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Cher Lecteur/lectrice,
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Bien le Bonjour, Messires et Demoiselles,
JAFHR, le Fou Francophone.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Television Review: Sherlock Season 2

WARNING: This review contains spoilers

Episode 1: A Scandal in Belgravia

I'm not trying to be the clever person here, so I'll admit that I prefer the new Sherlock series to many of the books. While it may not be fair to compare the two mediums, in my opinion the television program is wittier and more imaginative. That's not to say I didn't like the books, I loved them, but after a few years of popularity they slowly started to decrease in quality. Thank God I don't have to say the same thing about this show. I saw the first season back in 2011 on DVD and instantly loved it, spending hours watching it while I should have been doing homework, so it would have been almost as great a disappointment for this to be inadequate as if Batman Begins had been bad (I saw The Dark Knight first).

Irene Adler proved a suitable villain/antihero/love interest, although it threw Watson into the shadows somewhat. Fortunately he is often able to break up Sherlock and Irene with hilarious quips, making this the funniest Sherlock episode so far. There's not much more to say about it, except that it was amazing.

Episode 2: The Hounds of Baskerville

Reviews of this episode have been positive. Why? For goodness' sake, this was by far the worst Sherlock episode of the season, even the worst episode ever. That's right, I said it. What was Mark Gatiss thinking? Was he too busy acting Mycroft to write something decent? Quite possibly. More likely is that he used up all his good ideas on Doctor Who, but that doesn't make sense because Doctor Who is terrible too.

Anyway, maybe I'm being a little harsh on the episode. What exactly was wrong with it? Well it was just too slow, too obvious and not at all Sherlock-y. I generally turn off my brain while watching Sherlock, not because it's too simple, but because I would get so confused if I tried to work out what was going on that I would have to smash my TV screen. This time, however, even I figured out what the end was going to be halfway through. Mark wrote The Great Game (Episode 3 of Season 1) and that was brilliant, but the characterization of the minor villains was non-existent. Maybe this wasn't such a bad thing, but doing it in The Hounds of Baskerville doesn't work. I mean the villain must have had about five minutes of screen time, and his motivations were never explained. And the plot is not original. Firstly it was based very heavily on the book, and secondly, everything else is stolen from somewhere else. A Chemical weapons factory, a secret government project, a homicidal scientist in a gas mask, hallucinating worst fears...

Alright, I may be focusing on the bad stuff. I guess I did like the way it was shot, the acting was excellent (as usual) and the first twenty minutes lacked the problems of the rest of the episode. Also, the plot did allow for some expansion on the relationship between Holmes and Watson, but it wasn't quite funny enough. There were only two witty moments in the script. But I don't want to go back into that rant, so I'll just conclude. If I were to put a number (out of ten) on this it would a seven, which isn't bad, but the standard of writing is normally so much better I was thoroughly disappointed. It just felt like a typical detective show, not the best live-action television series I have ever seen.

Episode 3: The Reichenbach Fall

Good grief. It's good. It's very good. You liked the last finale, you'll love this. The rooftop scene, the graveyard scene, the heist scene... every scene was memorable. And the bit where (if you didn't read the earlier warning about spoilers, read it now) Moriarty shoots himself. I don't have to talk for long about this, because everything was almost perfect, I'll just do some nitpicking. My only real problem with the episode was that I never really believed that Sherlock might not be everything he said he was, and I also never really believed that he was dead (well... maybe for a second or two). I would have liked it if it had actually made these possibilities a bit more believable, but it was so packed with emotion that I didn't really mind. It's just a shame that that was it...

Fortunately the writers have said that 'hopefully before the year's out', Season 2 will air on BBC 1. That means I have something epic everything six months, with The Dark Knight Rises coming out in the summer. I can't wait to review that.


  1. Nice review of 'A Scandal in Belgravia'.

    For a different look at this episode, check out my review .


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