Sherlock Holmes: Season Two

Synopsis:  Having already starred as Holmes in the famous Hammer film Hound of the Baskervilles, Cushing was uniquely suited to craft the definitive portrayal for these five captivating televised mysteries. For his first outing as the BBC’s Holmes, Cushing revisits the moors of Dartmoor for a feature-length version of Holmes’ most well-known case, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Subsequent adventures pit his vaunted intellect against murderers, cannibals and Australian bushwackers in faithful productions of The Sign of Four, The Blue Carbuncle, A Study in Scarlet and The Boscombe Valley Mystery.
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Sherlock Holmes: Season Two 6.5

I’m not really familiar with the BBC’s adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but it appears that there were two seasons (or ‘series’, as they call them there): one in 1965 and one in 1968. This particular DVD set boasts of compiling the only surviving episodes of the show, but it fails to mention that this is only true of the second season. mad0071 Free Emoticons   Anger

It also fails to mention that Peter Cushing took over from the actor who portrayed Holmes in the first season, Douglas Wilmer. Why they failed to provide more historical background on these shows is beyond me, as the impression it gives is grossly inaccurate – one thinks that only six episodes remained out of 29, when in fact 11 episodes of the first season are also available on DVD. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

Why so many episodes are missing remains a mystery to me, and I doubt that even Holmes could figure this one out winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking. It appears that it may be a combination of factors, such as limited facilities to record these live TV performances (doubtful, since many older BBC shows were archived) or because the tapes were re-used (possible – I’ve heard of that before). But it would be nice to know for sure what’s going on with this series.

Be that as it may, as it stands these 6 episodes are the only ones from Season 6 available on home video (there are 11 from Season 1). Sadly, if they’re any indication, it’s no great loss at all. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

While I’m a fan of Peter Cushing, and he’s by far my favourite incarnation of the legendary sleuth, I frequently found the production quality lacking, the pacing mind-numbing (with very little true atmosphere making up for it) and the mysteries kind of quaint, of little interest – even ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ was a pretty tepid two-parter. shock

The final two episodes of this set, ‘The Sign of Four’ and ‘The Blue Carbuncle’, were by far the best, benefiting from superior production values and more intriguing mysteries. Furthermore, the disc included a short documentary on Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. happy0027 Free Emoticons   Happy

But, if not for this last disc in the set, I’d have to write this collection off as a totally dull affair with, as its sole highlight, Peter Cushing as a very distinguished -but not quite magnetic- Sherlock Holmes. happy0021 Free Emoticons   Happy

I’d be curious to see how Wilmer compared, though, seeing as these shows were produced by the same people. I wonder in what elemental way he affected the tone of the series. Hmmm…  happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

6 responses to “Sherlock Holmes: Season Two

  1. Pingback: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) | thecriticaleye·

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