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Monday, April 21, 2014

Sherlock Thoughts

It took me longer, I think, than most fans to fall in the love with the Sherlock series. I liked it, but didn't love it as much as others I knew. Now I think part of my problem was that I watching episodes in pieces instead of all at once (each episode is an hour and a half). Today, I love it, and here's my review.

Who is it For?

I feel like Sherlock Holmes, or renditions of him, have been around for so long that either you like Sherlock Holmes, or you don't. The BBC series differs than the original in that it takes place in modern London, so instead of Watson writing down his adventures with Sherlock on paper, he has a blog, instead of letters, they get messages. If you love crime shows, mystery shows, or the characters and their relationships in previous remakes, you'll probably like this Sherlock.


What I love most about Sherlock, is the character dynamics. I know, the story revolves around solving cases, which is fun and exciting, and keeps interest, but so many of the characters are so unique (and portrayed so well) that often I find the relationships and characterizations more interesting than the cases. Watching the character arc of Sherlock is what sold my heart on the show. 

Sherlock starts off with having no friends and dismal social skills. He cares about solving crimes more than he does about people. As the series progresses, he gains friends he's willing to lose his pride for, to die for, and learns to be more sociable and kinder. All of this is because of his relationship with John Watson. The show illustrates the power and influence a positive, real relationship can have on an individual.

John Watson has his own arc. He goes from thinking Sherlock is a heartless, jerk, antihero, to gaining a deeper understanding of him, considering him a best friend, and a hero, in spite of his flaws.

I'm a sucker for that. I'm a sucker for relationships where character's gain a deep understanding of one another and become better people because of it, especially when the relationship has flaws and imperfections.

Then, there's the humor. We get to watch the day-to-day or case-to-case humor of solving crimes with a genius sociopath, someone who keeps body parts in the refrigerator and shows up to Buckingham Palace in nothing but a sheet. We get to see Sherlock with his parents, who are utterly "ordinary" and hear him bicker with his brother about who is more brilliant and even see him and Watson try to solve a case while drunk after Watson's bachelor party. We get the funny one-liners along with the run-on jokes of people assuming he and Watson are gay (because Sherlock is antisocial and for the first time has someone, a man, living with him).

But it goes beyond that. In a few subtle ways, the show makes fun of the history of Sherlock Holmes. You know the trademark hat Sherlock wears? Everyone's seen it. The original Sherlock Holmes never wore that hat; it was picked up in subsequent remakes, yet everyone associates it with Sherlock Holmes. BBC makes fun of that by having their Sherlock happen to grab that hat and put it on just before his picture is taken by the press, so now the public assumes he wears the hat all the time, but he doesn't. They're making fun of us. We think the original Sherlock wore that hat all the time too.

So while BBC teases the Sherlock Holmes scholars, it also teases the contemporary fans. I've heard Holmes fans daydream of Sherlock and Watson actually getting together, for example, so the series plays on the fact that people assume they're gay when their not. Then there are fans and fan clubs that pop up on the show too.

It's not like I'm holding my side laughing my head off through the entire episode every episode, but the humor is definitely there and it's fun and clever and I do usually laugh a few times each episode.

Alright, finally I'm to the cases, the plot. I haven't actually read the original Sherlock Holmes, but I'm somewhat familiar with it. I know that the BBC series actually plays off the original series by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, and BBC updates the titles, so instead of "A Study in Scarlet," the episode is called "A Study in Pink," so that's fun. What I've noticed and enjoyed about the cases is that often several mysteries come up that seem unrelated, and, surprise, Sherlock figures out how some of the most obscure scenarios--those that seem totally unrelated to the main case--are part of the bigger mystery. And of course, one aspect that draws me to the cases is that, for the most part, Sherlock simply notices mundane things that others overlooked to solve the mystery. That's always cool to me.

You can find Sherlock on Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu. Season three aired earlier this year, and we have to wait two years for the next season. Yikes.

Thanks to Shallee and my friend Jenica for recommending the series to me.


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