Be sure to check out Sherlock!!!

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.

Dooo eeeeeeeeeet!

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.

45 thoughts on “Be sure to check out Sherlock!!!

  1. Sherlock showed how modern TV and contemporary Sherlock Holmes SHOULD BE DONE (this coming from a big Sherlock Holmes fan). I can’t wait for season 2 to come soon enough!

    My favourite quote has to be “I’m in shock. Look, I have a (shock) blanket.” (must watch the show to understand this quote in context!)


  2. I watched the first of the three, and have mixed feelings. Overall, it was disappointing. I’ve read a lot of the stories and the books are a far better use of time for somebody who wants to actually appreciate why Sherlock is meant to be the bad ass detective. The quality of the TV presentation is good, the acting is very good for any character who is not a straight achetype (silly cop, dodi old land lady, etc), but the dialog is predictable, and the “riddle” of the first villian is just plainly poor. We see so many two dimentional characters which have predictable dialog that it was painful to watch. The only saving grace for the “puzzle” situation is if it was the original story (which I am not sure of), as by my observation the same scenario was used in the Princess Bride, and a few other places. If Holmes saw this first then kudos, otherwise – try harder BBC.

    The bad guy walks into the room and Sherlock goes with him? Um, lock him in irons straight away! Or at least tell your back-up what is happening. And as for not figuring out what job the bad guy had in episode until late in the show…please; its like it was written for under 13 year olds. And I didn’t give the 2nd and 3rd show a view, the damage was done. I’ll re-visit if somebody gives me a dvd in a year or so, but sheesh – it had nothing on the latest film’s re-telling of Sherlock.


    • Andrew, I get what you’re saying. In some ways, I felt kinda the same.

      (spoilers for episode 1) – When there was the scene with them both at the resteraunt, waiting to see who would turn up outside the crime scene, and the cab showed up and they ran it down, my first thought was that they realised it was the cab driver, and were trying to chase him down, and it all made sense. When they finally got to the cab, and he went after the passenger… that confused the heck out of me. Likewise at the end, sure Sherlock thinks he’s smarter than anyone, so he not just won’t but can’t back down from a challenge of wits… but the part with the two pills drive me nuts at the end, because there wasn’t that final reveal where Sherlock makes it clear he knew the secret of the pills all along, and was trying to break the killer’s spirit. Because to me, it was a simple con game. The killer is presenting you with a story, and then tells you what has to be done, with the assumption that you bought the story. I totally forgot that they did it with Princess Bride until Mark reminded me, what I compared it to was three card monty. First the dealer shuffles the cards, then shows you the queen, then shuffles them around on the table and tells you that if you put your money down and pick the queen, you get the cash. But it’s a con, because the underlying assumption is wrong… the queen ain’t there anymore. You can pick all three cards, the dealer palmed it or covered it with another card. It’s the fundamental principle of the con, get the sucker to buy into the underlying rules, but there’s no way to win unless you let them by leaving the card there a few times when there ain’t any money riding on it. The two pills were presented as one being good, one bad, and they’d each eat one, and guess which is good. But it’s a con. The underlying assumption is, at least one is good. But if the villain had an antidote he took previously, or was immune due to continuous exposure, then it’s a pure con. Eat either pill, you’ll die just the same. And I felt Sherlock should have known it, but it would have been awesome if he SHOWED taht.

      Wow, sorry for the rambling reply.

      For me, the thing is that I loved the shows’ presentation, the acting, the speed, the humor, the actors themselves…. I agree with your points about story, I just felt that it’s was pure fun.


  3. Being a huge fan of the new series of Doctor Who, I would recommend you watch from series 1(2005).
    It really is a great joy to watch most of the episodes, and while they do change both main actor and companions, I really figured the new doctor couldn’t be better than the former, but was positively surprised every time.


    • You folks are making my head hurt. watch the show at season 1, watch the show at season 5…. gah!

      Fine, I’ll try it at 1 first….


    • Ahhh, but I don’t watch House because it follows in the stupid footsteps of CSI and NCIS and any other show that thinks that a great plot is all well and good, and solid acting is great, but in order for a show to succeed, we have to also include insanely explicit operating scenes and dissections of corpses and re-enactments of bodies being violated.

      Which I didn’t think was necessary, and didn’t think added anything to the show but wasn’t all THAT irritating until I had my son, and the shows became something I won’t watch with him in the same room. And for shows that would be fine dramas without those scenes, I don’t know what demographic they are making those scenes for, but I’m not it.

      I don’t need to see bodies violated and ripped apart and cut into and shit to enjoy a drama, but it’s become a ‘thing’ in those shows, and so I don’t watch them.

      I also was never one of those idiots that were fascinated with watching the “Faces of Death” movies. Maybe the desire to watch that level of gore is more pervasive than I wuld have thought, but I don’t share it.

      Too bad, we LOVE the actor that plays House, and we watched the first two seasons in delight, until the gore scenes finally just got to be too much, and watching it after our son went to bed became too big a pain in the butt.


