The most famous consulting detective has been adapted from Arthur Conan Doyle’s original writings numerous times, from stage plays, video games, and a film series starring Robert Downey Jr. But in 2010, BBC and Doctor Who alumni Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat took another spin on the tales.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular “high functioning sociopath” we call the world’s most famous detective, we get to see the first meeting and cases with ex-military doctor John Watson (as played by Martin Freeman). Gatiss even appears in the show; originally a cameo it would become a returning role as Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft Holmes.
For many, Sherlock saw their first interest in the world of Conan Doyle’s famed detective, with the BBC series reimagining Holmes and Watson into a modern-day setting. From mobile phones to google searching, the titular detective’s blog even becomes a key plot point in “The Great Game”, the series updates Holmes’ use of any modern technology.
Three episodes in the series, each referencing and inspired by different short stories of the legendarium. Episode one “A Study in Pink” takes its inspiration from the first appearance of the duo “A Study in Scarlet.” Other inspirations of the series include “The Five Orange Pips” and more less well-known short stories, as well as introducing that infamous nemesis of his: Moriarty.
Each episode lasts for an hour and a half, which a bit longer than the typical half-hour or hour-long drama episodes that BBC typically produce, but none of it feels over forced in its first series. In fact, the original pilot episode had a run time of an hour, but the crew realised they could add more detail and still have the show enticing to watch. This original pilot is still available to watch on editions such as the DVD collection.
Sherlock series one launched to high ratings and 8 million viewers in the UK alone, with subsequent series having audiences of between 10 and 11 million.
Ending on a seemingly explosive cliffhanger, this modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is what got me into reading the series, and in turn, started a new wave of Sherlock Holmes adaptations set and inspired by the modern.