Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Sherlock Season 2

Let me just say that Sherlock is one of my favorite characters, and the BBC's contemporary version is great. Season, or series, one of Sherlock is one of my all time favorite televisions shows. And really, it can't get much better than that. With that said, I think season two suffers from having to live up to lightning in a bottle. It was really Moffat's best work and, clearly, impossible for him to match or eclipse, and that's OK. It happens to everyone. I think it was Ozzy Osbourne talking about Leonardo da Vinci, and I'm really paraphrasing / going from memory here, who said that not every painting he did was the Mona Lisa, but he's still an artist. And Sherlock is still a very good show.

Don't read any further unless you've watched it. And if you haven't, I don't have the foggiest idea why you're reading about something you haven't seen.

One of my main gripes is Sherlock starts off almost comically cynical. It's just to a point where I feel like it's not natural even for the established character. I know Moffat has shown more dimension in Sherlock, and I really appreciated the subtlety. But that part of him became a sort of wink to the audience and, for me, was slightly jarring.

The cliffhanger conclusion wasn't satisfying. I guess, I had predicted Sherlock shooting the explosives while diving, with Watson, into the pool. But a cellphone call, saving them, just wasn't the payoff I wanted after waiting for over a year.

I also had mixed feelings about the ending. I knew they were going to film a season three, so, there was zero possibility of Sherlock actually dying. And one didn't need to pay attention to the hints, in the plot, to figure that out. But showing him alive, during the ending moments, reminded me of the final scene in The Blair Witch. It destroyed that little edge it could have had. I think not showing Sherlock would have been more powerful. But I liked Moriarty's death. And I'll be very disappointed if he faked it too. I thought that was the perfect way for him to go out: Believing he had beaten everything and everyone with nothing left to do but further stick it to his rival, one last time.

I also remember talking about how the latest season of Doctor Who had a fairy tale like feeling. And this only confirms my critiquing powers as Sherlock's season finale used the story of Hansel and Gretel as part of the plot — which, BTW, wasn't air tight. But in fairness and compared to other writing, it's still mounds better than what's out there.

Before I leave you, I should mention the positives to balance this out a little. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's chemistry is great. It's so good, in fact, I find myself taking it for granted. And really, everyone did a great job. The dialog was still top notch with wit being well represented. Stylistically it's perfect: the night scenes looked great, and I really loved the way cell phone's are dealt with. Instead of zooming into the tiny screens or solely relying on the dialog, the employed overlays of text and graphics are an ingenious way to communicate the information. And lastly, I thought it was quite clever how the classic hat was introduced and used. While it was another wink at the audience, it was one that has my approval.

1 comment:

  1. Always a pleasure to meet a Sherlockian :)

    I have only seen the first season of the BBC series. Your review has whetted my appetite for the second season.