12.10.2011

Sherlock


Here's something else I'm grateful for:  recommendations for excellent tv watching.  Cate suggested that Biffle and I have a look at a fairly new BBC series called Sherlock.  It's a telling of the Sherlock Holmes stories set in contemporary London, but with many many of the other details of the Holmes universe intact.

The back story:  Biffle has an almost pathological love for Sherlock Holmes.  He has a volume of all Arthur Conan Doyle's writings which he's had since his early teen years.  The thing is literally falling apart, and has his marginalia throughout.  He rereads the whole book probably once a year, and has quite the memory for the details of the Sherlock Holmes universe.

And my back story:  I like adventure-ish tv shows and movies that feature two smart guys who are working together and also kind of flirting with each other.

So we watched the first episode last night and both loved it.  They make clever use of technology:  often Holmes's observations are typed on the screen (he sees the word "Rache" scratched into the floor and the German definition of the word pops up for a moment), and he constantly uses text messaging.  The whole show was exciting, even if (as in the case of Biffle) you have the entire Holmes universe memorized.  They know that many in their audience will have read the Doyle stories repeatedly, so they offered playful references for those folks.

Here's the bummer:  there aren't a million more episodes for us to download.  The first year has, like, three episodes.  Then we, along with everybody else who's discovered this series, will have to wait for the BBC to release series 2.

18 comments:

Meriah said...

I'm a Sherlock nut too, and so is Mikey. Since we were able to read, pretty much. That show sounds *pretty neat*, especially if someone who is also Sherlock-smitten liked it...

sarahmartin said...

I just watched these recently too, and then immediately re-watched them all. Now Benedict Cumberbatch is my new internet boyfriend, unseating the previously unchallenged David Tennant.

Robin Barrow said...

I showed the unaired pilot to my British Lit survey and they loved it (shorter and slightly different than the first episode). Someone said they thought it was closer to the spirit of the original than are the recent Sherlock Holmes films.

Anonymous said...

Is that the guy from _The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy_ movie? Because he's great.

Another fun British tv show that has absolutely nothing to do with any of the characteristics you just mentioned (so of course is logically related) that I think you'd enjoy is _The IT Crowd_.

Cate Bush said...

Just read that the BBC has aired the first episode of Season 2! Now we just have to figure out how and where to watch it :).

@Sarah Martin, I second your assertion of Benedict Cumberbatch being my new internet boyfriend! Davide Tennant was so lovely wasn't he?

sarahmartin said...

@Cate- God, so lovely. So very, very lovely. AND he named his daughter Olive, so good on him for character filled names. Benedict Cumberbatch, your time has come. Although I have to say, I'd be totally happy with Martin Freeman too.

Mel (Two Show Days) said...

Oh, I love Sherlock so much. They had a screening of the first episode of season 2 already, but I think it airs in the UK on Jan. 1.

I can't wait to hear what you think of episode 2, which is SO problematic. The interactions between Sherlock and John are great, but the Othering and really the whole plotline is insane and will raise your hackles, I expect. Still, I am in love with the show.

And, Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is probably the best name in all of history.

Cate Bush said...

@Mel, I agree about episode 2! I just re-watched last night. You assessment was spot on :). I think I have fonder memories of episode 3.

Alison said...

Hey, Biffle and I also watched episode 2 last night and had some complaints--odd that we were watching at the same time, Cate.

I do have to say that I find it a little weird that y'all have chosen Sherlock as your tv boyfriend. Watson is definitely my tv boyfriend.

Mel (Two Show Days) said...

Episode 3 is much, much better. Also, if you get a chance, watch the unaired pilot. It's mostly the same plot, but it has some fun differences. And I think Sherlock comes off smarter in it because he catches on more quickly. I've rewatched the whole series so many times already. The actors are just wonderful in every single moment.

Kenneth Burns said...

My concern is that this Watson's brittle hostility doesn't seem true to the source material. In the stories Watson can be impatient with Holmes, but more importantly he is adoring, and perpetually amazed by Holmes' skills.

Biffle said...

Yeah, I'm a little put off by that too, Kenneth. But i think they've chosen to play both Sherlock and Watson as a little more testy than I read them as in the original.
Watson is, as you say, brittle, and Sherlock comes off as openly hostile to people instead of just indifferent.

I wonder if they think that adds to the modernization of the story? If to be Victorian is to be reserved, is it modern to be irritable and aggressive?

Alison said...

Please, Watson totally adores Sherlock. They have a persistent flirtatious energy. Watson lights up when he and Sherlock run around after the cab.

Kenneth Burns said...

Maybe what I'm saying has less to do with the series' homoeroticism, which is amusing,* than with the characterization of Watson in general. In the stories he's a bumbler, and there's affectionate humor about his cluelessness. I love one in which Holmes sends Watson off to do advance work at some country estate. Watson earnestly, painstakingly sleuths, then reports back to Holmes, who explains with a twinkle why he is completely wrong about everything. There's not so much of that in the series.

I came to Holmes fandom via Walter Biffle.

* But why only amusing? Why not make something of it? It's right there in the Doyle.

Biffle said...

That's funny Kenneth. I cited that very thing to Alison while watching the second episode. Still it's a relief that the new Watson is a little sharper. Doyle's Watson was so dense sometimes it couldn't help but smack of Deus ex machina.

Alison said...

How offensive is it if I say that the homoeroticism isn't amusing, it's hot? I'm totally on board for the two of them to hook up. Everybody keeps assuming they're a couple--this is how romantic comedies play it. They just haven't yet figured out that they're a couple.

Mel (Two Show Days) said...

I'm with you, Alison. I'm glad Watson is less bumbling. I think it works better for him to be competent and yet still in awe of Holmes. And they are a hot couple.

On a related note, I miss the days when House and Wilson were the core couple on House, MD. The show was much better then.

It's the same dynamic that makes Hawaii Five-0 strangely compelling for such a generally bad show.

HOYAY!

Kenneth Burns said...

Have you watched the excellent "Masterpiece Mystery" series "Foyle's War"? I love that show.