BBC’s Sherlock – a televisual feast for the mind and eye

Perhaps I should just rename this site and just be done with it.

Sorry, but I just can’t help myself, I’ve got to blog about ‘Sherlock’ again because last night’s episode was too good not to.  And as the news has broken on Twitter today confirming that a third series will definitely be going ahead, I simply can’t resist sharing my thoughts on last night’s season finale.

Trouble is, I don’t really know where to start.  And be warned, this blog will contain lots of spoilers.

There is so much to say. ‘Sherlock’ positively fizzes, so much is packed into 90 minutes that it’s difficult to pick it all apart without droning on for ages.  ‘Sherlock’ throws everything at you in each episode – a symphony of frenetic dialogue heavily laced with humour, hold-your-breath action, brilliant characterisation, plot twists coming thick and fast, canonical references, a great sound track and surprising warmth – all wrapped up in a clever, unconventional little parcel as neat as your Nan’s knitting basket.  Phew, I’ve worn myself out just thinking about it.

The Reichenbach Fall was a take on The Final Problem but with so many twists that it did stray perhaps a little too far from the original.  However, it still managed the rare trick of improving on the source material in a few very clever ways.  Firstly, the episode presented a more credible, sensitive look at Sherlock’s emotions about self sacrifice, his true feelings towards his small circle of friends and his desire to save them at all costs.  Secondly, it showed, very convincingly, the pain John felt about the ‘death’ of his best friend.

In the original, Holmes risks his life to reach the pinnacle of his career – yes he wants to rid the world of Moriarty, but why?  I never get the feeling this is because of true humanitarian motives, more that he simply wants to be the best, win the battle at all costs.  In ‘Sherlock’, he has a greater, more noble motive and this is very moving to watch.  The acknowledgment that he cares for his little band of friends – Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, Molly and, of course, John, is beautifully done.

And what about lovely Molly the lab technician?  Gosh, the way they have built up her part and played with the relationship between her and Sherlock is genius.  In this episode, there are some cracking scenes between the two of them showing how well Molly understands Sherlock and how he, in turn, trusts and cares for her.  I absolutely love this aspect of the series and think that of all the attempts to put Holmes with a woman – including, I have to admit, my own – this one is the best.  There I was thinking I’d been so original linking Holmes with a working class, ex-workhouse orphan who was as unconventional and complex as he was, but really, the cleverest thing of all would have been to link him with someone completely ordinary.  That’s the magic of the relationship between Molly and Sherlock – he is, well, Sherlock Holmes, and she is just a quiet, plain, everyday sort of girl living a normal life and working in a lab.  This is far more convincing and clever than the relationship the creators built up between Sherlock and Adler – even though I thought that was pretty brilliant as well.  Oh, I really am turning into a bit too much of a fan aren’t I?

Other things worth mentioning are the witty diaologue and great soundtrack.  The dialogue comes thick and fast but here are few of my favourites from last night (not exact quotes):

John to Sherlock as he was about to speak in court – “Intelligence yes, but let’s give smartarse a wide bearth.”  He didn’t, naturally.

Moriarty to Sherlock – “Aren’t ordinary people adorable?  You’ve got John, maybe I should get me a live-in one too.”

John to Sherlock as he became excited by the challenge of following the footprints of a missing child – “Maybe don’t do the smiling, kidnapped children.”

At one point someone referred to Sherlock as CSI Baker Street – which made me laugh out loud.

The music was very well chosen.  Moriarty has ‘Staying Alive’ as his ring tone and there was a great sequence set to ‘Sinnerman’ by Nina Simone leading up to Moriarty’s court appearance which was very powerful.

Andrew Scott is fantastic as Jim Moriarty, the wonderful camp creation sending Sherlock a kiss at the end of his texts and simply playing a blinder in my opinion.  When he sat in the Tower of London wearing the crown jewels like a cocky little so-and-so I just wanted to applaud.  Other notable performances were from Rupert Graves as Lestrade, Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson and Katherine Parkinson as the journalist who becomes part of Moriarty’s grand plan.

In the spirit of balance, I do have to admit that the plot was really far-fetched and full of holes.  But they get away with this because it’s all so well put together and happens so fast that you just go with it, falling for every twist and turn.   It’s only afterwards, in the cold light of day that you look back and think – the crown jewels, the Bank of England and Pentonville prison?  No, not possible, only in TV land.  And the speed at which Holmes goes from hero to zero is also a bit suspect.

There is so much more I could comment on, but I’m guessing you’ve all got the gist by now that I have really enjoyed this series of Sherlock. Infact it’s taken my breath away.

You just watch it and think, “I want a piece of that.”  I want to be writing and making cutting-edge drama, turning my novel into a televisual feast for the mind and eye, watching it unfold and spending my days talking about camera angles over coffee with Moffat, Gattis and Sue Vertue.

Their world is like Shangri-La la to me, but the question is – how does a nobody from the West Midlands with no connections get someone to open the door to Shangri-La and let them in?  Answers on a postcard please… (Or just put your comments in the box below.  The first option sounded so much more poetic though!)

Click here to read my review of The Final Problem

About barefootonbakerstreet

Author from Shropshire
This entry was posted in Dr Watson, Professor James Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to BBC’s Sherlock – a televisual feast for the mind and eye

  1. It was like the rest of this series: very flash, very clever, and completely implausible. ‘Sherlock’ started very well, but now it’s just gone crazy. I think that we should all stop telling Steven Moffat that he’s a genius, because it only drives him further and further over the top — as in the case of ‘Doctor Who’.

  2. Sneaky_Hobbit says:

    I think the series is brilliant. I can’t wait until the next one comes out to see how he survived; I’m pretty sure Molly has something to do with it. It’s become so much more intense but I don’t know what the general storyline will be now that Moriaty’s gone… Can’t wait to find out.

    I believe in Sherlock Holmes, Moriaty is real.

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