Oh Sherlock, how the mighty have fallen.
When it blew onto our screens one winter long ago back in 2010 it was a breath of fresh air. In an age of reality shows it was pure intellectual escapism.
Back then, in that no-so-distant past, Benedict Cumberbatch was merely an unknown actor with a rather unusual name. Martin Freeman was ‘that-guy-off-‘The Office’.
Now they have risen to super-stardom on the back of Holmes’s coattails. Freeman is better known as the bumbling Bilbo Baggins, and Cumberbatch is never off our screens – silver or small.
What made the show (and thus its actors) critically acclaimed, was its writing. The mysteries, lifted straight from Conan Doyle’s masterful works and transported to modern day London were like a drug to the viewer – we were drip-fed clues and hints, both as to the character of the Baker Street men, but also, more importantly, to the solutions of their cases. Our glimpses inside the brain of Sherlock Holmes were beautiful excursions into a superior mind, and whenever the oh-too-brief series ended we mourned to be back once more in our banal reality
Yet this season left me feeling, not cold, but disappointed. Certainly there were good moments; the take-down of the media despot, Molly’s near miss with death, and of course, any moment Mrs Hudson was on screen.
Yet the show, which made it’s actors household names, appears to have suffered from their star-status, and, dare I say it, from it’s own success.
Holmes and Watson, men of mystery, with intriguing pasts we may but glimpse as they scour the streets of London for the criminal underworld, have lost their sheen of secrecy.
What was a show about criminal intrigue is now about the Holmes/Watson Bromance. The show has become, in a sense, conceited, refusing to step away from the looking glass and examine the crimes outside 221b because the leading men are too damn fascinating.
Even Moriarty’s reappearance couldn’t bring life to the love-in.Miss me? He asks. Of course we miss him, but not so much we want him shoe-horned in from the dead with no reason apart from being Sherlock’s sister’s Christmas gift.
Episode 1 was all about the end of Watson’s marriage and the destruction of the bromance
Episode 2 was Watson’s dead wife instructing them on how to get back together
Episode 3 was a trip along the Holmes family tree, tied tp in a neat little bow by the newly dead Mary, who reminds us yet again who these great men are.
What happened to the crime? The puzzles? The clues?
Why did Mary have to reappear to sum everything up like we were all imbeciles?
Why didn’t we get to see more of Molly and Mrs Hudson (the best 2 characters)?
Why, if the game is truly afoot, do we never see it played?
Holmes has gone from scientist to subject, beneath his own microscope. It is far from the worst thing on TV, but it is no longer the best. Step away from the mirror and turn to the window Sherlock – it’s elementary my dear.