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Monday, December 6, 2010

BBC's Sherlock is On Your Case

The story is a simple one. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most brilliant minds you'll ever encounter, and like most uber-intelligent people, his thought processes don't leave much room for the basic social niceties of a human being. This is where Dr. Watson comes in; the firm pillow catching all those breakable items knocked over by the crime solving bull in the china shop of life. The two compliment each other so completely, their friendship has always been the stuff of legend.

Now take the classic Mr. Holmes and put him in a modern London with glass buildings spiraling into the sky, access to the internet at your finger tips and society accustomed to a very politically correct way of behaving oneself. Put Holmes in the middle of this, all at once the master of his domain and yet ridiculed for his no nonsense execution and over abundance of arrogance, even as he saves countless lives. He's got his own website to show off his keen intellect, knowledge of every street in London and is familiar with those who truley own the streets. When the police come calling with a baffling crime, he doesn't ask for payment but isn't acting out of an urgency for justice either. To coin the Blu-ray's catch phrase.. "The Game is ON!" It is an interesting spin, and one I'll admit I never considered. In the show itself, it is suggested that, more often then not, Holmes paints a target on his head from both the killer and the police giving chase as he treats the whole exercise as a cure for boredom. With his keen eye for details, he finds himself 3 steps ahead of the police and one behind the offending party...a destination that would make anyone look like the very killer in question. Luckily, just around the corner is Dr. Watson, just returned from the war in Afghanistan, still itching for a little action in a world that would force him behind a desk. Not only does this Watson bring a more human perspective to Holmes' antics, but it never hurts to have a trained soldier around when things get sticky. It's funny that Watson would fill in the gaps at either extreme...the caring, kind word and the unforgiving, well placed bullet. In some ways, he can be the first and last word in every case, and when he writes up each adventure in his blog, he does just that, quite literally.

After reading this you may be moaning that the conventions of modern times are forced at every turn, but honestly, anything used is completely reasonable. It's not like watching Bones where they recreate a death scene with 3D holographic wizardry and you just accept it because the cast is so damn likable. Anything our heroes use might be at your fingertips as we speak...and not having access to NASA super computers, in my opinion, makes this Holmes a little more accessible. All the characters are wound up and set in motion like an expertly choreographed dance. Holmes runs through the center with zero subtly. Watson watches his back, or struggles to as Holmes has locked him outside while investigating. The police who should be working with them wear their disdain on their sleeves and the inspector who has let Holmes loose in his territory sheepishly comes when called, as he knows he will receive the accolades in the end. OH YEA! And there are killers too!! The cases are well thought out and enjoyable to watch unfold, especially with the instantly likable Holmes and Watson on the scene, but there are times where the writing falls just short of the brilliance of Holmes himself. Those looking for a murder mystery to solve on their own should look elsewhere. This is not the sort of show that gives you all the clues and lets you work it out alongside the detective. These are mini movies, purely for base enjoyment and at times, the conventions of telling the story will reveal the killer to anyone paying attention. What's worse, the finale left a bit to be desired with the reveal of an arch villain you've been waiting for since minute one, appearing more like a petulant child with an odd voice. I didn't hate him as I should, or like him in his delicious evil....I just wanted him to stop talking and resume taunting Holmes via text message.

This isn't a "Season" of a show in the strictest sense, so don't be let down as you reach the cliffhanger at the end and find there is nothing to follow. In this Blu-ray set are 3 mini movies with three individual cases... A Study in Pink, The Blind Banker and The Great Game, each 90 minutes in length. Extras include commentary from the show's creators on Study in Pink and from the actors on The Great Game. You'll also get a profoundly inferior version of Study in Pink..the original pilot and Unlocking Sherlock which is a short making of documentary mostly hammering home how excited everyone was to be creating this show and the challenges of bringing the classic tale to modern times.

For those looking for something new and exciting AKA what you aren't getting from the majority of American television nowadays, look no further. Sherlock is inventive, slick, original and fast paced to the point where it will be over before you know it, leaving you moaning about when further episodes will be released on some lonely forum out in the interspace.



Want it NOW??!! Amazon has your discount on Sherlock: Season One on Blu-ray

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