed to at that point to increase the suspense. ;)

I came from loving the original work. I devoured all the Sherlock Holmes available, directed a reader's theater version of "The Speckled Band," and professed to "love" Sherlock for a time as a teen. Yes, I was an odd teenager. :) So, I thoroughly enjoyed this updated version. :)

The Director said...

;) I don't think professing to "love" Sherlock is odd at all. Unless, I guess, we both are ;)

Lady Amy said...

Sherlock!!!!! :D Welcome to one of the greatest shows ever. Though I really could have done without those scenes in Belgravia. Not really necessary Moffat.

Charley Robson said...

Ahehehe, I had to skip all of this becuase I haven't seen Sherlock yet - it's on my MUST DO THIS!!! list, though! Gyaaaaaaah, the fact that you have recommended it only increases my desire to see it!

Jake said...

Huzzah! Thanks for the review, Director! And yes, this was excellent. :)

All right, Sherlock is on my to-watch list. And y'know my email, right? I'd covet a copy of those edit notes. :D in the world will I manage to find Sherlock in Africa? :P That's the question...

And seriously, if you love Sherlock and Steven Moffat's writing, and even if sci-fi isn't your thing... *COUGH* Doctor Who. Doctor Who is pretty much Moffat's main project :P He's the head writer and has typically written 4-6 episodes per season since he became the head writer in 2010. In fact, he declined working on another Tintin project because he didn't want to take time away from Doctor Who.

So yeah. ;) Yet another reason to watch Doctor Who, lol. It's got some of the same issues as Sherlock(like gay references) but judging by your review, it's a bit cleaner - less cussing and no skippable scenes.

Can't wait to get ahold of Sherlock, anways :D

The Director said...

Charley: WATCH. IT. NOW.

Jake: I shall get those to you as soon as I can. May be a day or two, since I've only physically written out notes for Belgravia ;)

The Director said...

And are you kidding? Sci-fi is WAY my thing. ^_^

Rachel Rossano said...

@The Director, I would definitely recommend the new Doctor Who (From the ninth doctor on). :) Some of the older stuff is fun too, but not as polished.

Jess said...

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was my first (and only, so far) experience of Martin Freeman. Guess what I said the moment I saw him? "Oh man, he is such a hobbit." A few months later I found out they had cast him as Bilbo for the new movie... (This slightly pointless and partially random comment was sponsored by the new quote I just noticed at the top of your blog.) Now I must needs get back to my schoolwork.

Lady Amy said...

Third the Doctor Who recommendation! :) And it is definitely cleaner than Sherlock. Even the gay references are subtler than Sherlock.

Star-Dreamer said...

Sherlock and Doctor Who are my two new obsessions. :D They should totally do a mash up... The Doctor meets Sherlock... it would be EPIC!!!!

Despite all of the raciness, A Scandal In Belgravia is actually my favorite episode. Well, I guess it's a bit different for me too... the raciness doesn't bother me as much as it would have about three or four years ago. I guess that's what several years in a secular college will do to you. *shrug* By now I'm used to remarks about homosexuals, the cussing, etc... I don't like the fact, but it's truth. It's pretty common around here, and if I were shocked every time I heard something like that uttered in the hallway, I would be permanently paralyzed and never get to my classes. lol! ;)

But just the fact that Sherlock met the perfect match for himself... I mean, COME ON! Adler was totally perfect for him. :) She's the only woman who can really keep him on his toes... and that password at the end. Oh, I am definitely SHER-locked. ;)

Also, a Study in Pink is probably my second favorite episode... and just the wierdness of Sherlock... he's so... SHERLOCK. GAH!!!!! *fan-girl swoon* To my friend and I, he is known as Bandersnatch... long story. But if anyone ever hears me refer to Bandersnatch at random... yeah, we're fan-girling over Sherlock. ;D

Jake said...

"A Study in Pink" messes me up every time I see the title. xD The original story (if that's what it's based off of) is A Study in Scarlet.

So yeah, Director, what're you waiting for? Doctor Who has four times as many episodes per season as Sherlock, and six complete (modern) seasons so far. ;)

The Director said...

Yeah, it's based off of A Study in Scarlet: however, instead of direct adaptions, Sherlock tributes more than follows the stories, which does work a bit better in this case. Just so you know ;)

And I'm waiting for one of my Whovian friends to introduce it to me. They're all busy.... :/

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Ely Gyrate said...

lol my brother recently introduced me to Doctor Who and I love(I actually just got done watching Doomsday--*sniff* Poor Rose...)
My best friend used to be a HUGE Sherlock fan(and still is of Season 1) but Season 2 really set her off. She is now a obsessed Whovian(and is bordering on a Matt Smith fangirl...)


Miriam Forster said...

This is an awesome post, but I couldn't fully appreciate it because I was too busy going SHEEEERLOOOCKK and curling up on the floor.


Also, love Martin Freeman. LOVE HIM.

The Director said...

Yessssssssssss :)

Yes. I adore Martin Freeman like nothing else. KITTENS, JAM, HEDGEHOGS and RAGE xD

Jake said...

By the by, that reference to series three; based on my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes as a book, the "BOW" may refer to the Holmes collection "His Last Bow". Sherlock may end after just three seasons O_o

The Olson Ranch said...

This is quite a bit late, but amazing post!!! I love Sherlock. ;) My friend hasn't seen it yet, and we were planning on having a Sherlock Marathon his summer. Could you email me your notes maybe? It would be so lovely if you could. :)

Thanks fellow Sherlockian!

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