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Sherlock (BBC)

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Well I have seen the first two episodes and think the show is pretty terrific translation of Sherlock Holmes into the modern era. The show has a nice contemporary edge but leaves a lot of room for Holmes' ingenuity and sharp observations with modern technology keeping in the sidelines and not ruining the detective work of this unusually intelligent man.

Holmes is here excellently portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch whose performance is really a careful one, part almost ice cold genius, part mad visionary, part very humane and loyal friend. There is something very analytical in his stance almost all the time and he is usually either ignoring the outside world with gusto as he goes about his investigations or is completely still while composing his thoughts. It is wonderful how Cumberbatch shows the rather manipulative side of Holmes who can be charming and nice when he wants something but there is a slight detachment to the outside world in his eyes when interacting with people. His slight jealousy over Watson when a female doctor appears into his life is delightfully comedic at times and his impatient genius ego when dealing with people who can't keep up with him is a great touch so very much in the spirit of the character. The writers are also being quite faithful to the original nature of the character, Holmes being a mix of brain and brawn where the intellect still outweighs the muscle but he can still handle himself in a tight spot very well. He is also not all-powerful hero but gets bested in physical combat from time to time.

Martin Freeman as Watson is also an excellent mix of comedy and genuine everyman feel, the good doctor being in part a loyal admiring friend, part a frustrated colleague who gets excluded and feels a bit of resentment for that. This is quite funny in the second episode The Blind Banker when Watson is literally shut out behind the door from the action on more than one occasion while Holmes sleuths and faces adversaries. Still when things get serious Watson can handle himself much in the same way that he did in the old stories. Freeman has a very innocent and average guy feel about him which enhances the dynamic duo's personalities extremely well.

The whole series sports a fine cast thusfar. The performances are quite impressive and the material is suitably dramatic but also allows excellent moments of subtlety. I liked the 2nd episode's slow piecing together of the clues and disparate elements to form a whole and it was all done pretty fluidly, keeping the pace of discoveries and new mysteries and clues brisk and engaging.

So I am definitely checking the last episode of the 1st season and going to watch the 2nd one with great anticipation.

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In my opinion, the first episode of the 2nd season is he best one so far (followed the season 1's finale). To be honest, I felt the very first episode was "okay" at best, but from there it just went up. This latest episode handled the plot brilliantly with intelligent dialogue and arguably Cumberbatch's best performance in the series.

I can't wait to see how they handle my favourite Holmes story for the next episode, The Hound of Baskervilles.

In terms of music, I felt the score for the first season wasn't that great. I enjoyed Zimmer's Sherlock score better (since both scores were coincidentally rooted in the same sound...maybe more than a coincidence :P). Yet I really liked what David Arnold did with the most recent episode, especiallythat love theme.

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The first Zimmer score was quite nice actually, and probably more entertaining than the mostly "background" music of Sherlock's first season. But Zimmer's sequel score was, at least partially, horrendous. "Updating" Don Giovanni with RC orchestrations is on the same level as Justin Bieber doing a cover version of the Imperial March.

Back to Sherlock. The more I think about it, the more I begin to think that the latest episode may be the finest filmed version of Holmes I've seen yet. (Though I know that my experience is somewhat limited... I've seen some of the classic movies, but not a single episode with Rathbone).

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While I liked the new episode very much, I didn't think it was as good as the first and third of the first season. It lacked some narrative focus, and at times it was a bit too "hey, see what we're doing here!". I also think they moved a bit fast: the two main characters went from outsiders to their famed selves in a matter of minutes - even despite the brevity of a season, they could have drawn this out a bit (I liked them better as outsiders, for now). Still, it's the best thing on TV by far. Looking forward to episode two.

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I just don't know how more you can draw it out. They only had 90 minutes to work with; What would you have cut to make room for more scenes of them getting famous?

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It's actually well done, that montage, don't misunderstand me. But they could be getting more famous through the cases they take on in season 2 for instance. I just thought there were a few more things they could have done with Holmes-as-outsider, but that's more of an overall gripe: there should be more episodes than three-per-season.

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I agree. Maybe they would have filmed more this season if they both didn't have to leave to go be in The Hobbit?

And now Sherlock is in the new Star Trek movie as well.... gonna be hard to get them together again.

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I enjoyed Zimmer's Sherlock score better

I gather you're not feeling to well. Get better soon!

I felt that the original Sherlock Holmes score was pretty refreshing from Zimmer's all too predictable career. The score may have been filled with his typical mannerisms but it was rather enjoyable. But the sequel score is absolutely horrendous...I was hoping for the same refreshing experience but he delivered something beyond my worst imagination...

