I presumed I would absolutely love series three of BBC Sherlock, but sadly I didn’t. I also presumed I’d dislike season two of Elementary but I actually rather enjoyed it. I do like to be proved wrong every now and then.
I think I have judged Elementary a bit harshly in the past and perhaps been a bit too glowing and gushing about Sherlock. So, to set the record straight, I actually found myself enjoying the last season of Elementary despite my scepticism.
No, it’s not Holmes from the canon, it’s not heart-stopping ‘event television’ and it is rather over sentimental at times, but hey, it’s a good crime drama. And I think that’s what I liked about it.
It was simply Holmes and Watson solving clever crimes together. Most of the episodes stuck to the formula in the canon – Holmes and Watson are presented with an unusual case, they work on it together, Holmes solves it and along the way we see little glimpses of their friendship and personalities. Nice and simple.
Ok, we had Watson and Mycroft falling in love and Mycroft actually being a spy (started to feel the old scepticism coming back at that point) but it did work in the context of the series as a whole.
That’s the beauty of having so many episodes, the characters can travel a full arc of development and you get balance – a splash of personal drama interspersed with good old fashioned detection. There were plenty of episodes to suit all tastes.
Having only three episodes to play with, BBC Sherlock didn’t have that luxury and consequently, in my opinion, didn’t get the balance right with series three.
The partnership between Holmes and Watson in ‘Lemon-Entry’ is touching, funny and, for me, very true to the spirit of the original. Jonny Lee Miller plays Holmes as a sensitive but brilliant man-child. He manages to show Holmes’ vulnerability extremely well, conveying all his neuroses in a believable and strangely likable way.
I think it was a bit harsh of me in a previous blog to describe veteran actor Sean Pertwee as a ‘Rupert-Graves-a-like’. Yes his world-weary Lestrade was cut from a similar cloth but they took him much deeper. Particulary in the episode ‘Ears to You’ (gotta love any show with an episode called Ears to You) which sensitively played out the complexities of his relationship with Holmes. Sorry Sean, I take it back.
The relationship between Holmes and Mycroft was a bit silly at first and then turned into an unexpected joy. I’m not sure about the whole ‘spying thing’ though, and I’m even less sure about the whole ‘restaurateur/chef’ thing. I do wish people would leave Mycroft alone and just let him be a fat Government official with a big brain and even bigger behind. This all-singing-all-dancing action man that people want to turn him into doesn’t really work for me.
I’ve been watching re-runs of Sherlock series two on Alibi. They are brilliant, especially A Scandal in Belgravia and The Reichenbach Fall. The sequences when Moriarty breaks into the Tower of London and then the sequence set to Nina Simone’s Sinner-man are simply breath-taking. Oh gosh, here I go glowing and gushing again. It’s just so sad that, in my opinion, they lost that magic in series three. I think the contrast is so great that it’s almost as if they were made by completely different people. Maybe my disappointment has fuelled my new-found enjoyment of Elementary. I knew what to expect and I got it. I just liked it more than I thought I would. There’s something rather comforting about that.