A modern take on a beloved classic. The rationality of Victorian-era Holmes in present-day London. Nicotine patches! Why, pray tell, didn’t anyone think of this before? Under the helm of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, BBC’s Sherlock is a gem of a TV show for both fans and non-fans of Sherlock Holmes.
I read a couple of Sherlock Holmes stories as a child, mostly the mysteries from the Adventure of Sherlock Holmes compilation. Me and my brother became immediate fans, especially of Holmes’ logic and genius. I would try my damnedest to deduce the actions of my family and friends as Holmes did when a client came to see him.
I always failed, of course, but it’s easy to see why Sherlock Holmes stories were so appealing. He was a brilliant man and he made deduction look so easy. Anyone would want the ability to know everything about another person simply from looking at the mud around their shoes.
For me, once again encountering Holmes’ genius was the main appeal of this TV series (and any Sherlock Holmes adaptation, for that matter). This show is made even better because it is such a creative adaptation and a faithful homage to the stories it seeks to re-tell. After reading A Study in Scarlet, you can’t help but admire the way Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss adapted it for Sherlock’s first episode, A Study in Pink. Sure, it’s in modern day London with the cabs, phones, laptops and nicotine patches. But make no mistake, it is still Sherlock Holmes the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle meant it to be.
It was also nice to see the TV series highlight the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I must admit that when I read Holmes stories as a child, I was not particular about Watson. Never mind Watson, all I wanted to read was the magic behind Holmes’ deductions. Seeing Watson as an equal (and not just as a storyteller/sidekick) was nice. It was impetus enough for me to go back and read the Sherlock Holmes stories with an open mind and a more discerning eye.
It’s easy for someone who has read the stories before to love the Sherlock series. It’s a lot harder to convince someone who has never heard of Sherlock Holmes before to watch it. Easily remedied when you have Benedict Cumberbatch playing Holmes. The man is not just eye candy, though. His Sherlock is wonderful – just a tiny bit anti-social (a high functioning sociopath, as he chooses to be identified), cold, snobbish, petulant to a fault when he does not get what he wants. I never imagined Sherlock Holmes as someone whom people resent for his genius, but seeing Benedict Cumberbatch play him, you sort of understand the sentiment.
On the other hand, Martin Freeman gives new dimensions to John Watson. I had a hard time seeing Jude Law as Watson, but Martin Freeman is absolutely believable. Gruff and tough from military service, bored with the mundanity of civilian life. Then, when he whips out his pistol – bang! You realize that you should not mess with Watson. He is bad ass.
And finally, there’s Mrs. Hudson. Nobody is as charming as this landlady (I want one!):