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Sherlock


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This article on the renewal of the PBS/BBC contract for Masterpiece Theater has information on a new Sherlock Holmes series, set in present-day London, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson.

Why do I picture Danny DeVito's Penguin whenever I say "Benedict Cumberbatch"?

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Why do I picture Danny DeVito's Penguin whenever I say "Benedict Cumberbatch"?

Because you didn't watch Amazing Grace with sufficient attention? ;)

If they're going to "modernize" the franchise, they should be making the Holmes/Mary Russell mysteries, but that'll be the day.

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If they're going to "modernize" the franchise, they should be making the Holmes/Mary Russell mysteries, but that'll be the day.

Yes, please.

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Just a bump to remind all you lucky people with BBCOne that the first episode of Sherlock (titled "A Study in Pink") airs tonight at nine.

Here's the series

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Why do I picture Danny DeVito's Penguin whenever I say "Benedict Cumberbatch"?

Because you didn't watch Amazing Grace with sufficient attention? ;)

Better that than Atonement (ewww).

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He was more fun than both in "Starter for 10" alongside James McAvoy and Rebecca Hall.

Matt

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Oh, and The Guardian's spoiler laden review. I plan to catch it on iPlayer. Weird hearing about a British TV programme from Americans.

Matt

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Saw this last night. S'ok, nowt too special, but certainly fun entertainment for an otherwise dull Sun eve tv schedule. The title to this episode suggests towards the series' most 'radical' modern interpretation. Otherwise the 'interpretation' consists of translating diaries to blackberries, Sherlock having memorised the London traffic one-way system, and Dr Holmes' injuries being a consequence of the Afghan war. So far, Holmes makes for a much more interesting character and Martin Freeman does an ok job of balancing the light heartedness of the show with the suggestions towards a darker side of Holmes.

Have to say, it is nicely filmed though the sets feel a bit clinical. Particularly Baker St, which is a bit of a dissapointment.

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Dr Holmes' injuries being a consequence of the Afghan war.

You mean Dr Watson?

Oddly enough, A Study in Scarlet reveals that the original Watson had also gone to Afghanistan with the British army. The more things change ...

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Only got as far as the first half hour, but I thought the most telling point in translation came when Holmes explained to Watson how he had made his deductions about him.

"Brilliant" says Watson (or words to that extent).

"That's not what they usually say" says Holmes.

"What do they usually say" asks Watson.

"Piss off".

I guess it's probably a love it or hate it line, but I'm in the former camp: whereas such rational brilliance was all the rage in Victorian/Edwardian London, all too often today there is a hatred of intelligence. Clever people abused as geeks or smartarses. The people we should really emulate are models and sportstars.

I suppose the enduring popularity of Holmes could be cited against such a point, but then look at how recent outings have dumbed things down.

Speaking of which I'm not sure what I think about the floating text when Holmes is sizing something up. It's a gimmick but so far I can of like it. Suspect it will feel overdone very very quickly (like the zooms through the body that became so tiresome in House).

Matt

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"Brilliant" says Watson (or words to that extent).

"That's not what they usually say" says Holmes.

"What do they usually say" asks Watson.

"Piss off".

:lol:

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Just seen the rest of it, and it's a thumbs up from me, except for the fact that the plot was

just the same as a recent episode of the Idris ELba cop show Luther, crossed with a bit of Derren Brown

.

Promising for episode two so long as the solution isn't that the butler did it, or that they did it with mirrors...

Matt

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Just seen the rest of it, and it's a thumbs up from me, except for the fact that the plot was

just the same as a recent episode of the Idris ELba cop show Luther, crossed with a bit of Derren Brown

.

oooh! now there's another tv show that i was getting into, but then had a plane to catch to a different continent. You'll have to update me on what happened when I next see you. I haven't met anyone else that watched it.

Also, I should have said in my post that I missed the first 20 or so minutes which means that I missed the encounter you described above. Forshame.

