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So, I received my Sherlock DVD yesterday and... I pretty much spent the entire day watching the special features and listening the the commentaries. (Seriously. The only thing I have yet to do is re-watch the episodes themselves). What I'm most interested in though, was the pilot. It's something that the whole fandom has been wanting to see and... well, I think it was worth the wait. I loved it. Here's why.

The pilot is basically the same as A Study in Pink. It's the story of how John Watson meets Sherlock Holmes and how he gets drawn into that crazy world of crime and mysteries and murder. They meet in the same circumstances, the crime is the same and a lot of the dialogue is the same. The pilot, however, is (as I'm sure you're all already aware) 30 minutes shorter and the different format really does change the show.

The start of the show is very similar. We meet John Watson, learn that he has a gun, a blog, a limp, a therapist and that nothing ever happens to him.

The opening titles are obviously different and so is the music It's not the nice theme that we've all come to love and, although it is quite similar, it sounds a lot more synthesised. Personally, I don't like it. My major issue with this episode is the music; in my opinion it just does not work well and that detracts from the episode, and I'm very glad they changed the music when they came to shoot this again.

Cut to crime scene. In the pilot, there are five murders - this is the fourth, and the point where Lestrade gives in and calls Sherlock and asks him for help. And Anderson has a beard. (I think 'LULWUT' was my reaction at seeing this)

The scene where John and Stamford meet is another difference: in the pilot they bump into each other an a busy street and then actually go and have lunch together. This is something else I'm glad they've changed, simply because I think it's more plausibly that they'd have coffee.
Stamford is played slightly differently in this. He's a little more jovial than he is in A Study in Pink, and has a stronger accent.

HI SHERLOCK. We're introduced to him in the same way in both episodes, although they're shot slightly different. And there's no music in the pilot. The scene definitely works better with music.
Sherlock in the pilot is different to Sherlock from the series. In the pilot, Sherlock seems less cold and detached; he's more normal. The difference isn't huge, but you can pick it up in all the little things - small facial expressions and voice tone. There's also a noticeable difference in hair and costume; he's wearing jeans, although you can't really tell in that picture.

Instead of meeting in a lab, John and Sherlock meet in a computer suite. Sherlock is busy sending enigmatic emails (one to Mycroft - sadly the only mention of him in this - and one to Gregson) when John enters. The rest of the scene follows in the same way as it does in A Study in Pink.

Cut to Baker Street! Speedy's has been replaces by Mrs Hudson's Snax 'n' Sarnies. Hm. Mrs Hudson herself is very much the same as she is in the series, although with a slightly more dubious costume - some strange flowery thing.

Different Baker Street interior is different. And very red. This scene is, again, very similar in both episodes.

Enter Lestrade. This is where the plot starts to change slightly: Jennifer Wilson is the 5th murder victim and there's no note. Lestrade is, as a character, pretty much the same in both episodes, although you'll notice that he's dressed more smartly in the pilot.

We have a different Sally! She's good, but I do prefer Vinette Robinson's portrayal.
Also, more beardy Anderson. Just because.

Sherlock puts a forensics suit on in the pilot. I think the deduction scene is done better in A Study in Pink, especially with the writing ('dirty', 'clean', etc) that comes up on the screen. The plot starts to differ a bit here - there's no note, we already know that the killer is a man, thanks to a footprint analysis and Sherlock requests a news blackout. And one of my favourite lines ("perfectly astute analysis, but I was hoping you'd go deeper") is missing from the pilot, which makes me sad.

This is the point at which Mycroft doesn't kidnap John. I really do miss Mycroft in this, his presence does add a lot to A Study in Pink.

Instead of Mycroft, we get to watch John stare in wonderment at Sherlock, who is just chilling out on a roof top and looking like a strange combination of Jack Harkness and a vampire. (In the commentary, it is revealed that only the Moff liked that shot.)

