Mar 25, 2011


It was Tejaswi who first mentioned the words to me. They have never failed to inspire trepidation in me. "Sherlock Holmes Adaptation" - I'd rather face Col. Moran with only a feather for defence. He qualified it by saying it was a rather "creative adaptation" and that he was "happy". That, and the fact that Steven Moffat was involved in the writing, calmed the nerves a bit.

The venerable Holmes has been portrayed on TV and the DD generation knows well the Sunday morning series starring Jeremy Brett. The Holmes enthusiasts among us have the books, are steeped in trivia, and have enjoyed the references in pop culture(such as "House MD", which often drops many an allusion for the discerning fan to drool over, or Neil Gaiman's absolutely mindblowing short story "A Study in Emerald"). Beyond this, we never felt the need for anything more.

Especially with the manic Guy Ritchie film version a couple of years ago. I haven't seen it (lack of courage, mostly), but I have had it contemptuously described as "Holmes for the Americans" (ouch). But Moffat wrote (and brilliantly at that) "Coupling" - the FRIENDS -like sitcom that you can openly admit to enjoying even in your late-20s. So here was reason to look forward to "Sherlock" (no "Holmes", my dear W).

More recommendations followed (from Ajay and Keya) and so the game was afoot. I watched it last year, and was quite "happy" too. It's a bunch of surprises, right from the first episode (the wonderfully titled "A Study in Pink"). There was a lot of reference-dropping (for the fan) but a lot of plot as well. The writing (Moffat, Mark Gattis, and Stephen Thompson wrote one episode each) is unencumbered by the weight of what it is trying to be - a truly modern adaptation of a character that is more than a hundred years old.

The immediate reason for this post is to bring to your attention the fact that these three Sherlock episodes will be aired in India for the first ever time (see end of post for details). In the great British TV tradition, only a limited number of stories per season were filmed, but each is 1:30 hours long. I don't want to spoil your pleasure, so I won't tell you what I thought of episodes 2 and 3, but will mention that "A Study in Pink" was satisfying, even as a detective puzzle. Rich in texture and well-portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock") and the familiar Martin Freeman ("The Office", the H2G2 film) as the blogging Doctor. Don't miss the beginning.

"Sherlock" will air on BBC Entertainment on Sat at 8 pm, with repeats at 2 am and 2 pm the next day.

(image: BBC)

1 comment:

Ajay said...

I thought it was visually quite inventive too - the text messages on the screen, the visual styling for Holmes' "explanations" were nicely done.

The less said about the Guy Ritchie version the better.:)