BBC’s ‘Sherlock’ achieves modern spin on classic sleuth

Lauren Frias, asst. a&e

In the small flat of 221B Baker Street, private detective Sherlock Holmes meets with his clients to solve the mysteries at hand. With his right-hand man Dr. John Watson at his side, the dynamic duo hits the case head-on, not resting until the culprit is found.

The Sherlock Holmes series dates back to the early 20th century, originally written and made famous by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But in 2010, the series made a comeback with a modern twist. Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss do the series justice as they put a contemporary spin on a nearly century old tale, known simply as “Sherlock,” airing on BBC One in Britain and PBS in the U.S.

Season one of “Sherlock” starts off by introducing danger-addicted retired soldier Dr. John Watson (played by Martin Freeman) in search of a flat in the city of London. He coincidentally stumbles upon an offer at 221B Baker Street, where he meets his peculiar partner-in-crime, Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch).  The season continues with seemingly unsolvable cases, only to be cracked by Holmes’ keen deductive skills.

The screenwriters stuck relatively close to Doyle’s original characters, the added characters being Holmes’ love interest Irene Adler, archenemy James Moriarty and brother Mycroft Holmes.

It was great to put a face to the names that I spent so many years reading, but I felt that the characters seemed to be portrayed a little too differently than the novel. This modern adaption may be good for some, but as a fan of the classic, it was a bit difficult to adjust to a new storyline.

Aside from characters, Moffat and Gatiss followed the plot of the original Sherlock Holmes series for the most part, with a few modern twists, such as the replacement of Holmes’ iconic pipe with nicotine patches, as well as more technologically centered methods of deduction.

The screenwriters go further to personalize the classic series with the addition of lovelorn Molly Hooper. Hooper’s role is to assist Holmes in his investigations, demonstrating both her forensic skills and the love for her boss.

The addition of Hooper and the new tech take some credit away from Holmes’ superhuman deductive skills, but Holmes, for the most part, is given credit for solving those seemingly unsolvable cases, because he is, after all, Sherlock Holmes.

“Sherlock” kicked off the New Year with the release of season three, the most nail-biting of them all. The shock factor definitely built up from beginning to end, starting off with a relatively uneventful first episode.  Once all was explained as to how Holmes faced his death (which was how season two left off) the rest of the episode was just him attempting to solve cases with Molly Hooper instead of John Watson.

“Sherlock” definitely redeemed itself in the next two episodes, especially with the eventful episode two depicting the wedding between Watson and Mary Morstan and the spat with Holmes, one of my favorites from the entire series.

The episode depicted something much darker than a typical wedding. While I don’t want to spoil anything, like always, Sherlock cracked the case, and everyone lived happily ever after, especially the newlyweds Mary and John Watson. Aside from the serious antics of the episode, we saw through Holmes’ typical serious and emotionless demeanor as tears were shed during his poignant best man speech.

As for episode three, well-known psychopath Charles Augustus Magnussen makes an appearance. The entire episode was shocking, but nothing shall be revealed. Depending on the person, the cliffhanger that ends the season could be good or bad. I’m not patient when it comes to finding out how the story will play out.

I finished all three seasons of “Sherlock” over winter break. As sad as it was to watch nine one-and-a-half hour episodes in one sitting, I don’t regret a single minute.

Although the series did hold some weak points, such as predictable outcomes or lack of action and suspense, the plot twists and cliffhangers that did occur outweighed the negatives.

Because of my previous love for the original Sherlock Holmes series, I had high expectations when I first began watching “Sherlock.” After finishing three whole seasons in a month, it is obvious that those expectations were met.