Sunday, May 27, 2012

TV Series Review: Sherlock (season two)

Compared to the rest of the internet I'm rather late here but, considering the last episode only aired (legally) in the US last Sunday I'm not doing too bad actually. When my mom and I first heard that there was going to be a five month gap between the BBC and American showings (and I'm rather unhappy at their "we have to edit it to fit American format" excuse, the show is on PBS which doesn't even have commercial breaks!) we guessed that we probably wouldn't be able to wait and did watch the first two episodes in March but weren't able to get to all three because of their length (each episode is a long, hour and a half long), thankfully PBS has them legally streaming on their website for now (abet cut down by eight minutes or so for each episode, I really don't understand why they can't at least leave the full episodes online where there are no time restrictions on it AND they make money off of the commercials).

Sherlock (season two)

Summary: Following last season’s harrowing cliff-hanger, Sherlock (with John in tow) tackle three more mysteries, based and expanded upon the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle canon, but with Moriarty afoot there might be some things that even Sherlock cannot work out in time.

The Good: I'm not fond of villains like Moriarty, I like them to have more of a motive than what boils down to "I was bored" but here he was just so insane underneath it all, although his last scenes of the season felt a bit contrived, like Moffat and Gatniss had been written into a corner and didn't have a really good way to get out. All of the mysteries were interesting and stayed true to the spirit of the original stories and the new elements worked in well (especially in the case of the Baskervilles) and Sherlock's explanations for the cases make enough sense to be plausible. In short, if you liked the first season (and if you haven't you really shouldn't watch this one first) you'll enjoy this one quite well.  

The Bad: While Sherlock is far from the first mystery series to have this problem it was tiresome after a while to see just how dumb and incompetent everyone around Sherlock is and they don’t even seem stupid by comparison, it really seems like the London police force has exceedingly low standards for general intelligence among it’s employees*. I had issues with Irene Adler as well, mainly since she deviated so much from the original canon (where she was a clever and quick thinking woman who was the one person ever to catch Holmes off guard, here whatever cleverness she has is buried under UST with Sherlock^) and I’m also tired of the “sexually confident women can wear skimpy clothes because they’re that happy with themselves!” idea, it just rings like a hollow excuse for fanservice and that was supposed to be a plot point early on.

The Audio: This may be just me but whenever I hear one of the main themes played in Sherlock I always feel as if it’s drawing inspiration from other Sherlock Holmes adaptations. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, and it’s possible that I’ve seen so many series I’m trying to see connections that aren’t there (by my own count I’ve seen roughly 60 hours of Sherlock Holmes tv series/movies), but the music for this series has always seemed like a perfect and seamless fit here.

The Visuals: The show has created a very distinct looking style of cinematography with many quick shots, overlaid with text to give the viewer insight into Sherlock’s methods, often in close-up with a very shallow depth of focus, combined with some tilt-shift shots of London every now and then as transition shots, which serves to re-emphasis that Sherlock has a strange mind that sees the world in odd ways. As I believe I mentioned last time, I’ve seen a few of these quirks appear in various Doctor Who episodes but never with the frequency that they are seen here and they do keep the show interesting in a unique manner.

One thing that does puzzle me is that I saw a lot of praise for Molly online once the show finished it's British run and I'm not entirely sure why. People mentioned a speech of hers and I'm wondering if that was part of the 8 minutes that were cut, she did have a speech but it just didn't seem, well, strong enough to merit that much discussion I saw. My mom and I feel like a scene with her was also cut for a few other, spoilery, reasons, if anyone has a list of the cuts made to the US version (for any of the episodes) please share since I would love to know.

*I feel like I’ve had this problem with Moffat’s work before too, he loves to build up his main characters but doesn’t quite seem how to flesh out the side characters as well 
^funny enough I don’t have a problem with Sherlock being interested in her, mainly because being asexual does not mean you can’t have romantic feelings for someone and Mycroft says point blank in that episode that Sherlock was a romantic. Holmes originally was certainly both asexual and aromantic but, possibly this is after seeing the two recent American Sherlock Holmes films and how they played with Irene Adler I’m willing to give the series a pass on that point

1 comment:

  1. Excellent analysis of the second season. I have voiced similar opinions in my review .