Sunday, January 19, 2014

YASHS - Sherlock

So, I am watching Yet Another Sherlock Holmes Show - Sherlock. There have been so many films and TV shows about Sherlock Holmes that I have to call it YASHS. But honestly, Sherlock is an undying detective, there's always the potential to make another series or another movie about him if you know how to make it well.

This one is well made. I am going to get my complaints out of the way first. I don't like their casting. It's not horrible, but it's not great. In order to be fair I am going to mention that if I had watched this show before I watched both the Sherlock Holmes movies made by Warner Brothers, I might not have complained about this casting.

If you have seen those movies you know that nobody can surpass Robert Downy Junior as Sherlock Holmes. He brings Sherlock to life. Imagine, one actor who can do justice to both Sherlock Holmes AND Iron Man! Amazing beyond words!

Also Jude Law in those movies is a fantastic choice as Dr. Watson. I don't know if many people get this but the story of Sherlock Holmes is not the story of Sherlock Holmes. It's the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. There wouldn't be a story without Watson because Dr. Watson was the historian (in the stories) who wrote up Sherlock's adventures as books.

If we kind of ignore that RDJ and Jude Law set the bar so high for those characters then Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are quite good in their portrayal of Holmes and Watson, respectively. One casting choice that I am really pleased with is the actress for Mrs. Hudson. Her name is Una Stubbs. She is just lovely! She is making me love the character much more than I did before.

Here I should talk about my background also as a SH fan. I read the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle when I was in my early teens. And I loved them from the beginning. I have read most of the stories if not all. At first I was very impressed by Sherlock's detection methods, how he gleans a lot of information from seemingly insignificant pieces of data. I even bought a magnifying glass.

But then, I started to doubt his methods, I mean every piece of data can be interpreted in a variety of ways. That made me less impressed with SH. Then many years later I did I learn to doubt Sherlock Holmes? It's because I read those stories and learned to think! So Sherlock Holmes stories (and a few other books) did teach me how to think intelligently.

Since then I have read some of the books again, most recently getting them on Kindle etc. And a couple of years ago when I was living in Cambridge and a colleague said to me, "Let's go watch the Sherlock Holmes 2" movie, I was like "There's a Sherlock Holmes movie? And it's part 2? Where's the part one?"

I loved it and then acquired part one to watch. I wish I had watched them in order but nothing I can do about that now. I have since then watched them in order more than once. Still love them!

So, coming back to the new show - Sherlock. I do like it very much. The thing I like most, or you could say - love, is the premise. I am digging the Sherlock Holmes living in modern times. The 21st Century Sherlock texts people, travels by tube and London minicabs, he used laptops and his friend Watson has a blog about their adventures. It's a great feeling to see them in action in the same world that I live in. I don't mean about them and myself all living in London, I just mean in modern times. Though I do like that I can recognize the places from the show as 'local'.

The stories, though some of them have the same title as the original "Doyle" stories are mostly new plots. The show is well-written. If I am not impressed by the casting, I am super-impressed by the writing.

Sherlock Holmes stories are not just about the detection of crime, they are about the world that he lives in and interacts with. The new writers have kept that fact in mind as they write and they are doing a bang-up job of it.

I have just finished watching the 2nd episode of the 3rd season and was very much impressed by the way they weaved the story together with Watson's wedding.

Filming is also good and  editing is simply top-notch. Dialogues are good, I like that Watson gets a lot of screen time as well and works as the Human part of their team. Even though I didn't like the girl they have got for Mary I like the writing for her and how they have portrayed the character. Her performance is not bad.

In conclusion, not all the adaptations of Sherlock Holmes are worth watching but this one is. It's quite entertaining as well as educational.

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