While I try very consciously to try and keep this blog free from actual “reviews” sometimes it’s hard to write a piece on a subject without it coming across as a review. The following is (in my mind) not a review but more of a personal standpoint on the latest series of Sherlock, the BBC’s hit show and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ love child.
May contain spoilers.
It takes a lot for me to watch what people would class as “normal” television. Sometimes my mind is so attached to the Sci-Fi genre that watching anything else doesn’t challenge me enough to dedicate any time to a different genre. I will admit I love the occasional comedy show, a friend recently introduced me to ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ and it was one of those rare occasions where I enjoy it.
Back in 2008 I heard rumblings about a new “Sherlock” production, a one off, hour long show headed up by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I was instantly interested, not only have I been a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes novels but ever since I first saw ‘Press Gang’ I have been a huge Steven Moffat fan. At that moment one of my favourite writers was writing for my favourite show (Doctor Who) and was about to co-write a show based on one of my favourite literary characters, needless to say that I was excited.
As time progressed things changed, the pilot was filmed and never broadcast, at the point of hearing about the non-broadcast I was somewhat confused. Rumours circulated that Sherlock was a disaster and would never make it to air. Then news broke that, yes it would be broadcast but not only that the pilot would be re-shot and Sherlock would now be a three part series consisting of 90 minute episodes. I was once again excited.
Series one and two of Sherlock were exactly what I had hoped for. It wasn’t Sci-Fi and I knew that when I sat down but it captured my imagination like only Sci-Fi could. The plot lines were intricate and well thought out, there were no front and centre relationships and you genuinely had a show that made you think. The cast were and still are fantastic, being a fan of Cumberbatch since I first saw him in 2004’s television film “Hawking” I was even more thrilled with his casting. Sherlock was fast, intelligent, witty and one of the best things to hit television screens in years.
Then came another two year wait and we finally got series 3. Sherlock was back with a brilliantly written episode ‘The Empty Hearse’ by Mark Gatiss followed by a collaboration by Stephen Thompson, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss called “The Sign of Three” and finally Steven Moffats finale “His Last Vow”
For all intents and purposes series 3 was a success but for me it wasn’t the ‘Sherlock’ show that I had fallen in love with four years ago. Gone were the intricate plot lines, the fast paced intelligent action and instead the relationships took front and centre. In the space of two years a show that I had loved for being outside the box and one that I commended for its ingenuity had all of a sudden conformed to being what I despise in most other shows.
Relationships were always a byline in the first two series’ and that’s what made it so great. We were treated to some fascinating plots and some fantastic deduction scenes by Sherlock himself. Suddenly that was gone and the deduction scenes we had this series were minimal and quite frankly boring. In the very first episode called “A Study in Pink” when Sherlock and Watson are sitting in the back of a taxi and Sherlock tells him how he knew he was in the army and that his brother was an alcoholic, that was fantastic that was what made me love the show. Fast forward four years and you get Sherlock standing in a court room with some woman and working out how they were all connected, it just wasn’t the same.
To me Sherlock series three has lost the edge that the first two series’ had and while I enjoyed it it just wasn’t the same show. I’m not complaining in such a way that I’m going to take a hissy fit and say that I’ll never watch it again because that’s a lie, it’s still a good show but it’s lost the certain elements that made it a fantastic show.
I’m going to give the Moff a bit of leeway with it because he had the Doctor Who 50th anniversary last year and I can only imagine how much time was spent on that, there’s every possibility that he just didn’t have time to put together an amazing episode of Sherlock. I’ll give Gatiss the same leeway but not just as much, his script should have been better. Thompson had written his script with both Moffat and Gatiss so he can’t totally be held accountable for his writing.
My hope is that when Series Four appears there is more of a return to the way Sherlock was and less of a return to what Sherlock has become.
The one big stand out for me this series was Yasmine Akram, I instantly thought she was great in “The Sign of Three” but I thought that her story was finished so it was great to see her back in “His Last Vow”
The one bonus…………….Moriarty Lives!
That one I didn’t see coming.