Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Sherlock, The Hounds Of Baskerville. Television Review

The second of three new stories for the world’s greatest consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, sees Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat bring the wonderful and tantalising story ofThe Hound of  the Baskervilles completely up to date and leave the Victorian era behind completely and utterly forever.
And yet the image of Dartmoor never really changes, the isolation, the bleakness that nowhere really in England resembles. It’s into this world that Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and the ever reliable Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson are thrust at the appeal of a young man plagued with nightmares and half-forgotten memories of the night his father died.
The madness and lack of control that Henry Knight, played by the fantastic Russell Tovey, feels is mirrored by Sherlock in this episode throughout. The manic, sociopathic, intense desperation the two men shared was palpable and extreme. One through boredom and the need for his fix of nicotine and the other with images bought on by drug-induced suggestibility. In this the two men were alike and it showed the depth of character that Russell Tovey is capable of playing away from the theatre side of his acting career. Rather than be thought of an also ran and only able to be in low budget programmes, he is an actor of genuine and outstanding quality who deserves more thought when casting.
The name of the tale had been changed to The Hounds of Baskerville, a small but delightful difference that must have had Moffat and Gatiss hugging each other in absolute un-adulterated glee! Of course there were other differences to the original story and this offering. This was not a Watson stand-alone tale. A story that has the Doctor travel to Dartmoor alone and goes through the paces of solving and reporting till Holmes is revealed to be there along in disguise. There was no need for this convoluted and deceptive writing. By showing them travelling together and the sly smile Sherlock shows to the camera when his friend shows wit and guile by pulling rank in the Baskerville research facility, is a touch, that quite frankly, was needed to show the warmth and affection between the two men.
There was one other major change to the story that initially looked as if it was going to be included but if the thought of nudity in the first episode had viewers writing, phoning and emailing in the droves to complain about then the sight of people performing acts not normally associated with television drama could make the issue of watershed rear its head again. For the record, you don’t see it and the reaction is highly amusing.
For any fan of the film 28 Days Later, it will come as no surprise to see the shots of primates that are hinted at of animal experiments and the chaos and destruction that can come of it. Sherlock may not have had the diseased monkey passing on rage and insanity that was left to the confines of the lab and the bleakness of the moor. The scene in the laboratory being a perfect distorting mirror for the creeping fog and desolation within the confines of the moor! Each setting being claustrophobic, unnatural and cleverly filmed and acted against.
If there is any cause for concern in the episode and it’s only a small one, it was the ease of the reveal in the writing that allowed viewers to get that Clive Mantle’s character was the so called mastermind behind it all. It was too easy a get out. Other than that the series remains almost impeccable.
How the writers and acting talent that is almost perfect deal with the final story The Reichenbach Fall. A story that Arthur Conan Doyle hoped to use to finally kill of the detective, it can only be hoped that this is not the case by the B.B.C. , this a programme that with all the right people in place can run and run.
Ian D. Hall

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