      • Speaking of House, I was watching Black Adder (again) the other week and made my wife watch a scene. I asked her to concentrate on that tall weird guy (no, the *other* tall weird guy) and it finally dawned on her, with a “no, it couldn’t be”.


  4. Don’t skip straight to series 5. While Matt Smith and Karen Gillan are fantastic, you’ll miss Christopher Eccleston and he’s just energetic and enthusiastic and fun. Not to mention you’ll miss the creepiest double episode… “Are you my mummy?”


  5. BBB, if you are going to watch Moffat’s Who (he is the co-creator of this new Sherlock alongside Mark Gatiss, formerly of the League of Gentlemen) then please do yourself a favour and skip straight to Series 5 (Series 31) starting with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in “The Eleventh Doctor”. That’s when Moffat takes over the reins and the series truly finds its feet. Previous to that we had the Russell T Davies era which whilst OK pales in comparison, apart from standout episodes such as “Blink” contributed by Moffat.

    Oh, and to the NZ commenter who mentioned the Welsh spin, please be advised that only production is by BBC Wales. Moffat is a Scot and Gatiss is English.


    • Really? Well, I shall henceforth follow your advice and start with season 5 disc 1.

      There wasn’t anything of an establishing nature in the first seasons?


      • I must say that it’s not worth skipping *all* of the first four series of the regenerated Dr Who. The first four series have some less well written episodes, but they also have some utterly brilliant episodes and a lot of ‘merely’ good stuff in between.

        You could theoretically skip all of the series up to the fifth, as the Doctor regenerates when he dies, getting a new body and changed personality, but it still does establish a lot of things in those first four series.

        In short, expect the best episodes of Dr Who to be written by Steven Moffat, who’s a brilliant writer, but don’t then expect all other episodes to suck massively. It’s a good series overall.


      • Point certainly taken, but when looking at a point to get started watching the show, a little research showed me why Season 5 was a good place to begin…. what with the new actors as well as Moffat taking over main writing duties.

        Interestingly, Netflix shows season 5 not being available until Nov 9th, so I’ve got some time. It’s interesting to think of, knowing that seasons 1 – 4, if we watched them and liked them, is now a self-contained time capsule of Who. Would we start watching and fall in love with the actors’ portrayal of the role, and feel a bittersweet enjoyment knownig that is would end, and when?


      • As a longtime Who fan, I would strongly suggest you start watching the “Season One” that premiered in 2005. I agree with the above that Moffat has really brought Who up several notches since taking it over at the beginning of this season, but the previous four seasons have to be watched. I have several opinions regarding the showrunner before Moffat and the four seasons that he managed, but he really did do a good job of laying out Doctor Who and its mythos for the people who haven’t been watching the show since the sixties (in a nutshell, the show ran from 63-89, got canceled, and then brought back in 2005). Davies establishes enough about understanding the Doctor (who he is, what he is, why he is the way he is, what he’s doing) without requiring the new viewer to watch 20-something years of background.

        It really is an amazing show, and RTD’s four years at the helm have some ups and downs, but they are entertaining enough to make you appreciate the show for when Moffat takes over in the fifth season and kicks it into high gear.


      • I have to disagree with him there BBB

        Moffat may have taken over complete control with S5 but he was writing episodes for Dr Who from S1 with ecklestone and to be honest i would recommend you watch all of the new series so that you get a much better understanding of the Dr and his various incarnations. Lore wise etc it will all make much better sense.


  6. To be honest, I had two major criticisms of the pilot.

    The first, and probably pretty minor to most viewers, was that Sherlocks Theme is used far too often and strangely gets in the way of the flow. I’m sure they were very happy with the score composed for the series but that’s no excuse for its’ overuse.

    The second, and most egregious flaw was that I ‘got’ who the killer was long before Holmes did. The guy is supposed to have near legendary deductive powers but he seemed to miss the most obvious clues. It was depressing to be honest, and I’m glad I stuck with the series despite this.

    Cumberbatch is no Jeremy Brett, or even Basil Rathbone, but a more extended outing with consistently high-quality scripts could see him make a real impact as the much portrayed detective.


  7. Hey BBB,

    Thought the BBC did a great job on SH.
    Its by the same writer as Dr Who. The 3 eppisodes were just a small pilot series and the quality is constant throughout.
    Just to let you know, a full blown series has been given the go ahead!


    • I’m really looking forward to the exploring of this as a regular season. Very, very cool.

      I’ve never, ever watched a single episode of the new Doctor Who… too many people gushed, no other reason. Kinda went counter-geek culture on that one. This has worked to hook me into wanting to see it though, so I’m going to get the first season frmo Netflix and check it out.


  8. I have to echo your thoughts, the series was shown on the BBC a while ago and initially I was hesitant. However they seemed to have captured much of the essence of what I would think a good Homes story would be, while putting a nice modern twist on everything. I’m really excited to hear that there is going to be a second series!


