Mark Watches ‘Sherlock’: S01E01 – A Study In Pink

In the first episode of Sherlock, we’re introduced to the re-imagined world of Sherlock Holmes, as the characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original story are thrust into the modern world. And yet, so much of what has made Sherlock Holmes eternal still remains after such a drastic change. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Sherlock.

THAT’S RIGHT. IN YOUR FACES. Why can’t I have a surprise or two up my sleeve?

My friend Jessica got me to watch this show and I thought that it would be nice to throw in a brief detour into another series before I head straight into Avatar: The Last Airbender.

While I had zero idea of any sort of detail or characterization or plot-twist in this show, I did read a great deal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books and stories growing up. I might even say that my obsession with SHIT GETTING REAL or BEING UNPREPARED is based largely on my experience reading Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. Actually having that background made for a far more entertaining experience as well, as Steven Moffat weaves so many references to Holmes cannon that those unfamiliar with the original material would never pick up.

But that’s not to say that any cursory examination of Doyle’s original work is needed, nor is the show an acquired taste in period dramas. And perhaps that’s truly what this new version does so brilliantly: It is decidedly modern, even painfully so at times, and there’s not a moment that it doesn’t seem to work.

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, we are not worthy. :: bows ::

I love that this first episode, “A Study In Pink,” opens with Dr. John Watson. In many ways, what we’ll see over the course of the next 90 minutes is entirely through Watson’s eyes, and I find it to be an interesting choice for Moffat to take. It feels as if we are living through his perspective as we’re introduced to the frantic world of Sherlock Holmes. The parallels to the original canon start here, in these first scenes, as Watson is shown to be injured due to battle. In Sherlock, though, it’s because of the war in Afghanistan. We see him awake from terrifying dreams. We see him visit his therapist, who tells him to start a blog. (See? Painfully modern.)

“Nothing happens to me.”

As if spoken purely to goad his own future, that “nothing” becomes largely irrelevant for Watson quite quickly. We’re briefly introduced to what will be the large plot point for “A Study In Pink,” which is hard to understand at this point. A man who is clearly cheating on his wife nervously takes a pill and is later found to have committed suicide. This repeats, two more times, all under the same strange circumstances. When there’s a public announcement regarding the three suicides, Inspector Lestrade (HA!) insists that aside from the bizarre locations these people died in and the poison, there are no other connections between the cases.


The text goes ‘round the room in a stylistic choice that is used throughout this first episode. We see it on everyone’s phone, and as Lestrade continues to bullshit his way through the press conference, everyone’s phones gets the same message.



And then Lestrade gets a message of his own.

You know where to find me. SH

Sherlock Holmes. But we don’t meet him just yet. And while Benedict Cumberbatch can steal virtually any scene he is in, I find myself repeatedly drawn to Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Dr. John Watson. Maybe I’m biased because Freeman did such a fine job in the original The Office series, but he’s not at all the same character here. Before we ever meet Holmes, “A Study of Pink” focuses on the cynical, uncertain Watson, who is afraid that living on an Army pension isn’t going to keep him in London. After running into a friend from school who notices that Watson isn’t on top of his own game, chance steps in to force Watson’s path to cross with the infamous Sherlock Holmes.

And I say that not as one who is aware of what sort of weight this character has in popular culture, but in reference solely to the universe that Moffat and Gatiss have built here. Sherlock is infamous in the London law enforcement world, and when Standford takes Watson to meet someone else who needs a flatmate to save money, we are given one hell of an introduction to this new version of the iconic character.

Let’s start with something I need to say before we continue further: I don’t think there’s a man on earth who looks like Benedict Cumberbatch. Not a single one. Like…I can’t figure out his face. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT REALLY MEANS, BUT I FEEL VERY DEEPLY IN MY HEART THAT IT IS A TRUE STATEMENT. He’s perhaps the most perfect actor to play Sherlock Holmes, too, able to highlight his brilliance, his sociopathy, and his ability to be simultaneously charming and revolting at the exact same moment.

When we finally meet Sherlock, he’s beating a dead body with a riding crop, ignoring a woman who is obviously trying to hit on him. It establishes very early the idea that Sherlock Holmes has a limited amount of space in his brain. It seems like that space is larger than our brains, sure, but it’s because Sherlock operates in a manner where he prioritizes what goes into his mind. The woman hitting on him? Unimportant. Unnecessary, really. He’s trying to determine if an alibi is correct. What does romance matter?

Almost as if Watson and Holmes solely act as foils to one another, their first interaction in that morgue is one rife with the later results of the plot and so many of the show’s internal tropes and canon that will be spread out over the course of “A Study in Pink.” Sherlock’s incredible perception is acted out in a stunning bout of quick dialogue and posturing on his part, though it’s important to note that it’s not an act for Sherlock. He’s not trying to impress anyone. His presumption isn’t based on any sort of self-centered douchey egoism. I mean…well, Sherlock is egotistical, but I don’t feel as if it’s a malicious thing at all. He needs a flatmate. Watson needs one, too. It’s a logical progression from step one to step two for Sherlock. It’s that simple.

It’s also the first time we watch Sherlock’s power of deduction. Power. That’s a damn fine word to describe this…thing that Sherlock does. “Yes, he is always like that,” Davenport tells Watson. His lack of the social grace many people seem to follow is actually kind of appealing to me, to be honest. It’s unexpected. It keeps me on my toes as I watch Sherlock interact with the world around him. Part of me is fascinated by Sherlock’s unbelievable power of deduction. (That word again.) Part of me is also wildly entertained by it. And part of me is just….how does someone do that. Seriously, how does he do that.

If I turned this review into something resembling anything I’d done in the past, in terms of analyzing the chronological narrative points of “A Study in Pink,” I could probably write at least five thousand words. Steven Moffat’s script is ridiculously dense and complicated, many times in a way that’s hard to follow. I didn’t ever lose my interest, though, because the social and personal dynamic between Freeman and Cumberbatch is so unique and genuine. And while the story is seriously fantastic (it really is), the characters really do draw this story along.

But about that story. What I enjoyed about Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid was that it became a task to figure out the ending, to determine Doyle’s endgame for each novel or story. While Moffat and Gatiss work from the original source material in a way, they certainly honor Sherlock’s obsession with deduction and Doyle’s tendency for outlandish, complex, and ridiculously intense plots. The strange suicides honestly do seem unconnected and, much like I felt back during the beginning of my experience with the original books, I was completely confused. Of course, Sherlock was twenty steps ahead of me. How could there be serial suicides? By nature of the act itself, it seems impossible. But Sherlock isn’t ready to accept an easy answer. And isn’t that what this is really about? Not accepting the easiest answer. Sometimes, Occam’s razor isn’t always the best option.

As Inspector Lestrade reluctantly consults Sherlock on the case, we watch as Sherlock continues to show up the law enforcement team because they are not him. I know I just simplified that, but I love this first crime scene with the lady in pink because it’s an even better look at how Sherlock operates. Within seconds, he deduces that this woman has been having an affair. For a long time. And that she was from out of town, based solely on the splashes of mud on one of her legs. And that she has a suitcase that is missing.


And maybe this is going to be something explored over the course of this series (or perhaps the next one), but it’s not long before Watson meets one of Sherlock’s “enemies.” After getting a call on a public phone and witnessing a demonstration of how he’s being watched, John gets into a black sedan and is taken to a warehouse, where he meets a seedy man who literally identifies himself as the enemy of Sherlock. Which…that’s an interesting technique and rather unorthodox. But this is Sherlock Holmes! Villains are over the top and absurd! I didn’t get the sense that this man was the one behind the ritual suicides; perhaps this is part of a series-long arc? That’s my guess.

But back to the main story. I like that Moffat has continued the idea that Sherlock will not eat while he’s working a case, and I also imagine that Watson has to eventually find this unbearably uncomfortable. I mean…I don’t like eating when I’m the only one with food. I was taught it was rude! But if I’m eating with Sherlock, does that mean I can never eat? IT’S A NEVERENDING FOOD LOOP OF SOCIAL ANXIETY. Anyway, this is a point I brought up because it’s during the scene that I noticed this where the plot ramps up in terms of tension and pacing. What I enjoy about what Moffat and the entire crew has done with Sherlock is that even just in this first 90-minute episode, it’s clear that the city of London is just as much of a character as any living person. When Sherlock realizes that the killer must have been in a taxi with each of the victims, the chase scene that follows is as much absurd comedy as it is a brilliant display of London and the way filmmakers can use a live set to build drama. I’m reminded of movies that use cities as characters, such as Michael Mann’s Collateral, which is one fantastic love letter to Los Angeles when you think about it, or Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing is so indicative of Brooklyn during that time period.

As fantastical as it might seem, too, to watch Sherlock act out the impulses and brilliant bouts of logical deduction on screen, I get the distinct sense that this version of the characters is still heavily grounded in reality.  When Watson and Sherlock realize their killer has probably escaped from them, they return home to Baker Street to discover a drug bust at Sherlock’s house. It’s nice to see that they’re not ignoring the drug use that was prevalent in the original stories, though it’s all in a different context here. Sherlock uses nicotine patches instead of a pipe, and there’s no drug use at all in this modern adaptation, though the drug bust seems like an obvious reference to Sherlock’s original use of heroin. (It was heroin, right? Or was it cocaine? I can’t remember; it’s been a long time since I read any Sherlock Holmes material.)

I will be interested to see how exactly Moffat, Gatiss, and any other writers deal with Sherlock’s epiphanies without making them seem repetitive and stale over the next couple episodes, but that’s not to say that they feel that way at all here in “A Study In Pink.” In rapid succession, Sherlock deducts that the last victim, that lady in pink, planted her mobile phone ON PURPOSE and was sharing her password on the floor (the RACHE scrawled into the floor) in order to help track the murderer. At that point, I believed this was a murderer, too, despite that others weren’t so sure. And when they turn on the GPS signal and it says that it’s coming from 221B Baker Street, my brain exploded. Sherlock had a cab waiting for him. It wasn’t a cab passenger. The murderer was the cabbie himself.

