Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Horror of the Hound Part II

Atmospheric poster for the 1939 adaptation
Part II - Sherlock Holmes Goes to the Movies

The Hound of the Baskervilles has been adapted countless times (27 times to be exact). The Gothic aura seems to draw people in, because who doesn't love a good old-fashioned horror story every once and a while? As we continue to take a look at how the Gothic genre has influenced the history of Hound, I'd like to highlight three adaptations in particular. They are the ones which conveyed the foreboding atmosphere of Doyle's original best, and carried on the legacy of the Horror of the Hound.

By 1939, The Hound of the Baskervilles had already been adapted eleven times. There were two German versions in the 1910's and 1920's, two English versions (one featuring legendary Sherlockian actor Ellie Norwood, the other featuring the forgettable and lamentable Robert Rendel) and another German-made version made in Germany and released in 1937. This 1930's German adaptation was said to be a favourite of Adolf Hitler's and featured a bit of Nazi propaganda! Yet, none of these versions could hold a candle to the famed 1939 film made at 20th Century Fox, the first Sherlock Holmes movie to star Basil Rathbone as the detective. (For those interested in further trivia, 1939's Hound was the first Sherlock Holmes film set in the Victorian Era.) At the time of release, Fox wasn't known for horror films, the market being monopolized by Universal Studios, where the Sherlock Holmes series would soon emigrate. Yet, they did know a thing or two about movie detectives, and by 1939 Fox was running two highly successful detective series - the first being the exploits of Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan, based on the works of Earl Derr Biggers and the second being the adventures of Japanese detective Mr. Moto, as played by Peter Lorre and based on the novels of John P. Marquand.

Despite the fact that horror was not Fox's territory, the studio did an excellent job in capturing the essence of Doyle's novel. A great deal of their success is due to the massive moorland set which was constructed especially for the film. In a commonly believed anecdote, Richard Greene (the film's Sir Henry Baskerville) wandered onto the set and actually got lost. Whether this was true, or a clever bit of publicity, the set is moody with jagged rocks, swirling fog et al. Onto this imposing structure swaggers Rathbone's Inverness-clad, deerstalker-wearing detective, and the Victorian milieu, coupled with the gas lamps and hansom cabs glimpsed earlier add not only an aura of the fantastical but the cozy.

Peter Cushing (right) and Andre Morrel (left)
in Hammer Film's 1959 Hound adaptation
The Hound of the Baskervilles returned with a vengeance in 1959, in what I believe is one of the finest Sherlock Holmes films ever made. I have written of Hammer Film's 1959 venture in the past, but please humour me for the time being as I reiterate. Coming off the success of The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula (both starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), the studio turned to Doyle's novella as inspiration for their next film. Cushing makes for a film Sherlock Holmes, at his condescending and prickly best, while Andre Morrel rates as one of the screen's best Dr. Watson's and Christopher Lee cuts a distinguished figure as Henry Baskerville. It is interesting to note that Hammer never saw the film from a Sherlock Holmes angle - what they saw was the potential for a horror film - and that's just what they delivered!

By today's standards, Hammer's attempts to turn The Hound of the Baskervilles into an out-and-out horror film can come off as pretty campy. Nothing screams: "Look at how hard we're trying to scare you" as the opening scene in which David Oxley's venomous Sir Hugo Baskerville chases the servant girl across the moor, stabs her to death and his killed by the hound in an eerie point-of-view shot. Yet, things improve. The attempt on Sir Henry's life by means of a tarantula is pretty tense stuff (especially for this reviewer who has a deathly fear of spiders). Then, there's Stapleton, who becomes a revenge-seeking farmer with webbed hands, who performs a sort of sacrificial rite on Seldon the convict's corpse after the latter falls victim to the demon dog. The climax is relocated to a crumbling abbey on the moor, and the detective and doctor must stop the hound from worrying Sir Henry's throat as they're being threatened by a knife-wielding Stapleton. It's all pretty standard Hammer horror stuff - but I love every minute of it.

