The game is….on!
(Nobody says “afoot” these days, right?)
That pretty much sums up Steven Moffat’s take on Sherlock Holmes – modernized, but still inspired and true to the source. If you haven’t seen this series yet, it’s easy to catch up since there are only 3 episodes a season. Granted each episode is a mini-movie, but it is still a really short season.
The first season focused on establishing the characters and the new world of this update. Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a “highly functioning sociopath” with an eye for details and deductions. He is clueless about simple social conventions, reasons out loud at a lightning pace and uses modern inventions like a smartphone. Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) is an ex-Army doctor who blogs about Sherlock’s cases. Welcome to the modern age!
We also have other classic Sherlock Holmes character including Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) and Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves)…
…and Sherlock’s brilliant older brother Mycroft (played by co-creator Mark Gatiss). Mycroft has an expanded role in this universe with a mysterious and powerful position with the government.
The second season moved on to some interesting and refreshing takes on some of the most famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories featuring Irene Adler, the Hound of the Baskervilles and the “death” of Sherlock Holmes. (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off the illustrious detective, but was pressured into bringing him back due to public demand.)
Yes, last season ended with Watson attending Sherlock’s funeral after seeing Sherlock jump off a building. At the last moment, we saw that Sherlock was very much alive and observing his own funeral from a distance.
And that was back in 2012. Why such a big gap? Since the second season aired, Benedict and Martin have become the biggest British movie stars on the planet. Benedict headlined Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years A Slave, August: Osage County and The Fifth Estate while Martin returned to the Cornetto trilogy with The World’s End and stared in another trilogy, The Hobbit.
Brisk, brainy and fun, season three doesn’t miss a beat. In the two years since Sherlock’s funeral, Watson, Mrs. Hudson and Inspector Lestrade are still mourning Sherlock. Watson has resumed practicing medicine, is now engaged to Miss Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) and has a mustache (just to make sure we know time has passed!)
This third season is focusing less on the mystery and more on Sherlock and Watson. I think the producers and writers have realized how much fun they have with all of Sherlock’s idiosyncrasies and Watson’s way of dealing with them. When you have a superb duo in Benedict and Martin, you really do want to see them working off of each other. The mysteries and cases are a bit secondary now.
The first episode, “The Empty Hearse” necessarily deals with Sherlock’s return. I’m really not allowed to say much else about this episode since there was a very kind plea from PBS to avoid discussing 90% of what happens. Let’s just say the majority of the episode focuses on wrapping up what happened to Sherlock and the consequences of his absence.
In the second episode, “The Sign of Three,” Watson gets married and, well, I think the world wanted to see Sherlock’s best man toast and the bachelor party so enjoy!
“His Last Vow” caps off this season with a stronger focus on the mystery which takes some dark and personal turns.
Speaking of personal, this show is truly a family affair since Amanda Abbington is not only Mrs. Watson, but also Martin Freeman’s real-life partner and some other Cumberbatchs make an appearance as well.
All in all, season 3 is a worthy successor to the previous seasons – sharp and stylized with some moments purely for the fans.
Tune into PBS on Sundays for season 3 of Sherlock!
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