Wednesday, February 29, 2012

bbc+modern sherlock=success once more

image source: TV Equals
In December 2010 I wrote a review of the BBC miniseries Sherlock, which places the iconic Victorian detective in a modern setting.  It was a skillfully written and executed endeavor that ended on a thrilling cliffhanger.

An additional three episodes aired on BBC in the fall of 2011, something which I could have taken or left.  Hence why, despite the fact that I was paces away from my office's TV during the second season's debut on American television (I don't have a TV at my apartment), I chose to finish up paperwork instead.

Over the past few weeks I have managed to watch the three episodes of the second season.  Well, BBC: Mostly well done.  *insert golf clap*

image source: The Guardian
I will start with the excellent points, hopefully without revealing too much to readers:
  • Irene Adler is a dominatrix by profession.  How oddly appropriate.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles rewritten to involve a genetic laboratory called Baskerville?  BLOODY BRILLIANT!
  • An incidental insertion of the infamous "deerstalker" cap that eventually makes it a "symbol" of the modern Sherlock Holmes that said Sherlock Holmes despises was a nice touch.  Very reminiscent of how Sidney Paget, one of the early illustrators of the original stories, accidentally made the deerstalker Holmes' icon by drawing him wearing it in one of his commissioned sketches of the detective to go along with the stories.
  • Pretty much the entire plot of the final episode, "The Reichenbach Fall."   Watch it to see what I mean- one of the most complicated and creative plots with such an unexpected, shocking and explosive twist of which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself  would have thoroughly approved.
  • Moriarty is absolutely bonkers in a way that is not sexy, not cool, and yet somehow still so enthralling to the viewer.  He's certainly ballsy, even willing to take risks that would endanger his own freedom or even existence in order to accomplish his goals, filling the role of a supervillain perfectly in that sense.  But he truly did find the best way to bring down Holmes- something from which Doyle's original Moriarty could certainly learn a few lessons.
image source: TV Rage
There are only three things that led to confusion or disappointment.  The first was the overall plot to "A Scandal in Belgravia."  It seemed to not have much logical sense to it, much like the plot of the recent Guy Ritchie movie Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadowsmore like lots of fast talking and information thrown quickly and illogically at the reader.  Not exactly an enjoyable experience.  I may have to rewatch this episode to ensure there was actually a comprehensible plot that tied all scenes of the episode together, as I'm not sure I understand how any sort of mystery was solved.

And BBC, regarding the resolution of season one's cliffhanger at the opening of season two, THAT WAS A REALLY CHEAP AND LAZY WAY TO DO IT!   I feel cheated of a good story ending.  The Sherlock writers and producers should be smacked.

Actually, the same could be said of the denouement of the last episode, "The Reichenbach Fall."  However, I am willing to see what the third season's opening will do to resolve that little mystery before making any further harsh judgments.

About "The Reichenbach Fall-" if the filmed scenes had just ended five minutes before the actual credits rolled, I would have considered the Sherlock Holmes series to have been an outstanding work of art and a total success on the part of the writers and the BBC.  As it actually ended, I am rather disappointed, but still consider that episode to be the best in the series thus far.

Overall, my recommendation is to watch the entire Sherlock series- all six episodes- and make your own judgments.  It certainly won't be a waste of your time.

To read my review of Sherlock Season One, click here.


  1. Superb review of the second season. I have only watched the first season as the second season will be aired in the US in May 2012 :(

    The first season was quite uneven. The first episode was terrific, the second one was OK and the third one was just plain boring... The only saving grace of the third episode was the final 20 minutes involving Jim Moriarty :)


  2. I finally got to watch the second season last Sunday.

    Check out my review .