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BBC series "Sherlock" is great fun

May 23, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
Sherlock Holmes seems to be back in fashion, judging from the new movies, TV series and book adaptations that are coming out about him. CBS has an updated version coming out this fall called "Elementary" with Sherlock Holmes in modern-day New York and his sober counselor, Joan Watson (played by Lucy Liu) and Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have starred as Holmes and Watson in the two recent Sherlock Holmes movies.

The wittiest version is probably the British series "Sherlock," which updates the classic stories by Arthur Conan Doyle to the era of blogs and text messaging. I greatly enjoyed the first series when it came out a few years ago, but I missed the PBS airings earlier this month of the second season. I bought the Season 2 DVDs when they came out this week, though, and treated myself last night to "A Scandal in Belgravia," the show's take on the meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, the only woman to ever beat him.

This is not the Masterpiece version of Irene Adler, who is here presented as a beautiful, bisexual dominatrix whose professional handle is "The Woman" and whose Twitter username is "The Whip Hand." One of her clients is an unnamed female member of the British royal family and the Queen wants very badly to get her hands on the scandalous pictures that Irene has of the "sweet, posh little thing" on her smart phone. Irene keeps pictures of her famous clients as an insurance policy to protect her if she ever gets into trouble and isn't about to give up her lifeline.

Sherlock's brother Mycroft drags him (in his bathrobe) to Buckingham Palace to fill him in on the case and a representative of the royal family hires Sherlock to get the camera phone away from Irene. Unfortunately for the Holmes brothers, Irene Adler turns out to be very much a match for Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock practically swallows his tongue when Irene first comes into the room, in the buff. The show illustrates Sherlock's brilliant deductions with words that crawl across the screen showing that he's looked at someone's suitcase and has decided he is American, for instance. But when Holmes looks at Irene, a question mark appears next to her head.

The show has plenty of action too, with Irene's enemies including the CIA and a ruthless gang in Karachi, but the real fun is watching the battle of wits and the sexual tension between Irene and Holmes, who up until now has completely ignored women in favor of his work.

I haven't watched the other two episodes in Season 2, but I have hope that they will be equally entertaining. The next one I plan to watch is the show's take on "Hound of the Baskervilles."


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