Sherlock Season Two
24 May 2012 08:55 AM
Tuesday saw the release of Sherlock Season Two on blu-day and DVD, after airing on Masterpiece Mystery over the past three weeks. I started watching this on Masterpiece until I realized that the shows were trimmed by around eight minutes each.
I had the British release from Amazon.co.uk, but it was 1080i/50 and will only play on my Oppo blu-ray player. The U.S. release is converted to 1080i/60 (although the TV shows it at 1080p). The only time I could tell a difference in the video was during the credits roll. On the U.K. release, the credits did not scroll smoothly. On the U.S. release, they did.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock in this modern-day take of the original Holmes stories, set in present-day London. Martin Freeman, soon to be seen in The Hobbit, plays Dr. John Watson. Instead of documenting Sherlock’s exploits for the Strand magazine, he writes them in a blog.
There are three 90-minute episodes per season. Season One ended in a cliffhanger with Jim Moriarty threatening Sherlock and Watson. Season Two, in an episode titled “A Scandal in Belgravia,” takes up where Season One left off.
The other two episodes are titled “The Hounds of Baskerville” and “The Reichenbach Fall.” I watched Baskerville last night, and plan to watch Reichenbach tonight. Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who and Coupling fame) and Mark Gattis (who shares co-creation credit/writing duties and plays Mycroft) have written entertaining takes on the original stories.
Based on a quick scan of the Belgravia episode, there is no editing for time. Also missing is the introduction and logo for Masterpiece that was inserted into each episode for its U.S. broadcast. There is a Masterpiece Mystery logo at the beginning of each disc, along with ads for different BBC product (and the new Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie).
Picture quality is good all around. The conversion from 1080i/50 to 1080i/60 is flawless. Sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448KHz. I listened through TV speakers, so I can’t comment on the quality of the sound beyond that.
Supplements include a 20-minute documentary and two commentary tracks. I listened to the commentary for Belgravia, and it was quite entertaining.
Not to be outdone, CBS is developing a Sherlock Holmes show set in NYC with Lucy Liu playing Watson. I think I’ll stick to the British version.