If you enjoy this review, please help keep Storm Gods on line.

Sherlock Holmes

title stars


With Hollywood having largely forgotten how to make entertaining movies, we’ve found ourselves mining the past for DVDs. Ancient television shows have proven to be a remarkably productive vein in this regard.

Grenada Television’s impeccable recreation of nineteenth-century Victorian London as the haunt of the great detective is only one of the outstanding elements of this series. The actors portraying Holmes, Watson and a gathering of villains, maidens and Dickensian scoundrels are a treat to watch.

Grounded upon Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories but not mired in them, the episodes move at an approachable pace.

There are four DVD sets of one-hour episodes of Sherlock Holmes – sadly, Jeremy Brett, who brings Holmes to something larger than life, passed away shortly after finishing the final episode. A fifth set, of five TV movies, is also available. While The Hound of the Baskervilles has been adapted for film more times than can be easily counted, none of its predecessors have approached this one.

Dating back to the 1980s, the video quality of these DVDs is acceptable, but occasionally flawed. The audio is a bit dreadful at times, with noticeable background noise in a few episodes and distortion that makes the score – largely wrought by a solo violin, in keeping with Holmes’ preferred instrument – sound like a cat in a blender. While none of these issues greatly detracts from the performances, they’ll probably serve to remind you of the antiquity of the work.

For those of us who originally viewed these programs on PBS, it’s probably worth noting that they can be seen on DVD entirely devoid of pledge breaks. No one will try to hard-sell you a coffee mug for twelve easy payments of ten dollars a month.