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British TV series ‘Sherlock’ gives a 21st century update to the well-known literary detective and his sidekick

From all around the globe, fans of the British TV series "Sherlock" went crazy when the first episode of season four aired on New Year’s Day, after a three-year gap (excluding "The Abominable Bride" special).

Fans went equally crazy when the three-episode season ended a couple of weeks later.

The original adventures of detective Sherlock Homes were introduced to the world by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century. Over the years, they have been adapted numerous times both on- and off-screen, with the character of Holmes recognized as one of the most-portrayed literary human characters on screen.

However, perhaps none of the adaptations has captivated fans as much as the British TV series "Sherlock," which debuted in 2010.

This adaptation features a modern-day duo of Holmes and Watson who use cellphones and the internet to solve crimes, putting a fresh spin on a classic story and making it more relatable to the 21st century audience.

Throughout the series, the main characters, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman respectively, evolve in many different and surprising ways.

Note: The rest of this article may contain spoilers.

In season one, Holmes is portrayed as an eccentric detective with a brilliant mind who can deduce many things about a person within minutes of meeting them. He defines himself as a "high-functioning sociopath," indicated by his below-average social skills, absence of interpersonal relationships, and extreme focus on things of interest to him.

When he meets Dr. John Watson he is rather cold to him, even though they soon become flatmates and eventually partners in solving crimes.

Watson is a man who has just returned from war. He is brave, but plagued by internal troubles. However, Watson is a more normal person than Holmes in the sense that he is less smart and more social.

During the second season, Holmes and Watson change by noticeably showing their flaws.

In the first episode of the second season, "A Scandal in Belgravia," Sherlock cannot figure out Irene Adler based on what she is wearing, or rather, what she isn’t wearing. This is the first time he draws a blank, and this shows viewers that no matter how clever Holmes is, he is still imperfect.

Holmes also finds out that the person behind all of the seemingly unrelated cases in season one is Jim Moriarty, who is like his equal, further pushing the fact that he is not the only brilliant person out there.

Watson shows weakness, too, by caring too much for his best friend, as seen in the season finale, "The Reichenbach Fall," in which he keeps denying Holmes’ death.

Season three sees both characters evolve dramatically. With Holmes out of the picture, Watson finds time to start focusing on his love life – something he has rarely done since Holmes came into his life.

After Holmes returns to London, Watson is extremely upset that he lied to him, revealing that he did have a strong bond with Holmes.

His strong bond with the detective is furthered when in "The Sign of Three" he appoints Holmes to be his best man, with the latter being confused and hesitant, but flattered as he had never been appointed to such a position before.

Throughout the season, the two characters become even closer and start to treat one another like family.

In season four, the audience sees the most realistic side of Holmes and Watson yet. A recurring theme in the whole series is Holmes’ drug addiction, and in this season, viewers get to see the famously sharp-sighted and quick-witted sleuth barely able to stand due to his cocaine addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Instead of being the robotic, mistake-free genius of the first season, Sherlock struggles with his addiction, which proves that he is vulnerable, just like everyone else.

In addition, Watson is put through even more heartache, which makes him reconsider his decision to team up with Holmes in the first place.

He doesn’t want the thrill of the game to snatch away his dreams of a simple, normal life, but he still secretly craves the rush of solving crimes.

The evolution of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in all four seasons of "Sherlock" is a fascinating journey.

Throughout the series the strength of their friendship is tested multiple times by others and by themselves. Both characters have their ups and downs, but each episode brings them closer to the hearts of the viewers.

Now the only question is: When will the next season come out?

Sharon Luo is a sophomore at Williamsville East High School.


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