Speculative Fiction Saturday: Sherlock (not exactly speculative, but oh so good)

sherlock-bbcYes, I will admit that I am bringing up Sherlock on Speculative Fiction Saturday because I like talking about it. This is a show that I really thought was going to be just awful, due to its premise alone. The show is about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, but they are in our modern day era.

Just to let you know, this Sherlock Holmes is from BBC. There is a similar show on CBS called Elementary with a modern day Sherlock Holmes, but this one takes place in New York city. I can’t help but wonder if CBS is just stealing ideas. How else can you explain the similarities between Psych and The Mentalist?

I haven’t watched Elementary, but Sherlock just shines. Everything about this show deserves its 9.3 rating on imdb.com. The actors are doing their 100 percent, with Benedict Cumberbatch doing a modern-day take on Holmes that is much better than what Robert Downey Jr. did in two Sherlock Holmes movies. Martin Freeman is also good as Watson, and he is not at all the bumbling Watson seen in most interpretations. The fact that Watson is an army doctor and war veteran makes him almost as interesting as Holmes.

Generally, when you think Sherlock Holmes, your mind goes back to a Victorian London full of carriages and soot in the air. I didn’t think a modern-day setting would work because the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories were written in this old-time London, and its part of mythos. I have said before on this blog that I cannot stand when stories don’t stay in their original medium, and eventually get done over and over again when new material is needed.

However, I’ve read several of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and they are by-the-book detective stories. Of course, Holmes essentially wrote this book, as the deductive detective easily became the inspiration for every detective in books, film, and television ever since. Giving them a modern day setting isn’t the worst idea that I have heard. There was a cartoon called Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, where Holmes is in a Blade Runner setting.

In Sherlock, the character is played to the point where he is completely intelligent to the point of being abhorrent. It has been done before, and most TV detectives like Monk talk about it being “a gift and a curse”. In the case of this Sherlock, the viewer really gets into his mind. The show has a lot of inserted text in so we can understand Holmes’ fantastic thought processes.

One thing I like about Sherlock is how Holmes fits in well in an information age. The characters make use of smartphones and the Internet all the time to help solve their cases, which I’m sure the Victorian era Sherlock would be all over if the web began in a different nineties. The way we see text messages as floating letters really works, and I am surprised we don’t see it on more shows. I’m guessing that we probably will.

The situations involved on the show are both unbelievable and believable all at the same time. Considering that I can barely remember cases on most detective shows I watch, I find that I actually care about these plotlines. The story isn’t just there to give the characters something to do, it is the reason why they are there. Of course, these episodes are based on stories that have withstood the test of time.

Now, this show has three seasons, and each show has three episodes. Each episode is an hour and a half long, which makes each episode like a movie. The only thing I hate about it is season 4 isn’t slated to air until 2016. Just watch the first three seasons on Netflix now if you haven’t already.

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