Five Reasons to Watch Series 2 of Sherlock
Disclaimer and yellow-level spoiler alert: I work for KQED. And while that doesn't necessarily mean personal jets and bottle service, it does, occasionally, mean I get to watch a PBS show before other people. What follows are a few of my thoughts on Series 2 of Masterpiece Mystery's Sherlock (premiering Sunday, May 6 at 9pm on KQED 9), which I watched last weekend, to the detriment of basically everything else in my life. There shouldn't be any real spoilers in here but if you are the kind of person who doesn't read episode descriptions, for fear they might give away too much, I would recommend moving on to another story on the internet.
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
A. His blue, blue eyes. B. His name. C. His version of Sherlock Holmes is the perfect version. He is the Sean Connery of James Bonds. The Cate Blanchett of Queen Elizabeths.
Lara Pulver as Irene Adler; c. BBC/Hartswood Films for Masterpiece
2. The Ladies
This Masterpiece Mystery version of Sherlock Holmes is basically a high-functioning autistic man. He isn't sexy and crazy like (the far inferior) Robert Downey Jr. iteration. In high school, it's very clear that no one ever asked this guy to prom, even if he did have those eyes (see number 1). So the fact that he has two potential romantic interests this season is highly entertaining. The fact that one of them is a dominatrix is even better.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson; c. BBC/Hartswood Films for Masterpiece
3. Martin Freeman
Has there ever been such a likeable schlub more likeable and schlubby than Martin Freeman? Whether he is Tim in the original Office (somehow even more adorable than our American Jim) or Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Martin Freeman as John Watson, Sherlock's blogging veteran sidekick, nails goofy, earnest, normal and loyal in the kind of way that makes me want a sidekick of my very own.
Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty; c. BBC/Hartswood Films for Masterpiece
4. A Proper Super Villain
Here's what I like about Andrew Scott as Sherlock's nemesis, Jim Moriarty (besides the obvious, that he is almost as dreamy as Benedict Cumberbatch): he is having a really good time being evil. While Sherlock and Watson have to be serious and solve serious crimes and feel sad for victims and etc. blah blah blah, Moriarty is always in a state of barely controlled, delightful mania. In fact, it's becoming clear, as Series 2 continues, that Masterpiece's Sherlock is really all about mental illness. Sherlock and his Asperger's, Watson and his PTSD, Moriarty and his manic depression. And we all know which one of those pathologies is the most fun at a party...
Whether it's Sherlock and his big brother, Mycroft, Sherlock and his best scientist, Molly, Sherlock and Watson, Sherlock and Moriarty, Sherlock and Inspector Lestrade, Sherlock and a mutant hound, the relationships the title character, who may or may not suffer from a disorder which makes it difficult for him to form relationships, develops are what bring this season from a merely entertaining cop show, to a cerebral, DEEPLY entertaining cop show.
I hate to get all "The British Do TV Better" over here, but sometimes -- this time -- the British just do TV better. They build you up, create intricate relationships and scenarios that force you to put down your phone and stop playing Tetris, and then BOOM. They end, just when they should. With a cliffhanger that is somehow still satisfying.
There are only 3 episodes in this series of Sherlock and you are going to want more when it's done. But it'll be the wanting more that happens when you eat a delicious meal at an expensive restaurant, not the kind that happens when you gorge yourself on sour cream and onion potato chips before dinner.
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