I actually rant on about it for quite a bit: http://musicmusekk.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/sherlock-holmes-a-game-of-shadows-hans-zimmer/

On another matter, it seems kind of superficial to me that the JW fans here are obligated to look down on Zimmer with distaste. He may have had a really bad run in the last few years, but he's offered some great scores in his career (especially when going back to the 90s). It makes me wonder if the general opinion here is that JW fans can't be Zimmer fans. Zimmer may not be close to Williams' genius (and so aren't a lot of composers) but that doesn't change the fact that he is talented (although his post Batman scores have proved otherwise, with exceptions of course) :P

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It's actually well done, that montage, don't misunderstand me. But they could be getting more famous through the cases they take on in season 2 for instance. I just thought there were a few more things they could have done with Holmes-as-outsider,

I'm only just about to re-read the original story this episode was based on, but from what I see so far, the story does depend on Holmes being "famous". Actually, in the story, Watson is already married, something that hasn't (yet) found it's way into the series.

Considering the other two stories we're going to see this season, I can't complain about the choice of sources. It may, however, point to an open decision whether there will be a third season.

but that's more of an overall gripe: there should be more episodes than three-per-season.

That's British TV for you.

And now Sherlock is in the new Star Trek movie as well.... gonna be hard to get them together again.

Well, they're in The Hobbit together... ;)

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I'm only just about to re-read the original story this episode was based on, but from what I see so far, the story does depend on Holmes being "famous". Actually, in the story, Watson is already married, something that hasn't (yet) found it's way into the series.

Considering the other two stories we're going to see this season, I can't complain about the choice of sources. It may, however, point to an open decision whether there will be a third season.

The thing is, I would also love to see an original story, one that's not an adaptation.

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Back to Sherlock. The more I think about it, the more I begin to think that the latest episode may be the finest filmed version of Holmes I've seen yet.

It's a beaut. It washed away the sour taste of SHERLOCK HOLMES 2, the Downey jr. version. Totally psyched for HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES now.

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Stunning episode. At times tragic, at times hilarious. Cumberpatch and Freeman are once again great. Gattis is actually very good as Mycroft and Lara Pulver is rather stunning.

The script by Steven Moffat shows all the hallmarks of his writing on Doctor Who. Fast pacing, characters talking across purposes (saying one thing, meaning something else) a non-linear structure. With Doctor Who in the last series he often overpowered a 45 minute episode. At 90 minutes there is just enough breathing room....just.

Holmes does care about people. He deduced Mrs Hudson was beaten by the CIA agent and dropped him from a window in retaliation.

I love the look of the series. Whoever said digital camerawork looked ugly?

Good music, somehow fits the show like a glove.

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Nope, I'm watching it too. Great television again, but I didn't think the plot was as strong as some of the previous episodes. The whole thing was pretty obvious, and in this kind of series, it's not good if we viewers are miles ahead of Sherlock. But I guess there's only so much you can do with the Baskervilles story. They should do some original stories!

In comparison to last week, it had some decent narrative drive this time, too bad the plot was too run-of-the-mill.

All in all, the second season keeps all the strong elements of the first season, especially the character interaction and the writing. I was kind of disappointed in the music this time around, in that most of it is a repeat of the season 1 highlights, instead of fresh compositions.

Already on to the last episode again...

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A Scandal in Belgravia is my favourite script by Steven Moffat since The Big Bang. I disliked some excessive music in some scenes. I also dislike when they go with Sherlock as if he had superpowers, like when he discovers the numbering of the seats in a plane.

The Hound of Baskerville had a less interesting story that seemed to be going in circles. Great atmosphere in a pair of scenes, though.

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I did enjoy Baskerville, but not as much as Scandal. Partly because I cannot stand the actor that played Henry (I think that was his name), just cannot stand him. But also because the story did seem more run of the mill. There's just something about a Steven Moffat script that sparkles whereas non-Moffat scripts just don't.

There was also some bad movie/TV cliched writing that I hate. "We're looking for something possibly very scary and dangerous in a dark forest at night... Gee, I heard something over there, I'll go investigate by myself and I better not tell the other people with me, because that would make sense..." Stuff like that I loathe.

Looking forward to next episode immensely, though. (Wish there were a few more new episodes to watch right away, too!)

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What I liked about Baskerville is that the tempo and dialogue was a little more manageable then Moffat's script. The story featured some clever nods to the original story (love the dogging site)

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I liked it, but was dissapointed by the end.

