Jonny Lee Miller is absolutely marvelous as the great detective Sherlock Holmes in this modern adaptation set in New York. Thankfully, Sherlock is still British, but at first I was horrified to learn Lucy Liu was going to play Watson. Dr. Watson, a girl? What were they thinking? I’m all for girl power, but this seemed just wrong and a bit of a literary slap in the face. Fortunately, I decided to give the show the benefit of the doubt and I’m so glad I did! I love the creative twists on the classic stories which make the whole thing fresh and more accessible to the modern audience. It in no way diminishes the original characters but in this version Watson is more of an equal partner and participant rather than the “yes man” from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, someone really there just to tell Holmes how clever he is.
Jonny Lee Miller brings a manic quickness to the role, a little bit along the lines of Doctor Who. He’s a deeply flawed individual with a brilliant mind and Joan Watson initially makes his acquaintance as a sober companion while Sherlock is trying to get clean from heroin. Watson herself is also rather scarred, but together they make an amazing team and balance one another out. The stories are clever, inventive and endlessly entertaining, and I particularly enjoy the little details that make the characters really come alive. It wouldn’t be Sherlock Holmes without some mind-blowing twists, fascinating villains and peculiar multi-faceted mysteries with more layers than an onion and there’s oodles of all of it. The dialogue is witty, snappy and complex, an homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s marvelous command of the English language. There is a great realistic dynamic between the two leads which builds into a genuine friendship. In the books, Sherlock is definitely the focus and main protagonist, but it isn’t so here. Dr. Watson holds her own against Holmes and at no point does she say something like “By jove, you’ve got it, Holmes!” Her character is equally well rounded with a personal life she tries, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep separate from Sherlock.
By definition a cerebral thriller and an occasionally disturbing unfiltered look at humanity, the writers choose the perfect moments to relieve tension with unexpected humor of a type that is very, very British (unexpected for an American show!). The show is totally character driven, which means you have great opportunities for different personalities to interact in all sorts of interesting ways and the results are often amusing if not downright side-splitting. The NYPD characters are very well done, especially Aidan Quinn as Captain Gregson and Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell. I’d love to tell you about some of the villains and who plays them, but anything down that road would be a spoiler and I would never dream of doing that to you. This is a crime drama well worth your time and as it is now an established show (3 seasons so far and renewed for a 4th), you needn’t worry about it getting cancelled just as you’re getting into it. I absolutely love it and give it my highest rating. Bravo! – BETHANY
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Joan, a former surgeon, has a unique skill set that makes her quite valuable.
Sherlock’s Brownstone has some gorgeous architecture and amazing furniture, a subtle nod to the Victorian roots of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work.
Note Sherlock and his characteristic expression of detached distaste.
Gareth Lestrade (Sean Pertwee), a British free-lance detective who desperately wants to be the equal of Sherlock and has a lamentable habit of taking credit for others’ work.
Sherlock’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor Alfredo (Ato Essandoh). It would be supremely unwise to judge him by his appearance.
Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans).
Sherlock’s investigative techniques are unconventional to say the least.
Photos courtesy of Hill of Beans Productions, Timberman-Beverly Productions, CBS Television Studios and CBS (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)