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Cumberbatch fans breathless over Season 3 of ‘Sherlock’

January 22nd, 2014 Posted in Arts and Life

By Noelle Johansen

Either you have been living under an uncultured rock for four years, or you were counting down the seconds until the Season 3 premiere of “Sherlock” last weekend. If you have not seen the first two seasons of BBC’s “Sherlock,” close this window and log on to Netflix immediately.

American “Sherlock” fans have waited more than two years to know how Mr. Holmes survived his apparently suicidal leap from the roof of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in the Season 2 finale, “The Reichenbach Fall,” which aired Jan. 15, 2012.

“It’s no surprise to anyone who follows the show that Sherlock isn’t dead,” said actor Martin Freeman, who plays Dr. John Watson, in a preview of Season 3 on PBS.org. “We know that there’s got to be a reckoning with how he did it, how he survived that fall.”

The third season of “Sherlock” aired on BBC in England on Jan. 1, but the series didn’t launch in this country until now.   The three-week gap threatened serious spoilers for U.S. fans. Three Utah State University faculty have carefully navigated the spoiler minefield and anxiously awaited the Season 3 premiere on PBS Masterpiece Theater Sunday.

Oregon native Erin Sorensen is a master’s student and graduate instructor at USU. She discovered BBC’s “Sherlock” after reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” when she graduated with bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University.

sherlock-benedict-cumberbatch“I was starting the second volume and I found on Netflix the BBC ‘Sherlock’ series because I had known they made other Sherlock stories before,” Sorensen said. “They never really caught my attention as much as this one did and so I clicked on it to watch.”

She said it did not stop there.

“That was on a Friday night and by Sunday morning, my husband and I had watched all six episodes from the two seasons,” Sorensen said. “I was just in love with it. We were just like—we can’t stop now we have to keep on going!”

She describes actor Benedict Cumberbatch as “the most perfect Sherlock Holmes ever.”

“Once Benedict Cumberbatch came on the screen and they started speaking, I kind of totally freaked out,” she said. “It was awesome.”

Set in modern-day London, Holmes no longer smokes a pipe but gets his fix from nicotine patches. He still resides at 221B Baker St., however.

“I think they really pulled off setting Sherlock in the modern day,” Sorensen said. For example, the detective texts throughout the series. “I thought that was a brilliant way to take the character and apply it to a more modern setting,” she said.

And she looks forward to the Season 3 reunion of Holmes and Watson.

“It’s been, you know, two or three years since they’ve seen each other and then he comes back,” she said.

Although Sorensen works in Logan and her husband studies in Provo, the weekend promised another happy reunion beyond that of Holmes and Watson.

“My husband’s going to be here this weekend so we’ll probably just watch it together and be in awe together and totally geek out,” she said.

Journalism professor Matthew LaPlante grew up in California, where he read the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a kid.

“I can kind of picture them on my bookshelf,” he said. “They were right next to ‘The Hardy Boys.’”

He says he heard about the latest “Sherlock” remake from friends who raved about how “cute” Cumberbatch is. “That’s not really why I watch TV,” LaPlante said. He said his wife suggested they watch it one night.

“We turned it on, and within minutes I was just totally totally hooked,” LaPlante said. He said he and his wife watched all three hours of Season 1 that night, though it was not Cumberbatch’s cuteness that hooked LaPlante.

“I love smart dialogue,” he explained, “it’s got great dialogue.”

Though LaPlante and his wife started watching “Sherlock” a few months ago, he said the wait for Season 3 has been difficult.

“Knowing that those bastards in Great Britain have been able to watch it for the past two weeks, it’s frustrating,” he said. LaPlante and his wife have a stopwatch for when season three begins. “We’ll put the kid to bed and sit down and snuggle up on the couch and we can both swoon over Benedict,” he said.

Not everyone’s A Cumberbatch fan, however. USU public relations instructor Debra Jenson says she finds Cumberbatch creepy. Initially, she said she was turned off of watching “Sherlock” because of his starring role.

“Somebody told me about it, and I am not a Benedict Cumberbatch fan, and I said no,” Jenson said. “And then they said Martin Freeman’s in it and then I said, yes! Please!”

Jenson said she and her 11-year-old daughter watched eight hours of “Sherlock” in one day.

“I am notorious for this kind of thing, and I love British TV,” she said. “People who know me know that I will grab a British sitcom or a British TV show and obsess over it. And I will also follow British actors to American TV shows.”

She said she especially enjoys when the British actors take on American accents. “I think when British people use American accents it’s like animals wearing clothes,” Jenson said. “I can’t not watch it. It’s amazing!”

Jenson said it was the Britishness of “Sherlock” that made her a fan, not necessarily the mystery.

“I’ve never been like a detective show fan,” she said. “I’m a pasty British fan. Give me a British accent and a good head of hair and I am there. The curly hair on Benedict Cumberbatch is the only thing that makes him watchable.”

Jenson said her biggest worry for the new season is Freeman’s facial hair.

“If I had anything to say about Watson it was I’m nervous about his mustache,” she said. “He has a mustache now! And I’m very concerned about it.”

After two years to consider Sherlock’s apparent suicide at the end of Season 2, fans have had plenty of time to rewatch Cumberbatch plummet to the pavement and devise theories to how he performed the stunt. Perhaps that’s part of the fun of “Sherlock”—solving the case.

“Detective stories are good for people,” LaPlante said. “It’s interesting and it keeps young readers engaged. It makes them think and try to problem-solve. A lot of authors solve all their readers’ questions for them. I think especially for young kids that’s fine, but it’s great when you have to try to figure out part of the puzzle yourself.”


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