Having not been kidnapped by Mycroft, John goes back to his flat. He receives three texts from Sherlock, in quick succession (the same three that he received during his encounter with Mycroft). He ignores them, until he gets the third one ("could be dangerous"), at which point he goes back to Baker Street. I thought his was a nice touch, and a good insight into John's character.

The scene at Baker Street is pretty much the same in both versions. Of course, in the pilot, there's no drugs bust and, as Sherlock declares that there isn't time to tell the police, only he and John know that the killer has Jennifer Wilson's phone.

The restaurant scene. This is my favourite scene in the pilot. I think it's the only scene that I like more than its Study in Pink counterpart.
Sherlock and John sit so they can observe 22 Northumberland Terrace. (Sherlock can see the street using a mirror on the wall.) Angelo comes over and gives Sherlock a hug (which Sherlock is clearly uncomfortable with). One of my favourite parts of scene is the following conversation:

Sherlock: You may as well eat, we might be waiting a long time.
John: Are you going to?
Sherock: What day is it?
John: It's Wednesday.
Sherlock: I'm okay for a bit.
John: You haven't eaten today? For gods sake, you need to eat!

He hasn't even known Sherlock for a day and already his concern is adorable! :D

While they are waiting, John asks Sherlock how he'll know who the killer is. Sherlock tells him that he doesn't know who the killer is, but that he will recognise him. He goes on the explain that the killer is the driver of a black cab. I liked this realisation much better in the pilot; in A Study in Pink it takes too long for Sherlock to make the realisation about the cabbie, despite all the clues he kept dropping about the type of people who pass unnoticed. When a black cab pulls up and doesn't accept a fare, Sherlock knows it's the killer.

Sherlock throws wine over himself, gets Angelo to throw him out of the restaurant and pretends to be drunk. John and Angelo watch through the window of the restaurant as he talks to the cabbie. The cabbie, however, gets the chance to drug Sherlock. There is a nice little reference to Sherlock's substance issues:

Cabbie: Do a lot of drugs, Sherlock Holmes?
Sherlock: Not in a while

The cabbie bundles the drugged up Sherlock into the back of his cab, where he collapses. From the restaurant, Angelo tells John that it's all part of Sherlock's plan, but John knows that something is wrong and, leaving his cane in the restaurant, goes to chase after the cab. This is the last we see of him in a while. One of the reasons why I prefer A Study in Pink, is that we know how John finds Sherlock - here, it's just left quite ambiguous. We don't even know that John shot the cabbie until Sherlock makes him confess.

The cabbie takes Sherlock back to Baker Street, waits for him to come round and sits him down at a table and makes him play the game. This scene is very similar to the one in A Study In Pink, although the cabbie doesn't have a gun, and the police turn up about a minute or so before John shoots the cabbie.
I prefer the scene in A Study in Pink; the unfamiliar location adds something, I think, as does the fact that Sherlock chooses to go with the cabbie instead of turning him in straight away. That part tells us a lot about him as a person, and we don't really get that in pilot.

Another scene with is very similar in both versions. Lestrade complains about not knowing the identity of the gunman and Sherlock rattles off some information which Lestrade notes down before he sees John. I'm pretty certain that Lestrade must have guessed that John was the shooter, because after Sherlock leaves to go and talk to him, Lestrade rips his notes out of his notebook and crumples them up; he doesn't need them anymore because he's figured it out for himself. Of course, this is just my interpretation, but I think it's nice touch.

Sherlock has to break it to Mrs Hudson that there's a dead serial killer in her flat ("Good news for London, bad news for your carpet.") and Lestrade and Sally get to steal Anthea and Mycroft's final lines, as our heros go off, discussing the door handles of Chinese restaurants.

