This article was previously published here – http://www.epigram.org.uk/film-tv/item/2090-eagerly-awaiting-the-next-series-of-sherlock in January 2014, being reposted for further reading at RachelReallyRambles.wordpress.org
Moffat, Gatiss and co. are brave. Whilst they have confirmed a fourth and fifth series of Sherlock is in the pipeline, they have left us aghast as no answer to the conundrum that swamped social media sites as #SherlockLives, has been given. Fans hungry for more of the UK’s favourite detective were delighted by his return to our screens this holiday. The Beeb were reassured that we had not forgotten the pair after two years with 11 million viewers avidly devouring the series.
But many were left feeling like the Christmas turkey from Holmes’ home was whisked past their eyes, smelling delicious and looking divine, but gone before anyone had a chance to digest a morsel. Being given barely enough time to chew over references to the books, Holmes and Watson have yet again vanished from our screens for some time. How long we have to wait for their return currently depends on the busy filming schedule of Cumberbatch and Freeman. The irony being that it was the Sherlock series that originally catapulted the pair into Hollywood’s clutches, which are now hindering a swift next installment.
How will people relate to Sherlock in his absence? It appears that Joe Public is engaging with Sherlock once more in the realm of realism. This time not sending letters to Baker Street as in Doyle’s day, or, as legend has it, wearing black armbands upon Sherlock’s ‘death’. Instead, protecting his motives, identity and honour more than their physical neighbours on social media. A possible muse as to our deep-rooted engagement with the onscreen duo may be with the ever-accused-social-media of Facebook. As this particular community continues to isolate its members, with groups of friends morphing into eclectic stamp collections, we are drawn to the reality of John and Sherlock living out a close, ‘highs-and-lows’ friendship. We are pulled up sharply by the lapels as we are reminded of the deep bond that has stood the test of time and quite literally, life and death.
But, that may be too poetic and it is quite possibly, in part down to those piercing eyes and cheek bones that could grate cheese. This modern Sherlock Holmes is a work of fiction, yet commands more respect than many celebrities. However, it is as we are allowed to see something of Sherlock’s flaws that makes him more relatable, despite his cold and clinical character for which he is commonly known. In this series he gets plastered and raises a questionably festering drug problem, making this genius seem more human than the media would probably allow if he were a real person.
Perhaps, though, it is not Sherlock’s potential addiction we should be concerned about after all; it is ours. A nation unhealthily obsessed by a TV show. If I may demonstrate with a personal experience – my thoughts were roused to this being a reality upon witnessing what turned into a near-bun-fight on a Facebook status surrounding a Sherlock, ‘spoiler-or-not’ discussion. People I had not spoken to in years were passively aggressively stating opinions to strangers and ‘sleepy-hollow-morning-Facebook’ suddenly became a graveyard of back-and-to’s between annoyed fans and ‘comment hooligans’ over our subject matter: Sherlock. I was, however, as guilty as the rest for having serious withdrawal symptoms, restless and struggling to concentrate on my revision.
If as a nation we really are addicted, maybe cold turkey is good for us after all, as we leave Gatiss and co. to stew over the next series. The hook is bated. We will be coming back for more, no matter how painful. Our hearts will most certainly be wrung and strewn around the floor. Yet, we will willingly guzzle down their cocktail laced with deduction, emotion and finely diced editing. We have just got to sit tight and hope the next series swings around sooner than the last, and that Watson does not grow another moustache.
Until next time then. I sweepingly tip my imaginary deer-stalker in their direction. This series experimented, enthralled, and called for high emotional investment. A triumph of camera angles, plot twists and acting extraordinaire. I await their next offering with great anticipation.