AND GOOD GOD, DO I LOVE WHERE THIS EPISODE GOES. Instead of having a simple “A-HA!” moment and resolving the case, Moffat truly understands what Sherlock’s personality is like: He isn’t just satisfied with “solving” a case. He needs to fully understand it. So Sherlock gets into the cab with the man he knows to be the murderer because to him, justice is pointless if it doesn’t come with all the answers. (Is this a slight commentary on closure? I wouldn’t be surprised.)

I mean, I seriously would never have guessed the ending to “A Study in Pink” in a million years. We all saw that the people who died took the pills themselves, so the question then becomes: What did this man say to them to make them take a pill of poison willingly?

Two bottles. One pill is harmless, the other is a deadly poison. One gun. Two choices. Get shot on the spot, or play this man’s dying game. Which pill is correct? Does the cabbie know which pill is actually the poisoned one or is he bluffing as well? And Sherlock doesn’t fear asking the murderer about his motives or the consequences of such a disturbing game either, but he is intrigued. He’s intrigued by the game. In fact, isn’t this game uniquely designed for someone like Sherlock Holmes? It’s an extreme act of deduction, isn’t it?

Unexpected through all of this, though is Dr. John Watson. Following the GPS signal (and with the understated motivation of caring for Sherlock, which I will expand on when I am ready and NOW IS NOT THE TIME), it’s Watson who might have saved Sherlock’s life. It’s a brilliant shot, really, that Watson takes that fatally wounds the cab driver. And Sherlock, always wanting to be the one who know everything, can’t resist asking: Did he pick the right pill? I was surprised, though, that he quickly reverted to a more important line of questioning, realizing his time with this man was running out. I hadn’t addressed it earlier in the review because, at that point in the episode, it seemed inconsequential to me. But Sherlock has a “fan” that inherently caused all of this to happen, and right here, in this moment, Sherlock digs his foot into the wound, telling the man to give him a name.


FUCK. YES. Oh god, they’re already introducing Sherlock’s arch-enemy this early? MOST EXCITE.

But Moffat ain’t done. We meet that “enemy” of Sherlock again outside of the crime scene. After Sherlock properly deduces that it was John who shot the cabbie and then immediately acts in a manner to protect him, Watson and Sherlock see that man who told Watson to choose a side.

MYCROFT HOLMES. OH SHIT, Y’ALL. I have no idea how he’s going to play into this show in the future, but man, DID NOT EXPECT THAT. But it’s a good note to end the first episode on: Both Sherlock and Watson, in just a day or two of meeting each other, are already protecting one another. There’s a beautiful thing to the way they interact, an almost loving sense of brotherhood, that is a testament to the talent of these actors and the writers. It’s only the first episode, and yet I feel these two have known each other for years. I like that.


  • Ok, to prove to you how long I have been planning this three-day mini review trip, look back to my review of “The Eleventh Hour,” the first episode of the fifth series of Doctor Who. If you read that first real paragraph that starts, “The show looks absolutely gorgeous…” you’ll notice I mention that there are so many “new-ish camera angles or technical devices being used for the first time.” What it used to say right after that, and which I took out right after I published it because someone figured it out in like the first five minutes of the review, was, “And I really want to talk about how this relates to something else Moffat has done, but we’ll have to wait later for that.” So, true story: This review and the next two were actually written almost a month ago during the momentary break between series four and series five of Doctor Who. I’m only going back over them now to add in stuff like this and correct some things I’ve gotten wrong.
  • “Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the entire street.”
  • “Shut up.” “I didn’t say anything.” “You were thinking. It’s annoying.”
  • I love how lovable Sherlock Holmes is despite that in any other circumstance and possibly played by any other actor, he’d be a raging asshole.
  • Also, the scene where Watson asks Sherlock if he has a girlfriend or a boyfriend (“Which is fine, by the way”) might be my favorite of the entire episode. DRIPPING WITH SUBTEXT.
  • “Are these human eyes?” “Put those back.” “But they were in the microwave.” “It’s an experiment.”
  • “Look at you lot, you’re all so vacant. Is it nice not being me? It must be so relaxing.”
  • “Ah, breathing. Breathing’s boring.” And I believe he means this with 100% sincerity.
  • “I’m in shock! Look, I’ve got a blanket.”
  • “In real life. People don’t have archenemies.” “That sounds a bit dull. So what do people have in their real lives?” “Friends, people they like, people they don’t like, boyfriends, girlfriends…” “Like I said, dull.” LOVE YOU FOREVER, SHERLOCK HOLMES.
  • Just to be clear about the schedule, we have a classic Doctor Who post on Monday, and then Mark Watches Avatar: The Last Airbender will start on Tuesday! PARTY!


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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396 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Sherlock’: S01E01 – A Study In Pink

  1. echinodermata says:

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    Suitably surprised.

    Not being prepared for this, um, how 'bout that Benedict Cumberbatch? Fantastic name, fantastic face, fantastic acting. I easily find him the most captivating of the characters and actors on this show.

    This was also my fav episode of the three. It's fun and clever and a very good entrance.


    Um, for the people who have seen all the Sherlock eps, and assuming they've been here for Doctor Who, have a fanvid! It's a crossover vid, and it's truly fantastic and I love it a lot.

    • Evelina White says:

      Just want to point out to anyone that the fanvid you linked uses scenes from later episodes of Sherlock so it might be considered spoilery by some.

      Agree with you on Benedict Cumberbatch, though. He's amazing!

      • echinodermata says:

        I did say it's for people who have seen all the Sherlock eps, but it does bear repeating that the vid I linked to is spoilery for both Sherlock and Doctor Who.

        • Evelina White says:

          Sorry! *reading comprehension fail* Guess I was just too quick to click the link and subsequently too much in awe with the vid to read your post properly. 😉

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Not being prepared for this, um, how 'bout that Benedict Cumberbatch? Fantastic name, fantastic face, fantastic acting.

      You forgot fantastic coat. He's like "I'm Sherlock Holmes, I have an amazing brain and the best damn coat in London."

      • ninjac says:

        oh GOD yes!!! With his little red button hole!!!!!

      • Dru says:

        I know this is half a year after the fact, but the coat is from Belstaff! (unavailable now, even if I could ever afford it *sad*)

        It really is an amazing coat.

  2. Fuchanicus says:

    What what what? Sherlock? NOT PREPARED. Good thing that was (coincidentally) on my list of things to watch tonight. I shall go watch and read this later!

  3. xpanasonicyouthx says:


    Or I have seriously misjudged how popular this show is. EITHER WAY I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE COMMENTS EMPTY FIVE MINUTES AFTER A POST BEFORE.

    ~i am magic~

  4. elusivebreath says:

    Mark, that is a naughty surprise, I can't even read the review until I run home and track down this series! EEK!!!

    • ldwy says:

      Yes, I'm a day behind because I hadn't watched it, but now I am clearly. These websites and all these shows I've somehow never watched before (how how how???) have engulfed all my free evenings but I don't care.

  5. xpanasonicyouthx says:



  6. Trisha says:

    I guess I have to start watching Sherlock now…

  7. karate0kat says:


  8. Openattheclose says:

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  9. Jenny_M says:

    Benedict Cumberbatch Englebert Humperdinck. For more, see Eddie Izzard. IT IS ALL CONNECTED.

    See? I'm like Sherlock.

    (He really does have the most British name ever, though. When I first watched this, it took me forever to realize he was the evil baddie child rapist in Atonement which DO NOT WANT!)

    • knut_knut says:

      upvote for Eddie Izzard!

      I actually put off watching Sherlock because whenever I thought of Benedict Cumberbatch, I pictured him as his character in Atonement 🙁 Thankfully, I've gotten over that

      • Jenny_M says:

        It's the ginger versus not ginger hair that made it so hard for me to realize it was the same person! When I did, though, oh Lord. YOU RUINED JAMES MCAVOY'S LIFE, YOU DICK.

        Well, okay, actually Saoirse Ronan ruined his life but STILL. BUT. STILL. Shame on you, Benedict Cumberbatch!

        • knut_knut says:

          AGH it also made me HAAAAAAATE Saoirse Ronan for the longest time and then I realized she's basically a mini Cate Blanchett so all is good. I need to learn how to separate actors from their characters

      • monkeybutter says:

        I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM. I'm not going to post spoilers why exactly, but I can only watch him without chestnut/red hair. Otherwise? SUPERCREEP.

    • leighzzz31 says:

      Oh god, Atonement! Thank goodness you were ginger in that Cumberbatch and I didn't recognise you for the first five mins of Sherlock or I wouldn't have watched! I was traumatised by that film! Traumatised!

      • Jenny_M says:

        It was my favorite book and I'm a Knightley fangirl and so OF COURSE I was going to go see it, thinking that since I knew how it ended I wouldn't cry. BUT HAHA I WAS PRETTY WRONG.

        • leighzzz31 says:

          I read the book before the movie too – BECAUSE I AM A TOTAL KEIRA FANGIRL TOO – and OMG the tears were embarassing both times. Damn you Briony! You are the reason I'm almost always prepared to hate children in movies/TV!!!

          • Jenny_M says:

            Haha can we be best friends? NOBODY UNDERSTANDS MY KEIRA LOVE.

            (~Forever alone~)

            • leighzzz31 says:

              I KNOWWWW! WHY DO YOU ALL HATE KEIRA???Though, lol, when I was about 15 and the first Pirates of the Carrribean came out I totally hated her – only because I was irrationaly in love with Orlando Bloom. Then I got over it when I watched P&P – she's in my favourite book's adaptation, I will love her forever! Basically period movie+Keira=me swooning at the screen!