All in all, I like the pilot. I do think that one appreciates it more after a few re-watches. I've seen it thrice now (yes, obsessive, I know) and I definitely like it a lot more than I did when I first watched it. The pilot is, I think, almost overshadowed by A Study in Pink. Even though the two are essentially the same, the pilot lacks awesome things that A Study in Pink has (Mycroft and the press conference scene spring immediately to mind) and all the good things in the pilot have been fine tuned (the deduction scenes) and the bad things (I'm thinking of the music here) have been taken out. Small characterisation issues and costume and set design have all been improved. A Study in Pink is also a completely different format; at 90 minutes it's more of a film than a TV episode and that suits Sherlock well. 60 minutes isn't quite enough for all that - a lot of what happens is just plot, plot, plot because there's little time for anything else. In a 90 minute episode, there is time for things that aren't directly plot related - the scenes with John and Mycroft, whilst having little to do with the main action, adds a lot to the episode. As well as being a fun scene to watch, it offers a little down time from all the action, which there isn't much of in the pilot.

I say that I'm glad the BBC wanted the Moff and Gatiss to do 90 minute episodes, that they got the chance to reshoot it not because I don't like the pilot (quite the opposite, in fact) but because reshooting gave us a brilliant first episode and a format for the series which really suits it. We got Mycroft, the drugs bust, the press conference, better music, a better Baker Street set and the awesome 'text appearing on screen' thing Paul McGuigan came up with. If the pilot had actually stayed as the first episode of a new series, I'm sure I would have loved it, because it is good, but I'm glad the BBC didn't choose to do that. Because instead, we got something really, really awesome.


( 28 comments — Comment )
28th Aug, 2010 19:11 (UTC)
Yes so glad they got a chance to re-shoot. As you said the Pilot was good but 'Study of Pink' was excellent.

100 Times better
28th Aug, 2010 20:39 (UTC)

I wish they'd kept the restaurant scene the same though. Concerned John is just so adorable
28th Aug, 2010 19:20 (UTC)
Oh god, now I'm even more anxious for the DVD! Need to acquire money, somehow!

I thought your analysis was great, and I'll keep all of this in mind when I watch the pilot for myself - I thought it was especially interesting in terms of the changes to the characters. Is John happier? Does his PTSD come across as much in the pilot? Sherlock also - his costume change was definitely for the better (though BC in those jeans, nggggh). I like the drugs reference as well, I hope Moff and Gatiss give us a few more of those in series two... Also, 221B mark II? I prefer. This one is so...red!

Excellent picspam and analysis, in short :) ♥
28th Aug, 2010 19:25 (UTC)

John is, I think, pretty much the same in both episodes, but his PTSD doesn't really come across in the pilot, because we don't see that dream bit at the beginning. He seems to be more depressed than traumatised.
28th Aug, 2010 19:32 (UTC)
i know it really doesn't suit his character, but you have to admit, jeans!sherlock is very smexy
28th Aug, 2010 19:40 (UTC)
He is.

I vote we get the Moff and Gatiss to write an episode where he has to be wearing jeans, if only for a small while ;)
28th Aug, 2010 20:27 (UTC)

I swear to god I couldn't stop staring at them especially in the Baker Street scene with the suitcase :)
28th Aug, 2010 20:33 (UTC)
in the first pick of him in the flat with evil cab dude you can see the top of his pants over his jeans. they're grey *blushes and squees*
28th Aug, 2010 20:35 (UTC)
I put that picture there for a reason ;)
28th Aug, 2010 20:12 (UTC)
I was amazed at how much they managed to add in once they added that extra half an hour. I liked the pilot, but when I compared it to A Study in Pink after I realised how much more there was in the latter. Regardless, I was really happy just to see "new" Sherlock and John after having watched the main episodes so many times over.

Daaaang Cumberbatch looks good in jeans. *__*
28th Aug, 2010 20:38 (UTC)
I know; it feels as if there's hardly anything in the pilot compared to A Study in Pink. Very strange :P

Mm, doesn't he just! :D
28th Aug, 2010 20:49 (UTC)
This was so fun to read! I haven't seen it yet, but I think your assessment sounds very fair. BC in jeans is... UNF, but I'm glad they changed it.
28th Aug, 2010 21:33 (UTC)
Thank you!