What I mean was, the entire time I was really into it. I liked every part of the investigation, following along with them, trying to figure it all out. Then when it was all revealed at the end, I felt let down. Like it didn't live up to the hype of the preceding 80 minutes. Overall still very very good, just not mind-blowingly good from start to finish like the season premiere.

I think I pegged what it is about this show that makes it special. It's that they do EVERY aspect of it differently than any other show. The directing is unique, the writing is unique, the editing is unique, the acting is unique, the music is unique. They take CHANCES with everything - and it all comes together and actually works, brilliantly.

---

Oh, one more thing. What was UP with that final scene with Moriarty? For most of the episode I quite liked how it was a standalone story and not tied to the ongoing Moriarty arc. When Moriary appeared in Sherlock's gas-induced vision I was fine with though, I thought that was a great touch. But what did the final scene mean? Was it from the show's present? The future? The past? Since it had NO connection to ANYTHING else seen in the episode, I think I would have preferred it to not be included, maybe have it be the cold open to next week's episode. It didn't make a good cliffhanger because there was no build up to it, it had no connection to anything. And I was already pumped for the season finale without needing an extra hook. I dunno.

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I also thought it was was weird that the "morse code" Watson saw really turned out to be nothing. I thought for sure it would be revealed to actually mean something by the end

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Well it was more than a red herring, it got Sherlock to thinking that HOUNDS could be an anagram

I've never read the book or any other Sherlock story

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They are. None of that army base stuff was in the book, most of the characters are different. Thats why I had no idea how the ep would turn out even though I know the book so well.

So far all the episodes are very radical reworkings of Conan Doyle stories, with a lot of clever references to them.

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To those owning the Sherlock season one BluRay:

did you also have the problem that the second disc in the box was missing? I bought it last week, and much to my surprise, only found one disc in there.

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Oh, one more thing. What was UP with that final scene with Moriarty? For most of the episode I quite liked how it was a standalone story and not tied to the ongoing Moriarty arc. When Moriary appeared in Sherlock's gas-induced vision I was fine with though, I thought that was a great touch. But what did the final scene mean? Was it from the show's present? The future? The past? Since it had NO connection to ANYTHING else seen in th episode, I think I would have preferred it to not be included, maybe have it be the cold open to next week's episode. It didn't make a good cliffhanger because there was no build up to it, it had no connection to anything. And I was already pumped for the season finale without needing an extra hook. I dunno.

My thoughts exactly.

I don't think they should focus on making faithful adaptations, I think they should just make the best show they can

Well... when comparing Scandal to the original story, pretty much the only thing that's similar is that Holmes gets hired by "a government" and that he uses a fire alarm to find out where Irene Adler hides her evidence. I suppose much of the remaining material is culled from various other Holmes stories, but what I'm getting at is that while their adaptations are exceedingly faithful, they're still totally different from the originals and stand very much on their own. In fact I love how they manage to sneak in all these faithful bits and pieces in an otherwise totally modern story (like the name "Baskerville" or Sherlock's hat).

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Indeed. Baskerville is probably closer to the book then any of the stories so far though.

I loved the change of scenery. Getting away from London to Those creepy moors.

Oh, one more thing. What was UP with that final scene with Moriarty? For most of the episode I quite liked how it was a standalone story and not tied to the ongoing Moriarty arc. When Moriary appeared in Sherlock's gas-induced vision I was fine with though, I thought that was a great touch. But what did the final scene mean? Was it from the show's present? The future? The past? Since it had NO connection to ANYTHING else seen in th episode, I think I would have preferred it to not be included, maybe have it be the cold open to next week's episode. It didn't make a good cliffhanger because there was no build up to it, it had no connection to anything. And I was already pumped for the season finale without needing an extra hook. I dunno.

My thoughts exactly.

Moffat does that on Doctor Who a lot too. Actually none of Sherlock's eps have been completely stand alone.

I'm not sure about the actor playing Moriarty. He either plays the role as a camp Josh Whedon/Russel T. Davies villian or as a psychopatic monster, almost inhuman. Sometime shifting within seconds.

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Well in Ep 2 he only looked menacingly at the camera a few times.

I was kind of disappointed in the music this time around, in that most of it is a repeat of the season 1 highlights, instead of fresh compositions.

This is not unusual for BBC TV shows. Unlike American TV they don't require new music to be written for a new episode, so they track and reuse a lot from previous episodes or seasons.

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