Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shelf Life [adult]

Sherlock: Season 2 Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
@SPL: DVD CramaSherl2

 Do you love mysteries? Does the name Sherlock Holmes make you swoon, or give you a thrill of anticipation? No, forget about the Robert Downey Jr. films, and the dry and fusty Victorian versions of the past, and go grab the first two seasons of the newest version of the small screen from BBC.

Distinction number 1: It is set in modern day Britain, with all its digital gadgetry magic to aid in both committing and solving crimes.

Distinction 2: Benedict Cumberbatch. A name not easily forgotten or pronounced, he is simply the most fascinating Holmes ever conjured on screen (with the best cheekbones, too). Sherlock still has an addiction, still analyzes people from the minutest of details and is so detached most of the time he could almost be a robot, but this Sherlock is also alarmingly, touchingly and humorously human… occasionally.

Distinction 3: Dr. Watson is an Iraq War vet, played (deadpan of course) by Martin Freeman, he of the original Office, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and eventually-to-be-released The Hobbit. Together, this Holmes and Watson make a compelling duo, trading insults and jabs as quickly as quips (and yay, in this series Watson often gets the last word).

Distinction 4: Although each episode pays homage to the original classic stories (they still ), they are full-on, 21st century updates in every way. Moriarty is a psychopathic puppeteer of information. The Hounds of Baskerville are genetically modified. Irene Adler is a dominatrix. And that is just in Season 2.

Alas, each season is BBC standard, just three episodes, but at 90 minutes each one is almost the equivalent of a movie, with the pacing and cinematography to match, dynamic and graphic – not violently so, but certainly there is more violence than in the sleepy series’ of the past. It is simply not fair though, that we will have to wait for Season 3 until after The Hobbit is finished filming – both Freeman and Cumberbatch are in it as Bilbo and Smaug respectively – but at least with the library’s DVD you can keep it them a week and rewatch Holmes’ deductions in slow motion.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on July 5, 2012. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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