Sherlock wraps up its too-brief, three-episode run tonight on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! with another strong entry, “The Great Game.” Based on an Arthur Conan Doyle short story, the adventure has Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes chasing after a terrorist who straps explosives to innocent people and has them deliver cryptic messages to our hero, with deadlines for him to solve the clues before the victims go ker-blooey.
The episode includes a clever call-back to the series’ first episode, with Holmes chiding Martin Freeman’s Watson for writing up their first adventure on his blog as “A Study In Pink.” (Holmes scoffs at the title, of course.)
Sherlock works so well because its modernization did not throw away the playful yet intricate plotting that makes Doyle’s tales so enduring. That, and the fact that Cumberbatch and Freeman are a truly inspired Holmes and Watson — Cumberbatch letting loose with just the proper amount of arrogant foppishness, and Freeman delivering priceless sighs and double-takes in reaction to Holmes’ ceaseless deductions.
The good news is that a second series of Sherlock adventures is scheduled to be broadcast in Britain this fall, and if PBS has any sense, it’ll schedule them here as soon as possible after that. Meanwhile, the DVD of this first season goes on sale here on Nov. 9, and it includes the pilot episode, which didn’t air either on PBS or in England.
So: Would you want to see another season of Sherlock?