Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation is given an altogether naughties twist in SHERLOCK. Martin Freeman (THE OFFICE) stars as John Watson, a ...
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Review of "Sherlock (Blu-ray)"
Wondering if it's safe to come back.......It's been a long time.....
Although I've always been quite partial to an intricate murder mystery and love a good crime drama I've never been that fond of Sherlock Holmes as a character and even though I read a few of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels in my younger days they never held the same appeal as a Poirot or Miss Marple story to me. I avoided Guy Ritchie's re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes when he recently made a new film based on the character and bypassed the BBC1 drama series, Sherlock when it aired on the television last year. The second series of Sherlock has just finished on the BBC and again I didn't bother with it but did read a number of positive reviews of the series on-line and ended up wondering if I was missing out on something that I should see, everyone was saying how great it was and that it was 'must-see tv' and in the end I decided to check it out for myself so I headed off to amazon and bought series 1 just to see what the fuss was all about...
Sherlock Holmes Then
I'm sure the majority of readers of this review will know the character of Sherlock Holmes even if they've never read any of Doyle's novels or watched any of the dozens of film adaptations of his work. He's one of the most well-known figures in crime fiction and is usually depicted as being a pipe-smoking, deer-stalker-hat wearing, violin playing detective genius with a penchant for saying "Elementary my dear Watson" to his long-suffering assistant after single-handedly solving seemingly impossible mysteries that baffled various police officers. As a character I couldn't stand Sherlock Holmes I must admit, I found him to be far too annoying and a little too self-absorbed to be someone I could relate to and found the few books I read to be tedious and much preferred the works of Agatha Christie over Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was aware that Doctor Who's showrunner, Stephen Moffatt had resurrected the character for this brand new BBC drama series and instead of just re-treading old ground and doing yet another adaptation of the books he was updating the characters of Holmes and Watson and setting them in present times complete with all the technology available in the 21st Century, so what's Holmes like now?
Sherlock Holmes Now
Whilst Holmes might have lost his pipe in this new incarnation and no longer wears a deer-stalker hat the 21st Century version of the character adapted by Stephen Moffat retains all of the egotistical and genius qualities that Holmes is renowned for. Brilliantly portrayed by the quirky and wonderfully named Benedict Cumberbatch and teamed up with the ever-reliable Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson the pair are introduced to us in the first episode of series 1 and we soon get to find how Sherlock and Holmes have been updated for living in a modern day setting. Cumberbatch plays the character with flair and style, Sherlock is quick-witted, obviously super-intelligent and amusingly has very little patience with those around him, he doesn't waste his time with fools and assumes that everyone around him is less intelligent than he is and are therefore undeserving of his attention. In his self-created role as 'consultant detective' to the police we learn that he is begrudgingly called upon to help out when something needs investigating as he has the uncanny ability to make connections that others miss and whilst they don't particularly like him as he is spectacularly dismissive and rude to those around him they acknowledge that his genius is always beneficial to them and his knack for solving the seemingly impossible helps them out of many a sticky situation.
Similar I suppose to Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Holmes is an annoyance to the police but sees things that others miss and whilst he never openly admits it you know that he loves the fact that he can outwit those around him and he relishes the opportunity to show off his skills to those who need them. We quickly learn in this series that not many people actually like Sherlock as a person and he is very much a loner but when he finds himself in need of a flatmate and someone to share the bills of every day living he is introduced to a former soldier and war doctor by the name of John Watson and surprisingly the pair strike up an unlikely friendship that is uncommon for Holmes. Watson sees the genius of Holmes on their first meeting and rather than being offended or annoyed by him he appreciates and recognises his brilliance, having been discharged from the army following an injury Watson is now at a loose end and misses the routine and excitement of army life, he is quickly thrust into the middle of an investigation that Holmes is involved in and he goes along for the ride whilst the pair find out more about one other. The first episode of series 1 acts a perfect introduction to both of the characters and we quickly learn all about them whilst also following Holmes and Watson as they investigate case that Holmes has been called upon to help out with.
