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Sherlock - Series 1 (DVD)
Member Name: Tarapea
Sherlock - Series 1 (DVD)
Date: 30/04/12, updated on 30/04/12 (104 review reads)
Advantages: Great cast and writers, sticks to the original cases but adds original new detail
Disadvantages: Some episodes are a bit longwinded. Not for everyone, but I love it :)
(Please note: This review will contain mild plot spoilers but rest assured, I won't give the endings away :))
Sherlock is a thoroughly British programme, shown on BBC1. It takes the original works of the legendary Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels and drags them into the 21st century. Written by Stephen Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Steven Thompson and directed by Stephen Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Beryl Vertue and Paul McGuigan, this has a very Stephen Moffat feel to the programme. Anyone who has seen his work on Doctor Who will see what I mean. In fact the first time I saw Sherlock, I switched on the TV half way through an episode and remarked immediately 'this is a bit like Doctor Who'. I'm not usually very perceptive either, if the TV jumped off the wall and started walking away it'd take me a minute to notice ;)
Sherlock Holmes is a character from stories by the renowned author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in this TV series the tales have been given an updated feel while still keeping some of the traditional details as well.
Sherlock is an intelligent yet ultimately eccentric detective who solves mysterious cases, usually for a fee. He is helped by his loyal friend Doctor John Watson who both aids his case solving and chronicles it (in the original books by publishing books, while in the BBC series he creates a blog).
The series stars a rather striking looking fellow (yes, I'm a bit weird), Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. Well loved TV veteran Martin Freeman takes his place alongside Sherlock as his long suffering friend Dr John Watson. In this contemporary remake, Sherlock Holmes is portrayed as a reclusive, socially inept genius. He can be quite arrogant and is often mocking towards other characters when they don't follow his line of thinking quickly. However he proves himself to be strangely loveable and quirky right from the start of the first episode. Watson is more laid back in character, a fiercely loyal friend to Sherlock, he appears Sherlock's polar opposite.
Other cast members include:
Mrs Hudson ~ Played by Una Stubbs. Sherlock and John's Landlady.
DI Greg Lestrade ~ Rupert Graves. A detective who occasionally asks Sherlock's help with solving cases.
Mycroft Holmes - Mark Gatiss. Sherlock's older brother.
Jim Moriaty ~ Andrew Scott. Arch enemy of Sherlock Holmes.
Seargent Sally Donovan ~ Vinette Robinson. Police officer who works with Lestrade.
Molly Hooper ~ Louise Brealey. Morgue attendant and casual friend of Sherlock and John's.
I was lucky enough to receive the Sherlock Series 1 DVD for my birthday this year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Series 1 compromised of three 90 minute long episodes, quite an unusual layout for a TV series, but it gives each episode (which are all based loosely on Arthur Conan Doyle's books) just the right amount of time to develop. The episodes are spread over two discs, and include some lovely special features too.
~~~A Study in Pink~~~
This is the first episode, and is loosely based on the original book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 'A Study in Scarlet'.
We're introduced to Watson first here, and we find out that he's returned home from Afghanistan where he was injured. He walks with a limp, is seeing a therapist and appears to be looking for somewhere to live. Poor Watson seems quite a sorry figure at this stage, your sympathy is immediately drawn to him. However, following a lead from a friend he soon finds himself the flatmate of Sherlock Holmes at the very famous address 221B Baker Street.
Sherlock is soon asked by DI Lestrade to take a look at a crime scene with him. It appears that he asks Sherlock's help often, and as Watson is a Doctor, he tags along in the hope that he may be of some use.
At the crime scene is a murdered woman wearing pink, hence the episode title. Together the two friends work to piece together the clues and solve the case, which at first appears to be the latest in a line of serial suicides, but Sherlock has other ideas...
There are speedy chases, puzzling clues, and plenty of surprises to be found here. We learn a lot more about the two main characters, in particular Watson. and Moriaty's name is mentioned, leading way to his introduction at a later stage. We're also introduced to Sherlock's elder brother in this episode, the two brothers appear to have a frosty relationship and the banter between them is quite light hearted and amusing.
I found this episode to be a perfect start to a fantastic series - I didn't guess the murderer's identity until right at the last minute, and even then there were twists and turns in the plot line to leave you hanging on to the edge of your seat. Sherlock's character is so strange and intriguing that you're not sure of his boundaries, so every move is a surprise.
~~~The Blind Baker~~~
The second episode doesn't hold off on the action. We're immediately introduced to Soo Lin Yao who works in a museum. At the end of the day, Soon sees something terrifying and lets out a blood curdling scream, we the viewers are left literally and metaphorically in the dark as to the source of Soo Lin Yao's terror, and the episode begins properly.
At this point, we see John Watson is struggling for money. As much fun as being Sherlock's sidekick is, it doesn't seem to pay the bills. Sherlock offers to help and take his friend along to the bank, but when they arrive, it's not quite the Natwest branch Watson was expecting... In fact, there's a case to be solved here, with a large reward. The perfect remedy for both our heroes problems - a lack of money, and a thirst for mysteries.
Once again, the police think this is a suicide case, and once again Sherlock basically brands them a bunch of bumbling nincompoops and searches to find the real truth here.
In this episode we see Watson taking another job, one of our favourite characters finding a love interest, a hostage situation and even an advisor in the form of a graffiti artist. The action is non stop, relentless fun. I did find this episode a little more difficult to follow, but then I do have the attention span of a slightly impatient moth... As we were lead into the thrilling conclusion however, all became clear.
During the episode a mysterious person by the name 'M' is alluded to... Looks like we have to wait for the final episode for this one!
~~~The Great Game~~~
This is the final episode on the Series 1 DVD boxset.
We're eased into this episode with some witty dialogue between Sherlock and a would-be client. I enjoyed this part particularly.
Here someone appears to be challenging Sherlock. A great game in which he must solve mysterious cases in mere hours, but if he doesn't, will this game be quite so fun after all?
In this instalment, we see more of morgue attendant Molly, Mycroft and we may even learn the identity of the mysterious 'M' - an episode full of M's, this one!
The relationship between Sherlock and Watson is shown here, and it's clear that Sherlock underestimates his dear friend, who knows him better than he imagined.
This one definitely got my heart pumping as Sherlock raced against the clock to solve the mysteries put in front of him. I had no hope of correctly guessing any of them, but watching the sheer genius of the answers as they unfold was brilliant, as was the unexpected climax. The episode ends on a startling cliffhanger, leaving its fans clamouring for Series 2. Good work!
* Episode 1 commentary featuring Mark Gatiss, Stephen Moffat and Sue Vertue
* Episode 3 commentary featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Mark Gatiss
* Exclusive Pilot Episode - Sherlock: A Study in Pink
*Unlocking Sherlock - the making of
A Study in Pink was originally filmed as a normal 60 minute episode, but soon after the writers decided they preferred to go with the unusual format of three 90 minutes episode per series and so the episode was re-written and re-filmed. The original pilot episode is shown here and it's well worth a watch. Personally I liked the 90 minute episode better, but the pilot was very enjoyable too.
When it comes to feature length films, I tend to find watching 'the making of' feature spoils the magic for me. However with TV series', these just add a lot of detail to the programme. For Doctor Who fans who loved to watch the Doctor Who Confidentials, you'll love this special feature.
This is a wonderful take on an old classic. Lovers of murder mysteries, and Science Fiction fans will both find themselves catered for here. I can't imagine many Doctor Who fans disliking this either! Truly wonderful, and very very British.
Summary: A fresh look at an old classic.
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