This is the BBC’s modern adaptation of the great stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and penned by creators Steven Moffatt (Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss (Dad’s Army). Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) lives in modern day London, infested with mystery, crime and trickery. The alleys are kept alive with the blackened hearts of burgulars, blackmailers and sociopathic murderers. When the police are at theirn wits end, they call Sherlock Holmes to bless them with his case-solving genius, because of his unorthodox methods that happen to get results; ably assisted by his trusted companion and former-army doctor, Dr John Watson (Martin Freeman) who has just returned from Afghanistan.
Together, they embark on some of Britain’s most perplexing mysteries. In A Study In Scarlet, John Watson (Freeman) is introduced to the eccentric Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch), the world’s only consulting detective. He’s recruited by Lestrade and Scotland Yard to help solve a number of suicides that all revolve around a poison pill. BBC’s Sherlock is a great update to the classic stories, introducing us to the main characters whilst bouncing along at an engaging pace, entwined with Sherlock’s outward spouts of genius. By genius, I mean when he deduces what you had from breakfast based on how you sit down or knowing where you’ve been based on your pulse rate.
In the Blind Banker, Holmes is hired by an old…”friend.” By friend, I mean someone he used to be associated with at university, because as we all know, Sherlock Holmes is unfamiliar with the sensation of friendship. Holmes and Watson are hired to investigate an unexplained break-in and spray-painted graffiti at a merchant bank. The latter turns out to be some form of secret writing alphabet. One event leads into another and then we have a trader murdered in his flat and a dead journalist in his own lodgings too.
Our dynamic duo discover a smuggling ring run by a Chinese circus group that deals with goods coming out of China and into the West. The Blind Banker is a great episode but it felt too much of an action story rather than the Sherlock we’re accustomed to. In my opinon, it’s the weakest of the three episodes. It felt very Midsummer Murders, yet it exhibits numerous examples of Sherlock’s genius throughout. The line of breadcrumbs that provoke the smugglers to muddle Watson and Holmes was an intelligent device and was a really well choreographed scene in the story.
Mycroft Holmes (Gatiss) asks Sherlock to look into the strange death of an MI6 worker that has ties to the whereabouts of covert military plans. Typically, Sherlock is distracted by other cases which must he solved in an allotted time before a group of hostages are blown up by the vests that are strapped to their persons. Holmes is led to his first face-to-face meeting with his archenemy Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott). The more we watch, the more we see that Moriarty and Sherlock have been destined to meet. They were destined to meet since childhood. Sherlock Holmes is the yang to Jim’s yin.
Sherlock is known for proclaiming himself “a high-function sociopath”. Both characters are sociopathic geniuses annoyed at the trivialities of the lives of normal people. Holmes uses his skills to solves crimes in comparison to Jim using his skills to commit them. Both characters are very dismissive about victims of crimes. They see people as things they can stack and Holmes sees victims as merely players in his cases. Moriarty killed another “because he annoyed me” and blew up a blind lady for going off her script.
Holmes and Jim are two sides of the same coin and you can see how much they compliment each other. They could be formidable if they worked together rather than against each other. Sherlock’s ongoing fight to balance his sadistic ideologies with his need to deal with other people is shown vividly and he displays a scientific understand of human emotion, just not human one. He knows how to manipulate people with the science but not when to shut up. He has no concept of what to say and what not to say.
Context isn’t his friend at all when it comes to dealing with people. He’s too honest and it gets him in trouble. Cumberbatch (Imitation Game) and Freeman (Desolation Of Smaug) as Sherlock and Watson is an excellent casting decision, in addition to the supporting cast with: Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Rupert Graves as Lestrade and Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes. With great set pieces, wonderful performances and an excellent musical score, this first season of Sherlock is great viewing and it goes to show that shows like this really make you think.