Sherlock’s Return

Sherlock’s Return
By: Nathan Black at

For anyone who’s been under a rock, Sherlock is a show put out by the BBC and has been airing off and on since 2010.  The rhythm and intensity of the show gives far more than merely a modernized version of a classic literary figure, but indeed, a superb re-imagining of the Holmes universe transposed over our own.

Sherlock, like many popular BBC shows, will make you feel smart, or at least make you realize how wonderful it would be to be smart.  At the same time, it examines and focuses on the intentions of those who attempt to try and do good.  Just how good are they behind close doors and how much of their intentions is purely superficial.  

Sherlock Holmes. "The Six Thatchers"
Sherlock Holmes. “The Six Thatchers”

This show examines so many things, while at the same time almost reinventing the wheel of how a television show can move and make you think.  It develops thoughts–read that again–the show develops thoughts.  Through camera work and screen pacing, it takes you through just how brilliant Holmes is and allows the audience to see just how rapid fire a (supposed) brilliant person can be.  This is all effortless though, considering the script has already been written and the problem has already been solved.  But making that effort feel real and even more enjoyable and attractive is where the magic of Sherlock takes over.  

With the recent fourth season airing on PBS or on the net, the show takes right back up with its ability to shape thought and in doing so shows just how beautiful a well edited scene can be.  

Sherlock is a TV show; it’s not a movie.  Despite this, the three episode seasons–while at first glance might seem queer to some–ends up satisfying in ways that other shows with twelve or sixteen episode seasons just can’t deliver.  The making of Sherlock episodes gives the proper time for all the gears that need to start moving move.  In doing so, it makes the most of every scene and character developed to be well used and not lost in useless backstory or dead air.  It is one of the few shows out there that feels, quite possibly, complete.  And the strain to consider that it might be several years before another season comes out almost feels impossible to handle.  Regardless, Sherlock has something that most other shows don’t, patience, and even more importantly, direction.  

With each episode the show uses building blocks that give way to mood, crisis, rising action, mystery and so on, but it never leaves the audience feeling bogged down with too much information or unable to empathize with them.  

Sherlock Holmes isn’t a likable guy though, and he’ll tell the characters just that.  This is a Holmes of today, and with that he carries all the same features of the modern man who is over psychoanalyzed, repressed, scrutinized, and even possibly far more politically and socially aware than ever than Sir Doyle’s original creation.  In the end this is part of the fun, because Holmes has no time for such things if they don’t really interest him.  

Many Americans would think of the british as somewhat stuck up and Holmes falls in line with that stereotype, but seemingly enough this ends up being a strength. The audience gets to see not only his great mental strengths but the burden they endlessly become for him, also.  The greatest point of grounding for him always has been the beloved Dr. Watson, who also appears in modernized fashion.  

I don’t want to tell you anything else about the fourth season as it would possibly spoil the mystery and that’s never fun.  I will say, give it a chance.  There are plenty of things to love about Sherlock and getting started from the beginning is always an excellent place to consider.

Final Grade: A+