With just the right amount of overly-red fake blood and Technicolor, 1959's The Hound of the Baskervilles is the most bombastic adaptation of Doyle's famous story. In the years that followed, there were numerous other adaptations, most of which stuck closer to the source material than Hammer's. Yet, in doing so some of these films were so busy incorporating every one of Doyle's plot points, they forgot to make the film scary. The 1982 version starring Tom Baker and the 1988 version with Jeremy Brett fall victim to this slight error. but I'm glad to say that the most recent version of the story rectified problems, restoring the novel to its horror story roots.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on location
in Dartmoor for The Hounds of Baskerville
The second episode of Sherlock's second series, The Hounds of Baskerville certainly takes the cake for the scariest version of Doyle's novel. Mark Gatiss' efforts to amp up the horror are incredibly successful. This is in part due to the fact that it keeps Sherlock Holmes around the whole time. If you recall from Part I, I discussed how Holmes' removal from the story can make it feel more ominous due to a lack of skeptical insight on the detective's part. Sherlock takes care of this by having Sherlock see the hound with his own eyes, and he begins to question the logic which he holds dear. It's a bold move, and a drastic departure from the canon, but beautifully executed - the pay-off coming in the fireside chat between Sherlock and John, which spawns one of the series' finest deductions scenes. Gatiss also discussed the idea of turning Baskerville into a secret military lab. In an age where we question our government and conspiracy theories run wild (who doesn't like a good conspiracy theory every now and then), The Hounds of Baskerville manages to play upon our fears and manages to keep it current. Aesthetically, the episode is incredibly creepy - filming on location in Dartmoor was brilliant, and even in broad daylight the moor is unnerving. There's the gas mask-wearing killer which is downright freaky (because Steven Moffat taught me how scary gas masks can be - see The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances), and even the CGI hound at the end, though pretty fake, is still unnerving, and certainly not the worst-looking hound in the history of Sherlockian cinema.

And so we come to the end of our journey - from The Hound of the Baskervilles' initial publication in 1901 to 2012. In that time, a scarlet thread of Gothic horror has run through its tangled skein of existence, easily making it one of the most beloved detective stories and horror novels ever written.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Horror of the Hound Part I

Part I - Let's Talk Plot

The Hound of the Baskervilles has taken on a life of its own. Even if one is unfamiliar with the rest of the Sherlock Holmes canon, the novel can be read and enjoyed. Aside from its tenuous ties to the other short stories and novels in the canon, Hound is unique as it feels so different from the other stories. The Hound of the Baskervilles has developed a reputation as a Gothic horror novel alongside Dracula, The Turn of the Screw and others. The question is: is The Hound of the Baskervilles more of a detective story...or a masterpiece of horror?

Part of the answer may lie in the history of the novel's publication. After he'd killed Sherlock Holmes off in The Final Problem, Arthur Conan Doyle turned to other ideas, one of which involved a ghostly hound on the Devonshire moor. Aided by his friend, Bertram Fletcher Robinson (whom Doyle collaborated with on a number of occasions), Doyle set out to create a story based on this spectral beast rumoured to lurk about Dartmoor. (Interesting tidbit time: Doyle purloined the name Baskerville from his cab driver.) As Doyle began writing, he found that a centralized character was needed to tie the strands of plot together. So, somewhat begrudgingly, Doyle resurrected the detective and set The Hound of the Baskervilles in the days before the great detective cornered Professor Moriarty atop the Reichenbach Falls.

So, historically-speaking, Arthur Conan Doyle didn't intend for Holmes to be part of the novel and that is perhaps one reason The Hound of the Baskervilles has more of a horror story vibe to it. When one looks at how the novel is structured, a drastic tonal change is noticed almost straightaway. The first five chapters lay the groundwork for the story, and set entirely in London, sees Sherlock Holmes at his most involved in the plot. After that, the detective recedes into the background as Watson takes over, and the book takes on a far more disconcerting feeling. It's not until the last three chapters does Holmes return to the action, and once more does the tone become one of mystery. If the history of the novel's publication is to be believed, Holmes may have been a fairly late addition to the proceedings. It's only when the great detective sticks his deerstalker into the plot does it become a standard whodunit again.

