De omnibus dubitandum
10 Aug 2010
You’d think that after 2009’s blockbuster no sane producer would dare tackle the Sherlock Holmes mythology for the foreseeable future. After all, any attempt at re-imagining Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous ‘consulting detective’ would inevitably be compared to Ritchie’s film, and the final result would have to be damn fine indeed if it was to survive that comparison favourably.
Yet the 3-part TV series recently aired on the BBC seems to have managed exactly that. Or, actually, it’s so bloody good and ingenious that no one even bothers to compare it to the Downey Jr film. The TV series, you see, is an entirely different animal.
The producers of the series have moved the setting to modern times, and have cleverly adapted the Holmes mythology to fit nearly flawlessly in this 21st century background.
They’ve also managed to cast spectacularly good actors in the roles of Holmes and Watson (and, as one producer remarked, have succeeded to cast an actor in the role of Holmes with a name even sillier than that of the detective himself).
What they haven’t managed is to conceal the fact that they’re the same people behind the current Dr Who. Some of that series’ flaws emerge in Sherlock as well, such as the amazing coincidences that move the plot along, and the protagonist’s apparent omniscience.
Also depending on your taste the character of Moriarty, when he finally makes his appearance, is either utterly brilliant or campishly disastrous. (I’m squarely in the former camp, by the way – I thought he was superb.)
I always thought Sherlock Holmes was a bit of a silly character. A Victorian age superhero of sorts, his observational deductionism as unlikely as Superman’s x-ray eyes.
But despite all this, I thoroughly enjoyed the re-imagined Sherlock series. With three 90-minute episodes ending on a cliffhanger, I sincerely hope there’s more to come.
If you live in the UK you can watch the series on BBC’s iPlayer. If you don’t, I’m sure your torrent/newsgroup site of choice will be of help.