While the days of early morning cartoons are long behind, frozen in a history of nostalgia, Mill-Creek Entertainment has taken upon itself to defrost some of our happy little memories. One recently defrosted memory is 1999’s Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. The 26 episode adventure of the world’s greatest detective who has found himself in the future is currently available on DVD, but do those nostalgic memories do it justice? Or is this one series best left frozen in time?
If you’re unfamiliar with this series, let me get you up to date. The future looks bright; crime is low; life is good. But a sudden crime wave has spiked in New London. Inspector Beth Lestrade had come to a startling conclusion; Professor James Moriarty is afoot! But there’s one disturbing issue with her deduction; he’s been dead for two centuries. This, of course, leads to only one logical course of action, revive Sherlock Holmes! But how does a man from the 1800s respond to this brave new world? That’s precisely what this series explores.
Mill Creek’s recent release of this series comes in two DVDs stored in a single case. Along with the DVDs, you get a digital code that allows you to watch the series on your various mobile devices. The artwork of the cover is eye-catching, crisp, and clean. Featuring the three main characters (Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade) on the front, the art does a great job of capturing the look and feel of the series. The discs themselves are nicely printed, featuring the clock face of Big Ben going around the center of the disc, a nice touch. The discs also list off the titles of each episode.
When reviewing any kid’s series, a reviewer has to keep something specific in mind, namely the fact that they are not a child. This series carries the American television rating of Y7 which means at the bare minimum; this series was designed to target 7-year-olds. Therefore, in preparation for this review, I sat down with the kids of one of my friends and watched a few episodes with them.
The story itself is interesting. It actually picks up with a rendition of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s “The Final Solution” in which Moriarty and Holmes perish. If you’re a fan of the original Sherlock stories, this will lead you to believe that the series is a continuation of sorts. Further into the story you get, you realize this is not the case. Each episode carries the name of early Holmes stories, but they are rather loosely based off of them. It’s best to think of it as a fresh alternate universe rather than a retelling or continuation of the original books. That said, I appreciated the nods to the original works .
The animation itself was interesting. Keep in mind that this came out during the same time period as Spiderman Unlimited and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles. Sherlock Holmes consisted mainly of traditional-style animation but spliced in scenes of CGI for cut scenes and b-roll. I can only assume this was to help enhance the idea that this was a futuristic world. While the CGI isn’t terrible, it is certainly dated. When you include the backing soundtrack and sound effects, it all comes together in a strange sort of way. Separately, these elements would not be good, but together they create a world that you actually appreciate.
The voice acting for the primary characters was well done but did have moments where things seemed a bit over the top. I chalk this up to the scriptwriting rather than the actual actors though. Keep in mind, this is written for a younger audience, and this was during the time frame when Television was under a mandate to make things more educational. This created dialog that at times, was drawn out and simplistic then at other times would have flown over the heads of younger audiences. Dialog aside, the voice acting did bring back a lot of memories. This series featured voices from shows like Dragon Ball Z, Ranma ½, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, Spiderman Unlimited, Street Fighter, and Babylon 5.
As I said earlier, this was a series designed for kids as young as 7. So how do kids in 2019 respond to this series? Honestly, they liked it a lot! Some of the jokes were a bit over the head of the younger kid I showed it to, but the series was still enjoyable for them.
Roads to Hope
A running theme throughout the series is Sherlock’s ability to pinpoint the habits of human beings that haven’t changed since the 1800s. He often points out that while technology and specific aspects of society have changed, human nature is still the same. Things that people through in the 1800’s are very similar to what people in the 22nd Century will go through. Not to mention things that we go through today in 2019. A common trap that people who are hurting fall into is thinking that they are alone. They believe that no one else has ever been through what they are going through and that they have to deal with the struggles on their own. This lie does nothing but hurt those individuals even more as they fall deeper into isolation. If you’re hurting, if you’re going through things, reach out. Tell someone. Keep telling your story until someone listens. You’re not alone.
Sherlock Holmes in 22nd Century is a series who’s graphics and scriptwriting carry all the marks of the late 90’s early 2000’s series. While aimed for a younger audience, adults will find many of the jokes humorous and will joy the many references to the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. We are giving this series a 3.5 out of 5.
Credits: Special thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment for making this review possible. You can pick up your copy here. Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is the property of Mill Creek Entertainment. We do not own nor claim any rights.