TV Review: Sherlock

I can't believe I forgot to talk about this! Way back in the summer of 2010, the BBC aired a new series titled Sherlock. Created by Steven Moffat, the same guy that created the currently-airing version of Doctor Who, I heard great things about the series. It wasn't until I came upon the episodes on Netflix that I got a chance to sit down and watch them. Boy, am I glad that I did!

Pretty much everyone knows who Sherlock Holmes is so I won't go into too much detail. For those of you that don't (shame on you), here is the nitty gritty: Sherlock Holmes is a strange man who reaches grand conclusions with only the smallest of details. Since he is not much of a "people person," he requires someone to not only help him out in day-to-day activities (such as shopping) but also someone he can bounce thoughts off of. This person is John Watson, a former military doctor who longs for more action in his life. Together, they help Scotland Yard solve the toughest cases.

First, I want to talk about the bad points of the show. There really is just one. The entire first season is a mere three episodes long. Just as we're starting to love Sherlock and his insane ways, they unlovingly dump us on the floor. There is a second season, which is also only three episodes, but it didn't start until this month! I haven't watched it yet so I'm hoping it's as good as the first.

Now. Let's talk about the good points. Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely amazing as Sherlock. He is able to bring forth the smugness and frustration that is Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock knows he is smarter than everyone else in the room and it frustrates him when people miss things he considers obvious. Also, Martin Freeman is an ideal match as Watson. Watson isn't there to be brilliant or awesome. He is just there to continually keep Sherlock grounded in the real world. I couldn't imagine anyone else in these roles. The show would fall apart of these two weren't so good.

I also love the cinematography of the show. In the first episode, as Sherlock notices things, random words appear on the screen. It isn't until Sherlock pieces everything together for us that we realize what the words mean to him. For once, we get to see a bit of the inner workings in Sherlock's brain. No wonder the world is so frustrating for him.

For you old-school Sherlock fans, there are some minor changes but not a lot. He no longer smokes pipes (not even cigar specials). Instead, he uses nicotine patches. He claims the nicotine helps him think but it isn't convenient to smoke in London nowadays. We do get to see him playing the violin a little. Though, I fully admit that it isn't very good violin playing. Perhaps we'll get something better in the next season.

Sherlock is an awesome piece of television. If you get a chance to see it, be it on PBS or on Netflix, do it. You definitely will not regret it. And, if we're lucky, we'll get to see the second season sooner. I'd hate to have a wait another year and a half to see what happens!

JDorama review: Boss

Title: Boss Broadcast dates: 4/16/09 - 6/25/09 Number of episodes: 11 Genre: Detective Cast: Amami Yuki, Takenouchi Yutaka, Tamayama Tetsuji, Toda Erika, Mizobata Junpei, Kendo Kobayashi, Nukumizu Youichi Plot: Five years ago, Osawa Eriko (Amami) was sent to America as a demotion. Now she has returned to lead a new team of misfit detectives. What is good: It never turns into "Bad Guy Of The Week." What is bad: It ended! (But there's a second season coming!) Letter rating: A

I heard amazing things about this show. Knowing how hardcore fans can get rabid about "awesome" shows, I can reluctant to watch it myself. I'm sorry I waited so long!

The show mostly revolves around Osawa. It flips a little between her personal life and her extraordinary detective skills. I'm happy that they didn't delve too far into either arena. The show would have sucked if it was based on "You can't get a husband." On the other hand, I think it would have been too dry if it focused solely on the detective work. It was a great balance between the two.

I'm not going to go into each of her subordinates individually because that would take way too long. I enjoyed seeing the transformation of Kimoto Mami (Toda) from a stand-offish loner into an actual part of a team. Since there is a second season on the way, I hope to find out a little more about Iwai (Kendo) and Yamamura (Nukumizu). They were great secondary characters but they seemed to get tossed out to make room for everyone else. I'd like to see them make their own transformations.

This is most definitely a must see. Don't wait!

