I can now add to my previous posts about Monty Python and other great British TV shows on Netflix Watch Instantly (streaming video to your PC or Mac) two eminent figures in British entertainment: Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor.
Lots of old “Doctor Who” episodes have long been available on Watch Instantly, but now they’ve added new seasons 2, 3 and 4, which feature David Tennant as the Doctor. I loved Tom Baker as the Doctor when I was a kid, though I don’t enjoy the old episodes as much these days (exception: “City of Death,” written by Douglas Adams, set in Paris and still watchable). And I tuned back in as Russell T. Davies revived the series. But I didn’t get hooked till David Tennant came in. He is just so blinking perfect as the Doctor. Cuddly, loony, protective, erratic, brilliant, charming. These new episodes wobble around a lot in quality, but, for example, “Blink” is a jaw-dropping feat of clever plotting/writing/time engineering, as well as very scary. “The Girl in the Fireplace” is lovely and sad; “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” are imaginative and gripping. But then “Love and Monsters” is insultingly awful. It helps a bit to remember that this is a series made for children.
Probably the current hit movie prompted the streaming release of the old Jeremy Brett-starring TV productions of Sherlock Holmes stories, but whatever the reason, it’s good news. These are mostly filmed with a spooky or Gothic atmosphere, and Brett is widely viewed as a definitive Holmes. He played the character in these TV productions, each linked to their Netflix streaming video:
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, series 1 and 2 (1984-5, 13 episodes)
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes, series 3 (1986, 7 episodes)
- The Sign of Four (1987)
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes, series 4-5 (1988-1991, 11 episodes)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1988)
- The Master Blackmailer (1992)
- The Last Vampyre (1993)
- The Eligible Bachelor (1993, 2 parts)
- The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, series 6 (1994, 6 episodes)