              • arctic_hare says:

                I saw that adaptation of P&P on TV recently, and had a good laugh at spotting Sally Sparrow, Miss Evangelista, and Harriet Jones, Prime Minister in there. Oh, the tiny pool of British actors, never stop providing lulz.

                • leighzzz31 says:

                  My ten year old sister – who hates period movies – sat all through P&P because of Sally Sparrow! While of course continuously asking why Sally Sparrow, Miss Evangelista AND Harriet Jones, Prime Minister were following Mr Darcy around when they should be with the Doctor!

                • OH SHIT HARRIET JONES. I'm just getting over the shocker that Pretty Miss Evangelista= awkward awkward Mary. NOW LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE.

                  Going to have to find time to pop in the old DVD again…

                • Hotaru-hime says:

                  I watched Downton Abbey when I realized Dame Maggie Smith and Harriet Jones, Prime Minister were in it.

            • thisyearsgirl says:

              Joining in on the Keira love! I watched Bend it Like Beckham obsessively when it came out so I've had a soft spot for her ever since 🙂

            • monkeybutter says:

              Pfft, I don't understand Keira Knightley hate! Her P&P is one of my favorite movies to watch over and over again!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Oh ew, I never realized that! D: Possibly because I saw Atonement only once a long time before watching this episode.

  10. knut_knut says:

    I WAS NOT PREPARED!!!! BUT I AM PLEASED because I am deeply in love with Sherbatch Cumberlock and this show <3

  11. Kaybee42 says:

    Ahhhh that was cheeky, Mark! I even watched the first (two) episodes of avatar:TLA today! Never mind, OF COURSE I've already seen Sherlock!
    Anyway, you said you could easily write 5000 words for this episode, but I'm wondering how many words you DID write!? It seems like a lot 😀 Anyway, I'm glad you liked it!
    I have a question for the spoiler policy re these- because you've already seen them by now, how will the spoiler policy work? Same as always or relaxed?
    edit- I see you've already answered my questions about spoilers, cool beans 🙂

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      OH GOD. I had to stop myself when I hit 3,100 words. I was like JESUS CHRIST MARK NO ONE WILL WANT TO READ THIS DRIBBLE.

      Let me just say that I WROTE EVEN MORE FOR THE REVIEWS TO COME. oh god Sherlock makes me so pedantic and wordy.

      • nanceoir says:


        Except we do. WE DOOOOOOOOO!

  12. Frances says:




  13. arctic_hare says:

    Huh! Guess I'll have to catch up on this show, then – this episode is the only one I've seen the whole thing of, and that was a while back. I remember enjoying it a lot, though, but probably not as much as someone who's read the original Doyle stories.

    I watched the first episode of ATLA earlier, cause I wanted to watch along with you, and now I'm accidentally ahead of you. Oops! LOL. NOT MY FAULT, THOUGH (except for, okay, the part where I watched episode two because I'm so into it and I won't be around on Friday probably so I thought I might as well get a little ahead, OH WELL).

  14. Sparkie says:

    OMG surpised! But I haven't seen this for months so I have nothing much to say except SHERLOCK!

  15. Kraznit says:

    Dr. Watson was injured in Afghanistan in the original canon too. History always comes round again.

    • Elliott Mason says:

      It amazed me how many, many things were EXACTLY the same as they were in the original … but that when you move it forward in time without changing them, they rhyme differently, as it were?

      Victorian!Sherlock got around in cabs all the time, and both impersonated cabbies (with his startling self-makeup-disguise skills, which i hope we'll get in 21stC!Sherlock!), and had people-of-interest from his cases being cabbies and other ignored, overlooked people.

      This both was and wasn't a riff on A Study In Scarlet, the introductory story from the original that has Watson meeting and taking lodgings with Holmes and involves a dead woman with RACHE written near her in blood.

      I was so glad when they didn't go the Killer Mormons route, though. AND ZOMG MYCROFT! The way they handled all that was perfect; his personality is nearly exactly the same as Victorian!Mycroft, though once you transpose it various facts about his life do end up having to be different (like not spending 95% of his life walled up in a gentleman's club).

      I was/am a massive Vic!Holmes fanboy, having read the total Annotated Canon end-to-end repeatedly from middle school onwards, and I not only wasn't disappointed in this, it made me actively squee way more than once.

      They did a shout-out to Watson's Amazing Teleporting War Wound! (In some of the originals he mentions a jezail's bullet, in some he rubs his shoulder, and in some he limps like it was in the leg).

    • attack womb says:

      Yay! I was not expecting Mark to watch Sherlock, so have failed in reading his blog over the last few days (and also have been ridiculously busy) – but the first thing that struck me when I watched this show was – hey, wasn't Watson in Afghanistan in the originals? So, being the nerd I am, I pulled out my Sherlock Holmes (with original illustrations from The Strand, ps) and sure enough… then i checked the date the originals were written, and it DEPRESSED ME FOR DAYS to realize that Afghanistan has basically had wars fought on its soil since the 1800s.

      I am a huuuge fan of the originals – in fact, Sherlock is my favourite literary character EVER (and I have the photographs of myself at 221B Baker Street to prove it), so I actually resisted watching this until my dad (!) told me how awesome it was… I must say, I'm super impressed at how they've managed to modernize it while staying so true to the spirit of the originals.

  16. Meenalives says:

    I am a bonafide queer girl, but Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the small subset of men I find bone-meltingly hot. And that voice…(drool). I am so glad you're watching this! When you said on twitter that your next project was a surprise I was a little disappointed, because I'm really looking forward to Avatar, but I'm definitely not disappointed anymore!

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      And for those waiting for A:TLA, as I said in a comment above, I really want to do A:TLA right. I've not done an animated series before and I am very aware of the gigantic fandom for this show. So, like I said, this brief detour is buying me time to finish some Doctor Who stuff, buy the A:TLA series, and give it the attention it deserves. Fair enough?

  17. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    Maybe not worth a review on it's own, but it's worth finding the original 60 minute pilot version that they shot and then ditched for a complete rework. It's on the DVD and is floating around the internets in the usual places. It's really interesting to compare the two and learn about the mechanics of storytelling and direction (Paul McGuigan brings such panache to his version, possible because he's mainly worked in film rather than TV). It also points up the origin of the weakness in the main story – it's a 60 minute story inflated to 90 minutes, and in the original version it takes Sherlock the right amount of time to work out the mystery, whereas it feels too long in the reworked one.

    Still, that doesn't really bother me as I've never considered the originals to be either high art (I was surpised at how many people expected this to be more intellectual) or as that amazingly plotted – they're wonderful adventure yarns with great iconic character moments and a brilliant relationship between the main characters. And all that is pretty much what you get from this version – more acutely then any other version I've seen, which is the genius of updating it.

    Not much I can add – but what a wonderful surprise! I'll watch The Blind Banker in preparation for tomorrow, which should be interesting.

    And it bears repeating: YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

    I was hoping to do a long involved Doctor Who comment, but it hasn't materialised. I'll try and do a blog post and link it to either the live-blog of the Movie or series six – for those that were interested.

    • Claire says:

      Seconded about watching the pilot – In the full length episode, my dad worked out that the killer was a cabbie way before Sherlock did and that's just not right (that's not to say that my dad is stupid, but Sherlock is supposed to be better than anyone else in the world at this sort of thing). In the pilot, he works it out much quicker which I think is more true to his character. I guess that's just what happens when you lengthen an episode – it has to take longer to get to the climax.

      • Calimie says:

        Agreed. When he gets like "someone nobody sees but they're everywhere" I called it. And I'm usually terribly slow about such things so it was a strange feeling to solve a case before SH.

  18. thefireandthehearth says:

    I… didn't even know Moffat was involved in something Sherlock Holmes-y. THE MORE YOU KNOW, I guess. Seems like an interesting show, though. Excellent trolling thar, Mark. *toasts*

  19. monkeybutter says:

    Ahahahaha. I thought you were up to something when you wouldn't mention which series is next! But this is a nice surprise because I wanted to see what you thought about Sherlock! It's totally appropriate to do this after series 5 because, you know, Moffat, and I was initially put off by both because of the lead actors' lack of eyebrows. I'm superficial, okay? I love them both now!

    It's soooo much fun to watch Sherlock work, and the dialogue is amazing. I'm sure by the time I submit this comment, there will be a million awesome gifs, too. Benedict Cumberbatch is so much fun, but I have to disagree with you on one point: he is totally a raging asshole. And I wouldn't have Sherlock any other way.

    I loved the scene in the Italian restaurant. I've always thought of Sherlock as asexual, and it was so great to see Watson and Holmes relationship addressed in a comedic way. Oh, and Martin Freeman <3 Why didn't I realize how awesome you are before now?

  20. TreasureCat says:

    Best. Surprise. Ever.
    I loves me some Sherlock, and I especially loves me some Benedict Cumberbatch. I mentioned it in the thread on the forums but I cannot get enough of his voice. I woud listen to that man read the phone book. And the Sherlock/Watson dynamic? Quick, somebody fetch my slash goggles! WARNING, dangerously high shipping possibility detected!
    Seriously though, I love that you're reviewing Sherlock for us and I love that you love it. The writing is pure genius and the quality of acting is truly amazing. Oh oh does this mean you'll be watching series 2 in real time with us too? As well as Doctor Who? 😀

    • evocativecomma says:

      "I especially loves me some Benedict Cumberbatch."

      One Sherlock review said his voice was like "A jaguar hiding inside a cello."


  21. redheadedgirl says:


    I was like, "oh, but I haven't watch ATLA yet, I CAN'T REEEEEEEEAD" and then this is posted, which is a show I HAVE WATCHED

    So I choose to beleive you did this JUST FOR ME.

    (because it is all about me. I KNOW IN MY HEART THIS IS TRUE.)

  22. Heather says:

    Hee! I loved Sherlock! It was amazing, and the relationship between Holmes and Watson is just perfect. They play off each other so well. I also completely adore the way they superimpose images over the episode to enhance certain scenes, like the chase scene. Makes everything more intense.

