Skepticisms aside the ambitious modern retelling of Conan Doyle’s iconic characters began just about as promising as could be. With a jolting introduction to injured solider John Watson and glitzy dark title sequence which had me very nearly licking my lips with anticipation. The doubts I had had at 8.59 before the series began had floated away into the new world of Sherlock in 2010. That was until Benedict Cumberbatch appeared as Sherlock. As he stood in the mortuary whipping a defenseless corpse my little heart sank as I realized this was going to be a series not be taken too seriously and that despite its huge opening Sherlock’s character resembled something more from a comic book than from modern day Britain.
Like the dedicated reviewer I am I stuck with it despite having my hopes shot down less than ten minuets in. The Scene where Sherlock and Watson meet was surprisingly understated and I caught myself tittering every time Holmes mentioned texting. It was as if Stephen Moffet had wanted to keep reminding the viewers this is Sherlock but don’t be scared its set this year its modern, its with it see he’s texting!
Unlike Martin Freeman’s Watson who I liked instantly Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock left me scrambling for the nearest wet wish to slap him with. I couldn’t take to him or find him in the slightest bit believable and when a series relies so heavily on the actions of one character if you don’t like that character (for lack of a better phrase) you’re screwed.
As it carried on I found it more and more laughable and upsettingly disappointing. Oh how I wanted to like even love this new adaptation and how I wanted to be on the edge of seat immersed in its world and completely involved with every scene instead I just found myself more and more fed up and more and more and more surprised and how strange it was. The scene where Holmes and Watson examine the woman’s body initially showed some promise but then words like wet, dry, unhappily married, clean, dirty, regularly removed and serial adulterer flashed across the screen in a font that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a travel programme. This was yet another aspect of the series that didn’t sit right with me.
Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Watson was the best thing about the series and his realism and integrity only served to make everyone else around him look daft and cartoonish. He seemed out of place alongside Holmes and Mark Gattis as the villain who was camp as Christmas and would’ve been more convincing as a baddie if he’d said his lines whilst slowly stroking an evil looking Siamese cat. Once you came to terms with the cartoony world of modern day Britain where everyone seemed glued to their phones you were disturbed again as the clumpy dialogue scattered throughout only served to prove that this maybe shouldn’t’ve been modernized.
Once the story actually began to take shape and Sherlock discovered Phil Davies was an evil cabbie I did find myself slightly more drawn in but again the viewer was expected to believe he would just confess to Holmes whilst sporting the type of London accent last seen in Mary Poppins. As the drama reached its climax with Sherlock and the cabbie sat at the table debating which tablet to take I’d was beyond the point of caring.
Early data indicates this opening episode did really well with just over 7million in viewers but how many of them like me tuned in hoping for something fantastic and exciting only to discover a below par script and set not in modern day England but a cartoony world I don’t wish to visit again.