Sherlock (BBC) Review

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Does anyone else just… not get what all the fuss is about?

Seriously, I feel like the entire world LOOOOOVES this show. I wanted to love it, I really did. Unfortunately, it makes me want to tear out my hair.

You see, Sherlock does some stuff so well and then just completely bombs other stuff to the point that I can’t even believe some scenes are written by the same people. Maybe the pod people that were always hijacking Buffy the Vampire Slayer moved to England? But in this case, it’s not even that there are good episodes and bad episodes, like season two of Buffy. Every single episode is a mess of brilliant stuff mixed up with total crap. Too much crap for me – I quit two thirds of the way into season two.

Warning: for some reason, Sherlock brings out the profanity in me. If you don’t appreciate f-bombs, stop reading now.

What I Do Like:

  1. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. They’re both individually excellent in their roles, and they have great rapport (and considerable slashy subtext) with each other as well, which is a must for any Sherlock and Watson team.
  2. There are some excellent and memorable scenes, lines of dialogue, etc. that I absolutely love, including lots of in-jokes for fans of the books. (Which I am, though not to the extent of considering myself a Sherlockian.)

What I Don’t Like:

  1. Pretty much everything else.

No seriously. I knew my enjoyment of this series was in trouble when I figured out it was the cab driver in “A Study in Pink” before SHERLOCK FUCKING HOLMES. Like, seriously, people? The whole point of Sherlock Holmes is that he’s the world’s greatest detective. Having him miss something as obvious as that makes him look stupid.

Then, we get the bizarrely orientalist “The Blind Banker,” which appears to have imported its handling of race issues directly from the Victorian era. We are talking full on Yellow Peril hysteria here.

Then “The Great Game” which, to be honest, I couldn’t remember the slightest thing about until I went back and rewatched the first few minutes on Netflix just now, so that’s how much of an impression it made on me.

And that’s a wrap for season one. Why only three episodes per season, BBC?

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Season two opens with “A Scandal in Belgravia” which is, just for the record, based on my favorite Sherlock Holmes story of all time: “A Scandal in Bohemia.” And they FUCK IT UP. AARGH! The episode actually started out rather promising and I was even starting to think that I might be converted into a fan of the show if it continued to do so well, but then the ending, oh god, the ending…

It is a sad fucking day when a 120 year old short story written by a Victorian man is more feminist than a 21st century retelling, but that’s exactly what Moffat and co. accomplished with “A Scandal in Belgravia.” Whereas Conan Doyle consistently portrayed Irene Adler as Holmes’s intellectual equal (and arguably, superior, since SHE BEATS HIM), Moffatt’s Irene is revealed to have been getting all her tips for dealing with Holmes from Moriarty (who is, needless to say, male in this version). On top of that, she’s so addled by her love for Sherlock (despite being reported to be a lesbian earlier in the episode? – was that a continuity mistake or supposed to be more evidence of Holmes’s amazing wonderfulness?) that she uses his name to unlock her phone, which is loaded with top-secret information, like some silly 14 year old with a crush. And then, after she has been reduced to tearful begging by his manly brilliance, he has to rescue her from terrorists. I wish I was kidding.

That’s not even getting into how much I utterly loathe virtually every recent adaptation’s decision to make Irene somehow in league with Moriarty. I hated it in Sherlock Holmes as well, though I do have to give some credit to Elementary for the unique decision to make her actually be Moriarty, which was an improvement over the rest even if I still wasn’t crazy about it. Conan Doyle’s Irene was neither a criminal mastermind nor in league with anyone, and her independence is part of what makes her such a great character.

In short, after getting my hopes up initially, Sherlock dashed them in particularly brutal and infuriating fashion, and the whole thing left me with a nasty taste in my mouth. Sadly enough, my favorite adaptation of “A Scandal in Bohemia” remains the freaking Wishbone version:

(I do like the Jeremy Brett version pretty well also – I didn’t like the Irene as well as Wishbone’s, but at least she’s a faithful representation of “The Woman.”)

Anyway, I gave season two of Sherlock one more shot, but when “The Hounds of Baskerville” failed to improve my opinion of the show, I dropped it and have watched neither “The Reichenbach Fall” nor any episode of season three.

My rating: (2 / 5)


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