Bringing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes from the Victorian London to the 2010’s was certainly a high-risk move, but the makers of BBC One’s Sherlock, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat seem to have been very aware of what they were up to. The crime drama TV series was first aired in July 2010, and has completed four seasons this January. Sherlock portrays modern versions of the detective and his comrade, Dr John Watson. The series offers more than a detective story to the audience through its emotional approach – it revolves around Sherlock Holmes and John Watson’s investigations, and their not-so-easy-to-grasp kind of friendship.
The first season showed how Sherlock and John met and became friends. John finds Sherlock’s deductions annoying at first, but eventually starts accompanying him to crime scenes in order to solve cases. Along the way of their journey of solving cases, they become inseparable friends, but thanks to Sherlock’s anti-social nature, he never expresses his emotional side and calls himself “a high functioning socio-path.” The four season long series saw numerous nerve-racking cases, confounding mysteries, the encounter between reality and illusion, truth and lie, strong emotions and connections between the characters – love, hate, revenge, friendship and the fight between the good and evil. The evil is represented by various villains, of course, but the criminal mastermind, James Moriarty leaves the rest behind, and makes Sherlock dance to his tunes.
But does Sherlock represent the good? You need to watch the show yourself to figure out the complex mind of the detective genius. The “Sherlock” of the series, many claim, is less of a human than the “original Sherlock” in Doyle’s stories - but his emotions, friendship and vulnerability manifest themselves from time to time if you look closely. What makes Sherlock hide his human side and forces him to be the machine, the self-claimed sociopath? What made Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes? Season one, two and three do not have the exact answers, but season four gives the audience a detailed overview of Sherlock’s past which answers the burning question.
The stories of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have been retold with enthralling modifications in BBC’s Sherlock, which succeeded to retain the audience’s interest over the years. Benedict Cumberbatch does a magnificent job in portraying the modern day Sherlock. Maintaining the contemporary approach, Cumberbatch depicts the intensity of the investigating mind, and the conflict between the machine-side and the human side of Sherlock Holmes brilliantly. Martin Freeman portrays Dr John Watson as an absolutely lovable blogger, doctor and friend, with whom everyone sympathises. Other actors like Mark Gatiss (one of the makers himself), Andrew Scott, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves and Amanda Abbington have been equally commendable in playing their respective roles of Mycroft Holmes, Jim Moriarty, Mrs Hudson, Greg Lestrade and Mary Watson. However, in the end, it is a story of two friends – Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, who solve crimes together and protect the ones under threat. It is their friendship and their immortal legend that make the series what it is. It’s not yet confirmed by the makers whether season four was the end of the series, or we will see the detective and the doctor solving crimes again. But fans surely can hope for a new season until the makers declare otherwise.