I'm glad they changed it too. The jeans are very nice, but the suits are much more Sherlock.
28th Aug, 2010 20:52 (UTC)
This is incredibly shallow of me, especially after all your thoughtful thoughts and lovely insight...

Lestrade is wearing a wedding ring!

And a tie!

That's about all I can think at the moment...

You are awesome for doing this, though XD

28th Aug, 2010 21:38 (UTC)
OMG! I didn't notice the wedding ring until you pointed it out! *unobservant*

Thank you! :D
28th Aug, 2010 21:03 (UTC)

i literally cannot stop staring at this cap. i scrolled down, then scrolled back up, and just spent five minutes staring at it and going "...wow." i don't even know.

also, beardy anderson is hilarious.

i am loving smart!lestrade, but then i appear to have developed a serious crush on all three leads in this program, and rupert graves has such delicious silver hair.
28th Aug, 2010 21:48 (UTC)
It is a very captivating picture.

Beardy Anderson is brilliant. I could not help but lol when I saw him.

Smart!Lestrade is good! I'm can't decided whether I prefer him to normal Lestrade though... hm, decisions.
(no subject) - growltiger00 - 28th Aug, 2010 21:49 (UTC) - Expand
28th Aug, 2010 22:45 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :D
28th Aug, 2010 21:58 (UTC)
I'm really looking forward to seeing this on DVD -- yeah, the pilot would have been good, but the 90 minute format and the additional changes turned good into absolutely great.

Also, I'm glad they made the changes they did to Benedict's makeup and costume -- he looks like he's 17 in the pilot, bless him. The paler skin tone, darker hair and sharp suits give him more of an authoritative look, which is what you expect from Sherlock Holmes.
28th Aug, 2010 22:59 (UTC)
He does look so young in this! It's strange to think how something so small could have such a big effect but the costume/make up changes really do add something.
28th Aug, 2010 23:14 (UTC)
Can´t wait till I´ll hold the DVD in my own hands *__*
Thank you so much for this great review. Now I´m looking forward it even more. Sherlock in Jeans... damn! So hot!!!

Oh and the scene in the restaurant sounds sooooo cute!!! *__*
28th Aug, 2010 23:25 (UTC)
Sherlock in jeans is a reason to watch the pilot in itself ;)

It is totally cute. I love that scene, I wish they'd kept it.
2nd Sep, 2010 11:05 (UTC)
Benedict Cumberbatch is so pretty. I really need to watch this. (Also, John has PTSD? COMPULSIVE URGE TO WATCH TV INSTEAD OF DO MATHS; I HATE YOU)
2nd Sep, 2010 12:24 (UTC)
You do, you do.

Also, yeah. Probably. He did get shot in Afghanistan (I keep forgetting you've only seen the last episode :P)
25th Sep, 2010 23:18 (UTC)
I watched it..online..Smoking!
He was an adorable drunk, I liked the vulnerability in the pilot ending, but I can see why they changed it; they didn't want him to appear too vulnerable in an introduction. Also having watson concern in the restaurant, and chasing the cab....romantic!

Yes he was damn hot in jeans....I like them sooo much. and his shorter, lighter hair; but alas they wanted him to look older and more classy against the (older) Watson character.

The restaurant scene was more intimate in the pilot, and the italian (from ashes to ashes) seemed more determined to get them together...hence talking Sherlock up as if trying to impress Watson, and the constant smiling and wingling of the eyebrows.

I liked the change in technology; call me mod but the pilot computers and the pink cell phone looked dated...glad of the change, and the genius in allowing the audience note deduction points down before explaining, and displaying text messages with seeing the phone is quicker and more dynamic.

28th Sep, 2010 20:43 (UTC)
Re: I watched it..online..Smoking!
I agree with all of that. Especially with the technology thing. Completely forgot to mention it, but it looks so much better in the proper series. The text message/deduction points on screen thing works wonderfully as well. I'm so glad they got to put that in, it adds so much to the show. :)
4th Jan, 2011 11:48 (UTC)
a good article - thanks for posting, it answered all of my questions.
( 28 comments — Comment )