  23. Selthia says:

    Just going to leave this here…

    <img src=""&gt;

  24. Albion19 says:

    I don’t think there’s a man on earth who looks like Benedict Cumberbatch. Not a single one. Like…I can’t figure out his face.

    I think he's beautiful, in a tall, feline sort of way. And his voice! The first time I saw him in anything was "To the Ends of the Earth" and I was not expecting such a deep voice to come out of his mouth. Guh.

    I've seen a few people say he looks like Colin Morgan, who plays Merlin…

  25. FlameRaven says:

    Huh! Not expecting this, no. I haven't seen the show (how many episodes are there?) but I think I'll have to check it out. I like the idea of Holmes, but when I read one of the story collections I found many of the stories too painfully dated for me to really enjoy properly.

    However, Holmes written by Stephen Moffat and set in modern times is something I must see.

    • Neil says:

      It's three 90 minute TV movies

      • dcjensen says:

        And a second series coming in the future. From Wikipedia:
        The BBC has confirmed that a second series of three 90-minute episodes will air in Autumn 2011. Detailed information about the new episodes is not publicly available, but Steven Moffat told The Guardian, "You can have three words to work from: Adler, Hound, Reichenbach. Those are your clues.

  26. Calimie says:


    Did you know that Matt Smith auditioned for Sherlock first? I totally see it!

    Re: Cumberbatch's face: I didn't like him at first, but by the end of the episode I was swooning. (OMG, his voice)
    And Martin Freeman is Bilbo!! Can't get more perfect.

    I was watching Avatar, so I won't get into "my fav moments" except this: I totally called Mycroft when he called himself his archenemy. /brags

  27. thisyearsgirl says:

    Surprise!Sherlock 😀

    I love this episode, it's such a great way to introduce the series and it managed to completely make me forget about my skepticism of a "modern Sherlock"

  28. buyn says:

    EXCITE… AND STUFF, AND BUMBUMBUM, AND YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. I wish I knew how to embed devart, because slinkers took the subtext scene, and made it more hilarious, but I don't know how, perhaps a kindly user, could reply with that picture?

  29. NOOOOOOOOO, I wanted A:tLA. ;_;

    But I love Sherlock, so I guess it works out. Possibly.

    And DEAR GOD, THE DIALOGUE. It is all so wonderful and fantastic and WHY CAN I NOT MEET SHERLOCK IRL. That seen in the cab, where he deduces a shitton of stuff from Watson's phone? That's actually almost straight from one of the books, except with a watch, and the lack of Harry/Harriet confusion.

    Also, it was mostly cocaine, with some opium, and the implication that Sherlock would try pretty much anything when he was bored.

  30. nanceoir says:

    Ooh, Sherlock!

    I don’t think there’s a man on earth who looks like Benedict Cumberbatch. Not a single one. Like…I can’t figure out his face.

    You know what's strange about that? In the show, he does have a rather… odd face. Like, he looks almost alien. However, at other times? He looks completely normal and not alien and rather lovely. I remember seeing him on a chat show after watching this episode, and… wow, what a striking difference!

    Anyway, I really, really like this episode. I've watched it… many times (though not in a while… guess what I'll be doing this evening!), considering its length. It's just… pitch-perfect. I've never read any Conan Doyle, and I don't even know many specifics beyond what comes through via cultural osmosis, but this just feels so dead on.

    Cumberbatch and Freeman are amazing together, and I love how kind of chilling (but, in retrospect, kind of not) Gatiss is as Mycroft. Like a lot of people, while I was really pleased to hear that Martin Freeman was cast as Bilbo in The Hobbit, there was a rather loud part of me going, "But what about Sherlock? I NEED MORE!!!" Yay for having cake and eating it.

    Okay, now I've got to go rewatch the episode, get it fresh in my head. Mark, participating in your blog is such a chore, gawd! 😉

  31. carma_bee says:

    I was a little disappointed for half a second that there wasn't a review for Avatar, but then I realized that that's stupid, because I love Sherlock! I'd never really been into Sherlock Holmes stuff, even after I saw the latest movie, and this one got my SO INTO IT, it was amazing. Martin and Benedict are just amazing in it. They really drew me in a lot. And Benedict has this weird attractiveness, especially as Sherlock, that I kind of love.

    And I totally had a little squee halfway through the review when I remembered that Martin Freeman is going to be Bilbo Baggins!

  32. lolwat says:

    There are no words for the emotion I felt when I seen this on twitter.
    This is an amazing show and I love it forever and Benedict Bumberbatch can have my babies.

  33. Omg, I don't know what's more jarring- going from Doctor Who mania to rewatching ATLA or going from rewatching ATLA to WHAT SHERLOCK WHAT?!?!

    <img src=""&gt;


    Excuse me while I go find my coherence!

  34. leighzzz31 says:

    Oh hey, SUPER SURPRISING SHERLOCK REVIEW! I clicked on here just to see how you found the new show you're watching, Mark – which unfortunately I won't have the time to experience with you.


    Martin Freeman was my main reason to start watching this, I adore him. Benedict Cumberbatch was unknown to me for his first five mins onscreen after which i started yelling 'RAPIST FROM ATONEMENT!' and hiding behind my sofa. Then I got over it and appreciated his utterly maginficent Sherlock.
    Not much more to say because it's been a while since I watched but:

    -MORE LESTRADE! Ruper Graves, I love you so, so, so much!
    -This series? Total love letter to London! And I can appreaciate this so much. I WANT TO GO BACK!!! *tears*
    -Everyone mistaking Sherlock and Watson for a couple? WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME SHIP THIS???
    -I think this was my favourite of the three episodes – partly because a Study in Scarlet was the first Sherlock novel I got my hands on.

  35. Jenny_M says:

    Oh I like this team. I want to have parties where we watch that Princess of Thieves movie she did when she was like 16 and played Robin Hood's daughter. And I'm pretty sure Stephen Moyer (aka Vampiyuh BEEL from True Blood) played the prince she was supposed to make out with.

  36. Sam Street says:

    Oh I'm so pleased you've done these too!

    I love this show, The Moff and Gatiss pitched it just right. Always loved Cumberbatch too, he considered auditioning for Doctor Eleven, but changed his mind.

    What about Torchwood for a Mark Watches? Lots of lovely Jack Harkness and his sexy sidekicks!

  37. Goldensage says:


    I loved watching Sherlock. Before watching A Study in Pink, I meant to read 'A Study in Scarlet', but only got through the first two chapters. Even then I was squealing with happiness regarding continuity. (I read a fair bit of Sherlock Holmes in my youth – I remembered bits and pieces)

    Oh, this entire series is just so well done. Have fun, Mark!

  38. arctic_hare says:

    OH MY GOODNESS EW NO D: I had forgotten how seriously creepy he was there!

    • Jenny_M says:

      RIGHT??? It is a testament to what an awesome actor he is that I was able to overlook it and love Sherlock regardless.

      • arctic_hare says:

        The mustache alone is scary, and then you get to how he's behaving, and just – ew. Ick. No. I'm sure I can overlook this when I catch up on Sherlock, though.

  39. Beci says:

    oh my god so excite 😀

  40. Minish says:

    <img src=>

    I love this so much!

    Benedict Cumberbatch is PERFECT as Sherlock and a human being in general. Just… just say his name out loud. Go on. Try it.

    Martin Freeman as Watson surprised me. He was rather quite fantastic.

    This story was so fun to watch unfold and was funny, crazy, and harrowing in only a way Steven Moffat can make work.

    I LOVE YOU FOREVER MOFFAT!!!! His twitter picture is just full of every kind of awesome.
    <img src=>

  41. carma_bee says:

    Lucius from The Fires of Pompeii
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Taxi driver Jeff
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">


    I love spotting British actors in shows. Phil Davis is in an episode of Ashes to Ashes too, and I totally went 'omg!' out loud when I saw him in that.

  42. Minish says:

    Would now be a bad time to recommend Torchwood: Children of Earth?

    • Matt says:

      The question is whether or not its worth Mark going through seasons 1 and 2 first. I would say probably yes, but only bother reviewing them as seasons. You don't need to know where the characters have come from to appreciate or understand Children of Earth, but you do gain several levels of engagement and investment with the story.

  43. Emmy Scarlet says:

    Ha! Thank you, it wasn't just me thinking it! The whole time I was watching, I kept yelling to Sherlock: "No, it's a trap, they're both poisoned! Don't you realize he's spent years building up an immunity to iocane powder?"

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • @PositivelyB says:

        I feel like this is fandom truth at this point. I can't tell you how many fics I've read where John says, "IT WAS IOCANE POWDER, YOU IDIOT" and Sherlock says, "I don't understand that reference."

      • evocativecomma says:

        The Princess Bride got it from A Study in Scarlet, not the other way around.

        "One day the professor was lecturing on poisions, and he showed his students some alkaloid, as he called it, which he had extracted from some South American arrow poison, and which was so powerful that the least grain meant instant death. I spotted the bottle in which this preparation was kept, and when they were all gone, I helped myself to a little of it. I was a fairly good dispenser, so I worked this alkaloid into small, soluble pills, and each pill I put in a box with a similar pill made without the poison. I determined at the time that when I had my chance, my gentlemen should each have a draw out of one of these boxes, while I ate the pill that remained. It would be quite as deadly, and a good deal less noisy than firing across a handkerchief. From that day I had always my pill boxes about with me, and the time had now come when I was to use them."

        • anobium says:

          Depends what you mean by "it".

          The "pick a pill" challenge is straight from the original "Study in Scarlet". But the idea that maybe both were poisoned (which is what we were talking about) is from "The Princess Bride". In "A Study in Scarlet", only one pill in each set is poisoned, because the murderer is on a Divine Mission of Vengeance, and trusts in Providence to make sure he gets the right pill.

