There are a few British TV shows that are really trendy in the U.S. right now. Incredible writing, a different kind of humor, and proper season/series lengths are just a few of the reasons I think Americans are enjoying British TV so much. But for a long time, I tried to avoid this trend. I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. My parents even started watching Dr. Who regularly before I had seen a single episode of a BBC show. In retrospect, I regret my decision to hold out for so long, because there is a reason everyone is watching these shows: They’re just that good.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a predicament. I had finished my summer TV show (Veronica Mars, which is very good by the way), but it wasn’t quite time for Fall TV to start back up. What was I to do? I didn’t really have time to watch a whole series before all my shows start back. But I couldn’t watch nothing. That would just be nonsense. So I decided to make a commitment I could manage. I decided to watch the nine episodes of Sherlock that have been released so far.
Sherlock is a British re-imagining of the adventures of “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock, played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a self-proclaimed high-functioning sociopath who gets a kick out of solving crimes. Friendless and alone in the big city of London, Sherlock spends his time tailing police and solving their cases. He’s very good at what he does, but his arrogance and lack of tact have alienated nearly everyone in his life.
But then John Watson comes along. The series is really the story of Sherlock and John becoming friends and solving crimes together. But the pilot begins with them apart and proceeds to tell how they meet. John is an ex-military doctor who is down on his luck and in dire need of companionship. He’s straightforward, down-to-earth, and an all-around good guy. The pairing of John and Sherlock leads to some pretty hilarious clashes, but the two also compliment each other in the best ways, and that’s what makes them such a good team.
The cases that Sherlock and John solve are just insane. Every episode centers around one main mystery (or series of mysteries), and each 90-minute episode is pretty well-contained. You can watch the episodes on their own just for the sake of seeing how Sherlock and John manage to solve the mysteries, and that’s very enjoyable. But there are some overarching stories that carry over from season to season (particularly in the season finales) that reward viewers who stick with the show over time.
Speaking of the finales, don’t expect the seasons to end well wrapped up like the other episodes do. Each season ends with some sort of cliffhanger that leads into the larger plot of the next season and into the plot of the series as a whole. I think the series is still in the early to middle stages of setting up something really big for the future, and I’m excited to see where they go from here.
One of the downsides of British television is that their shows don’t follow a set schedule quite like American shows usually do. The season of Sherlock have been released sporadically, and each finale leaves you wanting more. Three seasons have been released so far (all available on Netflix), and a fourth season is set to release in early 2016 after a Christmas special in late 2015. I know that’s an awfully long time to wait, but good things take time, and I’m sure that it will be worth it. Besides, anticipation can be fun, right?
If you’ve never seen Sherlock, you should give it a chance. It’s really more like a set of mini-movies than a TV show, but you can watch the entire series in less than ten hours total. It’s a great show to watch when you’ve got a couple of hours to spare and want to watch something but don’t totally want to zone out. It will always keep you guessing, and every mystery ends with a conclusion that is satisfying and realistic. Check out Sherlock on Netflix, and let me know what you think of it! Thanks for reading, friends, and I’ll see you next week.