Tuesday, 3 January 2012

SHERLOCK – Series 2 is here... TV is great again!


On New Year's Day, the BBC gave us a late Christmas present with the first episode of Sherlock's second series of three feature-length stories. “A Scandal In Belgravia”, the episode in question, was a joy to behold on every level for myself and my lady, not to mention millions of other people. It warms the heart that such an intelligent, sumptuously made piece of television drama is able to draw such attention to itself via its quality alone.

Thanks to the teams of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (two of my Doctor Who heroes) behind the scenes and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on the screen, this particular incarnation of the Sherlock Homes mythos is sure to be seen as one of the best ever.

This first new episode had everything that made the first series so spectacularly good in it, along with a new-found confidence and swagger that in lesser hands could possibly come across as showing-off. With Sherlock, it's not a case of 'look how amazingly clever we are', it's more a case of 'Isn't this fun?' Sherlock himself is as eccentric and maddeningly difficult as ever, Watson is once again our window into Sherlock's mad world, and the mythos of this version of the sleuth is having more layers added with each passing minute.

I loved the addition of The Woman in this new episode, and while there have been complaints about her nudity at the pre-watershed time it was shown, it wasn't gratuitous and fitted with the character. There's a difference between treating a person like a piece of meat on screen and an actor playing a character who is a dastardly, massively intelligent person who likes to play psychological games with her foil.

I am not that well-versed in the lore of the original Homes stories, but my lady is, and was most pleased to witness many nods to the original tales mixed in with this new episode. That's one of the many joys of this new vision of Sherlock Holmes – it is very respectful of the source material while taking a brave step towards modernizing the elements surrounding them.

At its core, the show is a very faithful adaptation of the characters and their dynamic, even if they are using mobile phones, the internet and suchlike. It is very clearly a labour of love for the cast and crew, and thanks to beautiful additional performances from a wonderful cast (including Mark Gatiss himself as the beautifully enigmatic Mycroft Holmes) it is a genuine treat to watch.

“A Scandal In Belgravia”, while being an extremely good piece of television in its own right, hints at the delights and horrors that are yet to come this series, and also reaffirms faith in audiences that TV can be witty, intelligent, engrossing and exciting all at once. It's like those Moffat and Gatiss blokes have done this gripping TV thing before with some other show. Oh wait, they have. Long may these people continue to be so utterly wonderful.

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