No Sh*t Sherlock: Telly Thursday Round-Up

Posted on August 5, 2010

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No Sh*t Sherlock:

What do you get when you cross a master (or two) with a classic? Well, at the moment, you get Sunday night’s Sherlock, a modernisation of the classic detective brought to you by Steven Moffatt (hot off the success of the latest series of Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss (also a Who writer but better known probably for The League of Gentlemen).

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Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century you say? With mobiles, laptops and wi-fi? Doesn’t it just read like a

normal, run of the mill crime drama then? Well, yes and no. But it embodies all of the good elements of your run of the mill crime drama. Let’s get it straight right now, Steven Moffatt is no stranger to modernising classic tales. A few years ago saw James Nesbitt step into the role of Jekyll & Hyde, a brilliant series which was also set in the then present day.

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I guess what I’m really trying to say is, don’t let the modernisation put you off because the first episode A Study In Pink is really quite brilliant.

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Sherlock Holmes has become a popular sort of dude in the last year, with Guy Ritchie also having a go at telling his tale and getting it pretty right too, to be fair.

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Benedict Cumberbatch (a man whose parents MUST have been hippies. Either that or he was

born on that creepy animated series Salad Fingers) steps into the role of the sociopath detective and channels what looks to me like a more series version of Matt Smith’s Doctor. For a young actor, his voice is that of an older, wiser man and it somehow makes him more endearing in the lead role.

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Martin Freeman plays Dr John Watson to brilliant effect. Just home from the war in Afghanistan, which interestingly was also the case in the original stories, Watson appears to be haunted by his experiences there and been shot into using a cane when he walks. Holmes seems to deduct in a matter of minutes what’s really going on in the good doctor’s head, leaving Watson’s shrink with a free hour on Friday mornings. I wonder if she can squeeze us in…

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But even if the fun characterisation and witty script isn’t for you, the series also looks great – text messages appear as text across the screen, one very funny scene in a press conference makes our police detective Rupert Graves very hot under the colour indeed. GPS maps show up on the screen as Holmes and Watson give chase to a cab, our protagonist deducting the cab’s direction by his uncanny knowledge of one way streets, road works and whatnot. By the end of the hour and a half, you’re wondering how the hell this guy can be so clever and are somewhat amazed by how he does what he does even though you know it’s all been scripted and really, the only miracle is that he was able to learn all his lines.

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But that’s what good writing does, draws you into the world of what you’re watching, then spits y

ou out at the en

d when they’ve nicely suckered and entertained you. Moffat and Gatiss are experts at it.

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As the series rollicks along, just when you think it can’t get any better, Gatiss turns up in the flesh as Mycroft Holmes and proceeds to twirl his umbrella and eyebrows quite wonderfully. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the name of Moriarty crops up too leaving Holmes and Watson with an interesting two weeks ahead.

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The BBC have done the 3 part series before with Wallander and it seems to have gone down very well. With Sherlock Holmes being much more accessible, it’ll be a surprise if this series doesn’t return in the near future.

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As Holmes might say (but hasn’t yet), ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’.

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And yes, he was telling everyone to stay in on Sunday nights and watch Sherlock because, to put it in colloquial, modernised terms, it’s bloody brilliant.

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Nesbitt’s In The Deep:

Boasting a great cast (though I must admit I’m not a Minnie Driver fan) The Deep is an underwater drama 5-parter which, perhaps better than anything else, brings James Nesbitt back to our screens again. Ever since Cold Feet the TV guide feels empty if there isn’t something starring him

in it.

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Sounding something like a cross between The Abyss (I hate you James Cameron) and The X-Files as the first episode sees our team stranded on their sub with no power and trying to figure what else is down there swimming around with them. My money’s on jellyfish…

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More Mistresses in the Parish:

Wasn’t that clever wordplay? Wasn’t it though? Mistresses, Parish, Sarah Parish? Never mind. Described as Desperate Housewives but not quite as glamorous (and nowhere near as trite) Mistresses returns for its third series set two years on from where the second ended.

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Ridiculous but endearing, throw in Joanna Lumley as Katie’s mother Vivienne and you’ve got yourself some Thursday viewing worth opening the bottle of wine and box of chocolates for. Or, if you’re a student, beer and whatever’s left in the kitchen.

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