Flicking Through Netflix: Sherlock Episode 1 (A Study in Pink)

Welcome back to the day long Nerd Marathon, where I take a look at a few icons of Nerd culture!

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I love a good mystery.  I also often enjoy the works of Steven Moffat, current show runner for Doctor Who and creator/writer of Jekyll, an original look at the Jekyll and Hyde story.  Given that I like both these things (mysteries and Moffat), bringing these two together would be a match made in heaven for me.  And in this show, Moffat brings a classic detective to life on the screen in his own unique way.  He’s the original genius detective, the bases for two of my favorite characters (Batman and Dr. House).  It’s Sherlock.

In the first episode of the series, we meet Dr. Watson, an ex-military doctor who’s bored with his life, and Sherlock, an eccentric genius with a penchant for solving crimes.  In this first installment, they inspect a series of serial murders that all look like suicides.  How can a man kill someone without lifting a finger?  That’s exactly what they have to find out.

Do I have to say that I found this show brilliant?  It’s fast paced, the editing is fantastic, the writing is superb.  And the characters.  The characters are very well written, each having their own voices, and Watson and Sherlock obviously quickly get along.  But what makes these characters so fantastic are the actors.  The actors bring a life to these characters that I’ve never seen before.  Martin Freeman is perfect as Watson, looking dignified at every turn and has this glitter of intelligence in his eyes that makes him look like he’s having fun.  Benedict Cumberbatch is almost the same.  He has the same intelligent gleam in his eye.  One difference.  Cumberbatch doesn’t just look like he’s having fun.  Cumberbatch is one hundred percent having fun with this.  You can see it in every smirk, every revelation of a clue, every step he takes.  His energy brings a real spark to the roll that just makes me want to follow him every second.

The editing, as I mentioned, is fantastic.  We get a unique look at the way Sherlock’s mind works with every new clue that pops up.  Instead of hearing him speak in an (admittedly silly) narrative, we see the clues pop up as text facts, almost seeing Sherlock read what is in front of him.  It sounds like those “Pop Up Facts” special features that come on some DVDs, but trust me, it’s not.  It’s a bit difficult to explain, but I just love these little text blurbs.  They give the show a real personality somehow.  I especially love when they show whats going on on a laptop screen or on a phone without showing the face of those objects.  It’s just brilliant.

As to the “based on Sherlock Holmes” angle, I’d take that with a bit of a grain of salt.  Obviously, this is Sherlock brought to the modern era, with cell phones, GPS, and all that jazz.  I hear that the first episode is based on the story A Study in Rouge, but I honestly have the feeling that they only got the barest plot points from that story.  If you’re a die hard Sir Arther Conan Doyle fan, this might irk you, but I still think you’ll like this.

It’s really difficult to talk about this show without giving anything away.  There’s so much to it that I just don’t know how to describe through text.  So let me just say it this way.  If you like mystery shows, if you like Moffat, if you like anything Sherlock related, you will LOVE this.  Even if you only have a passing interest in anything I’ve mentioned, you owe it to yourself to watch this.  Be mindful, though.  Each episode is about the length of a movie and each season is only 3 episodes.  And Moffat is taking his sweet time getting the third season out.  So the wait will be unbearable in the best possible way.

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