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TV Weekend: PBS's Sherlock and the Case of Mr. Baggins

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Though it’s not TV news exactly, there are enough fans of the original British The Office here that I should note that Martin Freeman (our friend Tim from Wernham Hogg) has been cast as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. It’s an exciting choice: Freeman has both the comic and dramatic ability the role needs, and simply physiologically he’s more hobbitish (as I envision the books) than the rotund Rankin-Bass depiction of Bilbo.

By happy coincidence, Freeman debuts on American TV this weekend as Watson on the reimagined, contemporary Sherlock on PBS. The three-part series is written by Steven Moffat, lately of Doctor Who fame, and the kinetic, wry script imagines Holmes (the wonderfully named Benedict Cumberbatch) as a kind of terrestrial Doctor—an edgy, eccentric curt genius who sees the world in dimension imperceptible to the rest of us, and whirls disruptively through crime investigations like a hyperintelligent Cat in the Hat. The highest praise I can give the series is that I’m neither a Doctor Who cultist or a particular detective-story fan, yet I enjoyed it immensely.

Sherlock begins Sunday night on PBS. Check your local listings—if you’re not too pissed off over Juan Williams to support public broadcasting—and see a video preview after the jump: