Sherlock- A Study in Pink

<Cockney accent>I wrote this for Watch With Mothers a whole blooming week ago, but forgot to post it ‘ere. I’m a bleedin’ muppet, innit. </Cockney accent>

He’s a maverick detective who won’t play by the rules. His sidekick’s an Afghanistan war veteran with a wonky leg.

No! It isn’t the latest Mel Gibson cop movie, it’s the new Steven ‘Doccy Who’ Moffat and Mark ‘League of Gentlemen’ Gatiss’s modern day reimagining of Sherlock Holmes. And man, it was good: like being smashed repeatedly in the face with a brick-sized lump of utter awesomeness.

Moffat sets the story up nicely, starting with several quick fade ins/outs that quickly inform us that this version of Watson is an ex-army Doctor struggling to adapt to civilian life. We know that because he hears helicopters and shouting and stuff whenever he tries to have a nice little lie down.

We also discover that there’s been a spate of suicides in that there London town, all of which are linked. But how can a suicide be a murder, eh? To find out, we’re whisked to a police press conference where a harassed looking DI is holding court. Whenever he hazards a guess about what or who might be behind the linked deaths, every single phone in the room receives a text that says: ‘wrong’.

It’s Sherlock, having a bit of a chuckle at their expense and showing us that our iPhone-era Holmes has embraced GPS, computers and all that shiny nonsense. Yep, Moffat’s Sherlock is basically CSI: Baker Street, although for the most part the technology is there simply to show how inferior it is to Sherlock’s amazing, gigantic brain: he could deduct what you’ve had for dinner three days ago just by looking at your eyebrows.

Another highlight of this reimagining is the direction. London in 2010 has none of the fog, mist and greasy smoke of Conan Doyle’s day, but with artful camera work (most of this episode takes place at night in areas that look vaguely Victorian) the production team manage to expertly capture the atmosphere of the Holmes novels. In fact, I’d even say that London is the real star of the show. But that would be a dreadful, hoary old cliché. So I won’t.

On the whole, Martin Freeman does a good job of portraying Watson as a steady, still, calm counterpoint to Sherlock’s hectic, wasp-in-a-bottle persona. Although one ‘comedy moment’ when he asks out his hot female lady kidnapper only to get knocked back was pure Tim, right down to the self deprecating ‘nod and duck away’ manoeuvre. He really needs to give Tim up – perhaps we could get him some kind of ‘The Office’ nicotine patch?

The undisputed star of the show is Sherlock himself, aka the wonderfully-monikered Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s a great name, isn’t it? Sounds like it should belong to a Professor of pre-Cambrian Paleontology. Or a fusty, camp old uncle who you always thought secretly fancied you.

Actually, you know how I described it as CSI: Baker Street? Scratch that. It’s actually ‘Withnail and Crime’. Cumberbatch’s angular, pinched features, that long grey coat, the messy flat, the scarf, the hints at drug addiction: I was genuinely surprised when, in a scene where they visit a cafe, Sherlock didn’t punch the table and demand the finest wines known to humanity.

He plays Holmes as a borderline sociopath, a genius with an addictive personality. At the moment, he’s addicted to crime. Fighting it, that is – but there are hints that if he ever gets bored he might go into do-it-yourself mode. Thank goodness for Watson then who, in true Doctor Who sidekick style, is there to keep him grounded and stop him doing anything too daft or life-threatening.

The reveal of who was behind the murders, when it came, was ever so slightly disappointing.

I won’t give it away, but it’s very hard to feel menaced by someone wearing a flat cap and a granddad-esque grey cardigan. Unless it’s Fred West.

Despite that slight niggle, the wit, extremely clever deduction and the energy of the whole story left me excitedly looking forward to the next thrilling instalment of Sherlock Withnail.

The game’s afoot!

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

One Response to Sherlock- A Study in Pink

  1. chazzyb31 says:

    I was actually rather disappointed by the fact that I worked out who the killer was before Sherlock did (at least, I worked out it was a taxi driver. Not the specific taxi driver, but a taxi driver nonetheless).

    I have been a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes since childhood and grew up watching Nigel Rathbone’s version in black & white on Saturday afternoons with my Gran. Not once did I ever work out who the killer was before Sherlock did – it’s just not done! So that fact alone spoiled my enjoyment of ‘A Study in Pink’.

    I will continue to watch ‘Sherlock’ with interest and hope that he works out who the killer is before I do in future.

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