        • FlameRaven says:

          Did you mean to repost this like 10 times or was it an accident? Because otherwise replying to every comment with it is a little obnoxious. :/

    • sarasingsout says:

      All the upvotes forever. I will never be able to watch that scene without giggling again.

  44. echinodermata says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I'm too scared to post any other gifs/graphics I find since I don't know which eps they come from.

    • psycicflower says:

      It's such a pretty show.
      Same here. I don't have many Sherlock gifs but I'm paranoid about using them, just in case.

  45. HungryLikeLupin says:

    Oh my god I saw you post about this on Twitter and quite literally gave a little gasping squeal and rushed right over here and I still can't breathe properly and and and and–

    *passes out*

    I love this show so, so, SO MUCH. More than is probably healthy, if we're being entirely honest. And while as a DIE-HARD SHERLOCK HOLMES FAN (which sadly, kept me from being at all surprised at the big reveal, but did allow me to catch a dozen little nods to the original stories, so we'll call it a draw) there were things I was hesitant about, by the end it had totally and completely won me over. You're exactly right when you say that it's completely recognizable as Sherlock Holmes even within a modern setting. Moffat and Gatiss do an absolutely brilliant job of translating the characters, and representing what they would be if they lived in modern times rather than over a hundred years ago.

    I will not say too much here, but THE SUBTEXT, MARK. IT IS GREAT. DEAR LORD. (And if you have it available, I'd recommend watching the unaired version of the first episode, as well. There are just enough differences to be rather fascinating.)

    The only thing that really bothered me was that, unlike in A Study in Scarlet, there's never any motive represented for why the killer chose the victims he did. Yes, opportunity, etc. etc., but the episode makes a point to represent all of the victims as having some sort of dirty secret, which I thought was a nice reinterpretation of the original. (Bonus: it was far more easily contained than the original, as well.) That part of the motive seems to be forgotten, however, in the final showdown. It feels like the episode's Chekhov's Gun to me, except that it never gets fired. I WANT TO SEE SOME FIRING MOTIVATIONS, PEOPLE! Um. Or something.

  46. psycicflower says:

    It's a Sherlock review?
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I am completely unprepared and have no idea what to say. It's ages since I watched the series but I guess I have an excuse to rewatch it now.
    Mmmm, Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch. So good he has a name in the middle of his name. I love him as Sherlock in this. Martin Freeman is amazing as John. There's a great dynamic between Sherlock and John right from the start. I also love Rupert Grave as Lestrade and Mark Gatiss as Mycroft. Really everyone is fantastically cast. I really love the style of the show as well.

    The BBC did a great job with some tie in websites as well. Warning for those of you who haven’t watched all of Sherlock yet. These websites have information right up to the last episode so please avoid if you don’t want to be spoiled.
    John Watson’s Blog
    The Science of Deduction (Sherlock’s website)
    Molly Hopper’s Blog
    Character not relevant until final episode

    • Evelina White says:

      I love the fact that BBC put up those websites! Even though I didn't visit them until after I'd watched all of the episodes, I still really enjoyed the things they put up there.

      Got to say though, your last link refers back to this review. Which amuses me greatly but probably wasn't your intention. 😉

      Aaaand replying to you probably means you can't edit that anymore either. Sorry!

  47. katherinemh says:

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by">


  48. Tauriel_ says:

    Oh, Mark, can I recommend also watching the unaired pilot of Sherlock? It's basically a 60-minute version of Study In Pink, and the resolution is slightly different, but it has an AMAZING scene of Sherlock pretending to be drunk. <3

  49. _LilyEvans_ says:

    Oh my gosh so excited to see you do this, Mark!
    I haven't been around much as I'm not interested in the Doctor Who reviews (sorry, just facts) but I saw this on twitter and I got irrationally excited!

    I adored this little series with all my heart. I'm a diehard Sherlock fan and all the nods that Moffat throws in there had me giggling like a lunatic.
    What can I say about Benedict except that I offer my body as a vessel for all his children. And I don't even want children. (Fun fact: you can play "Spot Benedict's irl girlfriend" in this series)

    *sigh* so much love.
    Thank you thank you thank you!

  50. Mitch says:

    I have severe problems with this show and many people involved with it, and I'm sad that you're watching it. Homophobia, ableism, race issues, etc. :-/

    • Avit says:

      I know what you mean, and everyone has different dealbreak thresholds. Having recently finished watching Supernatural, however, I admit I am juuuuuuuuust a little bit dulled to that kind of thing at the moment…

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Question, since I might do that show one day: Are the fails particularly bad in that show? Like, am i going to constantly headdesk and facepalm as much as some people say I will? I AM ALWAYS TERRIFIED OF TAKING ON PROJECTS I WILL HATE because Twilight scarred me for life, for real.

        • thisyearsgirl says:

          Not who you asked, but I watched Supernatural for 4 seasons and I do feel it can be exceptionally filled with fail in certain areas. Mostly in how it handles women and minority characters.

          I got more and more uncomfortable with the show as it went on. There was always an undercurrent of sexism – as well as some pretty blatant sexism – and after awhile I got so sick of it I stopped watching. I won't bring up plot points for fear of spoiling but imo it's pretty bad.

        • Avit says:

          It is very, very, very bad. I don't recall

          • Avit says:

            Excuse me, premature posting. I don't recall actual explicit hate speech, but there's definitely disgust at gays and fat people, highly questionable distribution of POC characters, misogynistic slurs up the wazoo, and enough Unfortunate Implications to intoxicate a basementful of trolls.

        • thefireandthehearth says:

          Also not the person you originally asked, but the reason I stopped watching "Supernatural" is due to, what I felt, was blatant, grating sexism. I don't want to go into details, but yeah. Women tended to get the short end of the stick.

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about it.

      Ableism in the first episode? Are you referring to John's psychosomatic limp? I didn't read that as ableism (albeit from a non-affected perspective, so I could easily be misreading it) as much as…a psychosomatic limp. A traumatic injury manifesting itself in a physical way; in addition, it's a clever callback to the controversy over where original Watson's wound was — in the leg or in the shoulder.

      Race? Again, speaking from a white perspective, but I'd be interested to see where, in the first episode, race is an issue.

      Homophobia? Here I staunchly disagree with you. It's made clear that Watson doesn't care either way, his sister is not straight, Holmes doesn't care, no one cares. Where do you get homophobia in this episode? From Watson saying, "I'm not his date," at the diner? From Mrs. Hudson assuming that John and Holmes are together, and him correcting her? That's not homophobia — it's not mean-spirited or hateful, it's a clarification of an easy-to-misread situation.

      • Avit says:

        "I have severe problems with this show and many people involved with it"

        "this show and many people involved with it"

        I don't see "first episode".

        • Hermione_Danger says:

          My apologies — since this is the post about the first episode, I tried to keep it there. If this is an endemic or thematic issue in the show rather than a particular episode's problem, it should show up here, right? Now we're edging into spoiler territory, so shall we resume this discussion when there's more to talk about?

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            Just to be safe to the people who have not seen this show, I will say yes.

            And we will have QUITE A BIT TO TALK ABOUT TOMORROW.

            • xpanasonicyouthx says:

              WELL WAIT, WE CAN ACTUALLY DISCUSS THE ABLEISM PART NOW. Since Watson's PTSD appeared to have disappeared in this episode because "it was all in his head." I didn't notice that at all the first time around. I actually had to Google to find that one.

              • Hermione_Danger says:

                I thought that there was an interesting bit of tension between Watson being scarred by his experiences in the war vs. him feeling like his non-military life is boring. Mycroft, Holmes, and Watson all seemed to think, at various points, that Watson had some traumatic experiences and trouble adjusting to everyday life. It's a tough line: the difference between ableism ("PTSD is all in your head") and Watson's particular characterization (a man who has endured trauma and come out scarred, but also hungers for adventure and excitement).

                I'm not trying to say that ableism doesn't exist in this show, at all. It's certainly possible. My intention is never to silence. I deeply, deeply apologize if any of my comments have come off that way.

                • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                  I think I missed this bit because I didn't read the line as universalizing what happened to Watson, like…saying "This is the case with all people who suffer from PTSD."

                  But yes, I can be wrong about this or it may be something entirely different from this that is either in another episode or I just flat out missed.

              • jackiep says:

                That was in the original books too. Conan Doyle seemed to give Watson a limp (occasionally) although in the first story, he'd been shot in the shoulder. The psychosomatic limp caused by the trauma of being injured in battle is as good a reason for at as any, I suppose.

                Of course, isn't it interesting that 100 years after the original books, people are still getting horribly injured in body and mind on the battlefields of Afghanistan.

              • Stephanie says:

                I didn't see it as PTSD going away. I'm not going to say that Moffat doesn't have issues with ableism, because it is pretty obvious in most of his writing, but in this particular case, the way I saw it was a misdiagnosis. Mycroft made a comment about how he clearly wasn't afraid of the danger, he lived off of it, or something like that. I saw it more as a sort of depression (not really even depression, it didn't seem that severe, more like a funk) from the lack of adventure, and when the adventure came, he was sort of pulled out of the funk. I know that the nightmares point to PTSD, but not everyone who has nightmares has PTSD. In fact, we studied PTSD in my Health class, and the nightmares and the limp are the only symptom that we learned about that he was actually exhibiting.
                Also, in the alternate pilot, at the end there's a conversation between John and Sherlock that goes something along the lines of:
                "I told you the limp was psychosomatic"
                "Well, I knew that"
                "But you did get shot?"
                "In the shoulder"
                Which is a reference to how in the original stories Watson has a limp even though he was shot in the shoulder. And in the original stories, Watson's psychosomatic limp is there sometimes and gone others. I think that some of the things in reference to Watson that could be interpreted as ableism are just the writers referencing the original stories, which were written at a time when ableism wasn't really a thing, because it was just always there. I'm not saying it was ok, but I don't think anybody really noticed it, because it was just so common at those times, as you can tell from reading most literature written in that time period.