Holmes' lack of involvement in the story also helps establish the Gothic aura in a different sense. Holmes is without doubt a firm believer in the here and now (remember "no ghosts need apply"). If Sherlock Holmes had been involved in the entire plot, would the same uneasy feeling be present? I'm going to say probably not. If Doyle was setting out to write a ghost story, a detective who firmly opposes the belief in the occult would have shattered the aura. Let's liken this to another famous piece of Gothic fiction: Dracula. As soon as Professor Van Helsing enters the plot, he reinforces the supernatural trappings, and you never forget what kind of evil the characters are fighting. By contrast, Holmes would have reinforced the rational explanation to the end. By taking the great detective out of the equation, the reader is left with a nagging suspicion - what if the ghosts are real this time?

Then there's the feeling of isolation. Dartmoor is painted as being a pretty barren place, a ripe setting for a ghost story. The sense of isolation is one of The Hound of the Baskervilles' greatest indicators of Gothic fiction. Beginning in the early part of the nineteenth century, the Gothic movement of writers countered the work of the transcendentalists, painting pictures of basically evil people and the dangers which come with isolation. Most notable amongst these works are Poe's The Masque of the Red Death and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman. Both of these titles are strongly influenced by isolation, and the latter story actually depicts a woman's downward spiral into madness due to her severed ties from the outside world.

And what would any discussion of the horrific side of this novel be without a glimpse at the monster of the piece. And what an excellent monster it is - it's initial appearance delivering chills up the spine of any reader. Put yourself in the shoes of someone reading the initial publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles is serialized form. The tension is building and the latest installment ends with these words:

"A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog."

If that doesn't raise goosebumps, I don't know what could. The hound, which has been kept off to the side until now, makes a fantastic appearance, charging after Sir Henry Baskerville and nearly killing him. Despite the reappearance of Sherlock Holmes, and a rational explanation being delivered, this tableau is still a disconcerting one. The hound, though only seen in three paragraphs of the story, still stands a remarkable creature in Gothic literature - right up there with Count Dracula and Frankenstein's Creation.

So, we reach something of an impasse. The Hound of the Baskervilles is, of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, the creepiest tale. It is absolutely dripping with atmosphere and Gothic thematic elements. Yet, unlike most Gothic horror stories, everything is rationally explained come the finale. This rather puts things at odds with the rest of the sub-genre. So, is The Hound of the Baskervilles a piece of Gothic fiction? Even if the novel is not the same type of horror novel as Dracula, Frankenstein and others, it cannot be denied that this atmosphere influenced dozens of the film adaptations which would come in the novel's wake. Coming Soon - The most beloved adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles are the ones which capture the Gothic elements. In Part II entitled, "Sherlock Holmes Goes to the Movies," I examine the impact a little bit of horror has had on these films.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A State of the Blog Address

I'm not particularly fond of these little updates, but to my readers, I'd let to let you in on what's happening here and why my blog output is decidedly minimal. So, here's what's going on:

1. I'm busy. Bottom-line I'm busy. Busier than I've been in a while with all sorts of things, and in my down-time I'm finding that I am reserving my energy for...well doing nothing.

2. I'm currently reading Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Capote's book, while an engaging and fascinating read, isn't exactly an easy read. It doesn't help that I'm in something of a time crunch to finish it (library policy and what not). Hopefully when I'm finished, a review will find its way onto this blog though.

3. I have begun watching Breaking Bad. I know a couple friends who spoke very highly up of it, and I decided it give it a go. I have completed two of its five seasons so far, and I must say its a very impressive, well-acted, well-written show. usual television is getting in the way again.

4. My bookshelves are positively overflowing with potential reviews. Aside from In Cold Blood, I am also delving into the short story collection, 11 Doctors, 11 Stories in which eleven authors try their hand at writing a Doctor Who short story. Such famed writers such as Eoin Colfer, Charlie Higson, Derek Landy and Neil Gaiman are contributors. Again, a review is on the horizon.

But wait...what about Sherlock Holmes? Well don't worry. I have a somewhat controversial post in the works exploring how Sherlock Holmes is becoming something of a commodity. In addition to that, I have a two-part analysis coming up looking at The Hound of the Baskervilles and how its taken on a life of its own as a classic of Gothic horror literature. Part I will examine the novel itself and Part II will see how the Gothic genre has influenced numerous film adaptations.

