Benedict Cumberbatch who is playing the lead as Sherlock Holmes brings deliciously abrasive brilliance to the title role of this PBS “Masterpiece Mystery” import, an entertaining overhaul of the Holmes and Watson double-act that plants one foot in their Victorian origins and the other in the cyber age. As the star of “Sherlock,” the highly entertaining new production that comes to PBS on Sunday, he is officially the latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, the demon detective of Baker Street.
This show is unbelievably awesome as everything: music, cast, characters approach and the modern adaptation of Doyle’s stories are impeccable.
The show deftly straddles the material’s literary essence and the dictates of modern-day entertainment, trading fog and gaslight for a sleek 21st century London that’s equal parts gloss and grit. Unlike Warners’ 2009 big-screen version, which revved up a period adventure by placing a heavy foot on the action-movie accelerator, this series brings a subtle relish to its blending of the two eras.
The character of Holmes as reworked by writers Mark Gatiss (the multi-talented League of Gentlemen comic) and Steven Moffat (Doctor Who’s new supremo) is a conceited, sociopathic ass whose genius ranges somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but who nevertheless possesses a sense of humour.
Detective stories are nothing without meticulous exposition, and this one dazzles with the economy of its character presentation, its witty groundwork for the central relationship and the diabolical glee with which it lays out pieces of the puzzle at hand. This is superior sleuth TV.