Created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
The acclaimed BBC modern adaptation of the famed detective returns for a second season, but will Sherlock’s mystery-solving skills mystify us again?
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson return for a new season of modern reimaginings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective tales. The three episodes – “A Scandal in Belgravia,” “The Hounds of Baskerville,” and “The Reichenbach Fall” – feature Sherlock at some of his highest and lowest points. He battles love, horror, and his arch nemesis Jim Moriarty.
Each episode is roughly an hour and a half, functioning as fairly stand-alone films. This season’s first episode – “A Scandal in Belgravia” – picks up where last season’s cliffhanger ending leaves off, replaying enough to catch fans up or fill in new viewers.
I loved the first season of Sherlock and waited anxiously for season two. The year-long wait between seasons is worth it. This season kept me on the edge of my seat. The intrigue behind the mysteries is captivating and inventive, for the most part. As with last season, this season’s second episode – “The Hounds of Baskerville” – is the weakest, with its more predictable yet also outlandish plot. However, it’s still a good episode sandwiched between two even more excellent ones: a tragic love story and a thrilling vengeance tale.
All of the acting in this season is top notch. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock maintains his smarter-than-thou mindset and sardonic wit fans enjoyed from season one. Cumberbatch does an impressive job memorizing the long string of detailed observations in a straight and monotone voice. Martin Freeman’s Watson is an excellent emotional ground to Sherlock’s social inadequacies. The two form an endearing friendship with their contrasting natures bringing them together.
Even outside of Sherlock and Watson, the antagonists and supporting cast does a splendid job. Lara Pulver pulls off the intelligent and sultry Irene Adler, a perfect match to throw Sherlock’s cold and romanceless self in a tizzy. Andrew Scott’s erratic and psychotic Moriarty may be too manic for some, but he does a good job at it. And fans of the UK Being Human are in for a treat with Russell Tovey’s role in one particular episode.
Sherlock is a great mystery series, a drama sprinkled with fitting comedy, with enigmatic and engaging characters. It’s a must see, and fans of the first season will not be disappointed.
The show is presented in 1080i 16:9 widescreen. The video is clean and crisp, showcasing the meticulous set design and special effects, especially in Sherlock’s review of the murder site in “A Scandal in Belgravia.”
The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 for English and French. It’s not always the clearest, and it’s not because of the accents (did anyone understand that Sherlock say “Vatican cameos”?). For the most part though, it’s serviceable. The soundtrack is well done, continuing with the trend of catchy mood-setting instrumentals.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This two-disc set is surprisingly light on features. The behind-the-scenes feature “Sherlock Uncovered” goes over each episode and the unique thing about this production, with the high-speed cameras, stunt work, special effects and so on.
Only the first and second episodes have commentary tracks, which are fine but don’t add as much expansion on certain areas as I’d hoped. The weird part is the commentary isn’t a simple audio track, interchangeable with the regular audio. It seems embedded along with its own copy of each episode, ensuring that there are two copies of the first two episodes on the first disc: one with the regular English and French audio tracks and one with commentary. It’s a needless and annoying extra effort, as I found myself wanting but unable to switch audio tracks between regular audio and commentary. Weird, right?
I can understand leaving the third episode’s commentary out, as I’m sure that could end up being very spoilery for its own cliffhanger ending into the next season.
Overall (Not an Average)
This is a thoroughly enjoyable series, and as with all good mysteries, made even more rewatchable with each new friend you introduce to it, seeing what you missed the first time and them missing it now. Too bad season three doesn’t even start production until 2013. Eager anticipation awaits.
The Series 9/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10