On the NYRgallery, Michael Dirda writes:
“Set in the present and offering updated and highly imaginative variations on Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories, this wildly, and deservedly, popular series began in 2010 with “A Study in Pink,” loosely derived from A Study in Scarlet. In that short novel, published in 1887, army doctor John H. Watson, having been nearly killed during the Battle of Maiwand, has come back to London and is looking for cheap lodgings. When he is introduced to the enigmatic Holmes, the latter takes a quick glance and states, “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” In the twenty-first-century version, broadcast on PBS, the world’s first and only consulting detective says even more bluntly, “Iraq or Afghanistan?”
“While Sherlock continues to be exceptionally entertaining, I can’t help but wonder if it has grown a little too self-aware and too reliant on punning riffs for its titles, plots, and in-jokes. Even “The Giant Rat of Sumatra”—the most tantalizing of those untold cases for which the world is not yet prepared—is repurposed in this episode. Every element in “The Empty Hearse” feels a bit overstylized, artificial, almost going beyond the tongue-in-cheek. At regular intervals, too, the action actually pauses so that the camera can linger on the Byronically handsome Cumberbatch, brooding Batman-like over the city of London. ”
The third season of Sherlock can be seen on PBS. For more information, visit pbs.org.