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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sherlock season two - overview

Apparently intelligent is the new sexy
BBC's Sherlock ended this weekend with a dazzling episode that saw Sherlock fall to his death after Moriarty took his own life - of course the clues were all in the episode of how Sherlock was going to fake his own death and the teaser at the end, in which Holmes stands watching Watson visit his grave has left fans all confused. Did Sherlock die? We saw him jump - right?  Well yes and no. Earlier in the episode Sherlock visited the morgue and told Molly only she could help him - did he somehow get a body up there on the roof, dress it as himself and send it hurtling off the building so that the world will see his death?

  In the Holmes story, The Final Problem, upon which this episode was based, Sherlock fell into a raging waterfall and was believed dead, but in the TV show he fell and landed on rock hard concrete, so the makers will have to come up with a inspired and ingenious reason for his survival. And he did survive, for there is to be a third season. It was commissioned along with the second season.My guess is that Holmes placed the body up there prior to arranging a meeting with Moriarty, and that Molly the smitten morgue assistant helped Holmes obtain the body. Holmes' brother Mycroft is high up in some shadowy government organization and seems able to do anything so it's a sure bet that he is involved in the deception also. All will of course become clear when the third season arrives but given the two main actors heavy workload that probably won't happen until late 2013.

Dead Sherlock???
Now I'm not a Sherlock Holmes expert but I am a bit more than a layman - I've read the entire canon and indeed I've read some of the stories several times, I've seen no end of film and TV versions (the good and the bad)  and I have an extensive collection of Holmes related material. And thus I can say with confidence that the BBC' Sherlock has really captured the character Doyle created and is far more like the real Sherlock Holmes than Guy Ritchie's current Holmes blockbuster. The BBC version may be set in the modern day but writers and co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gattis have cleverly updated the original stories and brought them to life with perhaps the greatest screen Holmes and Watson for a many years. Initially I thought this was going to be crap and I couldn't get my head around the fact that Sherlock Holmes was now a non smoker and that his beat was the modern world, but I was immediately sucked into the story from the very first episode and this new pairing of Holmes and Watson will become definitive for  a new generation of fans.

The second season has been superb - the other two Holmes stories tackled this season were  A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles which became A Scandel in Belgrade and The Hounds of Baskerville. I though Baskerville was especially effective and it was a nice touch to make the back-story one of a government conspiracy and animal testing. And Belgrade too which introduced us to Irene Adler and caused a wave of complaints to the BBC over nudity was absolutely excellent. In fact all three episodes were excellent with my favorite being the Hounds merely because it's the Holmes tale I like the most. I also think the second season was an improvement on the first because the show felt much more confident. Though that's not to knock the first season as it was also pretty flawless, but this time out the show tackled some of the more iconic stories.

I'm the good looking one
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's double act as Sherlock and John Watson is pitch perfect, with a tremendous chemistry between the actors. I actually worked on the first season - appearing in one episode, The Blind Banker as a spectator at the circus - I'm watching the thrilling acrobatic display in the pic above and  left. And when I was working on the episode I had the feeling, as a Holmes fan of course, that this would all be a bag of tosh but how wrong I was and the series is without doubt a classic version of the evergreen detective series.

The second series UK DVD release is scheduled on 23 January 2012

1 comment:

Portugal said...

Sherlock: Season Two' has engaging performances from it's actors. Benedict Cumberbatch is making the character of Holmes his own and is excellent when showing Holmes' more vulnerable side. Series creator Mark Gatiss is given more to do this season as Holmes' brother Mycroft as does Rupert Graves as Lestrade. Andrew Scott creates a creepy and dangerous villain in Moriarty and you feel the tension ratchet up whenever he's onscreen. As usual the best performance in 'Sherlock' comes from Martin Freeman: he was born to play John Watson and the conviction of his performance keeps you anchored to every episode (especially with the developing friendship between him and Holmes).

This second series of 'Sherlock' may be a bit rocky and lacking in the freshness of season 1, but it's engaging character development, clever mysteries and outstanding season finale make this a DVD set worth buying (there's even some great nods/references to the original Conan-Doyle stories for dedicated Sherlock Holmes fans).