TV: Sherlock

by: Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
language: English
Series 1 (2010) – finished watching 27/12/11, total length 265 minutes/3 episodes
Series 2 (2012) – finished watching 17/01/12, total length 265 minutes/3 epsiodes
total length: 530 minutes/6 epsiodes

Shows like this one that have a large amount of hype around them tend to put me off. So I had put it off for more than a year before actually getting round to watching it. Then I was quite glad that I had because the new series came out less than a week later, so I wasn’t stuck wondering what would happen next after the big cliffhanger. So my scepticism paid off in a roundabout way in this particular case.

Anyway, it’s Sherlock Holmes. I’ve not read or seen very many adaptations of Holmes, but I’ve seen enough to know what’s generally going on. And the central premise of this show (Sherlock Holmes has an iPhone) is fairly intuitive to get, and I think the writers have done a fairly good job of it. Naturally, they’ve had to write their own versions of most of the stories to feature them in the show, and to fit with the various gimmicks of the modern world that they can now employ, and at this point I’ll just have to be honest and point out that I’m not familiar enough with Conan Doyle’s work to tell what’s original and what’s based on the source material, but whatever it is, they’ve managed to put it together in an entertaining way, and because the stories are their own, even if you’re familiar with the source material, you’re kept on your toes.

There’s a lot to like about this show. But as I mentioned already, the hype around it is a little unbearable… if you’re actually interested in watching the damn thing (as it turned out I was this time around, unlike when the first series was on TV), it’s impossible to move on Facebook or Twitter for the spoilers, and Tumblr still never shuts up about the damn show. And as a friend astutely pointed out the other day, it’s a little too much like Doctor Who, with some kind of insipid BBC Englishiness imbued in it, and yet a dull, grey Welsh background.

While I’m at the complaining, another thing that confused me was how much people can get offended by insignificant things when a famous show like this does things differently from the source material. Evidently Irene Adler was a greater feminist role model in the 1890s version of her story than she was in the 2012 version, although the reasons are flimsy at best (someone pointed out that maybe her crime in the 2012 version was daring to have a sexuality), or there was something about Holmes falling in love with her in this version which he NEVER WOULD HAVE in the 19th century. Or vice-versa, I don’t remember or care. Or maybe we could look to Holmes’ apparent complete and almost militantly ignorant asexuality – I remember seeing a website expanding upon this with image macros, and someone immediately decrying the website (not, interestingly, the show, in which this is a large portion of the humour) for its lack of respect for real-life asexuals. You know, because these things matter.

And for heaven’s sakes, Cumberbatch does not look like a god-damn otter.

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