A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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 is courageous and 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."
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual innuendo and references to sexual activity, including infidelity, but no visible sexual acts.
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Mild language, such as "piss off" and similar British slang.
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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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.