The Brits have their institutions that they carry on with for centuries – the monarchy, the Parliament, Shakespeare, fish&chips, etc. Some say that their adherence to tradition is what keeps those alive, I say yes, it is tradition, but combined with the will or at least the recognition that traditions need to be combined with a dose of novelty, and this is to the same extent as the consevative philosophy what maintains institutions alive over centuries. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ has become one of these traditions and it includes tens of variants of bringing them to screen. The latest on big screens (starring Robert Downey Jr.) and the BBC (another British institution on its own) series ‘Sherlock’ are I believe one more example. It’s probably the most daring version and an update of the Holmes stories to modern times, and it’s pretty good.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1475582/

 

Let me say from the start that it took me time to get used and love this new incarnation of the detective on Baker Street. Fortunately the Israeli Cable TV broadcast the six series of the two first seasons one after the other, so I had not enough time to be discouraged by the first episodes, which I felt were too long and too complex for me to enjoy. I also perceived the adaptation to the 21st century realities to be rather inconsistent, with some of the feminine characters entering and disappearing the plot, and with Sherlock speaking way too fast and too smart for me to understand, not to speak about enjoying. But then, starting with the third episodes things started to come together in the story, and the appearance of this version of Moriarty really made the difference and built up the material of the second season. Andrew Scott’s Moriarty is a real treat, great acting and a typology that balances the triangle of him, Sherlock and dr. Watson.

 

(video source TVpotatoes)

 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as doctor Watson are fine actor selections for the two characters, which you would expect from any good quality BBC series. What is less expected are the perspectives we get about the two characters relocated in the London of the beginning of the third millennium. Sherlock is a mind too smart for his human peers, and a poor communicator, so poor that it lets us wonder if he really has human feelings or rather belongs to the Mr. Data category. The last episode in the second season provides at least a partial answer. Dr. Watson is nothing less than a medical officer traumatized by what he witnessed in the Afghan war, but a short documentation revealed to me that the original character of Conan Doyle has a similar background, which shows that history had its own loops during the last 150 years. The script is a little bit hesitant on what to do with his character, he does take a more important role than in the novels, but this role seems to go to different directions in different episodes. Sherlock’s brother character keeps a dose of mystery which can be used in the coming season.

 

(video source BBCWorldwide)

 

Yes, there will be a next season, as the producers announced and after the last and great season finale of the second one I am looking forward to it. I started as a doubter, I am now a converted. The Sherlock Holmes in this series may be using the most advanced technology of the century he lives (as the original character also did), but it’s the human dimensions, the characters and the relationship between themselves, and between themselves and the world around which make the film captivating. With most if not all American series failing us this year, and a couple which were atop the line being discontinued as they failed the American TV rating thresholds, thanks to the BBC for coming to rescue and saving the season.