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Sherlock

This modern day Holmes comes with contemporary edginess and a hint of insanity under the glib exterior.

New Delhi |
March 31, 2011 12:00:23 pm

On: BBC Entertainment Saturday,8pm

A modern day adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary Sherlock Holmes series,the show Sherlock is set in the heart of contemporary London,complete with cellphones and high-tech forensic equipment. The show has big shoes to fill,with several TV and film versions of the incomparable Holmes,in addition to the existing competition of newer crime shows.

Holmes and Watson,both in search of flatmates,are introduced to each other,in the first episode of the 90 minute-three-part series. Watson is immediately in awe of Holmes’ analytical powers of deduction,and joins him in his chase to find a motiveless serial killer in A Study in Pink.

Award-winning actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays Holmes and gives him the much-needed contemporary edginess,and brings out a hint of the insanity that hides beneath the character’s glib exterior. Dr Watson is played by Martin Freeman,who is well-known for his role in the original UK version of The Office.

Other principal characters include their landlady Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs),Scotland Yard DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft Holmes,played by the show’s co-creator Mark Gatiss.

Dressed in impeccable straight cuts and dark colours,Cumberbatch plays a very attractive new-age Sherlock,while still retaining his Bohemian lifestyle. He can tell a software engineer from his tie and an airline pilot by his thumb and is utterly casual while explaining his complicated theories.

Furthermore,Holmes is portrayed to have weaknesses. As for Watson,unlike in the original stories where he was shown to be insipid and overly-cautious,the new version of the character is pragmatic,clever,emotionally less indulgent,and has quick reflexes.

However,despite the fast-paced beginning,the climax of the show drags,to the point where it seems like the writers are trying to fill in the extra time with long conversations. Sherlock’s genius is acknowledged a way too many times. At times,this interferes with the flow of the plot. Hardly restraining his cockiness,Cumberbatch overdoes lines like “everyone’s stupid”.

Apart from this,to avid readers,some of his inferences might seem a little too far-fetched. For example,he draws solid conclusions about fidelity,based on marks on the victims ring finger. Furthermore,it seems odd that the otherwise unparallelled Holmes finds his match in the first episode itself. The fact that Holmes is always right is part of the legend that makes it so brilliant.

Verdict: ***

Crime show lovers should give it a try. Creator Steven Moffat,the lead writer of the successful series Dr Who,clearly still has some mind-twisting storytelling to offer. Chances are the show will have you hooked.

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