The third series of Sherlock is now available on Netflix. Cancel all evening and dinner plans for the next few days; skip work if you have to. The three 90-minute-long episodes are worth watching immediately, if you failed to catch them when they originally aired on BBC or PBS this past spring.
Sherlock is the tale of the master detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusty friend John Watson. But, unlike the Holmes movies or the CBS television show about the same character, BBC’s Sherlock is special.
(If you haven’t watched series two yet, spoilers follow!)
Where we last left Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes at the end of series two was in a cemetery. A gravestone with Holmes’ name on it was being mourned over by Watson as Holmes himself watched from just over yonder. He had faked his own death in order to save his dearest friends and rid the world of the evil Moriarty.
But how he’d done it was dumbfounding. Of course, with Holmes, everything is always over our heads until he decides to reveal what is going on.
Throughout series three, as with the previous two, the enjoyment of the show is more than just watching Sherlock solve crimes and be the smartest man in the room. It’s about humanizing an otherwise robotic and stoic character. It’s about the genuine friendship and chemistry between Sherlock and Watson (and Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman by extension).
Where previous iterations turn the detective into a super hero who is impossible to defeat, Sherlock instead makes Holmes a lovable loon who happens to be smarter than the rest of us. His condescension is palpable, but it manages to add to his humanism. A man so smart would obviously talk down to anyone he encounters. Pretending otherwise makes Sherlock Holmes true fantasy, more than his fantastic intelligence ever could.
Martin Freeman’s Watson brings the show to its pinnacle. He’s the perfect muse for Sherlock. Watson knows they are friends and cares about Holmes more than anyone else in the world does. His demeanor is that of a brother; more than Sherlock’s own, actual brother Mycroft. The pair go through major ups and downs in series three, but it makes their relationship more powerful than ever, bringing the show right up with it.
With each episode being a mini-movie, this show is not to be thrown on haphazardly before bed. Enjoy it as you would an epic, HBO adventure. It’s so worth it.