Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Study In Pink

Sherlock: A Study In Pink

I'm a pretty big Doctor Who fan, so when I saw that the writer of my favorite Who-pisodes (Girl in the Fireplace, Blink) and now the show runner of the amazingly brilliant new seasons of Dr. Who, Steven Moffat, was rebooting Sherlock Holmes for Masterpieces Mystery on BBC/PBS... well I did A LOT of jumping up and down.

The reboot consists of three, two-hour episodes and the first one aired in America last Sunday night. Moffat worked with his past collaborator, Mark Gatiss and their collective brilliance shows through in the strength of character and sense of adventure that is ever present throughout the first case taken on by Holmes and Watson as a team.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a "highly functioning sociopath" version of Holmes and his Asperger-ish-ness works wonderfully in this updated telling of A Study in Scarlet.  Martin Freeman's Watson is spot on.  He's not the bumbling doctor of past incarnations of this classic, he's quiet and controlled, all the while missing the thrill and danger that he got from his time as a military surgeon.

The exchanges between the two are really excellent:
John: "This is how you get your kicks, isn't it? You risk your life to prove you're clever."
Sherlock: "Why would I do that?"
John: "Because you're an idiot."
Sherlock: "No, no, don't be that way. Practically everyone is."

The mystery is great and the release of the name Moriarty at the end fills this viewer with some pretty serious expectations.  Brother Mycroft (played by Gatiss) makes a rather smarmy appearance and Lestrade proves to be enjoyable while being simultaneously grateful for and annoyed by Holmes.  Ultimately this first episode is about the initial build of friendship between Holmes and Watson.

They share an uncommon bond based in their addiction to danger, the fascination with the unknown, and the the love of adventure. Moffatt is taking Conan Doyle's work back to its roots, back to stories of two weirdos going on crazy adventures. I can't wait for the next two and I already wish they'd never end.