Sunday, January 30, 2011

TV Series Review: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

And now for the fourth and final season of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series. It's also the shortest of the series with only six episodes (Jeremy Brett's health was pretty poor by this time, I've even heard some say that shooting this series is what killed him) but considering just how many of the SH stories this entire series managed to cover I don't feel unhappy about that. So, how does this season stack up to the previous ones?

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Summary: There are a few more mysteries for Sherlock to solve and they are just as complex and intriguing as the first mysteries.

The Good: I was rather interested to see that we had two stories with very little Watson and one with very little Holmes (Mycroft filled in there) and yet the stories didn't seem any weaker for it. Even though the show is called Sherlock Holmes I still think that's rather good storytelling to leave important characters out and still make the stories work (and the one without Holmes was heavily modified from the original as well yet still worked fairly well, although my complaints in The Bad do apply to this episode in particular). All in all, the mysteries in this series (and not just this season) were solid and actually could be guessed if you were familiar with how Doyle writes yet were never too easy. As a mystery show it excelled and some episodes also worked well as a historical show (ironically since Doyle was writing about the current time) and I would heartily recommend the show to anyone who has enjoyed some of the stories in book form.

The Bad: After the trouble I had following some of the mysteries in the third season I made sure to keep a close eye on the show and I was still baffled by a few mysteries in the end (worse was that some of them were so changed from their original incarnation that wikipedia wasn't able to help me). So, while it is great that the show makes fullest use of it's visual medium, this is not a show to be watched while multi-tasking*.

The Music: As I've mentioned before, this whole series makes good use of appropriate musical placement and the times when music isn't used in an episode. The whole series has been consistently good about this and I really don't have much else to say about it, it's there and done well.

The Visuals: It's really apparent here that Jeremy Brett isn't doing so well, although ironically enough his ill look works well for Holmes considering this is the last season. As mentioned above, the whole series had very good video work and film quality as well as realistic setting and dress. Nothing to complain or nitpick about here, it was well done and that's about all too it.

I must admit, after seeing this good a mystery show I feel a bit spoiled since it blows almost every other mystery show I've seen out of the water** and plot twists in regular shows seem much more predictable now as well. Like I said above, I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoyed the original books but I would probably advise them to look up the episodes regarding stories they liked/were confused by since watching the whole series would take a while. All four seasons are streaming on netflix so go out and watch them now, the first episode (A Scandal in Bohemia) is a well known and well done episode to start off with.

*Which is what I normally do to any show with an English language track. How else do you think I manage to watch so much stuff?