BBC’s Sherlock’s A Scandal in Belgravia – simply wow

I’ve just seen BBC’s Sherlock, and it was brilliant.

How do I know that it was brilliant?  Well, my husband sat through the whole thing without fidgeting or wandering off.  And he never does that.  Ever.  Not even during the rugby.

It was simply stunning – engrossing, clever and impossible to look away from.  I loved it.

I didn’t watch Sherlock when it was aired last night due to a terribly sore throat and a very early night.  I turned to the wonders of Sky Plus and recorded it, then curled up on the sofa under a blanket (with husband) to watch it this afternoon.  It has just ended and I feel compelled to blog straight away to try to put into words why I loved it so much.

Writer Steven Moffat has done what I thought to be impossible – taken one of the original stories from the canon (A Scandal in Bohemia) and used it as the basis for creating something even better.  A Scandal in Belgravia righted the wrongs I have always had issues with in the original and made Adler into a proper match for Holmes, a brilliant femme fatale not just someone who realises she has been caught out and scarpers.

This Adler is complex, bisexual, smart, wrong, breath-taking and vulnerable all at once.  The sexual tension between Adler and Holmes is brilliantly played, cranked up spectacularly by the end of the episode.   Linking her to Moriarty is hardly new, but it is done here far better than I have seen before.

And Moriarty really is fantastic, updated into a camp, twisted villain in a sharp suit.  The line which went something like – ‘If you are telling me the truth, I’ll make you very rich, if not, I’ll turn you into shoes,’ was a particular favourite.  I really felt quite proud of myself for my Moriarty in Barefoot, until I saw what the Sherlock team have done with him.  Right now, I feel a bit out-classed.

It’s all there, the canonical references cleverly inter-woven, the high-drama and relentless twists and turns, the surprise ending, the superior humour (much better than the slap-stick clowning in the Guy Ritchie films – in my opinion).  And the up-dating is a joy to watch – Adler’s images being on a mobile phone rather than simply a photograph, the ‘royal’ being female rather than male, the world hearing of Sherlock through John’s blog etc.  The moment where Sherlock grabs a deerstalker from a theatre dressing-room to hid his face from the press – genius.  The relationship between Sherlock and John is brilliantly played too by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  I’ve even got used to them being Sherlock and John, rather than Holmes and Watson – which I never thought I would.

I need to stop gushing now, maybe it’s just my high-temperature making me over excited but I really do feel like I have just witnessed historic television.

Happy New Year everyone!

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8 Responses to BBC’s Sherlock’s A Scandal in Belgravia – simply wow

  1. Leah Guinn says:

    As far as I know, here in the US we have to wait until May to see it. Because of whatever, we can’t even watch it in BBC One iPlay, and heaven forbid they should show it on BBCAmerica, instead of stupid Kevin Costner movies (why, BBC? Why?). Until then, I guess I shall have to content myself with *sob!* spoilers. Hope you feel better soon!

    • Hi Leah, hope I didn’t give too much away for you! My husband kept saying “Why don’t you comment on so-and-so?” but I said no because I didn’t want to give too many spoilers. Rest assured, it is well worth the wait and i’m sure you will love it.

  2. mala says:

    I need to read more on what you say on Adler vs Holmes. To me Adler has been exaggerated to be a sex goddess and the ‘only woman’ in his life..I guess modern times cannot stand the idea of an intelligent man or a woman without a heavy dose of sex associated with it. .Somehow have never felt hooked by ‘her’..can’t even get what she did that was so brilliant other than see through is disguise. Perhaps a big deal for those days.

    • Hi Mala, I agree, have never understood what Adler did that was so brilliant – all just hype in my opinion so it was really interesting to see how much Sherlock improved on the original. I was worried that I wouldn’t like Scandal in Belgravia but was blown away by how good it was. Is it just a modern thing to examine the sexual side of an intelligent man or is it just realistic? Surely all men have sexual desires, even Sherlock Holmes?

      • mala says:

        Of course all people do. But not everyone indulges their desires to the extent needed, or get to find their ideal partner. In victorian times a virgin man or woman dedicated to their profession was not at all uncommon. Jeremy Brett himself said it seemed to him that Holmes loved someone and it did not work out and he decided it simply was not worth it. (he made it up of course but that was his way of understanding the character and his disinterest in women). Holmes sleeping around with Adler seems highly improbable to me, i’d possibly even understand it better if he was gay and had a relationship going with Watson. But that would open up a bigger can of worms, maybe.

  3. Valerie says:

    Couldn’t agree more! It took me a few viewings to get to this point because at first I had a few issues with Adler working with/for Moriarity (because I hated that aspect in the films), but in getting a better take on her with the mulitple views, I realize it was quite an excellent interpretation.

    Teeny, weeny spoiler ahead, be aware:

    I am coming to the opinion that Cumberbatch and Freeman are the best portrayals of Holmes and Watson. Granted they are not in the 19th Century surroundings, but they bring something to the characters I’ve never seen on screen (even by the brilliant Brett and Hardwicke) and have felt in the stories. The scene in which they are laughing in Buckingham Palace…it was hard to tell if it was John and Sherlock or Benedict and Martin. I think they even improved upon themselves by being even more natural than the laughing scene in ‘Study In Pink’ after their return from the chase… simply awesome. Really looking forward to ‘Hounds’…

  4. Pingback: Another triumph for the Sherlock team with The Hounds of Baskerville | Barefoot on Baker Street

  5. What has happened to English programming oh yeah the yanks says:

    this is directed at leah, its a real shame how Americans expect to have the series. Finally an English broadcasted series has something really special, and maybe just maybe BBC want to keep it for english fans for just a little while longer. The Americans will probably buy up the rights eventually and completely ruin the series with CGI like they do with everything else.

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