This series of Sherlock comprises 3 feature-length episodes each running for around 90 minutes and whilst much of the first episode deals with establishing the characters of Holmes and Watson and places them together there is still plenty of time to get involved in the investigation that the pair are following. As already mentioned I was never a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries but here they are presented in such a fashion that they should hold great appeal to the vast majority of viewers, by using everyday technology the characters seem a lot more relatable now and there are strands of humour throughout the episodes that make them fun and compelling to watch and any misgivings I had about the character of Sherlock himself were soon forgotten as I got deeper into the stories. They are exquisitely filmed, the BBC always put together some quality dramas and these are no exception. Given the fact that each of the stories in season 1 run for around 90 minutes they could easily be classified as films in their own right and reminded me of the ITV specials that air occasionally through the year. Because the characters of Holmes and Watson are set in today's world they have access to the latest technology and it's a very nice touch to see them interacting with emails, mobile phones and search engines on the internet, the 'stuffiness' that I always associated with Sherlock Holmes in the original stories somehow seems to translate better to a modern day environment and as mentioned I could relate a lot more to the characters here than I ever could before.
I do think that being a fan of Doctor Who meant that I could see parallels in the lead characters of Holmes and the irreverent Time Lord, they are similar characters, both are geniuses in their own worlds and both share similar character traits, given that Stephen Moffatt is responsible for this re imagining of Sherlock and being Doctor Who's current showrunner I do think that he writes these sorts of characters well and they hold enough interest and quirkiness to be memorable for the right reasons. Watson reminded me of one of the Doctor's companions, shaken up and taken along for the ride whilst not quite knowing what he's about to encounter but enjoying the experience all the same and once again these 2 make for a great onscreen 'couple'. The mysteries encountered in series 1 are adapted from Doyle's original novels but have been updated by Moffatt and co-creator Mark Gattiss (who also has a strong connection with Doctor Who) and although I'm not familiar with many of the original stories myself I did find them to be complex and very well thought out and held my interest throughout each of the episodes. Holmes's arch-enemy Moriaty is mentioned in the early episodes and properly introduced in the third instalment so those who are familiar with the character will welcome his appearance and Andrew Scott who plays him does an excellent job in the role. The whole supporting cast are good and there are some nice cameo appearances from some well known faces.
For something that I had very little interest in when it originally aired on the television I have well and truly become hooked on Sherlock now and after spending 4 hours and a half hours in the company of Holmes and Watson I couldn't wait to order the second series to see what happens next and have placed my order with amazon for the second series which has just been released on DVD.
Blu Ray/DVD Extras
I bought the Blu Ray edition of Sherlock from amazon where it was available for just £6.99, there are some extras included on the retail version of the series which include commentaries from Mark Gattiss, Stephen Moffatt and Sue Vertue (producer) on episode 1 and episode 3 features Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Mark Gattiss. There is an exclusive Pilot Episode - Sherlock - A study in Pink which is well worth watching and a behind the scenes, Making of Feature which again is worth seeing. All in all for the price I paid for the Blu Ray edition I thought it represented excellent value for money, the picture transfer is superb in High Definition and the sound is crystal clear. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the Blu Ray over the DVD edition as there's nothing extra included on the formats and if you have an upscaling DVD player and a HD television then spend the £4.99 the series is currently available for rather than buying the Blu Ray's, either way it's definitely worth purchasing as it truly is a brilliant series of films that are well worth watching.
I can definitely see what the fuss is all about with Sherlock and it's a case of "better late than never" as far as I'm concerned, I may be late to the show but it's been a revelation as far as I'm concerned and I can't wait for series 2 to be delivered.
5 stars as a rating from me and definitely recommended. Thanks for reading my review.
Product Information : Sherlock (Blu-ray)
Manufacturer's product descriptionSir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation is given an altogether naughties twist in SHERLOCK. Martin Freeman (THE OFFICE) stars as John Watson, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Back home in London friendless and alone, Watson's path soon crosses with that of brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch – FOUR LIONS), and adventure and mystery soon follow...
Listed on Ciao since: 19/07/2010