May 4, 2012

Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS

I have a confession to make: I have a PBS problem.

Downton Abbey; Upstairs, Downstairs; Doc Martin; Inspector Lewis; Masterpiece Classic; Lark Rise to Candleford; Miss Marple; and pretty much everything else on the schedule - I love it all. If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would be Sherlock (my apologies to former-favorite Inspector Lewis - I still adore you, Detective Hathaway).

This Sherlock, played by Benedict Cumberbatch (on the right in the photo above, with Dr. Watson) isn't your usual Holmes. He's not the typical older man in a tweed cap and cape with his magnifying glass perpetually out. He has none of the physical strength or brashness of Guy Ritchie's version (played by Robert Downey, Jr.). This Holmes is something new. He's all brains and no brawn, socially awkward (or just doesn't care), and so obsessed with solving puzzles that he forgets to charge his clients as well as to eat. As he sarcastically puts it himself, "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath - do your research." In spite of his somewhat-prickly personality, you can't help but admire his cleverness and ability to save the day.

Sherlock also has the best Moriarty that I've ever watched. Where Sherlock is a "consulting detective", Moriarty is a "consulting criminal", which makes his parries with Holmes all the more entertaining. Hilariously insane and clever enough to keep Holmes on his toes, Moriarty really makes the series. Watch for yourself May 6, 13, and 20 at 9 pm on PBS!

(Photograph © BBC/Hartswood Films for Masterpiece.)

*Unrelated note: in case you didn't know, the TV series "House" is based on Sherlock Holmes as well. ("Homes" vs. "House", "Wilson" vs. Watson, mystery obsessions, etc.)

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