Sherlock Season Two review by Captain VideoLet's say I ran into Sherlock Holmes yesterday evening, and let's say that he is interviewing me for a project manager position at SH Services International. Upon meeting me, what deductions would he make? Of what things would he make note? A slight limp in my walk, the fact that I unconsciously rubbed the back of my neck more often than the norm. A few specks of a light brown powder on my shoes, a belt that has moved from the second to last to the last hole. A foreign note in my wallet when I reach in to take out a business card. Shoe heels that have normal wear and tear.
From these seemingly innocuous clues, he would use his superior intellect and powers of observations to conclude the following:
I am a project manger that recently has returned form an extensive stay in Brazil. This conclusion is based on the following deductions. The Brazilian currency in my wallet suggests where I have been recently. The slight limp must not be a permanent impediment since the shoes are wearing normally, however, sitting 8-10 hours in economy class could cause a temporary limp as well as the sore neck. Those clues re-enforce recent travel. A belt recently moved to the last hole also indicates weight gain from extensive travel and eating out every day. The brown powder on the shoes is related to a minor spill over from the cinnamon shaker used at the breakfast buffet at a low priced hotel, indicating a cost-savings based travel policy. Are these amazing deductions? No. It is elementary my dear Watson. Yes, I know he never said that.
Sherlock Season 2 is the second season of a terrific BBC production. Each season has three shows. The shows are more like a mini-movie than a television show. Season one was a sleeper hit and garnered fans around the world and Season 2 continues the success.
This is what Television should be. Wonderful television is possible, and the Sherlock series is an example of what can be done. Sherlock is brilliant story telling, a great re-telling of classic tales, and the classic detective genre with a modern flair.
The tales of Sherlock Holmes have been done countless times in countless ways. Some of the versions are attempts at a literal translations of the stories often done as period pieces. Some have been done in a campy style or tongue in cheek. Others have portrayed Watson (Holmes' sidekick) as a buffoon, some as a heavy, and even some show Watson as the true detective with Holmes simply being a figurehead.
One wonders why there is tendency or preference to do the literal translation when doing a Sherlock Holmes film or movie. Perhaps these stories are singular in their ability to draw a specific story, the exact landscape and details of the scenes are up to the imagination, but the way the pieces fit and the way the story is strung together does tend to lead to a literal translation, and any deviation may pull a viewer that is well acquainted with the literary stories out of the movie or video if a key scene is missing or altered. This would be the purist view. Luckily, Sherlock pushes the boundaries and mixes it up a little.
This modern series avoids the literal translation trap with 2 key differences. First, the stories are set in present day. Secondly the key plot points are maintained, but also put into modern context using artistic license in the best meaning of the term. This deviation from an exact literary translation frees up both the shows creators and the viewers.
In the original tales, for transportation Sherlock and Watson used horse carriages and trains, in modern times taxis and the tube. Telegrams are replaced with phone texts, the street urchins that classical Holmes used to keep an eye on what is happening on the streets are replaced with a homeless persons network. Instead of writing monographs, Holmes has a web site, and instead of writing memoires, Watson has a blog. Instead of a 7% cocaine solution addiction, Holmes is trying to quit smoking.
Minor details have changed, but the underlying themes and truths remain. Holmes is still a unique individual with amazing powers of deduction, these powers come with a price, he has less than amazing inter-personal skills. Watson is sometimes the inspiration that helps piece together otherwise mysterious links, or at the very least helps him with his social skills. Scotland Yard is still off the mark and Moriarty remains the Master of Crime and the evil, intellectual equal to Holmes.
The visual story telling is highly stylized and fast paced. When Holmes is investigating the scene of a crime, the camera switches to his point of view, and it quickly pans, zooms, jump-cuts as little details are literally highlighted or outlined and categorized, reminiscent of a computer or a robot scanning for evidence and cataloguing. A few specks of dirt here, a scuffed knee, or even a detail that is missing all gets filed away in the mind of Sherlock. These tricks are done to show how the mind of Sherlock works, and thankfully they aren't overdone as they could quickly become annoying or cheesy. The creators have struck a good balance in using these visual tools.
The stories themselves are wonderful re-workings of some of the most popular Holmes tales.
A Scandal in Bohemia, becomes Episode 1 "A Scandal in Belgarvia"
The Hound of the Baskervilles becomes 2 "Hounds of the Baskerville"
The Final Problem becomes Episode 3 "The Reichenbach Fall"
Sherlock is a series that can be enjoyed by both new fans or those that have read all the stories. You don't need to know anything about Holmes and Watson to watch this series. If you are familiar with the stories, the new spin that these have are enough to make it all that more interesting.
Sherlock gets 10 out of 10 Jackasses.
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