‘Sherlock – A Study In Pink’.


Well. This was pretty good wasn’t it. Like really good.

Being what is described as a “Rathbone Purist”, I was initially averse to watching any other Holmes-based product that didn’t involve Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. Their quaint depiction of Conan Doyle’s characters in the 1940s will always be my favourite performance, but not only was the 2009 film (simply entitled ‘Sherlock Holmes’) with Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law very good, this new adaptation is better than that. Doesn’t beat Rathbone though, but it’s still a good achievement.

Anyway. To business. Set in the modern-day, we ‘return’ to the first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Pleasantly, the focus is mainly from Doctor Watson’s (Martin Freeman) point of view – as the books were written from this angle, I feel it’s good to get in some relation to the original stories. Watson has just returned from Afghanistan: this is also where he originally returned from, in the books, but it is then stated (after meeting an old friend in the park) that he studied for his medical degree at Barts. Not true, as Watson originally attended the University of London. This may be a minor point, but still one to raise – why stick to some details but then change others? Anyway, Watson is then taken to Barts and meets Sherlock Holmes. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, that’s really his name), he makes detection freaking awesome. Cumberbatch gives an excellent performance as Holmes, also adding in a sick excitement about murders and serial killers, which I don’t believe any writer or actor has had the courage to do so.

The story of this episode centres around a series of suicides which turns out to be a series of murders – but what’s the link? Turns out there is minimal link, but of course Holmes finds one. He’s not quite my idea of a Sherlock, but he makes a very good one – cool, aloof, skinny, wild eyes… And so bloody clever! The bastard. In an early scene, Watson is taken to meet what most Holmes fans would assume is Moriarty. The character tries to Watson to spy on Holmes for him, for a good sum, but there is no persuading the good Doctor. Holmes is disappointed as he thought they could have split the fee. He is also convinced that the murderer must be someone who we would normally trust everyday but not particularly notice – so immediately your mind starts racing as to who this could be.With a whole half an hour to go, Holmes meets the murderer – a taxi driver – and absolutely HAS to follow him to find out why he has been committing said crimes.

A half an hour talk ensues, and this sad little character of the taxi driver has been ‘playing a game’ with some of his passengers: he gets them to somewhere using a gun, and then makes them chose one of two pills – one kills one and one doesn’t. He takes the other. An exceptionally odd game, considering the way he makes them take a pill is with a fake gun. So it looks like suicide as the victim has died swallowing a deathly pill. The taxi driver is paid to do this by, I believe, the character who tried to get Watson to spy on Holmes at the beginning. Watson has followed Holmes and the taxi driver to their place of battle, and Watson saves the day as he shoots the taxi driver through a window. Good shot.

The blackmailing character turns up at the crime scene, and Holmes asks why… Turns out it’s Mycroft, his brother. As far as I’m aware, his brother wasn’t an evil crimelord so much. So another odd twist, but it was a particularly good surprise. I wonder where that aspect of things will go next…

The script is also very good – “Sherlock, I was wondering if you’d like to have a coffee some time..?” – “Yes please, take it into the next room won’t you?” I think it’s hilarious. I’m also a fan of the music – very ‘inspiring’ I suppose, and fitting, and the ‘text effect’, where if someone is writing a text then it appears on the screen. This also happens if Sherlock is figuring facts out from a dead body or similar. This I found useful: extra facts mean more clues to work out what happened, and when you work out what happened before Holmes tells you, you feel a little bit special.

This was a very good depiction of Holmes, detection and how well the stories fit in today’s society ie. very well. I have until Sunday evening to watch all the rest, so reviews aplenty shall occur! In many ways, I want there to be more than three in the series, and as of the 10th of August, it seems there will be other series to come, but for now, it’s excellent that they haven’t overdone it so far.

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