Season 4 of Sherlock on BBC/PBS concluded it’s run last Sunday. I have been a fan of the show since it’s 2010 premiere, however I was a little let down with this season as a whole and especially with the finale. Even more troubling is the fact that this may be the final episode ever. It is still up in the air as to whether Benedict Cumberbatch will be able to come back since his movie filming schedule has only gotten busier. Even Martin Freeman has been getting more work since the show started, as they have both been in the Hobbit films and now part of Marvel’s universe. Instead of bashing the latest season though, I would like to tell a quick recap of the series as a whole and why I still am a fan of the show and hope they can find a way to come back and redeem themselves.
It’s pretty much impossible to never have been exposed to Sherlock Holmes. The original books were written by Arthur Conan Doyle from 1887 to 1927. They have continually been reimagined and recreated for television and film over the last 100+ years. The most recent versions were Robert Downey Jr.’s films, Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen, and Elementary on CBS. However, the best in my opinion has been the 2010 BBC series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. If you have never seen an episode, it really isn’t that hard to catch up as there have only been 13 episodes in 7 years. That may be one of the things that makes the show have such a rabid following, as they only give you a little bit every couple years.
The first season was 3 episodes in 2010, written and co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Both already found success writing for the newer seasons of Doctor Who, also for BBC. They took a very modern approach to retelling the old stories. Sherlock uses the internet, texting, whatever technology he needs to solve a case. They don’t always call each other by their last names and he doesn’t wear the deerstalker hat (sometimes) or smoke a pipe, but it all works. They do throw in nods to the old stories and base most of the show on the original works though.
Cumberbatch plays Sherlock almost like he has aspergers. He is exceptionally intelligent, has keen powers of observation, is eccentric/arrogant, and strives to prove how clever is to everyone. Martin Freeman plays more of a straight man to Cumberbatch as Dr. John Watson. He provides the moral compass and is the glue that keeps their relationship working. They have great chemistry together and the way they play off each other pulls you into the show.
The recurring characters are also well cast, Mark Gatiss actually plays Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. Andrew Scott was cast as the archnemesis Jim Moriarty and plays him as a psychotic. Mrs. Hudson(Una Stubbs) their landlady has a lot of funny moments on the show, as does Rupert Graves as Detective Inspector Lestrade. Mary Morstan(Amanda Abbington) gets a bigger role as the show progresses, becoming John’s wife, she was also in real life. They also used Cumberbatch’s actual parents to play Sherlock’s parents in the show. The score of the show is fantastic and you will find yourself humming along. Also, the cinematography is very cool, where they show things on the screen as Sherlock is thinking, or use sped up flashback sequences to show what you may have missed.
Season 1,2, and 3 all ended with great cliffhangers. That may be one of the reasons I did not like the newest season as much. The end seemed more like a reset to business as usual, I suppose as a way of possibly ending the show and not leaving the fans frustrated. I also found it strange to make up a new character for the final episode that was never in the original stories. One character’s death(no spoiler) drove part of the season, but was overshadowed by news from their real life relationship. The best part of the season for me was Toby Jones villain from episode 2. He really gave a great performance that stood out from the final season.
Sherlock is a fantastic show and if you’ve never watched before, jump in. Season 4 just let me down as they seemed to have darker storylines and almost too many twists to the point where it was confusing. I enjoyed the earlier seasons that were lighter with more humor. However, the show is great and I hope to see all the characters back for more. Until then they will keep us waiting and hoping for a few more years.