Channel Surfers – Sherlock

Three guess as to why I’m doing a TV write up today instead of a movie, and the first two don’t count. That’s right I did not get to see a movie this week and off the top of my head I can’t think of a movie to review for you all, I will be getting around to Red State soon but I need to catch up on a few things before that. So that means that this week I’m going to be talking about Steven Moffat’s absolutely brilliant reimagining of one of literature’s most legendary characters.

Have you watched the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and walked out pleased but in the end not really felt like you’ve received? I know I have, every time I watch the new Sherlock Holmes movies, as much as I enjoyed them, I didn’t love them. If you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle you should understand what I mean. In his novels we get an amazing detective that can solve virtually any case thrown at him, but he has his faults, big gaping ones at that. He is a cocaine addict, he smokes a LOT, is very socially inept, a very cold individual to have to deal with, and, let’s be honest here, he’s kind of a gigantic ass. In the RBJ movies we get the amazing detective and we get those really cool moments before a fight where he sizes the person up and goes through the fight step by step in his mind before it happens, but we don’t get the real Sherlock Holmes. If you have ever wanted to get a taste of who Sherlock was in the books, the BBC series is what you should be watching.

Before RBJ’s first Sherlock movie arrived on the big screen in December of 2009, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss created what, in my opinion, is the best representation of Holmes that has ever been shown. The first episode aired July 25th, 2009 it was titled “A Study in Pink” and was loosely based off of they story “A Study in Scarlet” by Sir Doyle, it was originally intended to be a 60 minute pilot for the series but was then turned into the first of three 90 minute episodes in the season. That’s right, this show only has three episodes each season (and I thought only getting 14 Doctor Who episodes per season was tough), but when each episode is practically a movie in and of it self those three episodes are incredibly satisfying.

In this version of the show Sherlock is perfectly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, who if you were wondering will be playing Khan in the new Star Trek movie. His Sherlock is that cold, socially inept, addict that you get in the stories. To perfectly balance Cumberbatch’s Sherlock we get the wonderful Martin Freeman, soon to be playing a young Bilbo in The Hobbit, playing war veteran and military doctor John Watson. They live in the iconic apartment at 221B Baker St in modern times, this adds a fantastic twist on the classic Holmes story, the twist being that Sherlock has modern equipment to deal with which makes it all that much more enjoyable getting to see how the legendary consulting detective works in a modern time.

So far the show only has two seasons, with a third starting production in January, and a total of six episodes all of which are some of the highest quality television I have seen in my life. The writing in impeccable, the acting is bang on, and the way Moffat and Gatiss connect Doyle’s Sherlock to theirs is absolutely brilliant. There is nothing I can say about this how that isn’t me praising it. The idea was conceived by the two from conversations on train rides back and forth from the Doctor Who offices in Cardiff. Both men have had previous experience turning Victorian Literature into modern stories, Moffat had previously been lead writer on the TV series Jekyll and Gatiss wrote the Doctor Who episode “The Unquiet Dead” which involved Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. They both agreed that the recent television adaptations of Sherlock Holmes had been too reverent and slow paced compared to what the original stories where and thus Sherlock was born.

As said before the show has only two seasons of three episodes each so catching up won’t be difficult nor will it take too long, I highly suggest you go and check out Sherlock. I do suggest that you watch it first online before you go out and buy it though, the seasons are pretty expensive for just three episodes, although the bonus features are quite wonderful but I know that not everyone enjoys bonus features as much as I do. I’m not sure if season two has been released on DVD yet but the first season is for sure. I can’t recommend Sherlock enough to you. Even if you have never watched a movie or TV series for Sherlock Holmes, or even read one of the many stories out there, watch this show, it is storytelling at its finest. Seriously, watch it, you won’t be sorry.

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