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Opinion Spoilers RTTP: BBC Sherlock on Netflix - God I hate this show

GreyHorace

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Jun 14, 2019
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So during quarantine my mom has been binge watching BBC's Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It's a modern adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes character created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Coupling) and Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen).



Like the thread title says, I hate this show. Watching it again with my mom I'm reminded of all the reasons of why I stopped after the 3rd season premiere. The writing sucks and relies more on gotcha moments rather than good storytelling (a problem I noticed with Moffat's run on Doctor Who). The character's are fucking annoying and Cumberbatch's Holmes has got to be the most irritating and obnoxious version I've ever seen onscreen. Martin Freeman at least tries to make his Watson the voice of reason and sanity but is mainly relegated to comic relief. And don't get me started on Adam Scott's Moriarty. I just want to break the screen everytime he shows up.

It shouldn't have been like this you know? I was hyped for this show after enjoying Moffat's first season of Doctor Who (season 5). And I enjoyed the premiere and thought this was going to be another show I'd follow regularly. But as time went on the show started to wear on me with it's constant 'style over substance' brand of tv and I found fewer and fewer reasons to keep tuning in. The breaking point was the season 3 premiere which I thought was one of the stupidest episodes I've ever seen on TV. Since my mom has been watching the rest of the episodes I've missed out on I took a glance and found to my disgust that the show was still terrible from that point on.

Now I know Sherlock has a lot of fans who are ready to defend it as "the greatest show ever." If you even dare to point out it's flaws one of the most common defenses they'll resort to is, "It's a modern take on the character! They can do whatever they want!" Well I'd argue that being a modern take is no excuse for being a shit show and it was done much better in another show:



When CBS' Elementary first came out, everyone was deriding it as the Americans cashing in on the success of Sherlock. While that may be true to some extent, I'm still stunned by how much better this show this turned out to be over the BBC show. Johnny Lee Miller's Holmes may be an eccentric and at times arrogant prick; but he's also a damaged individual dealing with trauma and loss and trying to move past it. Miller portrays this beautifully as his Sherlock tries his best to become much more balanced human being helped no doubt by Lucy Liu's Watson. While the casting of a woman with Chinese heritage in the role of Watson would scream of virtue signaling, I thought it became a non issue after awhile because of how good Lucy Liu is. She and Miller have great chemistry and play off each other well. And her Watson at least isn't relegated to the role of useless sidekick and has some nice character development that has her become a detective herself.

Despite it being a episodic weekly crime procedural, I enjoyed following Elementary on the regular. It never wore out it's welcome like Sherlock did despite lasting 7 seasons.

As much I enjoyed Elementary though, nothing beats the best version of Holmes:



What more needs to be said? Granada's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the most true adaptation of the original stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And Jeremy Brett's performance as Holmes has never been topped IMO, as is David Burke as Watson.

So yeah. I hate Sherlock and am still baffled that by how popular it is. What are your thoughts on it GAF?
 

poppabk

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I only watched the first season but remember enjoying it except for the Hound of the Baskervilles episode.
 

-Arcadia-

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You have to stop after Season 2. Maybe the first episode of 3, just to see how the cliffhanger ends.

Like most Moffat productions, it starts wonderful and ends abysmal. He simply seems to burn out in everything he does. I would have thought Sherlock’s formula of a season once every decade (slight exaggeration) would help, but it was the worst example yet.

His recent Netflix Dracula show actually showcased this on an episode by episode basis. 1 was quite lovely. 2 mediocre. By 3, I absolutely hated everything.

I don’t know what it is, but he would so be better off launching franchises, then handing the reins to others.
 

DKehoe

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You have to stop after Season 2. Maybe the first episode of 3, just to see how the cliffhanger ends.

It’s kinda interesting on a meta level because

Sherlock “dying” at the end of season 2 felt like Arthur Conan Doyle initially killing of Holmes when he got sick of writing those stories and felt like he had done everything he could with the character. The episode title even references the story where that happens. But then commercial popularity meant that both the tv show and the original stories had to keep going. It felt like it was the writers saying “that was the real show, the rest after this is what we are having our arms twisted into doing”
 
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GreyHorace

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You have to stop after Season 2. Maybe the first episode of 3, just to see how the cliffhanger ends.

Like most Moffat productions, it starts wonderful and ends abysmal. He simply seems to burn out in everything he does. I would have thought Sherlock’s formula of a season once every decade (slight exaggeration) would help, but it was the worst example yet.

His recent Netflix Dracula show actually showcased this on an episode by episode basis. 1 was quite lovely. 2 mediocre. By 3, I absolutely hated everything.

I don’t know what it is, but he would so be better off launching franchises, then handing the reins to others.

This. So much this. I really started to hate Moffat after his run on Doctor Who went off the rails. It's like he starts not giving a fuck as a series goes on and his plots become more nonsensical and lead to nowhere.
 

DKehoe

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This. So much this. I really started to hate Moffat after his run on Doctor Who went off the rails. It's like he starts not giving a fuck as a series goes on and his plots become more nonsensical and lead to nowhere.

It feels like he works best when given the opportunity to explore the one off ideas he has but not so much when he has to plan out a long term structure for those ideas to fit into. It's why some of the best individual Dr Who episodes are by him but when given full control of the show things kinda fell apart.

Some of the stuff later on feels so tonally different than the early episodes. Like
it turning out that Watson's wife was part of some special forces unit of assassins.
 
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GreyHorace

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It feels like he works best when given the opportunity to explore the one off ideas he has but not so much when he has to plan out a long term structure for those ideas to fit into. It's why some of the best individual Dr Who episodes are by him by when giving full control of the show things kinda fell apart.

