It is no accident that I am always a latecomer to successful new television series. I plan it that way – much preferring to let a series get two or three successful seasons under its belt (proving its legs and its chops at the same time) before I begin to watch. I am impatient by nature, so I can’t even imagine anymore waiting like we all used to do a whole week for the next episode to become available. I have come to love watching one series at a time, all the way through, before moving on to a new one. That way all the details are fresh from episode to episode and I pick up on connections and relationships I may well have missed otherwise.
Anyway, all of that is to lead up to my current fascination with the BBC series Sherlock. The BBC has completed four seasons of Sherlock now, but from what I read, if there is to be a fifth series it may not happen for several years. Each of the four seasons completed encompasses three episodes of almost ninety minutes in length, for a total of twelve regular season episodes in all. A thirteenth episode, a throwback of sorts in which the cast is placed in Victorian England rather than twenty-first century England, was broadcast between the end of the third season and the beginning of the fourth.
Trailer for Series Two
Season One was broadcast in the summer of 2010, Season Two in January 2012, Season Three in January 2014, the special episode in January 2016, and Season Four in January 2017. So you can see that a delay between series of two or more years is not all that unusual in this case. Since the first of the year, I’ve watched the first three seasons and part of the special episode – and luckily enough, I automatically recorded Season Four because I have my DVR set to record pretty much everything shown on Masterpiece Theater anyway.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
And Sherlock is, I think, a masterpiece. It is so good that it has renewed my interest in the original Sherlock Holmes stories that Arthur Conan Doyle started writing in 1887. I haven’t read any of those stories since I was a kid, but the BBC series has reminded me about just how much I used to love them, and now I wonder if they contained the kind of subtle and ironic humor that the television series does so well. I’m so hooked on Sherlock again that I even bought a book today called “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon.” I figure that with stories by Sara Paretsky, Harlan Ellison, Michael Dirda, and Michael Connelly, among others, I can’t go wrong (especially since I found the book marked down to three bucks).
The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson, respectively, and both of them are perfect for the role. Probably because Martin Freeman is a favorite actor of mine, I think that he generally steals the show as Watson, but I can’t imagine a better choice to play Holmes than Cumberbatch. The supporting cast is equally wonderful: Mark Gattis as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, Una Stubbs as landlady Mrs. Hudson, Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper, Rupert Graves as Inspector Lestrade, Amanda Abbington as Mary (Watson’s eventual wife), and Andrew Scott as one of my favorite villains of all time Professor Moriarty – Scott is so good in this role that he absolutely steals every scene he is in.
And now for my favorite villain in a long time: Professor Moriarty