Sherlock Returns in Cumberbatch Form

DATELINE: 3 New Adventures


Sherlock’s Smarter Brother: Mark Gatsiss

The new, fourth season of Sherlock has reached American television at last with two bona fide movie stars as the main characters.

Martin Freeman’s Watson seems to be growing into the part more than ever. Benedict Cumberbatch has put his own indelible style on Holmes, but kept him true to form.

“The Six Thatchers” is a marvelous take on “The Six Napoleons,” keeping the sharp wit and moving with alacrity in its modern style. From the opening fast-paced, throwaway brilliance of Holmes, the TV movie travels into human tragedy, caused by Sherlock’s arrogant disregard for people.

Turning a flippant Holmes into an emotional rollercoaster rider both enhances Conan Doyle’s mythic figure and transforms the icon into something not usually seen on the small screen: intelligent, high-functioning sociopathic hero.

All the usual supporting characters are here again—from Mrs. Hudson to brother Mycroft and Inspector Lestrade. They cannot save Holmes from himself.

The modern world intrudes upon us with its technology. Highest levels of government are manipulating the media—and the worst evil of Holmes’s world, Moriarty, seems to be pulling the strings beyond life.

This season is extremely short—only three movie-length programs. However, there is nothing old deer-stalker hat here. To wait a few years between dollops of adventures seems well worth the prolonged, pregnant pause.

For those looking for something eventful in the vast wasteland of cable television and Golden Globe self-importance, the series written by Mark Gatsiss (Mycroft as actor) is brilliant and entertaining.

This Sherlock puts all the others, big and small screen, to utter shame.