The painfully slow pace of release and a slump in quality have left many Sherlock fans hungry for more. The fourth season universally disappoints by trying to be too clever for its own good. Fortunately, there is a wealth of shows, films, and theatrical productions that will please even the most demanding Sherlock fans: from brilliant plays with Benedict Cumberbatch to films with Martin Freeman to gripping detective shows.
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing, a mathematician who cracked the Enigma code during World War II and changed the course of history. After the war, Alan Turing was arrested and chemically castrated for being gay and died before the age of 42 of cyanide poisoning. It is widely accepted that he committed suicide after suffering the indignation of chemical castration.
The isolated and enigmatic genius who understood better machines than people is brilliantly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. You have to agree that there is something about Benedict that makes him perfect brainy characters. The film tells the gripping story of the team at Bletchley Park who solved the mystery of the Enigma. Despite a few minor historical inaccuracies, The Imitation Game is definitely worth a watch.
Frankenstein is a theatrical retelling of Shelley’s classic novel. Benedict Cumberbatch alternated with Jonny Lee Miller playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature; when Frankenstein was on in the National Theatre in London, Benedict would one day play the Creature and another Victor Frankenstein. The production has been recorded in both versions and is available to watch online.
Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are brilliant in their characters. The play has received well deserved enthusiastic reviews. It forces viewers to ask themselves who the real monster is – the Creature or the cold-hearted Creator? I recommend you watch both versions to appreciate the genius and versatility of both lead actors. Below you can see what the playwright, director and the two lead actors have to say about the alternating roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature.
Lyndsey Turner’s Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead caused real media hysteria. Unfortunately, the play doesn’t live up to the hype. Critics seem to agree that the production was at best average.
This might not discourage the hardcore fans of Benedict, though. He has all it takes to be a dazzling Hamlet – the voice, the looks, and the skills. It’s a shame this potential hasn’t been used. The play is available to watch online.
Fans of Martin Freeman may turn to the Hobbit trilogy, in which he plays the lead character. His Bilbo Baggins has the same sense of Englishness and charming quaintness as Dr Watson. Although some people criticise the trilogy for being too long, it is a must watch for Tolkien fans. Three lengthy films may be indeed a bit too much for a screen adaptation of a slim book, but I still think Hobbit is good fun.
As a treat for all Sherlock fans, Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast in the film to play Smaug. The behind-the-scenes video is interesting to watch, as Benedict didn’t simply voice-over the dragon: he wriggled on the floor with motion capture equipment. It was primarily to help him have a real feel for the role, but part of Benedict’s movements was also used for dragon animation. Here you can see Benedict in action:
Martin Freeman starred in the first season of Fargo – a black comedy show based on the 1996 film with the same title. Martin Freeman in the show is an insurance salesman who breaks bad – you can think of him as a Walter White type of character.
The show has won many awards, such as Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Casting, along with numerous other Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. The show has currently three seasons and is on extended hiatus.
Although The Mousetrap features neither Benedict Cumberbatch nor Martin Freeman, it is perfect for all those who love a classic detective story. Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is the longest running West End show – it was first staged in 1952! Peter Saunders who produced the play predicted, "Fourteen months I am going to give it". To which Christie replied, "It won't run that long. Eight months perhaps. Yes, I think eight months."
The play is a brilliant, quaint whodunit. It relies on no spectacular stage design nor magnetic characters; its driving force is a gripping plot with a twist, which audiences are asked not to reveal. It’s definitely a nice idea for spending a charming evening in London.
Broadchurch is a superb British crime show. The stunning performances of two lead roles: Olivia Colman and David Tennant electrify the drama and mystery. Miller (Colman) and Hardy (Tennant) have at times an uneasy and explosive relationship, but that’s precisely what makes them so relatable.
The first season starts with the murder of a boy in a close-knit community – Broadchurch. We see the drama of the family and how the investigation into the murder affects the whole community. The show is atmospheric, slow-paced, and has well-developed characters. While Tennant’s Hardy has none of Sherlock’s nervous energy and quick wits, he is an eccentric and embittered outcast, which should appeal to Sherlock fans.
Doctor Who doesn’t need any introduction. It’s one of the longest running British shows. While doesn’t feature Martin Freeman or Benedict Cumberbatch, it is a brilliant show with strong, memorable characters. Some of the episodes were written by Steven Moffat, the same guy who co-wrote Sherlock.