Common Sense Media says

Smart modern detective tales with dark, morbid elements.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series is a bit brutal in its storylines: innocent people are murdered and killers are adept at reaching their victims. Holmes is presented as an anti-hero whose inability to make friends and interact with greater society — or the police force — in a normal manner are admirable qualities. Holmes is incredibly intelligent, yet his intelligence only serves to ostracize from the rest of society.

Positive role models

While Holmes is a hothead and Watson is a bit of a staid bumbler, together they balance each other, creating a wonderful partnership. Watson helps to teach Holmes the value of steadiness and friendship, while Holmes's intellectual curiosity and powers of deduction are fascinating and inspiring. However, Holmes is an unbalanced, flawed man; he describes himself thusly:  "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath."


The majority of the violence in the series occurs offscreen. Bodies are presented after the murders and scenes from war or battle are presented in flashbacks. There are a few disturing scenes, such as Sherlock whipping a body with a riding crop to determine bruise patterns for a case, or stepping on a serial murderer's gun wound to extract information.


Sexual innuendo and references to sexual activity, including infidelity, but no visible sexual acts.


Mild language, such as "piss off" and similar British slang.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Minor drinking. Holmes wears multiple nicotine patches, but no longer smokes. References to Holmes's former use of heroin, keeping with the original character's drug addiction.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this excellent adaptation of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle series is 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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Originally shown on the BBC, this 2010 series 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 here, 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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Sherlock was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous November 23, 2012

I am Sherlocked

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE this show. It is a must see if you like British tele. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect for the role of Holmes, and Martin Freeman is amazing as Watson. Together they play modern versions of the most famous detective in the world an his assistant. It's brilliantly written, (GO MOFFAT!) and very original. Now let's talk about the first and second seasons. (Series if you like) Language wise not bad, one instance of d*ck, but besides that the stray h*ll and d*mn (and variations there of) can be found every now and then. It's pretty tame. This is when it gets gritty. There is a lot of violence. It happens on a regular basis. Then again, it's a detective show, what do you expect? There are dead bodies, shooting, blood, and much, much more. Don't plan on watching this with little kids. And last, but not least the sexual content. Now the first series is tame besides some suggestions of a relationship between Sherlock and John, and a few mentions of cheating victims. Sherlock also makes a joke that will go over kids heads while deducing about one of the other detectives ("I'll assume you scrubbed his floors going by the state of your knees.") Now the second season is a bit more tricky. The first episode of the second season is one you might want to skip if you have kids under the age of 14 watching. The episode is about Irene Adler, a…. ummmm… how to put it nicely… a recreational scolder? Anyway, she takes a few pictures of her and some unknown young royal in questionable poses, and threatens the British government by blackmail. The episode is the only one you need to worry about. There is nudity, but you can't see anything, she's always covered up. She tries to seduce Sherlock on multiple occasions as well. As for drugs there is hinting during a drug bust at 221b Baker St. that suggests that maybe Sherlock does a little more then just cigarettes. Nothing else though, mind you. Overall, the show is awesome and each episode is like a movie. You should watch it. You'll soon fall in love, just as I have with the world's only "High-Functioning Sociopath".
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byAmyBeth44 June 18, 2012

Sherlock's Sexcapades

The first episode of the second Series, "A Scandal in Belgravia," centers on a dominatrix (the BBC's version of Irene Adler) and her relationship with Sherlock Holmes. There are web images of the dominatrix in licentious poses and costumes, she is shown fully-naked trying to seduce Holmes, and she is shown beating him with one of her dominatrix tools. Some parents may feel comfortable exposing their young teens to violent prostitution as just another job opportunity, a choice made by consenting adults. Personally, I believe that childhood should be cherished and protected, as much as that is possible in our high-speed world of more information is always better. I wouldn't recommend this for anyone younger than 17.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byWayward Girl December 4, 2012

I LOVE SHERLOCK!!! Best Detective Show EVER!!

Sherlock... there is no way to describe how intoxicating, intriguing, hilarious, incredible, and addicting this show is!! AHH I love it so much!! It's such a clever re-imagining of the idea of Sherlock Holmes! If you love mysteries, crime, etc you will love this show!! While this show is AMAZING and everything, there are a few concerns. It is better suited for mature audiences, teenagers and up. I do let my 12 year old brother watch it, but not without my guidance. There isn't a lot of sexual content, but the entire episode of Season 2, ep 1, surrounds a prostitute dominatrix. Uhhhh yeaahhh. That's not something I want my brother to even know the definition of. In that episode particularly, there was a nudity scene that was so cleverly filmed that no actual body parts were shown. Just a lot of bare skin, even full frontal shots. Yeah. Nothing was shown, but still. I skipped that part for my bro. The only other concern I have regarding smexy stuff in this show is the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. I love their friendship, It's a complete bromance, absolutely NO homosexual feelings whatsoever, but I just HATE how all the other characters in the show keep joking that they are. Other than that, there's nothing else. No drugs whatsoever, and of course, since it's a crime show, there is a little bit of violence. There is a "scary" Hound of Baskervilles in one episode. But that's all the concerns I have. This show is practically perfect in my opinion. The chemistry between characters is amazing, the dialogue is ingenious, and the storyline and character development is so intense and creative... it's overwhelming. I love this show so much, and I cannot wait for season 3!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent Written bykatumus5 March 5, 2013

Sex inappropriate episode 1 season 2

Me and my husband had to skip the entire 1st episode of season 2 because there was too much skin showed just within the first 20 min. Shows a woman in skimpy outfit a few times and shows insane cleavage of woman in open robe. And by what others have written I'm glad we didn't watch the rest. Other than that the other episodes were awesome!
What other families should know
Too much sex


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