                That being said, I know that Moffat has a history of ableism, and it is very possible that I am misinterpreting this completely, but that's just how I saw it. And I'm not going to say anything about any ableism that has to do with anybody but Watson.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I think Mitch means the series in general, not necessarily in this first episode.

        Since I have written all three reviews already, Mitch, let me just say….THIS DOES NOT GO UNADDRESSED. oh god am i spoiling my own audience what am i doing

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Though I know next to nothing about the "people involved with it" aspect of what you're talking about, this is a large part of the reason I'm glad Mark is doing this, to be honest.

  51. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    I love how many of you also love Martin Freeman's face.

    bless that man.

  52. Calimie says:

    Ew! Ew! Ew! I should watch this movie.

    (Omg, his voice!! I always laughed at Alan Rickman fangirls for swooning but I get it now, I apologize for past side-eyes).

  53. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Well, I'm a little sad we're not starting ATLA today. I had my comment all planned out. 🙁

    But, well, at least I like Sherlock! I mean, I'm not a crazy fan, but Moffat and Gatiss really did wonders with it. The plotting is tight, funny, and keeps me on my seat. I especially loved how they updated it for a modern audience. I've only read one of the original books (I know I should read more, but I find myself uninterested in Victorian Literature), but I appreciated the little changes that made the link between them so good. Watson now writes a blog? Sherlock has nicotine patches? All makes sense.

    Also, totally blown away with the Mycroft twist. I was totally expecting it to be revealed a Moriarty, even though I was thinking 'Its a bit early to be introducing him, isn't it?' I mean, wasn't he only formally introduced in the book where Sherlock dies?!? (And comes back to life, but that wasn't Doyle's original intention.)

  54. VicarPants says:

    In Soviet Russia, You Are Not Prepared for Mark.
    Augh it's been so long since I watched this series and now I want to sit down and glut myself on it again.
    (When is series two out? WHEEEEN?)

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      October/November, maybe. They haven't even filmed it yet. Martin Freeman is in New Zealand, being Bilbo. And Benedict Cumberbatch is in London (still, I think) being Frankenstein and the monster, on alternate nights.

      Filming will happen in the summer.

      • VicarPants says:

        Aw maaaaaan. Filthy little hobbitses.


        • Openattheclose says:

          No, awesome little hobbitses and awesome cast. Yummy Richard Armitage plus there are David Tennant rumors. I think I would go to fangirl heaven.

          • VicarPants says:

            Yeah, I don't know how I'm going to deal with a bearded dwarf setting my loins afire (it's never happened before, but I'm assuming it's going to be a given in this case,) but I'm resigned.

            I think I'd just sooner have more Sherlock than Tolkein… >_> *tried reading the books and gave up about 100 pages from the end of the Fellowship* *never even tried the movies except for that one time the Two Towers was on TV when I was babysitting and coming across the movie halfway into the movie when that movie is halfway into the overall narrative was some bad juju so I gave up and turned it off *

            • Openattheclose says:

              I'll just close my eyes and listen to that voice.

              I'm a huge Tolkien fan, so I disagree over which I would rather have more of first. Plus, there's kind of a more pressing timeframe IMO to get The Hobbit done since they're using a lot of the same actors from LotR and that was filmed ten years ago.

      • sabra_n says:

        Yep, I just saw Cumberbatch as the Creature on Sunday. (Via broadcast, but still. He was there. :P)

    • WingedFlight says:

      WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT. You mean they really ARE doing a second series? I've been reading through the comments thinking this was just hopeful wishes, but they really ARE doing one? YESSSSS.

  55. Tauriel_ says:

    OMG how did I not notice that??? O.O

  56. leighzzz31 says:

    Atonement is one of my favourite films – one where every single actor delivers in his/her performance – so yeah I totally get that he's really not a CREEPY SLIMY RAPIST but I still cringed when I realised where I recognised him from. I did manage to separate the two characters like two mins into his performance as Sherlock, so I can appreciate that he is utterly DIFFERENT in this.

    (I know he's ginger but I prefer him dark-haired if I'm honest :D)

  57. Anon says:

    I did enjoy Sherlock but i found the first episode to be a bit predictable. I totally knew it was a taxi driver doing the killings, i really shouldn't be getting there before Sherlock does. The wonderfully named Benedict Cumberbatch was very good as Sherlock and so was Martin Freeman as Watson. I read somewhere that Cumberbatch was actually asked to audition to be the Eleventh Doctor, but he wasn't interested because he's friends with Tennant and didn't want all the attention the job brings.

    • Bobcat says:

      I think Cumberbatch was already signed up to Sherlock before they were casting for Doctor Who – so he was off the cards.

      No concrete source, but I'm inferring from that Matt Smith auditioned for Watson, but Moffat thought he was "more of a Sherlock-type character."

  58. Calimie says:

    Did anyone watch the Holmes cartoon? I grew up on them, they were fantastic! I'll be honest, that version of Holmes my favourite. Besides, because Miyazaki was involved in some episodes, you could see his strong girls there. (NGL, I shiped him with Mrs. Watson, haha).
    This is the Spanish opening:

  59. mkjcaylor says:

    And it's time for mkjcaylor to watch Sherlock…

    Definitely had A:tLA watched and ready to go.

    • Bobcat says:

      Enjoy! And report back with your thoughts!

      I love that Mark is getting readers from previous series watching new shows.

  60. Stephanie says:

    It could be the died hair. I'm not really sure, but he definitely looks different.

  61. Bobcat says:

    Was NOT prepared.

    Not even finished reading it yet. Just wanted to post a comment to register my utter delight. Brilliant.

    • Bobcat says:

      Right, done! Brilliant. So glad you enjoyed it.

      I don't have this on DVD, so I've not seen any of it since it was first broadcast – so I don't have many comments. But witnessing the enjoyment is brilliant. That vicarious joy is what I read the blog for. Very glad you liked it.

      I can still remember the absolute joy I felt at finding out that "modern Sherlock Holmes" – which I had no interest in aside from the writers and cast, and honestly thought sounded pretty tacky – was actually AMAZING. Glorious series.

  62. avpmlessthan3 says:

    First off, Benedict Cumberbatch Unnnnnnnnffffff. Love him to death. Can you believe that his mum didn’t want him to keep that name when he was acting? It’s so….Britishy? Sexy? Unique? Ok, I just have too much love for Benedict.

    I read your book reviews during my lunch period, since that site always seems to get updated first. After school while I’m waiting in the car for my brother to drive us home, I check this site on my phone. I literally just screamed and flailed around for five minutes from the pure joy and excitement after seeing this review. This show is AMAZING. It’s my favorite show after Doctor Who, and I’m glad you seem to like it too. I’m a huge fan of Conan Doyle and have read a lot of Sherlock Holmes and I love how well Benedict was able to pull off the character. And I can’t forget about Watson (why can’t those two just make out already and make me so very very happy?). I’m excitedly looking forward to the rest of the week’s reviews.

    You’ve just been CUMBERBATCH’D.

  63. bookling says:


    [Gif removed because I realized it was spoilery.]


    Oh! I do have one thing, though. I'm glad you picked up on the potential UST between John and Sherlock. Three episodes and the Sherlock fandom is one of the shippiest, slashiest fandoms I've ever seen. Just type "sherlock" into the search bar on Tumblr.

  64. Hotaru-hime says:

    Oh wow! Sherlock! I should have seen this coming.
    I love how at the end Sherlock comments that Mycroft has lost weight. It's nice.
    Sherlock is a raging asshole no matter who plays him, but Benedict Cumberbatch does it SPLENDIDLY. Also, how awesome is that name? BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. His parents are simultaneously awesome and cruel.
    Martin Freeman! I'd never seen him in anything else, but he was the main reason I watched Sherlock- he's going to be playing Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit and I wanted to see if he was up to it. He's more than up to it, he's brilliant! Knows when to be understated but then kicks ass and takes names.
    Brilliant lampshading on Sherlock/Watson ship.

  65. dearbossman says:

    Okay, THIS IS AWESOME!! I'm so excited you're doing "Sherlock" before starting on the Last Airbender (which I have never watched, but my Kiddo loves, so I might have to whip it out).

    Question for you, Dear Mark, did you ever watch the old Jeremy Brett episodes of Sherlock that were on Masterpiece Theater (PBS)?

    I will say, this is possibly my favorite adaptation of Sherlock Holmes…

  66. enigmaticagentscully says:


    I have to say, I was excited but a little nervous about ATLA, because I'm not sure if it will be my thing…so I figured I'd just have to get through that before the UNREMITTING AWESOMENESS that is Battlestar Galactica. Seriously I am SO EXCITE for that!

    And then this came along! I LOVE this show and I can't wait for more episodes to be made! It's like a little treat to have a short break between long shows!

    Mark, just like Sherlock, you keep us all on our toes. 😉

  67. Anon says:

    I would just like to say i really liked Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, but there is a much better version of Sherlock and i don't mean Robert Downey Junior. Jeremy Brett for my money is the definitive version of Sherlock holmes, if you like the classic stories i highly recommend you watch The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I've not seen him do Holmes before.

      • Anon says:

        It really is quite brilliant and its totally faithful to the original stories. It was made by Granada Television back when it used to be good and the production values on it are excellent, you do really feel you've stepped back into Victorian London.

        • jackiep says:

          Though much of the "Victorian London" from the Brett Holmes was Manchester Town Hall, inside and couryard…

      • Many, many people love Brett, and I respect this. However, I am a lifelong, die-hard, read-the-whole-canon-multiple-times-plus-a-million-pastiches fangirl and I can't bear to watch him play the part of Holmes at all. It makes me sad since I know the Granada adaptations were lovingly done and Brett is a highly capable actor, but he just comes across as twitchy and creepy and not at all appealing to me. So… your mileage may vary. (But probably not, because I seem to be virtually alone in my lack of ability to connect to Brett.)

