Friday, July 30, 2010

"The game, Mrs. Hudson, is on!"

"I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

My world has become suddenly Sherlock once again. I have always loved my Conan Doyle since I was a whee li'll lad. Heck, I still remember the first Holmes stories I read were abridged Dutch versions of The Adventure of the Speckled Band and The Man with the Twisted Lip, having bought (yes, bought, not borrowed) them at the local library. Heck, The Complete Sherlock Holmes was the first book I bought with my own money in my life. I have really been reading the stories for way too much time. Suffice to say the Canon has made some impact on my life.

So whenever something Holmesian pops up, my eyes and ears will automatically light up. Even if I know better than to expect much of it. Last year's Sherlock Holmes was certainly entertaining in its own right, but somehow didn't feel Holmesian enough. Such was the feeling both me and a friend had after discussing the movie here.

So I was careful in not trying to expect to much of BBC's mini-series Sherlock. While the concept of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd 21st Century itself is something which would frighten away many a fan, the fact Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame) was writing the show managed to plant seeds of hope in my mind. From which would sprout big trees. Very big trees. But still, I tried to keep those expectations in check.

Which in hindsight was totally unnecessary. Because Sherlock was amazingly fun. While concepts of Sherlock Holmes using a cellphone or Watson being a (recent) Afghanistan veteran who manages a blog might sound like bad ideas, they actually work. Brilliantly.

The pilot episode, A Study in Pink, was based on Holmes' debut, A Study in Scarlet, and brings the detective and the doctor together in 2010 for the same reasons as in the original stories: the rent. And the rest of the episode also remains surprisingly loyal to the original stories, while still keeping it modern (like how Holmes deduces facts about Watsons brother not from his watch, but from his cellphone). Add in some awesome canon references (like the ambigious location of Watson's war wound or an early introduction of... M), the slightest hint of Doctor Who and you have everything for an excellent Sherlock Holmes (IN THE FUTURE) series.

Bonus points for the Heavy Rain-esque pop-up texts, that show Holmes' train of thought (and some other points of interest). From a gamers viewpoint it was both surprising as well as recognizable. Seeing text pop up everytime you select see stuff is normal in games, but in television? It does keep the show more streamlined, as it allows the writers to incorporate more information in the series without actually having to spell everything out in text. Well, actually, they do actually spell everything out in text now, but at least that kind of information doesn't have to be woven into dialogue or special shots anymore. And that's cool with me.

Sherlock Holmes, I welcome thee into the 21st century.