  9. just got done with “The Blind Banker” loved it. but only 3 episodes? Noooooo. Dvr is recording the first one, cant wait to see it.

    Good catch 3B!.


  10. This is an AMAZING series and the other two episodes are just as good, if not better.

    I think they have really captured Sherlock here.

    Good news is that they are planning several more episodes for the future!


  11. Saw these about a month ago and they left me bear drooling for more.

    “You’re a psychopath!”

    “No – I’m a high functioning sociopath. Do your research!”

    One of the best lines ever.


    • I agree, Mark and I stopped the show so we could laugh at that and quote it back and forth.

      Well, we stopped it a LOT and quoted and talked about it back and forth to the irritation of everyone else.

      Which is why you don’t give us control over the remote, but that’s a different story.


  12. awesome, can’t wait to check it out. I also used to really like colombo, perry mason, diagnosis murder, and murder she wrote, but I haven’t watched one of those in ages. Peter Faulk was great, also made for a good narrator on Princess Bride.. I currently tend to avoid murder mysteries at the moment with 4-6 year old children in the house.. that, and other than old repeats of the shows I just mentioned there aren’t any good ones out there. just material like CSI/NCIS which is far too realistic to be a family show. I’ve seen a couple csi’s that nearly made me want to hurl. That level of graphic detail is not needed…

    I can hear it now.. “Mommy, Daddy, is that man sick? Did he fall down? Guess what, I can make this sound… ”

    yeah.. try concentrating on details with that going on.


  13. We’ve watched the entire mini-series here in Australia… still wanting more.

    If you thought the first episode was stellar, wait till you see their updates of other beloved mysteries (the Dancing Men, for instance). IMHO, it gets better and better. The build-up to the last episode was great. And Sherlock actually sounds more “real” than any of the CSI doing exposition.

    It is true Sherlock Holmes. In fact, it is so true to the spirit of the original that it truly answers the question: what if Holmes and Watson was born now, how would they have done things?

    Can’t wait for the next season.


  14. …wow…

    Since I read this late, I went to the website you linked and was able to watch “A Study in Pink” in its entirety (“The Blind Banker” wasn’t yet available, so I will be trying that one again). Awesome show…thanks for sharing!


  15. I was quite suspicious of this modernized version, being a longtime Sherlock Holmes fan, but a couple of positive reviews made me take a closer look; upon seeing that Steven Moffat was handling the writing (his Coupling series was one of the most hilarious things I have ever watched on TV) I immediately started watching and was not disappointed.
    One tiny bit of warning to the Bear though – the first episode is the best of the three in my humble opinion 🙂


  16. On your advice I set the next two episodes to tape and found the first on-line. AMAZING! It’s great to be reminded how fantastic Martin Freeman is too. Tim, Arthur Dent, Dr. Watson, and soon-to-be Bilbo! Thanks so much for the great recommendation.


  17. Air New Zealand had the 3 episodes on their inflight entertainment system last month… Only flights I have ever been on where I wanted the plane to go slower!

    If you like Sherlock I would highly recommend Moffat’s work on the Dr Who series. Great dialogue, sharp direction and that British quirkiness that it seems only the Welsh can deliver properly.


  18. agree, the “new” Sherlock series on PBS is definitely one not to miss… can’t wait to see tonight’s episode.


  19. Downloading the set of three now. My wifes mom told me about it yesterday and now I read this today, I cant ignore it. Thanks 🙂


  20. I have seen all 3 episodes (well, 4 if you count the unaired pilot, which episode 1 is a remake of, but it is still pretty good) and I am really really hanging out for the next episode – but that is not going to air until next year


  21. Yup, I’ve seen all three here in Australia. It just finished up last weekend. I loved them and can’t wait to see what next year has in store. The third one is, OF COURSE, a cliff hanger.


  22. Thankyou, BBC! That’s why we pay our licence fee.

    I watched all three as they came out over in England, they’re brilliant. Can’t wait for the second series which I believe is coming soooooooooon!


  23. How Stephen Moffat found the time to do this while producing/writing/being head honcho of Doctor Who is beyond me, but boy is it a treat. It’s actually a BBC show, but I believe the next series has gotten funding.


  24. Yep, here in Oz the 3 were just on. While I like Sherlock Holmes books/movies/series I’m not a true fanboi of all things Sherlock, but really did like this version (except for the *spoiler deleted*) 😉
    It took a while to get my head around the Sherlock I *know* and this Sherlock with a mobile phone, internet, etc.
    And, yes, I agree with B3. It does expect you to be concentrating and keeping up. Love the way they zoom in on the things that Sherlock picks up in a second, but us mere mortals need a minute to catch up.


  25. I live in canada so it might be different timing but i saw this show about a month ago and it is really good. He has the same cynical behavior as the robert downy jr but it is different. Not being a sherlock holmes fanboy im not sure that i would say it is MUCH better…merely different,but it is definitely a show that you should check out cause it is really good. But im not so sure about replacing top gear, the Ham-ster is pretty funny. I think someone needs to get a PVR.


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