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FTN Reviews Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia

January 4th, 2012 by Paddy Comments


Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Lara Culver.

SHERLOCK roared back on to our screens at the weekend with another rip-roaring and highly entertaining instalment.

The show written by Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss continues to go from strength to strength in its second season.

The opening story is a loose, make that very loose, interpretation of A Scandal In Bohemia the short story in which the female con artist Irene Adler makes her one and only appearance in Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales.  For this thoroughly modern update, the character of Adler is now a high profile dominatrix who blackmails her clients in return for power.

She gets involved with some very powerful people and Sherlock is hired to get back some incriminating pictures from her.  What ensues is a game of cat and mouse, but we’re never quite sure just who is the cat and who is the mouse, as Sherlock appears to have met his match in Adler.

Cumberbatch is nothing short of hypnotic as Sherlock and it’s enjoyable to see him seemingly lose his cool as Adler gets under his skin.  Almost as good is Freeman as his faithful sidekick Watson and there’s a few clever, teasing references to the dysfunctional nature of their friendship. Culver, as the newcomer to the series, doesn’t quite convince so much.

Yes, she’s easy on the eye but she doesn’t quite get to grips with the complicated character of Adler, coming across as the drinking man’s Eva Green. You can tell Culver watched Casino Royale as she practically mimics everything about Vesper Lynd, right down to speech patterns and delivery. That could be down to the fact that she hasn’t much else to work with and comes across as another run of the mill femme fatale that was cooked up during male fantasy hour.

That said, it doesn’t stop this being a gripping and brilliant slice of television that is clever and stylish enough that you almost don’t notice the cracks. Unfortunately they are there though. A cameo from Moriarty as he blows a raspberry into the air for no apparent reason is nothing short of cringe worthy. It appears that Andrew Scott’s seems to think that it’s panto season, it doesn’t bode well as the character’s going to come to the fore in the next few episodes. An epilogue involving a terrorist cell, Adler and Sherlock is completely at odds with the tone of the rest of the episode and the characterisation up to that point. But these are only small gripes when compared to what’s right about Sherlock.

There’s more of a role for Mark Gatiss as Mycroft, which is always welcome, as we begin to see the begrudging love that both he and his brother have for each other. Overall, Sherlock’s as good an iteration of the much loved character that we’ve had for some time, and is miles better than the dumbed down ‘Indiana Holmes’ that’s doing the rounds at the local fleapit.

4 out of 5 nerds

Paddy Ryan


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Paddy Ryan, like Buck Rogers, is a man out of time. He's a loose cannon haunted by his past who, when he's not making painful attempts at humour, is busy watching as many geeky films and TV shows as possible. An avid reader, he has vowed one day to start that novel he's been talking about for years. Born in the late 70s, he's an 80s kid at heart who sees nothing wrong with spending hours upon hours watching season three of Robin Of Sherwood. Jason Connery wasn't that bad you know! He's got a million ideas for comic books but thankfully doesn't know anyone with the time to draw them and call his bluff on that one! The Empire Strikes Back is his favourite film, Doctor Who is his TV show of choice and when it comes to books ... well that's a whole other story! I'm Paddy Ryan and you're not...

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