Yes, Dr Watson, Dr Watson *writes it out 500 times on lined paper*

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Disappointed by episodes 2 and 3. It's still watchable, but by inventing new Holmes stories they've really lost the subtlety of the original stories just going for the more exaggerated characteristics. There, Holmes tackles a variety cases, relatively few are murders: here all 3 episodes have been about serial killers. There, Holmes does not always submit to social niceties, but he's always rude here - often deliberately so. Another example is with his, much laboured, lack of knowledge of the sun going round the earth. Doyle's Holmes was never quite that ignorant of popular knowledge.

And so many of the deductions could have alternative explanations. A wedding ring that been taken off = an adulterer? Maybe they just play sport. etc. And does the audience really need to be pandered to quite this much? In episode 2 Holmes has to

decode a cipher. He would surely know that one of the commonest forms of coding was to use a set book, but here it takes him most of the episode to figure it out

- and even then he needs help. Likewise in episode 3 if he really knew, straight away, what happened to the

memory stick guy, and that that's what he was after he could just have gone straight to Moriarty

(who is a ridiculous caricature).

Yes there's good stuff too, and lots of people (who don't know much about Holmes) have enjoyed it, but I was hoping it was going to be so much better.

Matt

PS The opening to part 3 finds Holmes correcting the English of a man trying to speak. Again rude to an extent that Doyle's Holmes never was, but also when he corrects the man's English doesn't he get it wrong the first time?

Man: She's always getting at me saying I weren't a real man

Holmes: Wasn't. Wasn't a real man

Shouldn't this be "I'm not a real man"?

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Sherlock is returning next autumn. For three more episodes. Story here.

I'm in the U.S. so I shouldn't have any comments until October 24. I've heard good things, though, especially about the ways elements from Study in Scarlet are re-appropriated for "Study in Pink." So color me excited.

Edited by NBooth

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I think I'm a fan. No, scratch that. I know I'm a fan. "A Study in Pink" just gets so much right; it follows the source novel incredibly closely, even though the end product is nothing like the book--repurposing such essential clues as the wedding ring and the dying message, and (joy of joys!) Watson's pocket-watch so that they make sense in the updated time period. (Sure, there are alternate explanations for all the clues, but Holmes in the stories once deduced that a man was intelligent because he had a big head. It's not like he was really an iron-clad master of logic when you get down to it). Cumberbatch as Holmes is terrific. He's more rude than the Holmes of, say, "A Case of Identity" but that's a post-Irene Adler Holmes, yes? At least, according to my copy of the "Annotated." As far as I can tell, Cumberbatch's portrayal maps perfectly onto the Holmes of A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. And Martin Freeman is an ideal Watson.

The, um, solution is disappointing, though (and from what I hear the final revelation of you-know-who's involvement doesn't get proper payoff). The killer in the novel is interesting because Doyle bothers to give him a sympathetic motive; there's a pass made at that here, but it's really hampered by the fact that the actor in question just isn't terribly charismatic. Still, I'm looking forward to see more Cumberbatch and Freeman. At its worst, this Sherlock wipes the floor with the most recent big-screen effort (which I did like).

BTW, for those of us in the U.S. who missed the airing last night, the episode is up on the Mystery Masterpiece website. The next episode airs November 1.

Edited by NBooth

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I'd reserve stating your opinion until you've seen parts 2 and 3. I was a fan after part 1...

Matt

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I'd reserve stating your opinion until you've seen parts 2 and 3. I was a fan after part 1...

Matt

Oh no--does this mean you changed your mind after part 2 and/or 3? Now I'm worried! But I'll be watching, in any case. Definitely promising on the first outing.

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yeah, though it's not until part 3 that I, um, put all the pieces together. See my comments above.

I'll still watch series 2 on iplayer though - at least at the start.

Matt

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ok, I'm a fan

Edited to add: What the hell, there are only 3 episodes??? Who makes a TV show with only 3 episodes damn it? I ended Part 1 suddenly looking forward to a whole fantastic season.

