BBC's Sherlock is Beyond Elementary



Quick: When I tell you that there's a special miniseries about Sherlock Holmes currently airing on PBS, what comes to mind? Old, dusty men with mustaches and magnifying glasses? The feeling of a school play that's been taped? Lots of blustery British dialogue?

Think again.

The BBC miniseries Sherlock is not your British grandfather's Sherlock Holmes. Far from it: It's slick, sexy, and completely compelling. The three 90-minute movies are set in London in 2010, so the famous "consulting detective" is constantly using his Blackberry, GPS, and the internet to make his famous deductions—and watching him figure out that a man is an alcoholic by analyzing the scratches on the sot's iPod is absolutely delightful. The cases are brand-new too, so no Hound of the Baskervilles here. Instead, Sherlock is called in on cases involving suicides that are somehow linked, stolen goods, and even graffiti at a bank (leading to a nice Banksy nod, thank you very much).

Sherlock himself is played by (the amazingly named) Benedict Cumberbatch; the classic character is re-imagined as a young know-it-all who's plagued by his intellect and awkward to the point of being a sociopath. He doesn't care at all about other people's feelings, thinking of them only as holders of clues or tools he can use to get at more clues. (For their part, other people just seem to find it obnoxious that the gumshoe knows everything about them: When Sherlock tells a potential client that he already knows the client's travel schedule without asking about it, the client says "Oh, you're doing that trick, aren't you?" and rolls his eyes.) But he Sherlock still has plenty of the characteristics we know and love, including the inability to eat while thinking and addiction issues (except this time we see him sporting nicotine patches rather than slugging the hard stuff). And rather than yelling one of his most popular catchphrases when he's onto a clue, Cumberbatch's Sherlock simply utters a sly "The game is… on" (rather than "afoot") before he and Watson race off into the night.

Watson, by the way, is deftly played by Martin Freeman, who's best known as Tim from the BBC version of The Office. His Dr. Watson is a recently discharged veteran who is struggling with some post-war physical and psychological trauma, but he's well enough to be completely annoyed and confused by Sherlock on a regular basis. At the beginning of the first installment, the two men are strangers who become flatmates... and then friends and partners.

I've never seen a modernization of a classic tale that's as natural and unforced as Sherlock. More often than not, reboots leave me frustrated with how they wink at the audience and over-exploit the things that are different now—but this version of Sherlock and Watson simply… exists in modern times. We watch the duo work with the cops who hate them, struggle to pay their bills, and have trouble using the automated checkout at the grocery store. And it doesn't take away from their genius at all.

If you've ever liked one episode of Law and Order (and that includes pretty much everyone), you simply must watch the granddaddy of all detectives work his British magic on crime. It would be criminal to miss it.

The third and final installment of Sherlock, "The Great Game," airs this Sunday, November 7 on PBS. You can watch the first two installments, "A Study in Pink" and "The Blind Banker," here (for free!).

P.S. Here's a peek at the opening credits...

