Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Study in Pink

Last night we watched the first episode of the show Sherlock, a modern reimagining of Sherlock Holmes. I have to say, it was quite entertaining.

Part of what made the show so enjoyable is that I just recently read the short Arthur Conan Doyle novel A Study in Scarlet, on which the first episode, "A Study in Pink," is loosely based. I liked seeing the way that certain details were worked in and how others were played with. (In the Conan Doyle story, for example, the murderer writes "Rache" on the wall. The detectives think that the murderer intended to write "Rachel," but Holmes points out that "Rache" is German for "revenge." In the TV episode, one of the detectives says "rache" is revenge, and Holmes says that the victim did not finish writing "Rachel.")

I also liked the chemistry between the actors. Sherlock Holmes has always seemed an abrasive character to me (as I'm sure he is intended to be). I've watched some older Sherlock Holmes interpretations, and I don't care for them because there's nothing to like about Sherlock Holmes. He has no personality; he simply spouts facts and deductions. Boring! I liked that this Sherlock Holmes (similar to, but dialed down from Robert Downey Jr.'s, who was probably a bit over the top) takes a cue from House--he's not good with people, but you still enjoy seeing what happens to him. Martin Freeman plays an excellent Dr. Watson, who is a more active participant in this series than in some others, that is, rather than being Socrates' excuse to say what he wants, he actually has something to contribute.

Apparently there are only three episodes this time around, but I'm looking forward to the others--and to future episodes, should they be made.

***EDIT*** We watched the second "episode" last night, and it appears that all of the Sherlock episodes are more like mini movies, between the hour and a half and two hour mark, akin to how the A&E Horatio Hornblower series (another excellent series) was made. This makes me feel a little better about there only being three episodes this time around (though it did trick us into staying up way past our bedtime last night, since we thought it would only last 45 minutes).


  1. Incidentally, House is based on the character of Sherlock Holmes, an interesting completion to a circle that starts with the character of Sherlock Holmes being inspired by a real-life doctor.

  2. Wow, I didn't realize that. I think it supports my thinking, though. There are some scholars who think that Sherlock Holmes has Asperger's. My impression from reading the stories (mind you, I haven't read many) is not that he has Asperger's but that he understands social conventions and doesn't care about them, much like House.

  3. I thought the idea of bringing Sherlock Holmes into contemporary times was a bit silly, considering that 80% of US primetime dramas center on a character based on Sherlock Holmes (House, The Mentalist, Lie to Me, toss in Psych and Monk . . .)

    But I have heard good things about the BBC series. I did just watch the Guy Ritchie Sherlock movie and enjoyed it.

    My standard for a good Sherlock adaptation is a strong Watson. One that's not comic relief. (

  4. That's true...but this Sherlock is British. It has that British feel. There's a difference. :-)

    And I love the comic.

  5. This is a great review! As a fellow Sherlock Holmes fan, I am going to try and track down this series so we can watch it.