Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Sherlock” is a crime drama series based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories that airs on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the USA; it is currently on hiatus (should the producers decide to make more episodes, an ongoing mystery for this unique fandom).
What: “Sherlock” was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. The series is set in the present day, while a one-off special features a Victorian period fantasy resembling the original Holmes stories.
Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson (Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first suspicious of Holmes, over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.
Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital, occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.
When: Series Three aired in the USA from January 19, 2014, to February 2, 2014, while Series Four aired from January 1, 2017, to January 15, 2017, on public broadcasting or PBS. An intervening Christmas special, “The Abominable Bride,” aired on January 1, 2016 (and was simulcast in movie theaters).
Where: This show is primarily set in London, England, United Kingdom, with occasional visits to London’s surrounds.
Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though it bears mentioning that Sherlock may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast and aside from (as previously published) Stranger Things.
How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)
CPU! recorded a first episode to this two-part miniseries covering the first two series/seasons of international smash hit, Sherlock. To catch up on what you missed, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):
Sherlock Series, Episode One, Seasons 1 and 2
In the episode linked below, our Sherlock panel – Kristen (L), Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer and Kristin T – enthusiastically return to the water cooler to sift through the highs and (twist!) occasional lows of the modernist Sherlock Holmes adaptation’s latest two seasons, “The Abominable Bride” included. While the panel continues to gush about this series’ third season (or series, if you’re British), some of the panelists’ moods grew darker and more perplexed by the fourth season, which introduced characters and situations both derived from Sherlock Holmes canon but also originally created for the television series. Though the panel still believes that Sherlock is television of the highest quality, from performances to writing to direction to every other facet available, they also struggled, particularly, with Season 4, Episode 4, “The Final Problem,” which, when analyzed in totality, stands a real but, yet, suspiciously questionable chance of being the final episode of this beloved program. The panelists also reiterated, unanimously, that while there are relatively weaker episodes within the thirteen total episodes produced, Sherlock’s weakest efforts are far superior to the strongest examples of other shows on television currently. In fact, our resident Sherlockians agree that the narrative remains woven tightly, with a loving eye to adaptive detail spearheaded by recognized “Sherlock” expert Gatiss at the helm; that the visual presence from art direction to cinematography continues to be perfection; and that the performances ring as no less than stellar. If you are part of the Sherlock fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this sparsely produced but richly produced international juggernaut, even if you have spicier thoughts about Season 4.
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Buffy-verse panel returns to the Water Cooler for their second episode of a five-part series lovingly looking back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, in which they “slay” Seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
The biggest question facing our intrepid and enthusiastic panel of Sherlockian devotees is whether the show will return. Chief CP Kylie feels that “The Final Problem” may have been a “psych out” or a deft but convenient nod to the hiatus of the fictional character, before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle realized that the retirement of his beloved detective was premature. This clever call back to the literary hiatus seeds well the show’s hiatus, given that it might be longer than usual, since Benedict Cumberbatch will be Doctor Strange for some years, Martin Freeman also continues to obtain roles large and small, and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are developing an adaptation of Dracula for the BBC. Still, other panelists are terrified that “The Final Problem” may be the last we hear of Sherlock forever, and on the note that Season 4 ended, they are not comfortable with that possibility.
Should the show return, however, the same panelists who fear that we may have watched the end are also apprehensive about how much non-canon character Eurus Holmes will figure into future episodes and whether Moriarty has any hope of miraculous resurrection – could he have tricked Sherlock the same way Sherlock tricked everyone else? Time will only tell, and given the pattern of long hiatuses related to this show and the busy schedules of its stars and production team, we have nothing but time to speculate upon what might have been, what is, and what might be.
Our CPU! Sherlock panelists seem to be “shell-shocked” rather than “Sher-locked” over Sherlock following season 4, though each panelist continues to indubitably recommend watching this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, to anyone who watches and enjoys television. The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, and everything in between, even at its weakest moments, which are still stronger than the best other television shows have to offer. What’s more, any self-respecting Sherlock Holmes fan will no doubt marvel, as several Holmes fans on this panel have, at the excellence of this series, including the loving attention to detail hailing from the source material, though the departures from the source will no doubt produced mixed reactions, as they have done for our CPU! Sherlock faithful. Cautions raised by the panel: any new viewer will have to learn patience to appreciate Sherlock, as new series are created as the show-runners and cast have time, which apparently will be harder to come by in the short-term future. Also, a standard series contains only three film-length episodes generally, aside from the excellent “Abominable Bride.” In any event, the creators certainly know how to keep their audience coming back for more, and the panel universally agrees that each return to a new series is well worth the wait (and the watch – and re-watch!).
Neither the show creators nor the network (BBC) have confirmed that Sherlock is, indeed, completely and permanently over. In fact, all involved say they would like to potentially do more but are hampered by various other commitments, as listed above. Since there is no official word on whether or not we have watched the definitive end of Sherlock, we will assume (or at least hope) that there is more to come; however, the CPU! Sherlock panel will not reconvene until that happens, which may be for some years. Should the BBC and/or Gatiss and Moffat succeed in collecting the cast and crew for another go-round, CPU! will assuredly pounce upon such potential future developments! Until that time, Sherlock is available on the Netflix streaming service to be watched repeatedly and to one’s heart’s content. As for CPU!, don’t worry: we cover many other shows in our podcast, available for your listening pleasure to tide you over in the meantime, and most of the Sherlock panelists are involved in other panels – check out the “What We’re Currently Watching” and the “List of All CPU! Panelists” pages in the menu to the upper left to scan for current and potential episodes you might want to hear; search using the menu in the upper right corner :).