Sunday, October 24, 2010


Just saw the new Masterpiece/Mystery series opening, Sherlock. (First image, above.) As a long-time fan of the great detective and Dr. Watson, I was much prepared to not-like it. (For my money, Jeremy Brett owned the role, nobody fore or aft who could touch him. Second image.) 

This new one? Contemporary London setting? Young bucks? No, I was ready for it to suck big-time and off with its head after ten minutes.

I was surprised. I rather enjoyed it. It had some nice touches -- Watson back from Afghanistan, and wounded, as was the original Watson. A bit more steely in his resolve, and while not in Holmes's class as an observer, not a dullard.

Holmes played as  a high-functioning personality disorder type right on the edge of sociopathic. 

Even Inspector Lastrade wasn't altogether stupid.

The nicotine patches instead of a pipe? A three-patch problem? I loved that. 

The villain was really creepy and way too much fun. 

Mycroft was thinner than I had envisioned him, but all in all, a promising start. Still not going to erase Brett's turn, but definitely worth watching, and an interesting reboot, much better than the Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law version. 


Bobbe Edmonds said...

I'll check it out. As to your "Best Holmes ever" challenge, I give you two words:

Peter Cushing.

Mario said...

I was reading an interview, and it turns out the actor playing Holmes _knew_ Brett. So he'd probably agree with you. :)

Stan said...

I enjoyed the first episode. I don't know if Mycroft's appearance was the twist, in itself, or if we were supposed to expect him to be Moriarty.

I also enjoyed the "three-patch" statement vs. the "three-pipe problem," from earlier stories.

Come to think of it, we never do learn where Holme's money comes from. Does Mycroft support him or does the "Holmes family" have deep pockets?

That would be an interesting story; what home-life would foster two such extraordinary men as Sherlock and Mycroft?

Oh, well.... How about 'dem Siblings, Steve?"

Steve Perry said...

Peter Cushing. Wonderful as Grand Moff Tarkin. The best of the Von Helsings, in the Hammer Draculas. And he had the gaunt look in the Holmes films, but not the manner. He comes third -- after Brett and Basil Rathbone.

It's not just Cushing -- the actors he had playing Watson did it as boobs. The scripts usually stank. And if the supporting characters are dullards, it's not nearly so impressive to see Holmes do his dance and amaze them than if they are reasonably bright and adept themselves.

Lot of men have worn the deerstalker, but it's still Brett's title to lose.

Steve Perry said...

We were supposed to think Mycroft was Moriarty and that was the twist. Only works if you are Holmes fan, but that makes it work.

The cheat is, Mycroft is a big man, heavy, stout, and sticking a slender version of him onscreen is deliberate misdirection.

Mike Byers said...

Like you, I had greatly enjoyed the series with Jeremy Brett and was prepared not to like this one. But other than the text overlays (I found them distracting with a touch of "here's something for you poor thickies on the other side of the pond who won't get it otherwise") I enjoyed this episode and will probably watch the rest of them. Watson's a hell of a shot, isn't he? As I recall from the books, he was a fair hand with a Webley.

Todd Erven said...

I was annoyed at, what I thought was, the overuse of technology. They seemed to be hammering into our heads that it was set in the present. The text overlays were also a bit aggravating.

That being said, about a third of the way through the episode, I really got into it. I think that I was inclined to hate the actor playing Sherlock but I got over that and was enjoying his take on it towards the end. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Steve Perry said...

Did Benedict Cumberbatch know Jeremy Brett? Possible, since both Cumberbatch's parents were actors, and it's a small county.

He couldn't have known him very well, since Brett died in 1995 when Cumberbach was a teenager, and he didn't get into the business until five or six years after Brett had died.

Aside from a few tweets allowing as how they knew each other, I can't find much about it.

Steve Perry said...

I think the point with all the CSI and cell phones and computers is that despite the high-tech, it's still Holmes's powers of observation and his memory that order his abilities. Of course a modern Holmes would know all that kind of thing -- the original was very much plugged into the events of his day -- newspapers, gossip, which cabbie knew what.

It didn't bother me, and I thought it was nice to show what he saw instead of him having to tell it every time.

And the bit with Watson's brother was a nice touch to show he wasn't always right ...

Bella said...


I agree with your post--that was my reaction to the first ep of "Sherlock"--it was actually much better than I'd expected it to be. And also, although I enjoyed it and have enjoyed other SH series, overall, nobody can touch Granada. And so I thought since you mention that being your favourite series, you might be interested in the following site:

Mario said...

Well, maybe this helps

But Brett, who played Holmes from 1984 to 1994, has made the most lasting impression on Cumberbatch.

"He casts a towering shadow. He was a friend of my mom's, and he was around our family a lot. He and the part collided, and he let it take him over. He was a manic depressive, but that was a side issue, but he then played one."

Steve Perry said...

Thanks, Mario, that is helpful.

Dan Moran said...

It's entirely possible that the Cumberbatch Holmes is my favorite. (Unsurprisingly, there are Doctor Who echoes all over this thing -- you could describe this as Holmes as a Time Lord and not be far wrong.)

Blasphemy, I know. But I enjoyed the hell out of that series.

Mario said...

No charge. :)

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Well, I just checked it out - twice.

Personally speaking, I think the new Sherlock is great, a kind of breath of fresh air to Masterpiece Mystery. The introductory episode of any show is always difficult, as you have to introduce, define and explore a character list in one shot. Hawaii Five-0 was like that as well. I think three or four episodes in, we'll have a smooth-running machine with more attention on storyline and less on "Meet Your Cast!"

I especially like that Holmes is such a genius that everyone else thinks he's crazy...I can really relate to that.

Took me half the episode to wonder why Dr. Watson kept ringing bells in my head...That's Dent, Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. His mannerisms gave it away towards the end.