So, now that we're all up to speed, I'd like to take a minute to thank all my readers, and without you I would be writing this for no one. Hopefully your patience will be rewarded. All of the above and more is in store, if only Walter White will let me...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Steven Moffat - Evil Genius?

Is he a schemer: Yes. Does he enjoy manipulation: Yes. Is a showman: Yes. Is he one of the best writers of the last decade: that's debatable. Is Steven Moffat "out to watch the world burn?" Well, it depends on who you ask? Travelling in the circles that I do, I rub elbows with a lot of fans of Sherlock and Doctor Who, and more than a few of them are outspoken fans. (Aren't we all though?) Due to Steven Moffat pulling the puppet strings behind both series, devout fans will often discuss his role in these show's success, and more often that not, the opinion is divided. Today, I'd like to take a closer look at Steven Moffat - perhaps the world's most formidable evil genius.

I will preface this post with one disclaimer: I do like Moffat's work. Do I think that every word the man has ever entered into a Word processor has been pure gold: Like any writer, Steven Moffat has had his ups and downs, but in my opinion he's had more ups than downs, which has put me at odds with a number of other fans. So, in short, if what follows seems biased in anyway, it is probably because I am inclined to think that Moffat is a good writer, and surely one of the finest in television history.

A good story needs a good plot - that's pretty self-evident isn't it? The two go hand in hand and a clever, well-thought-out plot usually spawns a good story. I need to look no further than Doctor Who Series 5 to give evidence of Moffat's excellent plotting abilities. Series 5 was Moffat's first season as showrunner, having taken over after Russell T. Davies. Moffat managed to reinvent the show in a number of ways. He restored an air of seriousness to the proceedings. While there's nothing wrong with breezy entertaining viewing, Moffat's era added complexities unseen during the RTD years. Along with a dramatic tonal shift, Moffat tackled story-arcs head-on, and the arc in Series 5 is I think breath-taking in its complexities, the groundwork laid out in episode one and not resolved until the series finale. Watching Doctor Who became a game of "spot the clues" and piece them together, making the science fiction program an engaging experience. On a side note, the Series 5 finale, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang is, in this writer's opinion, one of the finest television stories ever penned.

Doctor Who Series 6 Promotional Material
I wouldn't be surprised if Moffat said to himself "Why stop here?" in the wake of Series 5. The next season adds new layers to the previous arc, introducing new plot threads and villains, and most importantly new revelations. The mid-season finale (yeah Doctor Who can be confusing to a novice), A Good Man Goes to War is I think one of the most surprising episodes ever, the cliffhanger leaving me in awe for a while afterward. I would have given anything to read a few reactions in the wake of that story's transmission. Yet, Series 6 is weighted down by a plot which is too complex. Speaking from personal experience, I needed a second viewing of the entire season and a flowchart to fully comprehend it. However, despite the extreme complexity, the series is still excellent television.

But what about Sherlock - this is a Sherlock Holmes-blog after all. Well, similarly Moffat's work on Sherlock has been fantastic, and his three contributions are among my favourite episodes of the show. A Scandal in Belgravia is one of the finest 90-minutes in television history, marked by some fine performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Laura Pulver and extremely clever references to Conan Doyle's canon. A Scandal in Belgravia is my favourite episode of Sherlock. Moffat's other Sherlockian offerings are of equal quality: A Study in Pink showcases Moffat's predilection towards tight plots and His Last Vow, being the most serious episode so far, defined the characters extraordinarily well (and had that awe-inspiring surreal sequence in which Sherlock is shot).