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I always heard British Comedy was superior, and of Course Monty Python is Immortal, but this show is simply the most brilliant thing I have ever watched (& I watch a lot of shows)
The writing is phenomenal- the plots are unusual and fresh, which is something so rare on TV these days- and the dialogue is just superb. We were a little worried when we started the show and recognized one of the primary actors from a current show in the States, but I am overjoyed to see a new Season will indeed happen.
I am currently searching for more shows from the writers and creators of Sherlock, any suggestions?
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Sorry, but since this, now is 2013, and Elementary is a good show with a British actor.. a very good one. Is totally different, since is in New York, and is a procedure, but takes Holmes´spirit and function very well, even better in the last 3-4 episodes. Me for myself love Sherlock, and like Elementary
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Well perhaps... perhaps Steven Moffat will discover a magical potion that'd allow him to simultaneously work on two projects at once... that way he can devote ALL of his time to Doctor Who (which kicks ass!) and ALL of his time to Sherlock! Then it can become a regular series! Yes yes that would be absolutely splendid :D
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This was fantastic. One the one hand, I'm furious that this TV.com article got me into it. But on the other hand, Moffat is a genius and I cannot wait for me. It's brilliant, funny, and reminds me of a weird blend of House and Doctor Who. Too bad we'll have to wait a while, but Moffat is juggling Who as well and Watson (Freeman) Is Bilbo in the new Hobbit movie. Eagerly awaiting the next episodes!
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This is possibly the BEST television I've ever seen. Slick without being annoying, intelligent without being lofty, the perfect balance of character development and story, I simply can't get enough of this duo.
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SGU rocks dude, and his Sherlock duties won't interfere.
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Hate to Ruin all your comments, but Martin Freeman has just signed up as Bilbo Baggins, so I think it will be safe to say see ya later Sherlock Holmes and to all you Americans. I would rather see three good episodes than what you are doing to TV series. I am getting sick of your choices of late. Stargate Atlantis was doing great, then you cancelled it for Stargate Universe, what an absolutely biggest pile of XXXX I have ever seen. You never made another series of Rome. Caprica, ha. Ruined Heroes. Pacific, was okay. But could have been better. You are churning out too much dribble, and with your movies. As someone said earlier Quality! not quantity. Not gona dis you fully though, Dexter what a show!!!!, awesome, House is okay, missus loves it, Supernatural is okay.
Shows I want to see Band of Brothers either one of the following, British Marines, Para`s, Desert Rats, or American Africa soldiers. Or a new updated version of Iraq or Afghanistan. And were the hell is Star Wars. Someone go and ask George Lucas if he could please make the live TV Series, I dont care about Star Wars 3d cos no one can afford 3d yet anyway.
More+
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TV.com may be a bit late, but the show is defintitly worth covering. If only to encourage people to grab the dvd's. This has to be the best 're-boot' of any series that I have seen to date.
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So why is TV.com covering this now?
A little late, no?
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I think you left out the "Benedict Cumberbatch is Hot" angle as well.
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this show is excellent , whatever length of the show its worth watching although if the length is different i do wonder how the pace would work as each tends to have a cliff hanger.
assume its good and watch it if you can.
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Uh, no. Count me among the people who have never liked one episode of Law and Order.
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this show is AMAZING :)
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The PBS versions are edited down from the original broadcasts. Still a great series.
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Not a Shelock Holmes buff, but my wife wanted to watch it, so I complied. It blew me away in spades...
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it's a British show, they typically have 6 episodes per "series", at 90 minutes that makes it around 6 typical length episodes. i wish some american shows would adopt the 6-12 episode season idea, then they'd stop dragging so much crap out for 22 episodes that could be resolved in 3, 5 tops. this will be released on dvd and blu-ray on November 9th
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They're 90 minute episodes, people. Get some perspective. It makes for a six episode miniseries on a standard 45 min. schedule, which is short but not criminally so.
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I've heard good things about this series, so I'll be renting this next week. Loved BBC's portrayal of Jekyll and Being Human, so I think I'll enjoy this one, too.
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That sucks that there is going a whole year gap between every 3 episodes.
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It's already confirmed a second season with 3 episodes, will in late 2011.
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If they had more writers on the team (like the Americans do) then they could have had both quality AND quantity, Great set of progs, but a series of only 3 eps is pathetic.
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People, stop moaning about the 3 episodes! Quality, not quantity!!!!!!
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The cases are not always so brand new. The first and third episodes, in particular, are very similar to "old" cases.
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It is not really a mini-series but a real series. Like many people already said it has been picked up for a second season. The only problem is that the head writer also works on Doctor Who so it is somewhat hard for him to actually find the time to write more episodes. But I can hardly wait for the new season next year!
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I really love all the Masterpiece Mystery programs on PBS, and Sherlock is especially delightful. Anyone who loves a good mystery, will enjoy "the game" this one provides. Wish there were more than three; maybe next years??!
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I caught the tail end of an episode after a very sleepless night. It involved a cab driver who murders people with poison pills. And although I didn't see much, I could tell it was good.
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i hate that its a miniseries :(
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This show is amazing.. really.. TOP QUALITY !
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I really must check this out. I love the original Sherlock Holmes.
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I love the show. I'm so happy it has been renewed for a 2nd season. Though we'll have to wait until next year (summer?) for it.
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I loved these new holmes shows. I believe it is actually a series not a mini-series. I read somewhere they have started on season 2. They did an EXCELLENT jov of modernizing the stories. Also, i believe these are not brand new stories but reworkings of the original stories - the study in pink was originally a study in scarlet. But I do agree these are incredible!!
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Sherlock is AMAZING!!!

Benedict and Martin are both great. And the writing is great too.

I've been impatiently waiting for the DVD to come out next week. (Sadly due to time PBS had to cut some things from the aired show but it should be on the DVD)



Actually it had been hinted at that the next series with have one episode based on the Hound of the Baskervilles.
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