Let’s play a game with Sherlock!

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes wearing deerstalker and Dr John Watson outside 221 B Baker Street in BBC Sherlock Season 3

Sherlock, une série signée BBC déjà devenue culte, transporte le légendaire detective et son assistant le docteur Watson au 21ème siècle. Mêlant intrigue contemporaine et fidélité aux romans d’Arthur Conan Doyle, la série a su séduire par l’intelligence de ses dialogues et le talent de ses acteurs.


The world’s most famous detective, invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1880s, has seen his adventures updated in the 2010 series, created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Now established as a clear phenomenon, this BBC production has become the UK’s most watched drama series since 2001 with an audience of 11.82 million people for the third series. It could be said that, of all the adaptations of this iconic figure from British literature, Sherlock is the winner.

First of all, Sherlock Holmes is the product of London. The crimes encountered are rooted in British society and British morals. However, instead of investigating in the 19th century, Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson operate in the 21st centuryAnd London is a city that wears its past like a fine coat, so it does not matter at all that Sherlock is set more than a century after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. Times may have changed but crimes are almost the same for Sherlock Holmes revisited.

sherlock magnussen mind palace

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes:

One thing is certain, when one adapts Conan Doyle, his Holmes needs to be just right. The least that could be said is that Benedict Cumberbatch perfectly embodies the 21st century version of the sleuth, for Sherlock isn’t a detective series, but a series about a detective. Smart, pretentious and seemingly more amazed by how people fail to see the “obvious” than by the cases themselves, Benedict Cumberbatch plays brilliantly the part of the sociopathic consulting detective. The sole difference is: Sherlock has acquired a mobile phone, is a fanatical texter and even has his own website! Something Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have craved for in his original adventures. 

Martin Freeman as John Watson:

However, Sherlock isn’t Sherlock without his legendary assistant John Watson, played by Martin Freeman. This veteran of the Afghanistan war contributes a lot and helps Sherlock with the investigations thanks to his doctor’s degree and his skills as a soldier. However, this version’s Watson is neither a passive sidekick nor just an earthly representative serving as contrast to the unbearable yet likeable genius. John is a man of action, a hero in his own right that stands as Sherlock’s equal.

A series unlike any other:

Another important appeal that makes Sherlock so special compared to action-hero series is that the main weapon of the sharp-tongued protagonist is his own mind. One could thus say that the mind is a muscle, the sole tool that Sherlock needs to crack seemingly impossible cases. And then another one to just to show off. 

Moreover, the series’ success could be measured by the importance of its fandom. This audience is one that knows all episodes by heart, as solely nine of them have aired in four years. Yes, a season of three episodes every two years is Sherlock’s standard, which makes it all the more special when it’s actually airing for the first time. As most series sometimes go on hiatus, Sherlock is jokingly described as sometimes going off hiatus, which may be helping to write such quality stories.

Anastassia GABOUNCHINA & Eleonore GIRARD




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