If any day is especially suited to the celebration of Sherlock Holmes, it's his birthday, January 6th!  (i.e. today!)  Sure, there are plenty of great detectives in pop culture.  The brilliance of Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple is not to be ignored, Sayers's Lord Peter is a pip, Columbo and Monk are great, and of course there's Batman the World's Greatest Detective (some people say.)  There's something special about Sherlock, though.  Even before the incredible modern reboot introduced us to the other-worldly brilliance of Benedict Cumberbatch & co., Sherlock Holmes is a character that brings you into his world the way very few others do.  Not to mention he's a totally awesome antihero!  Everyone loves an occasionally drug-addled misanthrope who solves crimes for a living!  Or if they don't they are crazy.  Anyway, in honor of Sherlock Holmes Day, I suggest you spend some time watching every episode of the BBC's spectacular show, Sherlock.  To aid in your task (there are only 9 episodes, but they're each about an hour and a half long, so you may have to prioritize), here's a list of all nine episodes, ranked from my least to most favorite.  (Though, to clarify, they're all amazing and better than pretty much everything else on TV) (Minor spoilers ahead.  Unless you know absolutely nothing about Sherlock Holmes at all, confidently read on!)

blindbanker

9.  The Blind Banker (Series 1, episode 2) - Great, but kinda feels like a place holder.  Lots of exposition, Holmes and Watson getting to know each other, that kind of thing.  There is, however, an excellent scene where John tries to explain what a date is to Sherlock and he doesn't get it.  3.5/4 stars.

reichenbach fall2

8.  The Reichenbach Fall (Series 2, episode 3) - Also great, but Sherlock dies in it, so that's not as good.  Plenty of perfect interactions between all the characters, but again, Sherlock dies.  Blah.  3.75/4 stars.

great game

7.  The Great Game (Series 1, episode 3) - Omg, so great.  We get introduced to Moriarty!  Ah!  And he's so good, you guys.  If not for Benedict and Martin, it would totally be the Jim Moriarty show.  But again, seems very introduction/exposition-y.  3.9/4 stars.

study in pink

6.  A Study in Pink (Series 1, episode 1) - Oh man.  The introduction between Sherlock and John is so fantastic, you guys.  And the first case is SO cool!  Serial suicides!  4/4 stars!

hounds of baskerville

5.  The Hounds of Baskerville (Series 2, episode 2) - Great obviously because of the source material.  The Hound of the Baskervilles is definitely one of the best known and loved Sherlock Holmes stories.  Also great because we find out Sherlock doesn't know Lestrade's first name.  So Sherlock.  4.25/4 stars!

his last vow

4.  His Last Vow (Series 3, episode 3) - Really amazing.  You wouldn't have thought that there could be a villain scarier and more evil than Moriarty, but there so is.  Ugh, I hate him.  What kind of person licks a stranger or pees in a person's fireplace?  A psycho, that's what kind.  4.75/4 stars!  Mostly because it also features Sherlock's parents who are amazing beyond belief.

sherlock A Scandal in Belgravia 191

3.  A Scandal in Belgravia (Series 2, episode 1) - The second series premiere features one of the greatest characters in the Sherlock Holmes universe, Irene Adler!  The Woman.  What a great moniker.   Other great moments include my favorite line in the whole series, "I always hear 'punch me in the face' when you're speaking, but it's usually subtext."  Snark from the one and only John Watson, ladies and gentlemen.  And also Sherlock strutting around Buckingham Palace clad only in a bedsheet.  Because reasons.  5.5/4 stars.  Srsly, so good.

empty hearse

2.  The Empty Hearse (Series 3, episode 1) - It's the series 3 premiere and John has a mustache and a fiancee!  And we find out pleasantly soon that Sherlock was never really dead!  Very good, since without him there's not much of a show.  Second best because it introduces Mary who's probably the best non-Sherlock character in the show.  Yes, even better than John and Moriarty.  She's so good, guys.  10/4 stars!

sign of three

1.  The Sign of Three (Series 3, episode 2) - This episode is the absolute best for a bunch of reasons.  1. John and Mary get married which is the cutest.  2. Sherlock is John's best man and it's probably the most feels in the entire known universe.  If I ever give a best man speech, I really hope that it's half as good as Sherlock's because if I can do that, I'll have won at life.  3. The boys are even solving murders on John's wedding day, which is pretty hardcore.

So that's it!  Go watch Sherlock and be amazed and enthralled.

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