Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tv Series Review: Sherlock

Happy New Year everyone! I was thinking about putting up a list last night of my top three anime/books/ect from 2010 but, while I could think of my top three anime and books easily I had trouble with all the other categories so I scrapped that idea.
But, and I didn't plan it like this actually, this is the first review that I didn't post on my old livejournal so I'm ringing in the New Year with new reviews. I still have a ton of reviews to write (I had to stop writing them mid-November when my NaNo started taking a lot of time) so I'll try to get out one or two each day until I run out and that probably won't be until mid-January. So, onto the review of Sherlock!


Summary: Doctor John Watson has just gotten back from serving in Afghanistan and comments to an old friend that he must be a very difficult person to room with. Enter Sherlock Holmes, the worlds only consulting detective who regularly helps the London police but only with the cases he finds interesting. 
The Good: It’s a very good update to the story, the characters still feel like themselves (well, Mycroft is rather different but he still fits well into the story), the cases are still twisty and, like I mentioned in the various Granada reviews, the viewer can actually guess how the case will end if they pay attention (and I’ve seen some people over the years criticize the books for not having Sherlock bring up the important details at the time which is a valid reason for not liking them). I also enjoyed the very cutting British humor here, the characters are wonderfully sarcastic and I’d even call it one of my favorite bits of the series.
The Bad: Well, it’s rather short (three, hour and a half long episodes) and ends on a cliffhanger so it won’t be an easy wait for season two (which I believe is also planned for three episodes). Little worried that the Moriarty plotline will be dragged out in the next season but that’s not a concern yet and it was handled well here. My only real complaint with the series is that the middle episode is rather forgettable. This series, like all the other Sherlock Holmes series out there, is episodic and the first and last episodes are just more memorable than the middle one. Can you skip it? Sure I guess, it doesn’t really advance the Moriarty plot or expand on John and Sherlock’s characters a lot, but with a series this short I don't see why you would want to cut it out.
The Music: There is a lot more background music in this series than in the Granada series I noticed and it reminded me of the music I saw in the recent movie.
The Visuals: It may be a coincidence but both here and the first episode of Doctor Who (season five, the one where Steven Moffat is now the show runner) had very interesting visuals in the first episode and they seem a bit more experimental than what is used in the later ones. Here we had a lot of words floating around as Sherlock investigated, texts appeared as text on screen, and occasionally we got a bit of visual insight into Sherlock’s mind, all of which I really liked. And there is something just so British about the videography, part of it may be how the framing and movement of the shots is much more interesting than what you would find on an American tv show or maybe it’s because the Brits seem to use more blue in their color schemes. In any case, I found the show very visually interesting and some of the tricks used helped the viewer understand Sherlock more and, considering how eccentric the character is, that is certainly a good thing.

I really did like this series and I know I'll get it on Blu-Ray someday (ie, when I actually have a BR set up) for rewatching. I'm a little worried how the second season will go (I'm not sure if can pull off three episodic episodes that are all connected by an overarching story arc without feeling like a re-hash of the first season) but I'm eagerly awaiting it!