If you haven't seen the third season yet
The FormatThree episode seasons. It's kind of a major pain to have these three perfect episodes and then months of nothing new to subsist on, but it is so necessary to get those three quality episodes that I can't fault it. And there is something magical about the number 3 - there's a beginning , a middle and an end, and in Sherlock the writers create perfect bell curves of plot. Not that the middle episode is the climax, but the height of plot potential for the whole season. Because the show builds to the second episode, and then starts to break down what we have seen in the third episode. It's quality over quantity, and my god is this show quality.
The StyleIs there another TV show that takes the visual to such ridiculous heights? There might be, because I don't watch ALL the shows, but I doubt anything on TV right now is as innovative as Sherlock. And I admire and value technical prowess in most creative works and the way Sherlock can show you something in a new and exciting way is very appealing. I mean how about that scene were Sherlock is shot in "His Last Vow"? Being able to visually translate Sherlock's mind palace is one thing (and fantastic in itself), but to show it in action as Sherlock deals with how to survive was incredible! I absolutely loved that sequence and all the things it told us about Sherlock's character. Like Redbeard and how Sherlock saw Moriarty. This is a show that engages the viewer on all levels - with the characters, writing and story, and also visually - you just can't look away for a second or you'll miss something great.
The CharactersWell obviously. Every single character in this show is memorable. And they continue to grow with every season. Sherlock and John are the heart, but you can't dismiss what Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, Molly or even Donovan and Anderson bring to the show. And the villains are equally unforgettable. Even Magnussen who I thought would have a larger role to play in the series and wouldn't have just one episode (but maybe he will because apparently even if you are shot point blank you might come back) was creepy and slimy and so riveting. And going back to the growth of the characters - how amazing is it that we continue to see something new about them. I mean, true, it's not outrageous to think there are things that there are things we haven't seen yet because of how short the seasons are, but I was impressed how the writers added family, a wife, a potential daughter and third Holmes brother into the mix in this season - and also changed how I feel about Anderson! Who's character I disliked so much in the first two seasons!
The WritingThis is the number one reason why Sherlock excels I think. It's smart, funny, witty and fast-paced. Everything in the script is important and the attention to detail as a revision of Doyle's work is fantastic. I don't think there is a better modern adaptation of any Classic work out now. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the original stories, so maybe true Sherlock purists would have a thing or two to say. But to those purists, I will also add that I really want to read all of the Holmes stories and that should make any purist fan happy - that a new adaptation brings more people back to the original work. If there are any issues that people have with small things in the writing (or what I consider small things) like pacing or lack of a mystery in The Empty Hearse for instance, I say get a grip and look at the bigger picture. This is a show about Sherlock and Watson, and if an episode veers into the relationship between them a bit more than usual, than it's because that is what we needed! We can get another mystery any time, but we need to be invested in the characters. I really think of this three episode format as one long story broken into three parts. They all need to be looked at together.
Season 3Well have I nattered on long enough about this show? Definitely. But I still haven't talked enough about the third season!! One more thing that gets me about this show is how they are not afraid of change. Watson getting married is such a big deal in my mind - it's so rare that a show will mess with the format like that. I mean the dynamic has got to change with Mary and a baby in the picture! And although it's sometimes hard to let go of things that you are comfortable with - like just Sherlock and John together - I am excited to see what's in store. And just when I think there can't possibly be a bigger finale than Sherlock jumping to his death and surviving - now it's how did Moriarty do it??? Or is this a big swindle?? I just don't know. You can never tell - with Moffat especially I think. He can and will turn anything around and he has a way of setting up a major conundrum and then making it unimportant within minutes of the next episode.
And to wrap this all up, these are my favorite bits from Season 3 of Sherlock:
The Empty Hearse
- The coolest opening sequence ever (with Derren Brown!)
- Mycroft wading in and his discussion with him while Sherlock is being shaved and dressed.
- Everything about Watson seeing Sherlock again
- Lestrade's reaction to finding out Sherlock is alive (that pause and an understated reaction)
- Sherlock and Mycroft playing Operation
- Sherlock and Molly <3
The Sign of Three
- The ups and downs of the Best Man speech was sheer brilliance
- The way they showed Sherlock talking to the women who knew the Mayfly man/appearance of the Woman.
- Sherlock's comment on moving Mrs. Hudson's glass a little out of reach (hilarious)
- Sherlock figuring out who the target was
His Last Vow
- The four major twists were so amazing - revealing Mary's lies, Sherlock getting shot, Sherlock shooting Magnussen and Moriarty's possible return.
- Everything about the beginning from John's tire lever to Molly slapping Sherlock
- Mary unknowingly reveals her secret to John
- Sherlock's family!
- All the major bromance feels!