The second season of the BBC hit Sherlock is currently being filmed and some details regarding episode titles, the stories they are based on and some guest star news has been announced. Once again the series will consist of three 90 minute films and if they hit the high storytelling notes that they did last year, viewers will be left desperate for more. Be warned, I will be discussing elements of the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Stories so there will be some book spoilers ahead.
Episode 2.01 “A Scandal in Belgravia”
Taken from the short story “A Scandal in Bohemia” which features in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes this is a love story for Holmes but not in the usual sense of the word. Holmes becomes fascinated by ‘the women’ Irene Adler (the character Rachel McAdams played in the 2009 Guy Ritchie film), not through the usual means of attraction but because she is the only woman to have outwitted him, a feat that is not easy. Steven Moffat has chosen to adapt this tale because of the twisted love story that is contained within the mystery. There has been no word as to who will be playing Adler as of yet.
Episode 2.02 “The Hounds of Baskerville”
This is easy to see which famous Holmes tale comes from and is possibly my favourite of the vast canon; The Hound of the Baskervilles. This was Conan Doyle’s third full novel outing with Holmes and is by far the most adapted of his works on the small and big screen (there are at least 24 versions), and it has Holmes investigating what seems to be a mystical giant hound. It is the Gothic horror elements of the story that had Mark Gatiss wanting to be the writer of this episode and is perhaps the most frightening Sherlock Holmes adventure. In this new adaptation Being Human (UK version) werewolf Russell Tovey will be playing Henry Baskerville, the final Baskerville who is being hunted by the beast. He excitedly confirmed on his Twitter yesterday that he had indeed been cast on this episode of Sherlock as Henry Baskerville.
Episode 2.03 “The Reichenbach Fall”
Steve Thompson (Doctor Who) joins the Sherlock writing team and has the pleasure of tackling the finale. The story that looks like it is being adapted could have been the final outing for Sherlock Holmes; “The Final Problem” from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. For any fan of the Holmes stories the name Reichenback Fall is sure to be familiar and I urge you that if you are not and don’t want to be spoiled for this big twist to stop reading here. It is the waterfall in “The Final Solution” where both Moriarty and Holmes fall into, presumably killing them both. This story was actually written and released prior to The Hound of the Baskervilles, which Conan Doyle wrote after much public pressure to resurrect this beloved character, he did and went on to write many more Holmes stories. What is clear then is that this adaptation will be another showdown between Holmes and Moriarty but it is unclear whether they will both take a tumble in to the waterfall.
The choice to opt for three of the most famous Sherlock Holmes adventures was not an accident, Mark Gatiss explained the reason for this was:
“Having had a successful first run, we knew that the natural order would be to do the three most famous things, so we’re doing a version of [those three stories]. They just fall like that, and then it’s a question of how to get out of that [series one] cliffhanger!”
Choosing the really famous stories to retell could be considered a bold and brave move, but after the excellent first series of Sherlock I have a lot of faith in the writers and actors to produce strong and worthy adaptations. What do you think of these choices? Is your favourite there?
Sherlock will return to screens in the UK in the Fall, there is no air date for the US as of yet but it will likely air on PBS shortly after.