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Sherlock is back! May 6, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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We’ve decided that May is Sherlock Holmes month here at Poor Richard’s Almanac. Yesterday, Silence Dogood found a new Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (Mulholland Books, 2011), at our local library. And tonight, the second season of “Sherlock” launches on PBS.

For Holmes fanatics like Silence and our friend Ben (who has actually penned a Holmes novel himself), this is very heady stuff. First off, Mr. Horowitz is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and his novel has been authorized by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate, the first time they have ever leant their imprimatur to a non-family member. We’re looking forward to a wonderful read. And tonight’s episode of “Sherlock” brings the World’s Greatest Detective together with his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, and “The Woman,” Irene Adler.

Mind you, we had a few issues with the series’s first season. We really enjoyed the wonderfully-named Benedict Cumberbatch—a name straight out of Dickens—as Holmes (though we still think he’d better as Dr. Who) and Martin Freeman as Watson. And we loved whichever of the show’s creators (alas, we forget which one it was) as Holmes’s older brother Mycroft. We thought the way the show depicted Holmes’s thought process was nothing short of brilliant, and we appreciated the way they kept the element of humor that made the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films so entertaining, but this time made sure it wasn’t at Watson’s expense.

On the other hand, we found the Moriarty woefully weak—a fatal flaw in any Holmes effort—and the plots far too transparent. We’re hoping for better things from this season, though we have our doubts about the decision to turn poor Irene Adler from an actress into a dominatrix. Thing is, she was the actual victim in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” rather than the king who enlisted Holmes’s efforts at protecting his reputation from her. It will be interesting to see if the same holds true in “A Scandal in Belgravia”!

Holmes lovers, check your TV listings and let us know what you think!



1. Becca - May 9, 2012

I was finally intrigued enough to see an episode of Sherlock. I am not a Sherlock fan and have never read the novels. That being the case, I loved the show!! 🙂 Lara Pulver is a dead ringer for Jodi Foster (in my opinion) Loved, as well, how the thoughts and texts were superimposed on different surfaces.

Hi Becca! Glad you enjoyed it! The wonderfully clever use of technology is my favorite part, too.

2. William - May 16, 2012

I’ll have to check out the show. I’ve enjoyed some of the earlier British versions not to mention the writings themselves. I do like the annotated version that came out a few years ago. Thanks for the info.
Now if I can get my sons off the Xbox.

Let us know what you think! We liked “A Scandal in Belgravia” better than their take on the Hound.

3. William - May 21, 2012

Here is my review or in other words initial thoughts.

I caught the second half of the Hounds episode. It was by far my least favorite Sherlock Holmes rendition. I found Sherlock more annoying and less savant or genius with a inept social skill. The plot to me was rather farcical and brings out America as some unhinged country playing with drugs. To me, this was less Holmes and more modern crime action. Before dropping out of the show, there was something in the episode that begged me to watch Sunday’s episode. It was like my watching Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen; it isn’t a great cooking show, but I found something about it intriguing. Even my youngest son agreed that there was something about the show that kept us watching.
The Reisenbach Fall was Holmes like. I wondered if the writers got too clever at the end. Holmes’ reaction to the media coverage appears more Holmes like. The one exception is the young lady in the bathroom. Holmes display a nice social awkwardness even though I find it uneven. Holmes is also too angry and emotional. Watson does what our 19th century Watson did, narrate. With television, the narration is handled in a different manner through Watson’s actions more than actual narration.
Even though I have criticized the show, it is very entertaining. Adapting Holmes to a modern setting takes time getting used to, but adjusting to a modern setting is worth it. My sons and I enjoyed this episode and look forward to seeing another episode.

Yes, a bit long but far shorter than it could have been.

Thanks, William! I too thought the “Hound” episode was weak and a big disappointment. It’s always been a challenge because it’s an actual novel-length piece rather than a story, and I guess it was just too much for the series writers. My favorite “Hound” version is the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing adaptation. The best of the “Sherlock” series by far was the Irene Adler episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia.” If you missed it, you must rent it via Netflix or check with your PBS station to see if they’re planning reruns (or, worse comes to worst, buy the DVD used via Amazon). (I don’t think I’d watch it with my young sons, though, if I were you.) I enjoyed last night’s episode, though the logical disconnects drove me up a wall: Moriarty’s persona had been well established in the first season and could have been easily verified through dozens of people; why would the press or the police, after witnessing his break-ins in the most secure spots in London, believe the word of a cub reporter that he was just a harmless actor; Mycroft Holmes would be the last soul on earth to reveal anything whatever about his brother; Moriarty would certainly have theatened Mycroft’s life along with Watson’s, Mrs. Hudson’s and Lestrade’s; etc.etc. My “this-does-not-compute” button was being continually pushed. And I certainly agree with you about the reporter-in-the-restroom incident. Having said that, I thought the wonderfully campy performance by the actor playing Moriarty went a long way to make up for his former deficiencies, and that his suicide was a stroke of genius. And I confess to feeling like a complete idiot for failing to understand the point of Holmes’s rapprochement to the long-suffering Molly until several hours later. But then, I’m no Sherlock Holmes…

Becca - May 21, 2012

I didn’t like the Hounds episode nearly as well either. I had wondered if I was just won over by Lara Pulver as Irene Adler! But, no, something in the episode kept me watching as well.

I hope you watched last night’s episode, Becca! I don’t think it measured up to the Irene Adler episode, but it was far and above better than “Hound.” I enjoyed and appreciated it despite its shortcomings!

Becca - May 21, 2012

Haven’t watched it yet–since we don’t have a TV but will watch it online tonight! It’s a ritual. 🙂

Let us know what you think!

4. Becca - May 22, 2012

Oh. my. goodness. I have now watched it twice. Being a Sherlock novice, I think I can watch the show with a less critical eye and more for the sheer enjoyment of it. I understood it more when I read up on “The Final Problem.” I am not sure, still, of Molly’s involvement but look forward to re-watching the episode and thinking about it more! Martin Freeman is just brilliant as Watson, in my opinion.

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