The Secret To Sherlock’s Success

When the second series of Sherlock began, the critics came out en masse. For me, the latest instalments have bolstered the already titanic reputation the series has developed. The reason for this is simple – evolution.

I’ve seen various comments accusing the current stories of straying too far from home, warping and bastardizing the nature of Sherlock Holmes beyond resemblance. In short, it’s a borrowed name and a stolen reputation. I happen to completely disagree on the matter, for the reason stated above.

For a new audience, the series needed new issues. Another shot-for-shot remake would be overkill and, let’s face it; re-imaginations are all the rage at the moment. The difference is that this upgrade fits. At least I think it does. Here’s why…

Fear of the unknown. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first penned his classic tales, awareness of the wider world was fairly restricted. Today, the answer to all out questions is Google. Or rather, what it stands for. We’re never more than a few clicks away from all we could ever need to know, and for this reason our ability to accept mystery and life’s blind spots must surely be inhibited.

The other “CSI” effect. Beautiful people solving crimes – what could be more successful? Crime drama is one of the US’ most successful exports. Back on these shores, we’ve seen enough Morse, Lewis and Midsummer Murders to need a change from surly, middle-aged (or older) detectives. Enter Benedict Cumberbatch – lean, young and wrapped in a cracking coat. He fits the bill sublimely. The mystery was already in place but I, like many others, see this particular piece of casting as one of the finest moments in the Moffat/Gatiss dynasty.

The right character for the right time. Once again a cultural trend takes effect. We’re oversexed, over-emotional and over-analysed. For some reason, mental health issues seem to have become almost desirable. Perhaps it’s the media diluting the meanings of OCD (being tidy doesn’t count) or insomnia (you’ve had a bad night’s sleep). It could be anything. It could be nothing. Either way, I’m sure there’s something about Sherlock’s sparing use of emotion that draws us in. So much so that on the odd occasion we do get a glimpse of his soul, we latch onto it like oxygen.

Well, that’s my view on Sherlock. I loved this series as much as its predecessor. So much so that I’ve deliberately used it as my first TV and Film entry on MSM. I also sincerely hope no one finds any reason to take my comments about mental health to heart. If so, you know where to find me…


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