Monday, March 21, 2011
Fictional Review #001: Sherlock (TV Series)
A post by Lynn Flewelling (author of The Nightrunner Series and The Tamir Triad, both of which will receive their own fictional reviews in the future) on her blog Talk in the Shadows first alerted me to the BBC's modern reboot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective. Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and 221B Baker Street are no strangers to either film or television, but the creators of Sherlock endeavored something that previous incarnations dared not to: shed the Victorian trappings of the original books--in which the milieu often plays as vivid a part as Conan Doyle's inventive plots--for more contemporary surrounds. The result could have degenerated into a flimsy pastiche with familiar names pasted onto characters so disfigured by the "update" as to bear little more than passing resemblance to their origins. Instead, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (of Doctor Who fame) reinvigorate Conan Doyle's signature duo by seamlessly transplanting them into the midst of 21st-century London.
Heightening the writers' strong script and plotlines are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, respectively. Martin Freeman has made a career of playing the everyman, from Tim Canterbury in The Office to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Arthur Dent, and he plays Dr. Watson's straight-man role masterfully. At the same time, Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes manages to evoke every eccentricity of the original without the benefit of the man's trademark deerstalker cap, capecoat, or pipe. Together they possess a strong chemistry that evokes precisely the kind of quirky friendship that underscored Conan Doyle's stories. Highly recommended for anyone in need of a good story, whether a fan of the original or not.
Available at Amazon.com in a two-disc Series One DVD or Blu-Ray set.