Mark Gatiss in character
But, there's something which truly gets my goat (do people still say that - oh well) when it comes to Sherlock. As the show has gained notoriety, interviews have been conducted with the behind-the-scenes personnel, and more often than not, Moffat is the one who answers the questions. This I think has given many the assumption that Moffat is the soul powerhouse behind Sherlock, seeming to neglect the contribution of Mark Gatiss. I could be completely wrong, but from what I have read on the Internet (so it must be true), Gatiss is the true showrunner when it comes to Sherlock. The fact that he is not only a writer, but also has a recurring role seems to show how he's a hands-on kind of person. So, why hasn't Gatiss gotten the same coverage? In my opinion, he's a quieter guy, less verbose than Moffat, as he manipulates his audience with the tape of a computer key. Despite the fact that Gatiss is a good actor, he doesn't have the same presence as Moffat, which I'm sure the press laps up. Now, that's not to say this could change. Inevitably, some day Steven Moffat will pass the torch of Doctor Who showrunner onto someone else, and my money is on Gatiss, which I wholeheartedly approve. The fact that Gatiss was responsible for the 50th anniversary celebratory special, An Adventure in Space and Time makes him seem like a shoe-in for the position. If this happens some day down the road, I'm sure that Gatiss will become more recognised as a writer and actor, instead of quietly lurking in the shadows. Ooh, that sounded a bit ominous...

Steven Moffat and comrade
So, it comes down to a definition of genius. Steven Moffat's stories have been excellent subjects of absolute perfection (The Empty Child, Blink, Time of Angels, A Scandal in Belgravia etc.), which in my mind makes him one of the finest screenwriters in my experience. As I covered quite heavily above, Moffat does know how to tell a good story, even if he doesn't achieve gold ever single time (*cough Let's Kill Hitler cough*). And, I suppose it comes down to one's definition of evil. Moffat surely knows how to twist an audience around his finger, and keep them on the edge of their seat. I could be wrong, but surely Moffat has some say in those melodramatic midnight BBC newsflashes? But, what people call evil is I think showmanship and flair. There couldn't be anything more dull than a showrunner who is severely disinterested in his topic. Moffat obviously has a love for Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes and what better way to show that off than with a :touch of the dramatic?" But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Steven Moffat is seated at home on a throne, a mischievous glee in his eyes, thinking to himself: "Yes - with secret weapons like Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith, the world will soon be mine..."

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Movable Wound

Ernest Hemingway had A Movable Feast and Arthur Conan Doyle had 'A Movable Wound.' Well, sort of. Despite the fact that Doyle was an excellent writer, crafting some of the finest stories in literary history, he wasn't exactly concerned with continuity. This leads to some interesting and at times problematic mistakes within the Sherlock Holmes canon.

To those readers who may not know the canon like the back of their hand, let me name a few such continuity issues. 1) In A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes' landlady is inexplicably named Mrs. Turner instead of Mrs. Hudson. 2) In the following short story, The Red-Headed League, two dates are given when it comes to the story's setting - April and October of 1890. 3) Dr. Watson's first name is John, yet in The Man with the Twisted Lip, his wife calls him 'James.' Odd that Watson's wife wouldn't know his name. This lead Sherlockian and creator of detective Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorthy L. Sayers to propound the theory that Watson's middle name is Hamish which is Scottish for James. 4) In Wisteria Lodge, the setting is given as 1892, which in terms of chronology is impossible as Holmes was pretending to be dead during this period after facing Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.

Yet, the most infamous problem is the position of Dr. Watson's war wound. It seems like a minor detail, yet it has stirred an interest in Sherlockian authors and scholars for years. The problem first arises in A Study in Scarlet in which Watson says: "[I was] struck in the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery." Yet, in the following novella, The Sign of Four, he describes his wounded leg: "I had had a Jezail bullet through it some time before, and though it did not prevent me from walking it ached wearily at every change of the weather."

Watson is shot in The Three Garridebs
So, where was Watson wounded during the Afghan campaign? There have been various depictions of the good doctor's injury throughout the years. In the 1976 film, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Robert Duvall's Watson is seen walking with a cane and a pronounced limp, implying a leg wound. More recently in A Study in Pink, writer Steven Moffat poked fun at the inconsistency by having John sustain a shoulder wound but having a psychosomatic limp. Another theory, and a far less likely one, is that Watson was shot twice during the Afghan war - once in the shoulder and once in the leg. You pity Watson all the more if this were the case, and one sympathises with the doctor to an even greater extent when he is shot again in The Adventure of the Three Garridebs. To quote from that story:
"In an instant he had whisked a revolver from his breast and had fired two shots. I felt a sudden hot sear as if a red-hot iron had pressed my thigh. There was a crash as Holmes' pistol came down on the man's head. I had a vision of him sprawling upon the floor with blood running down his face while Holmes rummaged for the weapons. Then my friend's arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair."

