By Chris B.
Early next year, the award-winning BBC series Sherlock makes its return.
If you’re disinclined to follow this iteration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, you are missing out. Not only have you denied yourself the unadulterated pleasure of watching the magic between Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, you’ve sidestepped the quality writing and excellent storytelling of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat that has kept this series a hit, despite its painfully extended breaks in the ultra-saturated marketplace of television.
A key reason to watch is, of course, the characters; Holmes and Watson have been the prototypical pair for nearly every detective duo that has tumbled after them. However, this has occasionally led to misconceptions about them. Legends tend to morph over time, lessening their appeal, and if the audience doesn’t like the characters, they will tune out and never look back.
Sherlock has cultivated a reputation as a less than stellar person—cold, cruel, and untenable. But this assessment is anything but true. What follows are top five misconceptions about the world’s best known—and least understood—detective.
He’s not impervious to change
Steven Moffat proclaimed at SDCC, “You can’t have a show about a genius who doesn’t learn.”
This makes perfect sense: how smart could Sherlock Holmes really be if he never edited his present output based on past input? His “hard drive” would have been long outdated if that were the case. But thanks to the moderating influence of John Watson, Sherlock has prospered. He sees when he disappoints John, and he dislikes that feeling; he allows John to show him what’s kind and appropriate, from why it is wrong to blandly crush Molly’s hopes with Jim from IT, to how to offer simple thanks for an impractical gift of diamond cufflinks (instead of snarky retorts.)
In the pilot, Sherlock drags John to a crime scene and then leaves him there without a thought; by last episode, Sherlock is scouring John’s blog for inspiration. In the first series, he rushes to solve heinous crimes for the entertainment of it; by the third series, he is rushing to stop heinous crimes to protect his loved ones.
All told, he means it more than he knows when he quips, “I’d be lost without my blogger.”