Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 25, 2024

F(l)o Show: Sherlock locks down loyal viewers

By Florence Lau | February 5, 2012

If you think you know Sherlock Holmes and his brilliant partner John Watson, think again, because you don't know Sherlock until you've seen Steven Moffat's modern adaption to television. Not that there's anything wrong with Doyle's work. Far from it, in fact. It's only that there's something inherently charming about Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), a self-proclaimed "high-functioning sociopath" running around modern-day London and managing to piss off every single person he meets. And we can't forget John Watson (Martin Freeman), Sherlock's loyal partner.

Crime-solving partner, I mean. Granted, the gay subtext is so obvious at times that it seems hardly appropriate to call it subtext anymore. But I digress.

Moffat pulls elements from the original stories and weaves them in a plot that incorporates elements from Doyle's various plots with a modern day twist. Moffat's skillful handling of the material keeps the original mystery of the duo while making it extremely accessible by moving the entire story to present day. The writing is witty, with laugh-aloud lines, and the logic is infallible, something extremely important in a show that promotes the "science of deduction." Audiences are led by clever camera angles and helpfully placed text and shown how the mind of Sherlock works.

Another reason this series has been so successful is the sheer amount of chemistry between Cumberbatch and Freeman. They play off each other in every scene, and their performances enhance always the other's. The dialogue may be smart, the show may be charming, but they wouldn't have anything without a good lead, and they have two. Cumberbatch is Sherlock, sociopath and all.

Season two was, if possible, an improvement over season one. I sped through the hour-and-a-half long episodes, wishing that there were more than three per season, baffled by Irene Adler with Sherlock, hiding from the hound at Baskerville with Sherlock, and. . .

Sherlock is a mix of mystery novel and action movie all garnished with British humor and tied together neatly with logic and ingenuity.

And if I still haven't convinced you, just watch it for the English accents.


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