Tuesday, December 14, 2010


My friend and fellow writer, John Lambshead, recommended this BBC series to me when I wrote about the recent Sherlock Holmes film. Trusting John, I picked up the Blu-Ray collection when it became available. We finished watching the last of the three ninety-minute episodes tonight.

It was magnificent.

I was originally more than a bit suspicious of the concept of updating Holmes to today, but I relaxed as soon as I learned that the wonderful writer Steven Moffatt was one of its creators. Moffatt and co-creator Mark Gatiss indeed delivered the goods: taut tales full of vintage Holmes deduction and action--but all set in contemporary London.

The two lead actors, Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, are superb and make a formidable, if rarely entirely in sync, partnership. Cumberbatch is a particular joy to watch, his haircut odd, his eyes odder, his movements frequently not quite human. Freeman's Watson is every bit as normal on the outside as Cumberbatch's Holmes is strange, but inside this Watson is an ex-soldier who can kill without remorse and who is still trying to find a place other than the battlefield in which he belongs.

If you've ever been a Holmes fan, catch these shows on TV or buy a DVD set, but do not miss them.

I already regret that the BBC won't broadcast the next series until August and so I will not get to watch them until about a year from now.


Dan said...

Love this series! Watched it as the timing of it coincided with our classics book club reading A Study in Scarlet, the first Holmes & Watson adventure.

Mark said...

What a lovely bit of serendipity, Dan.

Elizabeth said...

I saw this on PBS and loved it. Very good casting, interesting interpretations - I thought each one was extremely well done. (OK - it didn't hurt that the leads were both so pretty to watch ). Did you not think the soundtrack vaguely reminiscent of the Guy Ritchie feature from last year? It's a common trick to build association to something popular, though I don't think this series needed that.

Mark said...

You may well be right about the soundtrack, though it didn't bother me.

Anonymous said...

It didn't bother me; it's just the kind of thing I can't help noticing. Sorry to waste your time with something irrelevant.

Mark said...

You didn't waste my time! Now, I'm quite curious about it and wonder if they were indeed trying to leverage the movie.


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