 Could Watson have sustained three wounds in his lifetime? I suppose it's possible, but the fact that Watson was on the brink of death after one war wound makes the probability of this particular explanation pretty slim. I for one believe that Watson was wounded in the leg, but that's just my opinion.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Sherlock" - A Retrospection

At long last, Sherlock aired on both sides of the Atlantic. No longer do I need to begin post headings with SPOILERS! I can discuss the show at length and make witty references in forthcoming posts (there's no guarantee that'll happen though). So, now the reflection can begin. Looking back on Series 3 of Sherlock, how well did it fit alongside its preceding seasons? That's the question I hope to answer during today's analysis.

All three seasons of Sherlock have featured episodes which I describe as 'good,' 'better,' and 'best.' For example, Series 1's The Blind Banker was 'good.' The Great Game was 'better' and A Study in Pink was 'best.' Judging the episodes in this way, one not only sees that all three episodes of each series have been of incredibly high quality, but when it comes to judging the 'best' episodes alongside each other its very difficult.

Occasionally, on the IMDb forums, contributors will rank the episodes in order of best to worst. I thought I'd take a minute and follow suit here. Note: I love all nine episodes of Sherlock, therefore the following list is based upon my opinions of favourite to least favourite as finding the 'worst' episode of Sherlock would be a task worthy of the great detective himself. So here goes:

A Scandal in Belgravia - This is I think the most entertaining of Sherlock, packed to the brim with Sherlockian goodness. It manages to create poignant character moments without jeopardizing the case at hand, and the episode elicits laughs without making Sherlock and John a laughing stock.

A Study in Pink - What makes A Study in Pink so impressive is that it is the first episode. So often, the first episode of a show fails to draw me in as it attempts to set up all the characters and situations which will become relevant later. However, A Study in Pink managed to get all of this exposition across and make it incredibly entertaining.

His Last Vow - After the first two episodes of Series 3 which really delved into character, His Last Vow returned to the formula which fans had come to love - mystery first! While the episode features a great deal of character building, His Last Vow takes a purely no-nonsense approach, easily making it the most serious and darkest episode thus far.

The Great Game - The Series 1 finale gave the viewer a number of mysteries for the price of one. The episode is also the most suspenseful of the lot, pitting Sherlock and John against an all too real ticking time bomb. Very nicely structured story and a nice introduction to the most grandiose Moriarty who has have graved the screen.

The Empty Hearse - By far, The Empty Hearse was the most entertaining episode of Sherlock. In an unusual move, the mystery elements took a back seat to the building up of character. Sherlock and John had some of their best moments in this episode and there was an abundance of laughs. 

The Sign of Three - As with its predecessor, The Empty Hearse, this episode took a closer look at the characters who live in this Sherlockian world. The episode reached its highest points when it focused on the mystery elements of the episode, but there were times when I felt as though the comedy reared its head a bit too much.

The Hounds of Baskerville - This episode scored best on atmosphere, creating one of the most unnerving settings in any adaptation of the novel. Yet, Benedict Cumberbatch's performance is perhaps at odds with his other interpretations of the character and the revelation of the ending is too far-fetched to be believed.

The Blind Banker - An interesting allusion to Doyle in its bombast, but a rather unbelievable story which feels rather flat coming off of the success which was A Study in Pink. There are a few nice references to The Dancing Men and The Valley of Fear though.

The Reichenbach Fall - I know what you must be thinking - why is this my least favourite. While everything about it is 'good,' I just felt as though it distanced itself from Doyle too much, and didn't feature any traces of mystery, but played out like a standard thriller. 

So there we have it, a complete retrospective on Sherlock Series 1-3. Now that yet another season has come to an end, we are yet again doomed to play the waiting game, speculating on what's to come next. Yet, the waiting heightens the suspense, and is in some ways rather entertaining. The game is on...