HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Sherlock - Season 3
HTS Overall Score:78
The BBC shows have been gaining a large amount of popularity in the United States, and it’s not hard to see why. With some incredibly well done shows, they’ve proven themselves to be worthy of the big boys with shows such as “Torchwood”, “Dr. Who”, “Bedlam” and “Sherlock”. Benedict Cumberbatch has branched out and been playing in so many movies lately that it was high time that I started reviewing “Sherlock”. Being a Sherlock Holmes nut from the time I was in single digits, I have read every short story, novella and full length novel that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had penned of the incredibly deductive criminal investigator. I’ve seen Basil Rathbone portray him with a pipe out of one side of his mouth, to Robert Downey Jr. punching his way through villains and now the homely and gangly Benedict Cumberbatch try his hand out our hero. I do have to say that while the Robert Downey Jr. films were a lot of fun, they were nowhere NEAR the source material, and even the old black and white films with Holmes puffing a pipe and wearing that ridiculous double billed hat didn’t do the books justice. So, as you can guess, I went into the first couple seasons a bit dubious and jaded. Much as I expected, the series isn’t anywhere near the original books plot wise, and many times, character wise. Instead of the smoothly genteel, yet socially inept man from the books we have what is best described as a “nerd’s” fantasy of what they wish they could be, with Holmes as a high functioning sociopath, someone who can relate to people on an emotional level about as well as you or I could interact with a hamster all the while able to deduce just about anything at a superhuman level. So much so, that I was wondering if he had psychic powers as well. Despite these inconsistencies, the series resonates, much like a tuning fork with the original series. Almost taking the essence of the character at his most raw level, ripping the skin, flesh and bones from him and then re-wrapping him back up in a modern day scenario, with the changes in his personality and character that would have taken place in this radically different London than what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was writing about.
The episodes are all based upon actual mysteries and short stories from the book. Instead of just doing a re-telling of the actual short stories, creators Moffat and Gatiss have instead taken the basic premise of the stories and then created entirely new tales, from those ashes, changing them dramatically and only leaving the basics of the original story intact. You would expect me to loathe the twisting around of the original stories, but they are done with such wit and complexity that you end up tipping your hat at the nods to the original Doyle novels and just go with the flow, keeping you on the edges of your toes due to the fact that they aren’t just rehashing already known outcomes. There are a TON of little lines in the show, that if you pay attention, all reference another short story, or make a couple of jokes at the old Basil Rathbone films (the old double billed hat is a introduced as a tongue in cheek joke that stays around throughout the entire series) that only the initiated could pick up on.
If you haven’t seen the first 2 seasons, be warned, there’s a few spoilers ahead. After the demise of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the pursuit of the arch villain James Moriarty (Andrew Scott), Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) is left devastated. Picking up the shattered pieces of his life he moves on and meets a young lady by the name of Mary, who as we all know, ends up being his bride. As happy as that moment is, this is all interrupted as Sherlock decides to let Watson in on the dirty little secret. You know the one that the audience has known all along, that Sherlock Holmes has been hiding in the shadows, waiting to come back after faking his own death. Nearly giving his friend a heart attack, Holmes calmly explains that his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) had kept him busy for the last couple years, destroying the criminal empire that Moriarty had created and now that his task was complete, it was time to start solving cases again.
Doing what they do best, Holmes and Watson go up against another unseen mastermind, one who might actually rival Moriarty in cunning and wits, and along the way Holmes has to reconcile himself with the fact that life is changing, his friend has found a partner and is going down a road that he cannot fully follow. While this isn’t reminiscent of the books, for Watson had always been married while they had their adventures, it allows us to see a different side of Benedict’s portrayal, for it allows us to see Holmes unsteady, and sometimes even unsure of himself in a situation that he’s never experienced before. The relationship with his brother, Mycroft, is a wild deviation from novels and previous films, but it adds a lot to this series, giving him someone to play off of and explains a lot of Holmes’s fantastical abilities. With a government official giving him all the help he needs, at times, you can keep him grounded while still allowing Sherlock to flit off into some insanely unbelievable adventures. As I have said earlier, the show is very different and I’ve had to reconcile that in every episode, I’m going to have to face the fact that my “insider knowledge” as a big Arthur Conan Doyle fan will come into conflict with what is portrayed on screen. What really clinches the greatness of this series, is that even though I see all of these differences I can’t keep my eyes of the screen. The show just sucks you and keeps you begging for more, even when I do nitpick I still am drooling at the thought of what’s going to happen next.
The Episode Rundown is as follows
The Empty Hearse
The Sign of Three
His Last Vow
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14501[/img]“Sherlock: Season 3” is given a very solid 1080p AVC encode and is right in gear with the previous seasons, in terms of a quality comparison. The show presents London in a cool blue and grey color palette, occasionally giving us some blooming whites which creates that sort of dreary and surreal feel of the foggy city. Blacks are excellent, for the most part, with only some minimal crush, especially in those scenes where the blooming whites make their presence known. Detail is quite good, with every pore and facet of the set showing through magnificently. There is a bit of a weird softness that permeates the entire three seasons, so I can only assume it was an artistic intent, or a consequence of the digital camera used for the filming. Contrasts and skin tones look nice, with the skin tones taking on that cool color palette that the rest of the scenery is saturated in. A good, solid encode that will please fans immensely, especially with the lack of digital manipulation and other artifacts from compression issues.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14502[/img]Now, this is a first for “Sherlock”. Instead of the lossy 448kbps Dolby Digital tracks of the previous 2 season, Season 3 is finally given an HD upgrade with a full on 5.1 DTS-HD MA track and the differences are noticeable. The dialogue is crisp and clear, with some added fullness to it, from the previous two seasons and the musical score is more robust and has a little more dynamic range to it as well. There is some mild LFE, but that’s mostly related to the score and it’s little auditory queues, rather than being a bass powerhouse. Surrounds are used nicely, and integrate well into the rest of the speakers, with little details, such as footsteps, slamming doors and a champagne glass shattering onto the floor. The musical numbers use all 6 channels with much aplomb and create an invigorating feel to the series.
• The Fall
• Fans, Villains & Speculation
• Shooting Sherlock
“Sherlock” is easily one of my favorite shows on television at the moment, and it’s not hard to see why. Benedict Cumberbatch loses himself into the role of Sherlock Holmes” with such glee and reckless abandonment that, even with the shows differences from the source material, you just can’t help but cheer for him. To make it better the chemistry between the two leads is so picture perfect, that they become just as entangled and meshed together in your mind, that they become as commonly thought of together as “Batman and Robin” or Siskel and Ebert. BBC continues to put out great dramas, and its short runtime as a season not withstanding is one of the better buys you can do. Highly recommended.
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman
Created by: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffit
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 270 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 11th, 2013
Buy Sherlock - Season 3 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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