        Absolutely love SHERLOCK, though. Cumberbatch is brilliant, the dialogue and cinematography are glorious, and Martin is the perfect Watson. And I am thrilled you're reviewing it.

        • Anon says:

          Wow, really i've never met anyone who didn't think Jeremy Brett was perfect for the role. Well, we all have different tastes, for me he just became Sherlock Holmes i can't imagine anyone else as Sherlock now.

  68. Has anybody quoted Caitlin Moran's brilliant description of Benedict Cumberbatch's voice as sounding "like someone smoking a cigar inside a grand piano"?

    I love that so much. It's absolutely true.

  69. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    I find myself repeatedly drawn to Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Dr. John Watson.

    Yes! God, he's so good. In general, but especially in this role. And:

    I love how lovable Sherlock Holmes is despite that in any other circumstance and possibly played by any other actor, he’d be a raging asshole.

    Exactly! When I heard that there was an upcoming Sherlock Holmes adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (and directed by Stephen Moffat) I became ludicrously excited. They're two of my favourite actors working right now: both of them have that sort of modern sensibility whereby they're able to convey a lot in very subtle, quiet ways. There's no fear of overacting from them, and for these two characters that quality is absolutely perfect. They're just incredibly well-cast.

    Also, the scene where Watson asks Sherlock if he has a girlfriend or a boyfriend (“Which is fine, by the way”) might be my favorite of the entire episode. DRIPPING WITH SUBTEXT.

    Heh, yes. It's also, of course, a reference to the very longstanding interpretations of the original works.

  70. ffyona says:

    Ah!! I wish that I had watched Sherlock.

    Does anyone know where I can watch Sherlock and/or ATLA from the UK? Legally? I cannot wait for Battlestar and… until then I really don't want to just bow out of MarkWatches but I haven't seen either of these shows! And I can't afford DVDs!

    • You can rent Sherlock from Netflix if you have an account there, the same with ATLA and ATLA is available for internet streaming as well (sadly Sherlock isn't yet). Itunes also has downloadable ones that are decent price if you don't mind itunes. I don't know other places unfortunately.

    • evocativecomma says:

      The DVD set is very reasonably priced.

  71. WingedFlight says:

    lololol None of us were prepared! What a brilliant surprise! 😀

    I love this series! For one thing, anything to do with Sherlock Holmes is amazing. I love the modern setting of the show, and how it still works so well with elements from classic Holmes. Also, the actors for Holmes and Watson are absolutely PERFECT.

  72. Emily Crnk says:



    I squealed when I saw this up.

    I Love the ending of this episode, but the only thing I can think of during it was Vizzini from the Princess Bride…

  73. Emily Crnk says:

    My dream of dreams.

  74. Meadow says:

    This was an amazing surprise. BTW, In A Christmas Carol, The Doctor was totally having a Sherlock moment with the chair thing in the beginning. I saw Sherlock first and I was all 0.o
    Moffat I love you so.

  75. Emily Crnk says:


  76. ArrogantSage says:

    Does this mean that one day you will watch Jekyll? Because that show is a load of awesomesauce too.

  77. Hypatia_ says:

    That would be amazing. Beyond amazing.

  78. Hypatia_ says:

    Once again, the fabulousness that results from the fact that there are only 50 actors in Britain. Never produce more actors, Britain.

  79. Hypatia_ says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse this course of action. Maybe watch Torchwood at some point on your own time if you feel so inclined, but Children of Earth is just not to be missed.

  80. Starsea28 says:

    Crap. I missed this.


    Scene in the restaurant = one of my favourite scenes ever.

  81. Openattheclose says:

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  82. cdnstar says:

    Oh oh oh. No time to comment (frig, life gets in the way of the internet – how does that happen yet again?!), but I've seen these episodes so many times already! I just rewatched this one (A Study in Pink) while on the plane coming home from England on Saturday. It seemed fitting 😀 So this is a nice time to read a review, since I just watched it.

    For me – the draw is in the interaction between the two. Cumberbatch and Freeman seem to play so well together, and they really steal the screen.

  83. trash_addict says:

    Ah, Sherlock! I *loved* A Study In Pink, but with all three episodes…well, I've never been into mysteries. Never read a bit of Arthur Conan Doyle, or Agatha Christie. I don't watch mystery dramas or, even worse, procedurals on television. Just don't interest me. And damn, the mysteries of this series are seriously densely plotted.

    But I still really enjoyed it. I let all the mysteries wash over me a bit, and enjoyed a sparkling script and awesome performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and one of my dearest loves, Martin Freeman.
    Um, and Benedict's voice, godDAMN.

  84. exbestfriend says:

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    The excited noises I made when I saw you reviewed Sherlock were not only embarrassing to me, but scary to my dog, who started barking at me. I am so glad you watched this. Back when you put up suggestions it was the second show that I was *really* hoping you would watch (still crossing my fingers for Veronica Mars) not only because it was my favorite show last year, but also because you had talked about your appreciation of the British Office and old whodunit stories. I don't even know how to comment on the show because I am so delightfully surprised that you watched/reviewed it. I love, love, love Benedict Cumberland's portrayal of Holmes but Martin Freeman's Watson is outstanding. He is both incredibly dreary and a loose cannon of surprises.

    However, enough talking. MOAR GIFS!!!
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  85. mkjcaylor says:

    Alright! I'm posting this before I go reading other peoples' posts, because then I'll forget all my reactions and I just finished watching this AND I don't want my ideas to be spoiled by anyone else's ideas. Cause then I'll never post my ideas.


    First off. I LOVED THIS. I loved this so much I am thinking about buying it and it had better be available on Amazon On Demand.

    Secondly. My only experience with Sherlock Holmes is 1) my dad telling me briefly about his experience, and how he loved it 2) Star Trek TNG's episode "Elementary, Dear Data" and 3) Robert Downey Jr's movie. And yes, I knew because of 1) that Data saying 'Elementary, dear Watson' in number 2) was a fallacy because he never said that in the books which Data had read, only in the old movies. 3) unfortunately was very boring and sad for me, and I was hoping to like it, especially because I love Robert Downey Jr.

    So. That this was thoroughly enjoyable made me extremely happy, because I am generally a fan of smart socially inept people.

    So yes, my first thought is this: Oh god, it's Dr. House in a long trenchcoat. I'm going to love this man. AND HEY. If this Sherlock is as closely based off of actual Sherlock as was implied in Mark's review, then House is most definitely based off Sherlock as well. (Have never been in the fandom of House, just a loyal viewer. And while I would never put House as my favorite show, it definitely has its very very good parts.) House and Sherlock share the ability to size up a person based on their outward appearance and looks with barely a word out of them, and House and Sherlock share the same inability to cope with people who can't think as fast as they do. Not to mention, House and Sherlock are both woefully inable to make friends and of course Watson and Wilson show up to help them.

    So yea. That I didn't see that parallel before now seems a little thick to me, but THERE YOU GO, now I finally have.


    Also I love Watson. And I love Watson because he's not the most intelligent man out there (because of course the intelligence is "a gift… and a curse," says the lovable and equally socially inept Monk in another Sherlock related series) but he is screwed up in the head as well, and has some compassion and pity for other people who may also be screwed up in the head. And he gives people second chances because he wants people to give him second chances. Who WANTS to go back to a war? Who is MOST relaxed during combat? Our dear Watson.

    Lastly, I was somewhat disappointed with the poison scene. I was hoping that the cabbie was really telling these people something so terribly awful that they'd rather kill themselves than keep living (OH NO WE'RE TORTURING A STAR WHALE JUST TO SURVIVE) but no, it was that 'which bottle has the poison in it'?

    It was actually at this point I went, "Inconceivable!" And started reciting this in my head:

    But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

    Oh Vizzini, clearly the pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!

    Oh dear I've gotten sidetracked.

    SO YES. I started to get irritated at Sherlock because hasn't he SEEN Princess Bride? Doesn't he know that both pills are poison, and that the cabbie has spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder? And mostly, I just decided that the only way that a man can be that lucky is if he isn't lucky, and somehow he is surviving even when he's taking the poison. Sherlock should have known that.

    Still, that scene where he was about to take the pellet with the poison was supposed to be frustrating, and it worked for me.

    Lastly, I had no idea that Mycroft was an old character in Sherlock until Mark mentioned it, but yay for staying true to the books.

    All in all, love it, want to buy it, hope the next 2 episodes are as good as the first!

    • exbestfriend says:

      Can I just applaud your ability to quote The Princess Bride and The Court Jester within one comment?The former bc I love that movie both truly and deeply with all my heart and the latter bc I love it truly & deeply but also because I haven't heard anyone bring up Danny Kaye movies in a very long time.

      • mkjcaylor says:

        I actually haven't seen that many Danny Kaye movies, but I love The Court Jester. And of course The Princess Bride.

        And yes, I had a field day just referencing as many Sherlock-related or poison-swapping related movies/tv series as I could think of.

    • Hotaru-hime says:

      House is sort of Sherlock Holmes but reverse engineered in a way because Sherlock was based off of a doctor that Arthur Conan Doyle worked for. And Wilson is his Watson.

      • mkjcaylor says:

        Well, and House has his addiction to Vicodin as well.

        • sabra_n says:

          Oh, the House tributes to Holmes go well beyond that – House lives at 221B Baker Street, the "archenemy" in his subconscious was credited as Moriarty, House and Holmes are both late-night instrumentalists (piano and guitar for House, violin for Holmes), the Patient of the Week in the pilot was named Adler, and House once received a vintage Conan Doyle book for Christmas. And that's just the stuff I can remember from when I watched the show. Ah, good times. 😛

          • mkjcaylor says:

            Wow. Well, I didn't watch House very often in its first season, so there's that. But I had absolutely no clue. This would be because I never read any Sherlock Holmes. I honestly didn't know about the 221B Baker Street until I went and read up on Sherlock on Wikipedia just a few hours ago. Holmes is a late night instrumentalist? I of course don't remember references to Moriarty (the only real Sherlock Holmes character I knew before this besides SH and Watson because of Star Trek) or I would have made the connection before now.

