Saturday, February 15, 2014

Brilliant, Holmes, Brilliant

     I have just watched The Sign Of Three, the second episode of the third series (UK)/season (U.S.) of BBC's Sherlock.

     Stunning.  Starting from The Sign Of The Four, the television updating borrows character names, circumstances (generally), bits of business and a few themes -- Watson's marriage, Sherlock showing a slightly more-human side -- and weaves them, by flashback and Holmes' inner visualization, into a compelling story.

     I'd found the first episode of this go-round a little flat; it's not easy to retell the detective's return from supposed death in an especially new way, what with the "surprise" being well over a hundred years old and not a real surprise even then.  But it was a solid piece of work and with Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, what's not to like?  The Sign Of Three marked a return to the best this version of the iconic characters has to offer.

     Time well spent -- especially considering I watched it via Kindle, flat on my back in bed, having awoken at 3:30 this morning and given up on an easy return to slumber.

     (Is this fellow the "historical" Sherlock Holmes?  No.  He's who he might've been had he been born 30 years ago or written here and now by some time-displaced A. Conan Doyle.  It's hardly canon but it comes astonishingly close, which is a lot of the fun.  You can watch and enjoy these program[me]s without knowing the original stories but you'll get a lot more out of them if you have.)


Robin said...

I think the contrast to the TV show "Elementary" is very stark. The British version both more modern and more "true" to the original character than Elementary's.

Roberta X said...

Tam claims -- and I kinda concur -- that "Elementary" is Holmes for people who miss "House."

They're both well done. The general level of writing, production and dialog of the BBC series is higher and, yes, more true to the original.

John A said...

Two different approaches, the BBC show is meant to be the broad theme of restating the original stories in today's world, while Elementary posits the characters today rather than the stories and might better be compared to Scott-and-Tomlin's "There Might Be Giants" as inspiration.

One thing both shows do that I applaud is refraining from having Watson being a caricature of a nincompoop as in the Rathbone-and-Bruce series of yore, which formula was followed for decades after.

Robin said...

Roberta, Tam has a point - not least because I think its clear that House is a Holmes derivative.

Roberta X said...

Indeed he is -- have you noticed his address? But wait, there's more!