JDorama review: L: Change the WorLd

L-change Title: L: Change the WorLd Release date: 2/9/08 Genre: Supernatural, Detective Cast: Matsuyama Kenichi, Fukuda Narushi, Fukuda Mayuko, Kudoh Youki Plot: During the final 23 days of his life, L takes the time to solve one more case. This one involves a bio-terrorist group intent on killing most of the Earth's population with a virus. What is good: Matsuyama is as good as ever! What is bad: Well...I fell asleep...that can't be a good thing, right? Letter rating: C Overall: I really wanted to like this sort-of sequel to Death Note. Like many others, L is one of my favorite characters. Unfortunately, this case seems to be a pretty big waste of his talents. The only reason L seems to be involved in this case is because people just randomly send things (and people) to him. As much as I wanted to watch the movie, I did fall asleep because it was so dull. L deserved a better ending than this.

JDorama review: Maou

Title: Maou Broadcast date: 7/4/08 - 9/12/08 Genre: Suspense drama Cast: Ohno Satoshi, Ikuta Toma Plot: Eleven years ago, Naoto (Toma) was involved in a fatal accident. Now someone is murdering those around him as revenge. What is good: Everything pieced together perfectly. What is bad: The supernatural parts felt slightly overused. Letter rating: A+ Overall: I wasn't sure what to expect coming into this. Ohno is known as being the Leader of the boy band Arashi. This was his first starring role in a drama so I semi-expected him to be bad. Surprisingly, he is an extremely talented actor and I never once had to suspend my belief in him. At the same time, Toma, who is commonly known as a comedic actor, held his own in the drama setting. This is a show that I feel everyone should watch.

TV Review: The Fringe

I've been trying to hold off on talking about J.J. Abrams' new show Fringe. Partially because I don't really know what to say about it and partially because I don't want to jinx it. The show stars Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, the genius son of the scientific genius Walter Bishop, played by John Noble. Anna Torv plays Agent Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent scouted by Homeland Security to help deal with these new scientific phenomenon that are occurring all over the place. Unfortunately, Walter had been locked in a mental institution for 17 years and, while he is still brilliant, he's not quite all there. There's a lot that is going on in the show. Relationships between people change just about every episode (and there's only been 2 so far!); science is seen from new perspectives; the impossible is possible if you think hard enough. I really do enjoy the show a lot but I am nervous. After all, it is on Fox and they don't have the best track record of keeping good shows on the air. I hope that it will at least make it through the season.

Game review: James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet

There are quite a few murder mystery games out there. And there are a lot of hidden object games as well. James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet combines the two. You play a trio of women who work together to solve some of the city's murders. You'll do detective world, forensic work and a bit of research as well. While I knew this would be a hidden object game, I didn't expect the puzzles from the forensic and research sections. Luckily, these additions are extremely fun. They aren't difficult, like other games try to make their additions. Instead, you look forward to each section of the entire game. I can't wait for the next chapter in this game!

Game review: Polly Pride: Pet Detective

The hidden obeject game Polly Pride: Pet Detective tells the story of Polly, the owner of a pet shelter who also does a bit of detective work on the side. If you have lost your pet, Polly will find it for you! I thought that this "pet detective" twist to the hidden object genre was interesting. In each level, you have the opportunity to find a lost pet from one of the previous storylines. While it doesn't change the actual gameplay any, it does give the game a little bit more of a emotional tie. People don't like losing their beloved pets so it feels good to help someone, even a person in a video game, find their animals.

Game review: Christmasville

Christmasville is another hidden object game on Big Fish Games. The game plays a lot like Paparazzi, except you aren't using a camera. Santa Claus is missing so a Yeti (or Abominable Snowman) comes to you, an ace detective, for help. It is your job to find objects and interview suspects in order to track down the missing Santa before Christmas. Not only will you talk to the Yeti, you'll also talk to an elf, a reindeer and a snowman, among others.

This wasn't a bad game. I played it with my five-year old daughter and we had a lot of fun. There were a couple of mini-games that she had trouble with but that was where I could step in. She pretty much handled the rest of the game on her own. I think the Christmas theme really got her into the game too. So while an adult might find this on the boring side since there isn't a whole lot to differentiate it from any other hidden object game, the kids will enjoy trying to find Santa.