by Noor Alnaqeeb
Immediately, a 19th century version of Robert Downey Jr. springs to mind. Cue the women in corsets, men in bowler hats and children playing hopscotch through the dusty streets of London.
Uttering those two words unleashes a myriad of portraits that have been reinvented time and time again. But what happens when Mr. Holmes turns in his bowler hat and picks up a 21st century suit and tie? Nope, it isn’t time travel. It’s Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s modern take on the literary legend in Sherlock.
I was as skeptical as all fans were to taint Sherlock’s image with a less-than-perfect picture of the world’s only consulting detective. Even the name of the lead actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, was questionable. The actor’s oddly-high cheekbones, piercing blue eyes and clean-shaven face bear no resemblance to any variation of the detective we had all held in our minds. Now, let’s take a page out of “A Scandal in Bohemia” and be a tad inventive. Get rid of any preconceived notions the world might’ve had of this larger-than-life icon and place him here, in our average world.
So after mastering the art of procrastination to put off potential disappointment, I picked up the DVD and watched the first episode, “A Study In Pink.” Within minutes, I was hooked. Benedict Cumberbatch, his name now clearly suited to his and his character’s remarkable unconventionality, had flipped Sir Conan Arthur Doyle’s world upside down while keeping everything we admired intact. Suddenly, the peculiar prodigy was roaming the streets of our modern day London, solving murders on BBC News out of a two-bedroom apartment with “221B” on the door.
This Sherlock is a demanding, daring and edgy mixture of mastermind. Moriarty is insanely more psychotic than imaginable and Watson, a war hero home from Afghanistan, is wonderfully awkward and undeniably wonderful. The episodes are far from a CSI locate-struggle-solve scenario and the end of each is guaranteed to make your jaw hit the floor.
Without giving too much away, “A Study In Pink” gives us a glimpse behind the curtain. We’re shown Sherlock’s status as Scotland Yard’s consulting detective and his comical inexperience with standard social confrontations. In this episode, we watch as Watson and Sherlock’s paths are intertwined for the first time as they solve a series of suicides. Exactly. Suicides.
At ninety minutes per episode, three episodes per season, and only three seasons so far, I finished the entire series in three days. In a nutshell, you would be nuts not to give it a try. Go ahead, make my day; just watch one episode and I dare you not to love every second of his relentless rambling. After all, Sherlock Holmes was always a modern man. It’s just the world that needed to catch up.