We watched the premiere of Sherlock Sunday night as it aired on PBS. I kept it on the DVR and we watched it again last night. If that seems severe, I would point out that I do have the “Baker Street W1, City of Westminster” white placard hanging in my man cave. So yeah, we take Sherlock seriously around these parts.
I loved this episode even though it was more about the characters that inhabit this world than it was about the little terrorist plot Sherlock was trying to foil. Gatiss and Moffat were quite correct in the assumption that after the long wait what we really want to see is these characters bumping off each other, riffing their lines at breakneck speed, reacting in very human (or in Sherlock’s case inhuman) ways. It’s not that the creators cannot come up with a twisted plot worthy of Doyle and the great detective. They’ve done that a couple of times. But what was needed for this episode was something else, a serving of comfort food and nothing else. Now I am not much for fan service, for little pandering bone tosses to the fanatics. It’s a very fine line to walk and most tip over doing it (Supernatural after season five, the wretched Star Trek: Into Darkness). And many reviewers feel that this episode went too far as well. Nah. It was fine.
If you want your Holmes with accuracy to the canon and straight forward mysteries, then seek out the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett (available on Amazon Prime but not Netflix). The Moffat/Gatiss creation is never going to give you that and I wish people would stop expecting it to. The same critics likely despise the Guy Ritchie films as well and while I see their points, I don’t care. I had fun watching those movies and I damn sure have fun watching Sherlock.
Sherlock is funny. It is smart. Its hero is an unrelenting DICK to just about everyone in his life (although his goodbye to Molly was the most human thing we’ve seen of him). The chemistry between the actors is incredible, not just Cumberbatch and Freeman, but the rest of Holmes extended family. Watching Gatiss and Cumberbatch dance across the dialog as they spar over a childhood game is unmitigated pleasure for me and I could care less if anyone considers it a waste of time.
Watching the preview for next week, it appears that while we will be spending a fair amount of time getting John and Mary hitched, the plot that concerns this season’s Big Bad (which I understand will be played by the superb Mads Mikkelsen) is about to be launched. The game, my friends, is afoot and I couldn’t be happier.