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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sherlock is an excellent adaptation of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle series that's littered with dead bodies, but little actual onscreen violence. Storylines include terrorism, serial murderers, drug trafficking, and smuggling, and there are plenty of scary scenes and suspense throughout each episode. Expect some social drinking and references to nicotine patches and past drug addiction.
What's the story?
Originally shown on the BBC, SHERLOCK adapts the classic story of Sherlock Holmes to fit into the world of modern-day London. Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) team up to solve cases involving serial killers, espionage, and bombings. Watson is much more of an active particpant in this version, while Holmes maintains many of the same qualities that have made him a popular character for over 100 years.
Is it any good?
Arthur Conan Doyle's classic series has been retold countless times, so it's impressive that this latest version actually feels fresh. Lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch does an excellent job portraying Holmes's eccentricities and intelligence, and Martin Freeman is even more convincing as the Afghan War veteran/doctor John Watson. The series is well served by its 21st century setting: Holmes uses technology to solve his crimes, including GPS, text messages, and emails. The writing is smart and there's plenty of witty repartee between the characters with laugh out loud moments in each episode. One fun update is the series' use of text words floated across the screen to illuminate Holmes's thought process.
There's plenty of suspense and mystery to be found in Sherlock, but little actual on-screen violence. Still, the concepts presented within the series are menacing enough to scare younger viewers. But for families with teens -- especially those who enjoy solving mysteries -- this is an enjoyable and engaging series. Teens might even be inspired to read some of the original mysteries.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Sherlock Holmes uses his intelligence and powers of observation to solve difficult cases. What details does he notice that others overlook? What knowledge of history and culture does he use in his work?
Talk about the character of Sherlock Holmes. Is he a hero or a role model? Why doesn't Holmes have any friends? How is he different or similar to lead characters in other dramas?
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