Take me to 221B Baker Street.
Not exactly sure what kind of blog this is. Most of my posts have a point; they’re discussing something or presenting an alternate view or telling a story. But this one? No idea what to do with this one. All I know about this one is that I want to write about Sherlock.
The first season is on Netflix instant. It’s only three episodes, so don’t give me any of that “I don’t have time to get hooked on a series” excuse. I don’t even know exactly how I got hooked myself… I think I just found it on Netflix and gave it a shot. And mercy, sweetness, goodness and light, did I fall. I was grabbed hook, line and sinker.
Sherlock is like nothing else I have ever seen. Technically, it’s gorgeous. Every shot has such detail, and the scripts are done with such care. The dialogue never feels clunky, and it’s such an inspired re-imagining of the stories that have been told a thousand times. I saw Downey Jr.’s second installment in the theater about a month ago, and I loved it, of course. It was blockbuster fun — explosions and wit and dramatics. But it didn’t have the heart that I loved.
A good part of it is the cast. I consider Benedict Cumberbatch to be one of the best actors I’ve ever seen without any hint of exaggeration. His Sherlock is a childish addict, an asexual genius who can tell an airplane pilot by his left thumb but had no idea that the earth revolves around the sun (a nice nod to one of the Doyle stories). He’s never kind but never mean, always just honest. He’s pompous, tech-savvy and awkward as hell. His refusal to get dressed for anything he deems unimportant leads to a particularly memorable scene of being summoned to Buckingham Palace… wearing nothing but a bed sheet.
And Martin Freeman makes a damn good John Watson. Lord knows he has the acting chops: he landed the part of Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit. And yeah, Benedict Cumberbatch is Smaug. Hell of a casting choice if I do say so myself.
I’m a bit of a 221B Baker St. groupie. Years and years ago my dad picked up an old stained copy of some Reader’s Digest compilation at a used book fair. It’s a bright blue clunker with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, an Abe Lincoln thing and a collection of some Arthur Conan Doyle. I was what, 10? Notre Dame never stuck, but oh, the boys of Baker Street did.
It was so different from any other “classic” I had read. There was no romance, and there was no dramatic pontificating about the meaning of life. It was a damn good story with some damn good characters. Baskerville was the stay-up-until-2-in-the-morning-with-the-light-on-because-you’re-terrified-of-the-darkness story that stuck with me. It was so cerebral. It was logic and bravery and truth. I loved Sherlock Holmes because he is so brilliant but so baffled by human emotion. He’s a loner and an outsider, someone who represents the wonderful things the human race can accomplish — but he will never fit in. For the awkward 10-year-old girl who preferred books to sleepovers, a character like Sherlock Holmes was a godsend.
So maybe that’s why I love Sherlock so much. It’s dashing and strange and wonderful and clever and ridiculous. Every once in a while something will explode without warning. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, as evident from the many cracks at John and Sherlock’s bromance. The writers (Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, two of my favorites) breathe life into every character, from Lestrade to Mycroft and everything in between. Moriarty was a particularly inspired casting choice, one I won’t elaborate on because you haven’t seen the third episode.
Next Sunday, the season 2 finale will air in a go-big-or-go-home fashion. It’s titled “The Reichenbach Fall,” and anyone who knows their Arthur Conan Doyle knows that this is the end for our beloved Holmes. How Moffatt and Gatiss will interpret it, however, I don’t know. The first two episodes of this season were spectacular, and I know Reichenbach will be nothing less than astounding. You’ve got a week before it airs. I recommend you start with season 1 tonight.