BBC Sherlock. A better alternative.

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Okay, this post is really for all those who enjoy watching English Tv sitcoms.

I know most of you would agree the best thing about the new Sherlock movie ( or rather both of them ) is not the storyline or direction, but just Robert Downey Junior. Without him, the movies would have been pretty dull, I'd say. He brings that natural charisma which basically turned Iron Man from just another comic book character into a really cool dude.

But what if I were to tell you he isn't the best 'new' Sherlock Holmes around ? Not even close, in fact. 

In 2009, BBC released three episodes of a serial called Sherlock. Their version brought Sherlock Holmes into the modern day, replete with cell phones, wireless internet and CSI technicians. Dr John Watson was a Gulf War veteran who blogged Sherlock's adventures to the world and , like many of us, was fixated on his blog hits.

The best part ? Unlike in the movies which took the characters and made their own stories, here they took all the iconic stories from the original books and reinvented them for the modern age. And yet, in the 3 episodes ( Each episode lasted 1.5 hours, akin to a full English movie ) that aired, you couldn't guess the smart twists and turns of the storyline. It was bloody brilliant. 

The major crime they committed ? It was in making the fans wait more than 2 whole years without any new episodes, unlike normal tv serials which have new episodes every year. Finally, a new episode came out at the start of 2012. And you know what ? It's still bloody brilliant.

Benedict Cumberbatch is the Sherlock we always wanted to see. He's characteristically pompous, amazingly smart, not averse to disguises or technology and definitely not averse to hurting people who hurt his friends. You get to see hilariously original reasons for why Holmes wears the iconic deerstalker cap or says iconic phrases we all remember from the books.  
Famous characters like Lestrade and Holmes brother Mycroft are given more character - driven roles than even the books demand while Martin Freeman as Watson just nails the role of the sidekick who finds his life being constantly overturned by his dedication to Holmes. Even the psychosis of his arch nemesis Moriarty is presented in such a unique fashion and their final encounter in the season finale wherein the plan to defeat Sherlock Holmes is revealed is just creepy.

There are so many new technologies and characters added but yet, you recognise the essence of the original stories. 

For example : In the books, Irene Adler is the one woman Holmes looks upto because of her guile, poise and intellect - not to mention the fact that he could not beat her. In the original story "A Scandal in Bohemia", she held secret love letters of a royal noble, which Sherlock was sent to retrieve. 

In the new series ? Well, she's a high profile escort/dominatrix who's stolen information from a 'woman client' from Buckingham Palace and Sherlock has to retrieve the mobile with the stored contents ... which has their own password. He does so, of course... but that's just the first 15 minutes of a 1.5 hour mystery that keeps you guessing right till the very last scene. Infact, the final 15 minutes of this particular episode are among the best conclusions I've ever seen, even for a movie.

I miss having a good old fashioned mystery. Crime shows today are good, no doubt but sometimes you want more than just forensic detail and people who can read facial expressions. And that's where Sherlock has delivered for me. They've taken stories we've known so well, redone the characters for a new generation and presented it so brilliantly.

Having watched the second season's series finale, I can vouch for the fact that each episode is a study in how to adapt a story for the modern era and keep everyone interested.

Hats off and here's hoping for more in the years to come.  

Post a Comment


Let me know what you think.

  1. totally right.... its a gr8 show... its currently no 1 on my "will watch after exams" marathon list.

  2. interesting yar..and thanks:)

  3. Totally awesome!!! Waiting for the next season to air!! Any guesses how he survived the fall???

  4. I think this is one of the best pieces of work the BBC has put on recently. And you're right, they've taken the story, given it modern touches and re-invented where necessary. And... it is still bloody brilliant. I do hope they keep the franchise going for a wee bit longer, but given all the budgetary constraints the BBC is under, who knows. Their Spooks series was also brilliant for keeping up with current events.

    Also doc, if you're in Dickens, the BBC does some brilliant work with Little Dorrit:

  5. I so agree with you!! Was absolutely charmed by the first three episodes; and have been waiting for the next three for quite sometime now.. Can't wait to watch the remaining episodes:) Not always are adaptations as good as the original, but with Sherlock, it has been proven that a good adaptation is also a work of genius!!!

    The movie was disappointing even though RDJ graced it... :( Somehow, I felt, that they concentrated more on his action skills rather than his power of deduction..

    I wonder how the adaptation of Agatha Christie's works will look if set in today's age...

  6. Arunima, definitely.. download all 6 of them.. they are just too good :)

    R.Ramesh.. thanks.

    Rohan, DUDE !!! SPOILER ALERT !! And I'll reply directly on facebook.

  7. you're right.. it really is one of BBC's best.
    And will check up on Little Dorrit.. never heard of it.

    Ankita, movie doesnt even compare to any episode. As you said, they made him an action star.. his deduction skills were just a side show.
    And you know what... You're onto something.. a revamped Poirot series would be awesome too.. they had such brilliant storylines.

  8. As I read this, hubby is watching Episode 2!!! I found Sherlock so magically insightful in Episode 1 that I'm not watching this episode!

    Maybe next time, I'll try again :)

  9. Nice review.

    Have you seen the Russian adaptation starring Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin as Holmes and Watson respectively...

Post a Comment