I’m not usually a fan of reinterpretations of classic literature in which the characters and storylines are transported to the modern era. Such contemporary remakes seem to downplay whatever is timeless about said literature and replace it with whatever is trendy, causing the titles in question to feel more dated than if they had just been left in their original eras. As such, I approached the BBC’s recent Sherlock series — which transports the great detective to 21st century London — with some trepidation… and I was quite glad to be proven wrong.
It’s not perfect by any means — the second episode was a little underwhelming — but all in all, the series was quite enjoyable. It boasts some very solid performances all around, especially by Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock wonderfully as “a high-functioning sociopath”); its sense of style kept everything sleek and modern with a nicely chilled atmosphere (which was aided by some lovely tilt-shift photography); and the episodes’ plots were satisfyingly labyrinthine and suspenseful.
As for the modern updates, e.g., the characters’ use of text messaging and mobile web searches, those were handled quite nicely as well. They added a bit of a “gee whiz” factor to the series without ever becoming gimmicky. Even better, they further enhanced the idea of Sherlock Holmes as this coldly analytical information-processing machine, someone who is completely obsessed with his work and has no time for trivial things like emotions.
All of which makes it almost painful to think that I’ll need to wait until at least autumn of 2011 before new episodes arrive.