            But. Amazing. Thank you for pointing all of that out.

    • anobium says:

      "I started to get irritated at Sherlock because hasn't he SEEN Princess Bride?"

      Maybe it doesn't exist in his London. (Which is obviously in an alternate universe where they have different books and movies from us, or otherwise the episode would have had to stop every five minutes so somebody could go "Wait, Sherlock Holmes? And your best friend is a doctor named Watson? That's a bit of a coincidence, isn't it?")

      Or maybe it does exist, and he doesn't just watch very many movies. That would be totally in character for him.

    • notemily says:

      Doesn't he know that both pills are poison, and that the cabbie has spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder?


  86. Elfy says:

    Glad to see you reviewing this show. It was absolutely the best thing I saw on TV last year.

  87. Araniapriime says:

    OH YAY! I love this show! I am incapable of anything but squeeing and flaily toddler hands that Mark is going to be watching it!

    AND OMG SHERLOCK AND JOHN ARE TOTALLY IN LOVE OH YES! I know I see the world through slash goggles, but I always shipped the original ACD canon Holmes and Watson (the way they talk to each other, and the way Watson is so obsessed with Holmes's hands OMG!), and I now I ship these versions as well. <3 <3 <3

  88. Will says:

    OMG! Benedict Cumberbatch would no doubt make an amazing Master.

  89. allonsy10 says:

    The woman hitting on him? Unimportant. Unnecessary, really. He’s trying to determine if an alibi is correct. What does romance matter?

    god this is so doctor-ish

    • katherinemh says:

      I think Moffat's actually addressed that in a couple of interviews. I'm not 100% sure on the exact quote, but I think he's said something along the lines of the Doctor is a God who wants to be human, while Sherlock's a human who wants to be a God.

  90. katherinemh says:

    Okay, I don't think anyone has posted these yet and I'm pretty sure they're not spoilery. There's a shot or two from upcoming episodes, but they don't give anything away. It's Sherlock sitting on the couch…

    I think these are legit Korean trailers for the show, and they sort of… change the genre of the show, I guess?

    • Calimie says:

      OMG, they're like shippy fanvids! That's what happens when you let fangirls work in TV stations, I guess.

      Still, I'd watch that!

  91. __Jen__ says:

    Lol, I guess I didn't have to worry about missing the start of Avatar!
    I love Sherlock and this episode and agree with just about everything you've written, Mark EXCEPT- I know someone who looks almost exactly like Benedict Cumberbatch! My friend/coworker resembles him enough that it kind of throws me off when watching this show (and anything else Benedict is in), and makes me really hope that I never run across anything involving him and sex. 😛 Actually at that job there's a girl who could be Karen Gillan's sister, as well. It is an odd thing for my fandom brain to deal with. 😀

    I love Holmes and Watson (Martin Freeman really is amazing), and just the pace/direction of this episode. The mystery is riveting and it's just such a great adaptation. Loved it.

    • mkjcaylor says:


      Not with Benedict, but with characters from Doctor Who.

      My mom looks a whole heck of a lot like Elizabeth Sladen (which is fitting, since she plays the mom character in The Sarah Jane Adventures).

      AND. A professor of mine who taught mammalogy looks a ton like John Barrowman. WHICH IS AND HAS ALWAYS DISTURBED ME GREATLY.

      It truly is odd for a fandom brain to deal with.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yeah, I'm probably not going to be around much (if at all) on Friday, so I was all "nooooooooooo, I'm going to miss an episode of ATLA~" but now it's not till Tuesday that it starts, so that works for me. 😀 Still, I'm terribly excited to get there, cause I watched the first two episodes today as prep (lol), and loved them. <3

  92. ScarlettMi says:

    OMG Sherlock!

  93. Was looking forward to Avatar but I can wait because I adore Sherlock Holmes (in pretty much every incarnation) and this series is no exception. Not just because of my fangirly love for the Holmes/Watson slash subtext either. Can't wait for the next reviews. YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

  94. Ananas says:

    Oh my God, the odds!! What are they?? I just finally beat my mother into submission and made her watch this last night. "I don't know anything about Sherlock, I don't care, I don't like any of the same things you like." Those comments all after in the last month I have somehow managed to turn her into the same dork I've been for the last 24 years (she's currently, finally, reading Harry Potter, she's been watching Doctor Who when she thinks I won't see her, and every other show I've told her she should watch she's ended up liking after her initial protest). When it was over, I asked her what she thought, and she replied, "I'm not sure, I'll have to watch the other episodes before I decide." Which is basically her glowing recommendation.

    Benedict Cumberbatch's face – what is that? It's slightly odd, and oddly attractive. I enjoy it. I have watched many of his other works now because I like to look at it.

  95. sabra_n says:

    EEEE, you're doing Avatar?! YAY. Well, I knew you were doing it at some point; I just never knew the happy day would come so soon!

    But ANYWAY. Sherlock. I really enjoyed "A Study in Pink"! Sgt. Sally Donovan, not so much – she's like the characters RTD would put in Doctor Who to show how much more worthy and wonderful the companions were. But otherwise, this episode was such fun! Benedict Cumberbatch is a wonder as Holmes, and Martin Freeman is great, too.

    I facepalmed while watching because I caught myself thinking of how Sherlock resembled House, when of course House was derived from Holmes. (Pop culture ouroboros! HALP!)

    Also, I really enjoy saying "Benedict Cumberbatch", and since I went to see him in Frankenstein (via broadcast, not live) recently, I've gotten to say it a lot lately. Hee. Benedict Cumberbatch – truly one of life's magnificent names.

    (This very deep and thoughtful review has been brought to you by: Sleep Deprivation, Lack of Time, and Viewers Like You.)

    • Calimie says:

      I really don't like the way Sherlock treats Sally at all. He was always a gentleman and wouldn't have used people like that. *grumbles*
      That goes for the movie too!

  96. tori says:

    I am so addicted to this series and am in and internal state of waiting for the next series.
    This review was a fantastic surprise!

  97. ninagnome says:


    Until now I have been entirely a lurker, but I just have to post about this.

    I found your site because of you reviewing Doctor Who… And I found Doctor Who because of Sherlock.

    It all started when I read some good reviews of Sherlock. And, although I had no particular knowledge of Sherlock Holmes, I liked BBC/PBS stuff, so I decided to give it a go. I absolutely loved it. So much that during the show I emailed my family on the west coast (I love living in the future by three hours- I especially liked calling and bragging to my little brother during Harry Potter book releases, but I digress) telling them how great the show was and that they had to watch it. Which I reiterated in a couple more emails throughout the course of the evening as it got more and more exciting.

    The thing that probably appealed to me the MOST about Sherlock was the character himself, and his quirky entirely logical no-social-nicety-ness. I absolutely loved it. I wanted to learn more. So I started reading Sherlock Holmes and also reading interviews with the creators. And people kept bringing up Doctor Who.

    Now, I am relatively well versed in geekdom- I grew up on Buffy, loved Firefly, Battlestar, Middleman, etc etc, but somehow I missed Doctor Who. I think new Who started airing when I was in the middle of college and I just… missed it. It was always in the back of my mind as something I should watch as, from what I had heard, I would likely enjoy it, but I just never got around to it.

    With all the Sherlock comparisons, I decided that it was time. I started watching New Who the day after Thanksgiving last year and was caught up by mid December. I absolutely devoured it- I couldn't stop! (I shudder to think what it will be like with Series 6 watching it live for the first time- I will actually have to wait a week between two parters!) And I loved it- again the otherworldliness (this time literally) of the main character drew me in, and I am a sucker for good, intriguing and strong characters with a side of wonderfully ridiculous science fiction.

    Again I turned to the internet to find out more about Who, and I came across a reference to your blog. I started reading it a couple days after your first Who post, and I loved being able to relive the feeling I had just (admittedly with much less reflection) experienced of watching the show for the first time through your reviews.

    And now you are reviewing Sherlock. Which is how I found Doctor Who. Which is how I found you. Oh, the symmetry.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      This is a most beautiful story.

    • NyssaOfTraken says:

      So you're only following this Sherlock blog because you found Mark Watches Doctor Who, which you discovered because of Sherlock, which Mark is reviewing because he discovered Doctor Who.

      It's wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey!

  98. sabra_n says:

    I agree with Hypatia. You may want to catch the first two seasons of Torchwood one day if you're a Whoniverse completist, but there are very few episodes of that show worth reviewing individually. Children of Earth, OTOH?

    Well, I want to see it make your brains dribble out your ears. (That sounded evil. I meant it in a nice way! Erm…you know what I mean.)

  99. NyssaOfTraken says:

    Damn, I wish I had this to rewatch. Tried to put in on DVD-R when it first aired but the disc decided to corrupt itself, and I haven't got around to buying it yet.

    Still, I remember it well enough thanks to Mark's review. Taking Sherlock out of the period setting was a bold move, but one that Moffat and Gatiss pull off spectacularly well. (Did we ever doubt it?) It gives us a real insight into what makes Sherlock tick, while we're not being distracted by horses and dresses that are twice the size of the women wearing them. (Now they're *half* the size of the women wearing them, which is much less distracting, obviously.) The texting thing is probably going to date pretty quickly, but I don't care about that. For here and now, it's a great little device and the total surprise of the first time justifies its presence.

    The two leads have a brilliant chemistry and Mark Gatiss is `text book sinister` as Mycroft Holmes. The story rattles along at a pace, whilst balancing that with some lovely quieter moments.

    In short, it's nothing less than a complete success in my book.

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