Sherlock Holmes is one of the most repeatedly recast, re imagined, and typically poorly executed characters that currently exists. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels seem to get re imagined decade by decade, and only a handful of actors and directors have managed to capture the true spirit of the character. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law did their best on the big screen, but we ended up getting a less than stellar imagining of the super sleuth duo. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman give it a go in this BBC imagining of Holmes, simply named Sherlock, and I’ll say that this is probably one of the best (if not the best) iterations of Holmes that we have to date. Today, we bring you the wonderfully dark, beautifully shot, Sherlock.
Sherlock is a product of the BBC, something that I’m quite glad for. Sherlock Holmes is typically bungled when it finds its license into the hands of a studio that shies away from the grit for a more campy approach. Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman put their best foot forward. Cumberbatch’s Holmes is extremely true to the character’s roots. Staying most true to the character’s later adaptations, we see him battle drug addiction, his own eclectic personality, as well as the social oddities that Holmes was known to exude each time he opened his mouth. Sherlock Holmes was charismatic, strong, and adversarial not only to his foes, but also to his friends and loved ones due to his constant state of misery. One thing he was not was charming. Cumberbatch encapsulates this well, and you can tell that show creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have a lot of love and knowledge for the Holmes character that they’ve put into this production.
Martin Freeman is brilliant as a modern day Watson. Being a veteran of the Iraqi War campaigns, he’s our bridge to Sherlock. He is the audience’s eyes, looking in on all of the crazy, and sometimes extremely hard to understand antics that Holmes continuously perpetrates. The duo have wonderful chemistry, and that carries on throughout the currently available three seasons. I will say, at certain points, the pacing of several episodes has a few issues. Two episodes throughout the first season in particular are an absolute slog, and with how yawn-inducing end up feeling, they bog down a bit of the enjoyment and mystery, having you nearly begging for the next episode to free you from the monotony.
What also works in Sherlock’s favor is the excellently shot cinematography. Sherlock is always brilliantly captured with gray overtones that swap out for eye popping visuals. There is a particular scene somewhere in the third season that deals with Sherlock coaching himself through getting shot that is one of the best scenes ever created for television. It’s always brilliant watching Sherlock and Watson traipse through a modern day London solving crimes, with occasional nods to fan service that never seem to drag the show down. The best thing about Sherlock is that one who doesn’t know much about Holmes or Watson can easily pick the series up and get invested into the diverse array of plots and story lines. To Sherlock’s favor, it’s available for easy quantitative consumption via Netflix currently.
What was lacked previously in storytelling, cinematography, and love for the character of Sherlock Holmes is rectified in this beautiful series. Although it has its flaws, and is by no means perfect, it is a wonderfully fun romp through Sherlock’s world. I’d recommend picking this up and giving it a watch if you’re a fan of Holmes, or if you’re a fan of great crime dramas in general. With endearing moments, a wonderful performance by Freeman and Cumberbatch, and obvious love for the source material, Sherlock is an easy recommendation for just about anyone looking for something new to stream.
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