I make assumptions, that’s my problem. When I began watching Sherlock I was pleasantly surprised with its clever writing, adherence to the original Doyle and rich production. It was clever without self-admiration, intelligent without heavy weather and amusing enough to coax from my lips the occasional chuckle. It had just about everything I enjoy for a tv evening in (which almost all of my evenings are).
I like my tv shows like my men: intelligent, rich, witty, and a little exciting.
It carries on in the tradition of fine British mysteries made for tv like Morse, Poirot, Lewis, et al.
But whereas those remained consistently stimulating over the years, Sherlock, dear Sherlock, has put on its leather jacket and swim trunks, donned its jet skis, and, if it hasn’t quite jumped the shark yet, it’s confirming hand signals with the spotter.
I assumed they knew what they had, and would continue on in the same vein. This is British television, after all. The gold standard of drama.
I started to get worried when, after only two seasons, they made a self congratulatory ‘making of’ series with long winded interviews of the actors and producers. A little premature, I thought. Not a good sign, but perhaps the quality of the product won’t be adversely affected by the marketing push. When series three finally premiered, it had several redeeming qualities, but rather light on plot and heavy on the recycled material. Episode two was even worse. In place of a plot we had a mere pastiche of all the things that the ‘fandom’ have been squealing about on twitter: Sherlocks social inadequacies, his affection for Watson, unspoken thoughts popping up as text on screen, sibling rivalry with Mycroft…..all of these work if lightly accessorizing a well fleshed out plot, but they cannot hold a show on their own. What happened to the brilliance of the Moffat/Gatiss team? Such a display of self awareness and pandering was more like a 90 minute commercial for the show. The murder was so preposterous as to be embarrassing.
The destructive hand of popularity has grabbed Sherlock firmly around the neck and, with bloated fingers, has begun to squeeze the intelligence out of him leaving a previously clever and rich characterization just a revenue zombie set to roam through episode after episode as a prop for merchandise.
Like the original Mr Holmes at Reichenbach-the show has fallen far.
But who knows-he may have a resurrection. I have my fingers crossed.