Brainy is the new sexy
By Katie Tracy
What’s absolutely fantastic, does not happen often, and leaves you incredibly frustrated afterwards? It’s elementary, my dear Watson.
BBC’s “Sherlock” aired in 2010, igniting a renaissance of intellect in the world (the fan-base is small, it will spread). Creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have made an even bigger name for themselves, already veteran producers and writers (Gatiss is also an actor – “The League of Gentlemen,” anybody?), most notably for a little show called “Doctor Who.”
Moffat and Gatiss have created a modern-day tale of Sherlock Holmes (played by the illustrious Benedict Cumberbatch), telling his story with three episodes, each film-length at an hour and a half long, per season. As described by IMDB, the story follows Sherlock and his dear Watson (Martin Freeman, “The Hobbit”) around 21st Century London on their crime solving exploits, while still keeping to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original character set including Detective Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes, James Moriarty, and Irene Adler.
Season One starts off with John Watson, recently back from deployment in Afghanistan as an army doctor. His depression and PTSD leaves him crippled (quite literally, as he has a psychosomatic leg injury) and he is searching for a flat mate. During midday coffee with his old friend, Mike Stamford, John mentions his struggle finding a flat mate because of his PTSD and bad leg, saying “Who would want me for a flat mate?” Mike Stamford takes John to the pathology lab at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital where he is introduced to Sherlock Holmes. It all started with “Afghanistan or Iraq?”
Just by using his acute senses and observation skills, Sherlock is able to deduce from John’s appearance and cell phone that he is an army doctor, has a relative who worries about him, and a therapist who thinks his limp is psychosomatic (“Quite correctly, I’m afraid”). Keeping to old-school Conan Doyle, Sherlock warns John of his violin playing and his days of silence if he is working on a case. Sherlock leaves John in the pathology lab with “My name is Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker Street”, topped off with a coy wink. The two men meet at Baker Street the next day and the rest would be spoilers, I’m afraid.
Season One features three cases, all linking one man: James Moriarty played by Andrew Scott (he won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for his perfectly terrifying role). Season One ends on what was thought to be the worst cliffhanger in the history of cliffhangers (again, I cannot divulge anything because it really is something that should be watched). Thank the gods for Netflix, because there is no way that someone can watch the third episode of Season One without immediately needing to see the first episode of Season Two. As of now, both Seasons One and Two are on Netflix.
Season Two continues with the Moriarty storyline, and John and Sherlock’s relationship strengthens. Some fans would go so far to say that they are in a homosexual relationship (their landlady, Mrs. Hudson, ships it harder than any fan out there). But all that jazz aside, Season Two climaxes with one of Conan Doyle’s most popular case of Sherlock Holmes. For anybody who has read the original Sherlock Holmes stories, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” should ring a bell. What I really enjoy about the series is that the titles of the episodes correspond to original titles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For example, the first episode of the series is “A Study in Pink,” and the very first story of Sherlock Holmes that Conan Doyle published was “A Study in Scarlet.” The television series follows fairly loosely with the original stories, but it is still fun to go back and read the originals after watching the episodes for which they were named.
Season Three was (FINALLY!) aired Jan. 1, 2014 in the United Kingdom. It was not until Jan. 19, 2014 that it was aired on PBS in the United States. I would highly recommend catching up on Netflix and watching Season Three’s episodes as they air every Sunday at 9 p.m. for the next two weeks. This show is beyond marvelous. It was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2013, a number of Primetime Emmy Awards (many of which were won including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special, Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special [Original Dramatic Score], and Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, to name a few), as well as many BAFTAs.
Catch the “high-functioning sociopath” on Netflix for Seasons One and Two and stay tuned for the addition of Season Three (hopefully by March 2014).