Some of the stuff later on feels so tonally different than the early episodes. Like
it turning out that Watson's wife was part of some special forces unit of assassins.

That horseshit made me groan so hard. It's bad enough they turned Irene Adler into a dominatrix, but making Watson's wife into a Mary Sue super agent? I'm so glad I never seriously wasted my time on this show.
 
Jul 9, 2020
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I remember watching when it first came out before it blew up. I stumbled upon it on the PBS website under “Master Storytellers” and was interested being a massive fan of books/stories.

The first season is amazing and so is the 2nd one; the third just kind of falls apart and I just simply lost interest in it.
 
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sobaka770

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The problem with Stephen Moffat is that he's actually a very clever dude and can make a great looking, fast-paced, quite intelligent stories. However he has a fatal flaw of gloryfying his characters to the detriment of story and falling on using gimmicks as he runs out of genuine material. He's an excellent writer but a bad showrunner.

His one-off Dr Who episodes (1 per season) were genuinely the best thing ever and if you're mad if you don't go and watch "Blink" episode right the fuck now. However when in charge of the whole season Dr Who went from Doctor and companion going through a story to the Doctor being the most awesome person in the universe, feared by everyone (Season 5), key to everything (Season 7), basically an extraterrestrial Jesus. The more he leant into this aspect, the worse the show got.

You can trace the same path in Sherlock. I will be the first one to say that Season 1 of Sherlock I consider to be excellent TV. There are some gimmicks in there if we start to nitpick but it's largely outweighed by the novelty, the way it was directed, the fact that these were actualy cases to solve. Starting from Season 2 Sherock the character became the focus: he is the smartest, best-est, he is master of disguise andmartial arts (Irene Adler ending WTF), he has the mind-palace larger than the Louvre (season 3 ending WTF). He's so awesome Moriarty literally doesn't want to kill him anymore to bask in the glory of seeing him do his thing. Downey Jr Holmes wishes he was such a Gary Sue. Everything revolves around him and his awesomeness, Watson is reduced to nothing, his wife is a super-spy who works more with Sherlock than her husband, Irene Adler doesn't beat Holmes, Mycroft is praying on his health etc... In addition to all that, since instead of focusing on solving cases the show decided it needed to up the ante each season, the compounding gimmicks required to make it happen made the show extremely dumb until season 4 finale (and hopefully the series end) where I think everybody's suspension of disbelief finally snapped. All they had to do is to make one-off Sherlock stories as the characters, the plot, the filming were excellent but we didn't get Sherlock the detective, we got Sherlock the Superman with Lex Luthor brain.
 
Jun 17, 2019
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As others have said Moffat does excellent one off episodes or smaller contained seasons. But just with how he ruined Doctor Who after being given free reigns he did the same thing with Sherlock past season 1.
 
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RavageX

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Loved it at first, after the second season....eh. Once the wife was some sort of spy I had zero interest. Only got worse from there.
 
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BBC Sherlock was only good for the first season.

Elementary was consistent throughout. Jamie Moriarity was heavily underutilized, however.
 
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Grinchy

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a cave outside of Whoville.
I didnt know it was possible to binge watch that show. I liked the first couple seasons but I'd have to watch one a week at most. Its not really a bingeable formula IMO.

It also gets really bad after a while.
 

EviLore

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The crux of it is indeed that it's a smart character written by stupid people. No storytelling can survive that particular deficit. That creative writing by Anon above gives the show too much credit by being entertaining and clever with its takedown. The actual deductions on the show are pulled out of Sherlock's ass unconvincingly, lazily, and without sufficient setup. It's not that much effort to plant some seeds earlier in the same episode to legitimately achieve eureka moments for the audience, but that was rarely the case in practice. I grew to intensely dislike the series as it progressed and dropped it somewhere in season 3.

Demonstrate intelligence, don't beat us over the head with claims of it.

Guy Ritchie did it better.
 

llien

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I was very excited about the first season.
It was novel, with outstanding actors.
Moriarty was a real marvel.

Then it got notably worse, I wish S3 didn't exist.

Would still watch S4 though, if they don't go even more bananas than S3.

PS
In old movies, for me, nothing comes close to Soviet H&W pair:



unusual voice of the Sherlock being, perhaps half of the reason.
 

cormack12

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I love it, especially the first 2 seasons.

Me too, I mean some of the deductions get crazier over time but yeah it's good. I will say it's definitely marmite though, you'll either like it or you won't.

Haven't watched elementary but might give it a watch based on OP
 

Nico_D

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The first season was good, the second pretty good, after that it was shit and absolutely nothing to do with Sherlock. Or good writing.

Andrew Scott is a great actor but his Moriarty is awful. Hated it.

While Cumberbatch had his moments, Martin Freeman made it watchable for me.
 

edbrat

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The actual deductions on the show are pulled out of Sherlock's ass unconvincingly, lazily, and without sufficient setup. It's not that much effort to plant some seeds earlier in the same episode to legitimately achieve eureka moments for the audience, but that was rarely the case in practice.

I agree with this, and it is really jarring given Holmes' deductive process is unpacked so incredibly well in Conan Doyle's prose. The stories still hold up and I'd argue the best Holmes show is the one you make in your head when you read the originals. Shout out for OPs Jeremy Brett rec tho, he is pretty legit and his natural coldness is befitting. Martin Freeman I just can't stand as Watson, he always plays Martin fucking Freeman no matter what character he's meant to be.
 
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Futaleufu

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Even Will Ferrell's "Holmes and Watson" makes the deducting process more interesting.
 
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