As a true fan (which in my case is a euphemism for obsessive nutcase) of the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I want to direct your attention to something of true significance.
Here in America, the PBS station has Masterpiece Mystery!, a time slot on Sunday evening for running original mystery programs.
Last week, they premiered Sherlock, a modern day version of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
It was the first episode, and lasted about 1 hour and 20 minutes without commerical interruption.
There are more episodes to come, the next tomorrow night on PBS from 8:00 PM until 9:30 PM central time.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, ‘Sherlock Holmes in the modern day? Oh please no.’
If you respect my opinion on such things at all, and if you love the spirit of Sherlock Holmes and the original stories, I beg of you, give it one chance. It’s still set in London, and it’s very, very faithful as much as possible to the letter as well as the intent of the original.
I watched the first one tonight. A very good friend recorded it on their DVR, and we all got together and watched it.
It was… it was groundbreaking in it’s quality.
Watching it, the sheer SPEED of it, what I felt was that I was watching the first episode of something that, in years to come, other people would be referring to as an era.
Much as now, as we may discuss the ‘Basil Rathbone’ movies as an example of quality acting in the role, and others will know what we mean, or you could discuss my personal favorites, the ‘Jeremy Brett’ series of television shows, and again, it will call to mind an era of quality Sherlock entertainment.
This had that feeling. The feeling of watching something truly special, something created with love, energy… and snarky, delightful British humor.
Plus, throughout the entire thing, it felt refreshingly as if the writers and entire crew felt that there was no need to coddle or spoon feed their audience… they expected us to be able to damn well keep up, and it was delightful.
The first episode was called ‘A Study in Pink’, and if you wonder if it sounds eerily similar to ‘A Study in Scarlet’, well, there’s a reason for it. It’s a remarkably accurate portrayal of the first Sherlock story in which Sherlock and Dr Watson meet for the first time, get acquainted and end up sharing a flat together to save costs. It’s wonderfully true to the spirit of the original.
At the same time, the story, the plot, the setting and the atmosphere are just stellar. They took it and made it their own, and did a fantastic job.
I’ll be honest with you about this. I really liked the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes movie, I liked the attitude, I liked the atmosphere, I liked the story telling.
I liked Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock MUCH better. If they can keep up that level of quality and acting and humor and fun, I’m going to be replacing Top Gear with a new favorite show.
Or, to put it another way, when I found out it conflicts/overlaps with Amazing Race, I said “Well, we don’t really have to watch Amazing Race. I’d rather watch Sherlock instead.”
The next one is tomorrow night. If you are at all interested in Sherlock Holmes, record it.
Yes, I know it’s Halloween. Record it and watch it later. You know you’ve got the bloody internet and gadgets and all that stuff. You’ve probably already found a web stream for the show you missed in the time it took me to finish writing this.
Update: I went to their website and found the show notes, and for series 1 it looks like they’re only doing the three shows, the one I saw tonight, plus tomorrow and next week. So don’t mess about, or you’ll miss your chance to see this.
If this works the way Columbo did, if enough of us watch it and honestly love it, we may kick this thing over from being an occasional movie into a regular series… and I think it’s WELL worth it.