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Sherlock: Season One (Blu-ray Review)

24 Nov, 2010 By: John Latchem

BBC Video
$34.98 two-DVD set, $39.98 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves.

The smart new BBC drama “Sherlock” proves the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed literary detective don’t have to be confined to the Victorian era.

The show, co-developed by “Doctor Who” executive producer Steven Moffat, seamlessly transplants Holmes and Watson to a present-day setting, allowing Holmes to use cell phones, computers and other modern trappings to solve his mysteries, all while Watson blogs about their adventures. The first season of “Sherlock” consists of three 90-minute episodes loosely based on the original Doyle stories.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Holmes as a rough-around-the-edges living computer who retains only so much knowledge as pertains to his work as a consulting detective for the police. This means he has no trouble memorizing the layout of all the streets in London but can’t be bothered to remember little details, like that the Earth revolves around the Sun. And Martin Freeman’s Watson is a perfect sidekick, curious enough about Holmes to accompany him on his assignments but grounded enough to protect Holmes from himself.

Compare the duo to, say, the more action-oriented Holmes/Watson combo of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law from the recent film series. The characterizations aren’t too far off, though Downey’s Holmes is much more a suave detective, imbued a bit too much with the actor’s own natural charm. The Cumberbatch Holmes can handle himself in a fight but isn’t so much interested in the ladies.

The “Sherlock” disc includes a behind-the-scenes featurette, commentaries on two of the episodes, and the original unaired 60-minute pilot episode, which was reformatted for the longer length.

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