On Sherlock


Update June 6, 2013: I no longer favor Sherlock over Elementary. In short..

Sherlock is interesting in a cerebral way. Elementary actually draws you in on an emotional level. I like both, but Elementary > Sherlock.

Having finished Sherlock Seasons 1 & 2 last night, and being a major Sherlock Holmes fan, I have mixed feelings:

Note: This list isn’t fixed. I continue to add to it and revise. For whatever that is worth.

  • I loved the first episode, but that’s no surprise given that Moffat is such a decent writer. (e.g. Moffat doesn’t write all the episodes, and one can hardly imagine them leading the series with anything less than their best.)
  • Thought the second episode was totally flat.
  • Loved the 3rd episode until they got to Moriarty. Can’t stand how he’s played or written. I’m baffled by the writing choices. He’s so over the top. One of the great things about Moriarty in the stories is how much he’s in the shadows. And it appears he’s not even a professor?
  • One thing that could salvage the over acting of their Moriarty, is if in season 3, we find out that he’s not the real Moriarty, but Moriarty’s puppet.
  • Anyone else think the music in the show and the recent movies is the same? I’m confused.
  • I don’t care for some of the bits where Holmes is ‘organizing his thoughts’ as though he’s using a fancy computer display.
  • I love the performances by Cumberbatch and Freeman, great choices all around. Mycroft, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson.
  • Jeremy Brett is still the best Holmes in my opinion. I do enjoy Cumberbatch, and also Downey, though neither is as faithful to Doyle as Brett.
  • Definitely wondering how they will explain that Holmes is still alive. This should be good.
  • Baffled that they made the choices they did in Baskerville. Sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone. CIA programs? The light signaling turns out to be people humping in a parking lot? Really? I got the sense that the writer wasn’t really sure where they were going.
  • The series tries too hard to re-invent what already works quite well. They are trying to appeal to an attention-lacking public.

Despite its flaws, and there are some, its good qualities outweigh the bad. It’s still leagues better than that other Holmes show**,and still better than most of what’s on TV. I’ll give season 3 a try, though I will still be wishing they’d do more with the characters that Doyle devised.

Also, I still miss Farscape.

**[Update April 13th, 2013: I was totally wrong to dismiss Elementary. I’ve given it another shot and I must say that it is superior in some ways to Sherlock, primarily in the writing and the fact that they’re not just butchering good Doyle plots. Jeremy Brett is still the best, bar none.]


6 thoughts on “On Sherlock

  1. I really like your idea that Moriarty is not the real one in season 1&2. We would definitely have more fun in season 3 if it is true. And I’m looking forward to see how they explain Sherlock’s survival as well.

    As for season 1&2, I prefer A Scandal in Belgravia more than the other episodes. It’s my favorite even in the book. I admire Irene Adler due to her wit. And I think the idea of the cell phone is very smart. This tv show combines the modern world and the story of Sherlock pretty well. I like to compare them during the show. They change carriage to the cab, letter to text message, and in the final scene in season 2, instead of jumping down the cliff, Sherlock fell off from the building. The only different is Moriarty killed himself by gun instead falling down with Sherlock.

    Can’t wait to watch season 3! :D

    • Thanks, Yuwei! Yeah I agree, it would be more fun if we find out it wasn’t the real Moriarty. And you know, I actually enjoyed the Adler episode a lot as well. I re-read that story recently and it’s really awesome what they did with that story.

  2. My first impression of Moriarty was that of this blog’s author. Andrew Scott seemed and odd choice aesthetically and his acting was WAY over the top. It just irked me a bit.
    However subsequent viewings of the first two seasons have left me with a different impression: Andrew Scott was a perfect choice BECAUSE he didn’t fit the Moriarty bill — he looked like someone you’d pass on the street and not give a second thought. That was the entire POINT really, being able to hide in plain sight.

    As for the acting I honestly see this reincarnation of Moriarty as an extroverted Sherlock. Moriarty is characterized to be just as brilliant as Sherlock (and clearly suffers in a similar way to Sherlock because of it), just as prone to dramatics, but gains momentum from being seen. He wants someone to notice him so that they can challenge him
    Sherlock however is more prone to introversion, being around others drains him. He does what he does for its intrinsic value; the work is simulating, and keeps his mind active, nothing more.
    Anyway, this Moriarty is brilliant because he confuses people at first glance. People underestimate him because of the snap judgements they make, hell I made them too!

    • Thanks for reading, Jenn. I must admit, I still find his portrayal irksome. It’s not his fault, ultimately, the writers and directors obviously wanted it that way. I guess that’s one problem I have with the show, overall. It seems to try too hard to be different, modern, updated. I just don’t think it’s necessary at all times. Also, I find it odd that they would have the chief villain and nemesis make a real appearance so late in the first season, and already be killed off in the second. Seems premature to me, and the wasting of one of the great villains.

      I still hold a bit of hope that he was just Moriarty’s puppet, I can’t help myself.

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