So picture this, you are a fan of one of the biggest shows on TV at the moment and you are told not long after the end of your favourite series that won’t be returning for another 3 years at the least that you are going to get a special episode on New Years Day of 2016! You’re all excited, right? This is it, the thing that will tide you over until the next installment of the series, something that will add to the already expansive plot?! So then imagine your disappointment when you realize that this special will be set in the past rather than in the present day where the current narrative is taking place, that the cast will remain the same but the story will be completely new and not in any way linked to the familiar narrative and story that you know and love. By now you’re distraught, you’re thinking ‘Why would they take the one unique point about a Sherlock Holmes story set in a modern era and throw it away?’, you’re shaking your fist in the air directly at Steven Moffat who is sitting in his drug infested ivory tower – twirling his evil moustache and laughing at you the, viewer, who will have to inevitably watch this load of poppycock anyway just to get your fix of Benedict Cumberbatch (or Martin Freeman in my case).
No one. No. Was no-one thinking this?
Just me then, so it’s fair to say that I was a little cynical of the whole past version of the show and old Moffat was going to have to write something amazing to convince me of it’s brilliance.
In short : he did.
The story was superb, mixing the right amount of old narrative and character arcs into the newer tale without bogging it down in needless exposition and explainations, I love how Moffat expects the viewer to have seen the other shows but is quite happy to add little things in to bring newer viewers up to speed. The darker elements were done brilliantly and props (if you’ll pardon the pun) must be given to the set and costume designers who made the show feel very authentic and not out of place. The acting as always was brilliant bit what did you expect from a cast of top class actors.
Back now to the story telling as I really can’t congratulate Moffat enough for even having me fooled in the twists and turns of the narrative – and can I just say that the use of the past setting was incredibly used and very fitting of the show with Sherlock using just the five minutes of the plane landing from the end of Series 3 to construct his own world to solve a case. The tone was brilliant – capturing the darker tones of the gothic horror story and mixing that with the humourous jokes and cheeky winks to fans throughout. This was a masterclass in how to write an episode of Sherlock and a reason why Moffat is a true genius!