Whatever had you Sherlocked from Hello, one thing is not up for debate… we all want the duo back for a Season 5 go-round.
It doesn’t seem that long ago when we first welcomed the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson into our living rooms. With only three 90 minute films every two years (there was a three year lag this last time) scarcity increases the desire for more. The end result, however, is well worth the wait. For, as in the words of one Dr. Watson:
When Sherlock makes an entrance, he’s noticed.
When a new season arrives we are breathless from anticipation, taking each episode in with endless online dissection: A way of elongating the pleasure of the initial viewing experience, I would wager.
However for Cumberbatch and Freeman, as well as series regulars Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs and Louise Brealey, the intimate journey with the show began as far back as 2008 with the filming of the unaired pilot, which, we’re told, was in the can before the release of the Guy Ritchie directed, Robert Downey Jr. starring version. (The original pilot is a special feature in Season One’s DVD release) That’s a seven year journey, though there are breaks, of which they may have grown weary.
There has been so much banter, both online and in hard copy entertainment mags, about Sherlock’s two stars—and will they or won’t they return— as there was about GOT’s Season 5 finale and was Jon Snow dead or not dead.
Is there room for further developmental growth, after the dark and thrilling Season 4’s first two episodes: “The Six Thatchers,” and “The Lying Detective?” “The Final Problem” the third and final Season 4 entry is airing on PBS Masterpiece Mystery tonight: 7pm – 8pm C.
[Click HERE for more on “The Final Problem”]
In the October issue of GQ Benedict Cumberbatch pretty much closed the door when he was quoted as stating:
“It feels like the end of an era, to be honest. [Sherlock] goes to a place where it will be pretty hard to follow on immediately.”
He goes on to say how everyone involved with the show (referring to the main players most likely) is eager to cut their teeth on new projects that are coming their way. (Due, one assumes, to the popularity of the show he’s speaking of quitting: Sherlock. Ah yes, success can be a wickedly, ironic mistress.)
But wait, not so fast … in the same interview, he continues:
“We never say never on the show. I’d love to revisit it, I’d love to keep revisiting it, I stand by that. But in the immediate future, we all have things that we want to crack on with and we’ve made something very complete as it is, so I think we’ll just wait and see. The idea of never playing him again is really galling.”
This speaks to, not only, a willingness on his part to return to the role that has made his name nearly as recognizable as the title character he portrays, but an open-armed welcome to do so. He said as much in a subsequent interview for USA Today, wherein he says the above quote was taken out of context. A sentiment, seconded by several other Sherlock production team members.
There are 60-odd Sherlock stories from which material can be culled. Moffat and Gatiss are, admittedly, Sherlockians of the first order. They’ve taken part in countless interviews and their excitement and passion—singular or combined—never wanes.
Appreciative fans are the first to spot when the work—any part of it—becomes rote. They may hang in for a while, but the show will soon find themselves without a support base at all. There seems to be no worry of that happening for Sherlock’s creative duo, nor the behind the scenes production team: all of which is—in short—exemplary. The pride in the whole of the piece is evident by what is produced.
The viewer wants to feel this is so for the on-screen participants as well. We don’t want to just enjoy watching them “play the part,” we want to watch them enjoying playing the part as well. A sentiment that may read as selfish on the face of it but, nevertheless, is so. And here, we—the viewing audience—are as single-minded as Holmes himself, who is never truly happy unless he is in the middle of and fully engage in that which he craves.
“I always know when the game is on. You know why? Because I love it.” wssh
This then is why, before Season 4’s The Final Problem has even been viewed, wild speculation zig-zags back and forth in nonsensical fashion as we try to detect from held breathes, short phrases, pauses and that which is not spoken whether or not these characters, cloaked in the bodies and personalities of those selected to play them, will return. And, to take it a step further, will they be happy in so doing?
My overly researched guessitmation is “Yes.” Sherlock and the good doctor—survivalist that he is—will return for another go-round. I deduce further that they will not only appreciate being able to return, but will relish the playing of the parts. This will be due, mostly, to the creative intelligence of Sherlock’s leaders: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Here’s what Moffat volunteered when speaking at a recent Sherlock event sponsored by RadioTimes:
“Right at this moment, we really don’t know about the future. Mark Gatiss and I have to have a long chat, possibly on a train, about what we’d actually do with another run. We love the show very much, and that means we don’t want to let go of it before we have to. All of us involved know that days like these will never come again and we’re in no hurry to see them over.
At the same time, because we love Sherlock the way we do, we don’t want to keep it going past its natural term. There was a fairly long time we thought series four might not happen. Then Mark and I sat down, got very excited about some ideas, and in time pitched them to Sue (Vertue, co-producer), then to Benedict and Martin. Only then, with a clear view, did we all decide to get back to work. The same has to happen again — we have to be excited. We have to think of stories we can’t bear not to make.
Everybody’s schedule is difficult. Benedict and Martin aren’t just two of the finest actors of their generation, they’re stars, in demand everywhere. Sherlock can only ever be a passion project. So give us a moment and Mark and I will go back to Doyle and see what we’ve missed. The game may still be on.”
You can participate in a constructive argument as to whether or not an updated Sherlock works for you, but, of this, it is certain: those two would rather cut the project off full stroke rather than let it sink into the murky depths of mediocrity. It’s hard to imagine an emotional exploration ripping any deeper into the psyches than we’ve already witnessed, true. This is perhaps what Benedict was referring to in the first quote up above. Still, with so much unharvested material within the Holmes’ canon, one can state, with assuredness, Moffatt and Gatiss are up to the task of bringing us even more than we could have concocted, left to our devises.
At the same event, Moffat also stated:
“If this was the last time – we’re not planning it, but it might be, it’s possible – we could end it there. We couldn’t have ended it on any of the previous series because they always ended up with whopping great cliffhangers.”
We will have to be patient as fans have learned. Let our players breathe. Stretch out their proverbial acting skills on whatever strikes their fancy. No need to rush that which is close to perfection. We can wait.