quaint_twilight: (vash)
quaint_twilight ([personal profile] quaint_twilight) wrote on March 8th, 2012 at 02:26 pm
Thoughts on Sherlock (Seasons 1 & 2)
I found some time to watch this since nearly everybody I know has been raving about it. Overall, I enjoyed it much more than the film adaptations. Compared to the films, Sherlock managed to IMO capture the essence of the characters (well, most of them) and story more faithfully despite the contemporary setting. And I love the visual flair of the series, particularly the way they depict Sherlock's thoughts and deduction process. There's even a very Minority Report-like scene where Sherlock goes into his "mind palace" and sieves through his knowledge looking for the pieces of relevant information. It's a little over-the-top but I really like it.

The casting for Sherlock and Watson is brilliant. I could never remember Benedict Cumberbatch's name (not so anymore) but could recognize him due to a couple of strong performances. I first noticed him in Amazing Grace where he played William Pitt and practically stole all of his scenes. Then I was impressed with his slimy turn in Atonement (but James McAvoy stole that film). His portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is fantastic. The borderline arrogance, impulsiveness, chaotic habits neatly combined with the logic machine that he is and the few moments when his humanity slips through. Martin Freeman is equally excellent as Watson and brings a lot of pathos in his performance, especially towards the end of the second season. The two actors have remarkable chemistry and really infuse the friendship with a lot of humor and emotion. Their relationship is the main highlight of this series.

As for the story lines, I find the second season better, The Hounds of Baskerville being my favorite of the six episodes so far. I'm partial to the original story and found the modern re-telling very satisfying. The Reichenbach Fall would've been my favorite if not for the problems I have with the characterization of Moriarty.

I really didn't like Moriarty in the first season. My dislike has lessened a little after The Reichenbach Fall but I'm still not on board with this new Moriarty.

The Great Game
  • What makes Moriarty such a fascinating villain in the books isn't just his criminal genius but the fact that he conducts himself in the shadows and is difficult to read. He's intimidating because nothing about him is certain. That allows room for imagination and different layers to his character. Moriarty as an insane psychopath is so far removed from the original character and how I imagined him to be that it's very difficult to appreciate this particular portrayal. I don't find him menacing at all and setting him up as this crazy, bored genius is quite reductive.

  • I find a couple of the hostage situations in the "Game" somewhat implausible. I seriously doubt a man standing in Piccadilly Circus for eight hours looking frightened and a woman seated in her car for nine hours crying, with bombs visibly strapped to her would attract NO attention.

  • Moriarty is revealed far too soon and without much buildup. I would've rather they deferred his reveal to the finale of Season 2.

    The Reichenbach Fall
  • The fact that Mycroft, who is supposed to be equally or more brilliant than Sherlock, can make the naive mistake of spilling information about Sherlock to Moriarty to get the latter to talk about a power code really didn't sit right with me. It doesn't seem in character of him to be this foolish.

  • Moriarty's masterplan to set Sherlock up as a fraud is an interesting one but relies on key points that have a lot of variables that can lead to other outcomes. The police sure turned on Sherlock fast, and rather conveniently I will add, thanks to one officer's bias against Sherlock. I wonder why they didn't bother to think that, if Sherlock were the real criminal mastermind, it doesn't really make sense for him to make the stupid mistake of revealing his face to the girl during the crime and then an even more stupid mistake of letting her recognize him at the police station. Such mistakes are rather out of character for a genius and can't really be attributed to carelessness. And Moriarty assuming the false identity of an actor? I'm not convinced that this pretense would've been that easy to pull off.

  • I like the rooftop sequence for the emotional exchange between Sherlock and Watson but the confrontation between Sherlock and Moriarty, not so much. I understand that it's written to be more of a psychological battle than a physical one but Moriarty killing himself because he believed so quickly and readily that Sherlock can obtain some "stop code" from him to save his friends is ridiculous. What exactly could Sherlock have done in that moment to successfully threaten Moriarty into revealing the "stop code," if there is even one? The only thing that would make this scene less ridiculous to me is that Moriarty isn't dead. He fakes his own death (for the assassins, not Sherlock) so that Sherlock has no choice but to jump to save his friends.

    As a standalone villain, Sherlock's Moriarty is decent though, at times, he seems to be veering into Joker territory. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I have too set an image of what Moriarty should be due to the books hence my disconnect with this new interpretation.

    Nitpicks aside, I'm looking forward to the third season to see more of Sherlock and Watson.
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