The vital ingredients for a good Sherlock Holmes story for me are a high-quality plot and good acting, and I’m pleased to say this delivers. The re-invention of Doctor Watson as a war-scarred ex-army Doctor adds a welcome new dimension to the character, and Holmes himself is peculiar in the extreme, and lacks the social skills to make friends easily despite his genius. To quote the character “genius needs an audience”, and thus he can’t help chipping in insensitive (although astute) observations regarding those around him.
When Watson does an on-line search of Sherlock, the audience is guided to suspend disbelief that this drama, although set in present-day society, has one marked difference, that we are now in a world where Sherlock Holmes, the Conan Doyle character, does not exist.
Sherlock’s flat is magnificently designed and has a convincing feel. The use of an on-screen map during the street-chase added tension and excitement. The pace is frantic with the exception, in this episode, of the somewhat over-long conversation between Sherlock and the murderer. Sherlock himself, is a wonder. He meets someone, and within minutes, feels the need to exclaim details of their recent life history. This is superbly entertaining and thrilling.
Freeman is flawlessly cast as Dr Watson and excels in his method of seemingly under-acting but perfectly capturing his character’s mood and actions, regardless. I think I detected a sense of sexual tension at the end of the episode. Perhaps I projected this following the uncertain references to the character’s sexuality, but, if it wasn’t a figment of my imagination, then it was artfully, and subtly done.
The constant outbursts of ‘That’s amazing’ from John Watson and the awkwardness of each believing the other to be gay is endlessly amusing and keeps a constant, upbeat, pace to the rather dark story. 90 minutes fly by unobserved.
Fast-moving, fascinating, and charming, Holmes and Watson now have use of the Internet, GPS, and cell phones. Sherlock, in fact, is a great texter. He wears three nicotine patches because smoking in London has become impossible, and he meditates on a crime while wearing them. The other up-to-the-minute touch is that everyone thinks Holmes and Watson are gay lovers. Instead of stories, it’s looking like Watson is going to be writing a blog. All of these modernisms are very successful and work well in the story.
Really can’t wait for more of these – very pleasant, suspenseful, and entertaining.