Sherlock: The Hounds Of Baskerville (S02E02)
IT’S one of the most difficult tasks a writer can face. How do you tell a story that everyone’s already familiar with? And The Hound Of The Baskervilles is easily the most famous of all Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales.
So it’s to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s credit that they’ve created a story that keeps you guessing right up until the end.
Following The Nerd favourite Russell Tovey joins Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson) for the modernisation of a much loved classic.
In a clever nod to the source material he plays Henry Knight, as opposed to Sir Henry, a young man from an upper class background whose life has been ruined by the memory of his father being killed by a mysterious beast in front of his own eyes when he was a little boy.
Needless to say, there’s more here than meets the eye and it isn’t long before our intrepid heroes are on the case.
The change of scenery from smokyLondonto the great outdoors of the countryside makes for an interesting dynamic, think Sherlock in Emmerdale and you’re half way there.
The Hounds Of Baskerville is never less than entertaining, but it never quite hits the heights that Moffat and Gatiss have previously reached with their interpretation of Sherlock Holmes.
Such pains have been taken to ensure that the story remains relevant, in today’s more tech savvy and cynical age, that the denouement feels a little on the contrived side.
Cumberbatch’s performance also feels a little forced, previously he’s played Sherlock as an extroverted introvert but here all bets are off as he reaches for the shelf marked Over The Top And Shouty For The Sake Of It.
But then when Arthur Conan Doyle, himself, wrote that much of Sherlock’s demeanour is an affectation it’s a small criticism.
The Hounds Of Baskerville is a fun hour and a half, plus the final scene that hints at next week’s confrontation between Sherlock and Moriarty is nicely foreshadowed throughout the episode.
Another observation is that it’s becoming all too apparent that this is as much a tribute to the many versions of Sherlock that have graced the big screen as the original books.
The nods to The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes that appeared in last week’s A Scandal In Belgravia continue, and there are plenty of hidden easter eggs here for the hardcore Holmes fans.
But it’s the beauty of this incarnation of Sherlock that it can be enjoyed on almost every level, and even if this is the weakest episode of the show to date, it’s still superior television that pulls off the most difficult balancing of impressing fans both old and new.
4 out of 5 nerds