In case you missed the news lately, most of the South has been ground to a halt off and on these past couple of weeks because of snow. Yes, snow does fall below the Mason-Dixon Line and when it does, schools are (typically) shut down.
Keeping myself amused was no problem at all. What better way to brave being shut in by Mother Nature than to catch up on shows and movies within my Netflix queue?
Sitting quietly within “My List” (formerly known as the “Instant Queue”), “Sherlock” looked like a stuffy series that somehow cast a mesmerizing spell upon many of my closest friends and family. So, I ventured into Netflix, selected the show, and started the first of the three episodes (though each of them is actually feature film length) with the expectation that I would be easily bored. I was never more thankful that I was wrong. The witty, intelligent dialogue paired with strong acting from every member of the cast is what makes this show a winner. Furthermore, Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat‘s updated rendition keeps true to its literary roots by heavily rooting each case within the stories Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote almost a century ago. This reverence for the original works is why I feel that this show can serve as a great educational and teaching tool. For example, students could read Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, “A Study in Scarlet,” to compare and contrast it to the first episode of Season 1 entitled “A Study in Pink.” Though the latter is more loosely based upon the original work, in Season 2, the second episode, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” could be compared to its namesake Holmes case. Students of literature can delve into the reasons why Gatiss and Moffat opted to make one choice or another in bringing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to the 21st century. For example, Dr. Watson records each of Sherlock’s cases in a blog (which can be read here). Why might a blog have been chosen instead of a Twitter account, a regular newspaper column, or vlog (video blog)?
From an educational standpoint, “Sherlock” is certainly a show for more mature students to watch. Season 1 would be friendliest toward audiences ages 12 and up, however Season 2 is much more appropriate for more mature audiences, such as students 14 and up. Though tastefully done, I would certainly avoid Season 2, episode 1: “A Scandal in Belgravia” for any student audiences as there are some, shall we say, more “grown” subject matter discussed.
All in all, I found this show to be absolutely mesmerizing and intelligent. Each episode was an intellectual adventure that took me beyond just the detective case at hand, but through the lives of Sherlock, Watson, their growing bond and group of allies.