Sherlock is a modern twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Though these characters have been interpreted numerous times for screens large and small, watching this Sherlock is a fresh and fun experience. Showing there is plenty of life left in these tales, the creators pay tribute to the Holmes tradition while updating Sherlock for the internet age, which makes streaming the TV series on Netflix an appropriate way to see this BBC production.
‘Sherlock’ Season 1
The series opens with “A Study in Pink”, an obvious play on the novel “A Study in Scarlet” from the Sherlock Holmes series of novels and short stories. The case involves a series of apparent suicides. We are introduced to Watson first; he is a military veteran and a doctor trying to readjust to civilian life after the traumas of war time. It’s almost nine minutes in before we meet Sherlock; he is eccentric with sparks of genius, odd obsessions and obliviousness to social norms. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch (could a name be more British?), Sherlock is both charismatic and slightly annoying, entertaining, hyper and impatient. He is tolerated to varying degrees by those around him and serves as an on-call, secret weapon (consultant) for the police.
Doctor Watson is played by Martin Freeman. In need of a place to stay, he and Sherlock end up as flatmates. Soon, Watson is helping on cases. The relationship between these two characters is central to the appeal of this series. As a subplot, the show teases us for awhile as to whether or not one or both of the lead characters are gay.
“The Blind Banker” and “The Great Game” are the second and third episodes. Each has its own central plot, but some story lines carry over from episode to episode. This series could have easily ended up as light and silly, like many US cable TV dramas. Interesting characters, given depth by strong acting and writing, and investment in high quality production efforts, will keep you coming back for more.
‘Sherlock’ Season 2
Once again taking the lead from the original Sherlock Holmes stories, the episodes for Season Two of the production were “A Scandal in Belgravia”, “The Hound of Baskerville” and “The Reichenbach Fall.” The first two titles are slight variations of the originals; the last takes some ideas from “The Final Problem.” The writers use some elements from Conan Doyle’s books, but update them for the 21st century and their version of the characters.
There is more that could be said about Season Two, but it would be too easy to reveal some spoilers. It’s better to let the viewer get to know this series on their own and have the surprises remain surprising.
Two seasons of Sherlock are currently available for streaming on Netflix. Each season has three episodes. The third season is scheduled to air early in 2014. Sherlock is highly recommended viewing for those that enjoy clever plotting and don’t mind being a step or two behind the main character.