Edited by Persiflage

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I think it's because each episode is 90 minutes long. That's an awfully large chunk of primetime to risk if it flops.

Matt

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Watched the first episode and my wife and I loved it. It does make some serious changes from the novel, but I still really enjoyed it.

The comments on here make me nervous about episodes 2 and 3, but we'll keep watching.

I think the casting is great. Sherlock might be a bit too much like House, but it works. Freeman (Watson)'s dry wit was a nice touch as it kept the show from being too dark or serious. Overall, really enjoyable.

Was anyone else reminded of Dexter by the music in Sherlock?

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So, two was a let-down (the, um, Victorian Orientalist mindset didn't help things), although I continued to love the character-interactions. Cumberbatch was very good indeed; the scene where he finagles his way into an apartment building was laugh out loud funny, and his constant interference with Watson's romantic life was true to the spirit of the books ("I can't say I congratulate you") if not to the letter (then again, who would expect the latter?)

The Great Game, on the other hand--well, even though I fully and enthusiastically acknowledge its faults (the drawn-out nature of the Bruce Partington plotline, the underwhelming nature of you-know-who), it was just so much fun that I give it a pass. Actually, given Moffat and Gatiss' love of the Basil Rathbone version of Holmes, I wonder if the plot wasn't inspired by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. "I'll give him a toy to please his heart," indeed. It's still paper-thin, but there you have it. I only wish you-know-who had been given more presence; he's talked up so much in the previous two episodes that when he finally appears it's a bit of a letdown.

So I guess I'm still a fan. Holmes and Watson seem to be settling into their roles, and I fully expect that next season we'll see a softening of the former's rough edges. Moffat seems to be hinting at a certain Woman's involvement--and if you recall, Holmes' encounter with the Woman was an important point of character development in the stories. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Was anyone else reminded of Dexter by the music in Sherlock?

I've never seen Dexter, but there's a definite hint of the Richie movie's soundtrack here, I think.

EDIT: Sorry, but reaching back, this:

Another example is with his, much laboured, lack of knowledge of the sun going round the earth. Doyle's Holmes was never quite that ignorant of popular knowledge.

I'm sure you're referring to the later stories here, where this is the case, but in A Study in Scarlet, Holmes makes a point of not knowing this very fact. He even makes it a point of pride. Over the course of the stories (and even by the time of The Sign of Four) he drops this affectation, and even becomes a bit of a walking encyclopedia. I think the characterization here is true to the earliest version of Holmes, and the showrunners intend to move him away from it just as Doyle did (although they go so far as to make it a plot-point, where Doyle just dropped it. Or else forgot.)

Needless to say, I don't agree that only people who don't know a lot about Holmes enjoy this show. I'm a fan from way back, and I loved it. Cumberbatch is not Jeremy Brett, but darned if he ain't close. B)

Edited by NBooth

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Sounds like we're more or less on the same page. As you say the interaction between Holmes and Watson is great, and Cumberpatch's turn as Holmes is excellent. I think it's partly because of that that I feel a little disappointed by it being a bit too bombastic and a little plot hole-y.

Blushes on the Sun and the Earth thing though, although a case could be made for saying that 100 or so years later ignorance in this area would not be the same as it was then.

I am looking forward to series 2, if only because I still hope it can really deliver. But if every episode is going to be a serial killer (in a country which rarely has them) then it's going to become a bit of a yawn-fest.

Matt

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Loved all three of them. Jeremy Brett's still the best personification of Holmes. But I find myself surprised that I can't decide which of Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. I prefer. I'm also surprised that, as a die hard fan, I'd be able to accept a modernized version of the story. But they do it so well here that I can.

Alright, so there'll be more of "you know who," and they'll add "the Woman" to Season 2. But I mostly find myself curious as to how they'd do a modernized version of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

What's also kinda cool is, considering the ages of Cumberbatch and Freeman, there's no reason they can't just keep making episodes for the next decade or two.

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