The best part ? Unlike in the movies which took the characters and made their own stories, here they took all the iconic stories from the original books and reinvented them for the modern age. And yet, in the 3 episodes ( Each episode lasted 1.5 hours, akin to a full English movie ) that aired, you couldn't guess the smart twists and turns of the storyline. It was bloody brilliant.
The major crime they committed ? It was in making the fans wait more than 2 whole years without any new episodes, unlike normal tv serials which have new episodes every year. Finally, a new episode came out at the start of 2012. And you know what ? It's still bloody brilliant.
Benedict Cumberbatch is the Sherlock we always wanted to see. He's characteristically pompous, amazingly smart, not averse to disguises or technology and definitely not averse to hurting people who hurt his friends. You get to see hilariously original reasons for why Holmes wears the iconic deerstalker cap or says iconic phrases we all remember from the books.
Famous characters like Lestrade and Holmes brother Mycroft are given more character - driven roles than even the books demand while Martin Freeman as Watson just nails the role of the sidekick who finds his life being constantly overturned by his dedication to Holmes. Even the psychosis of his arch nemesis Moriarty is presented in such a unique fashion and their final encounter in the season finale wherein the plan to defeat Sherlock Holmes is revealed is just creepy.
There are so many new technologies and characters added but yet, you recognise the essence of the original stories.
For example : In the books, Irene Adler is the one woman Holmes looks upto because of her guile, poise and intellect - not to mention the fact that he could not beat her. In the original story "A Scandal in Bohemia", she held secret love letters of a royal noble, which Sherlock was sent to retrieve.
In the new series ? Well, she's a high profile escort/dominatrix who's stolen information from a 'woman client' from Buckingham Palace and Sherlock has to retrieve the mobile with the stored contents ... which has their own password. He does so, of course... but that's just the first 15 minutes of a 1.5 hour mystery that keeps you guessing right till the very last scene. Infact, the final 15 minutes of this particular episode are among the best conclusions I've ever seen, even for a movie.
I miss having a good old fashioned mystery. Crime shows today are good, no doubt but sometimes you want more than just forensic detail and people who can read facial expressions. And that's where Sherlock has delivered for me. They've taken stories we've known so well, redone the characters for a new generation and presented it so brilliantly.
Having watched the second season's series finale, I can vouch for the fact that each episode is a study in how to adapt a story for the modern era and keep everyone interested.
Hats off and here's hoping for more in the years to come.