Granada Television followed The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with The Return of Sherlock Holmes, 11 more episodes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective played by Jeremy Brett. After his apparent demise at the hands of Professor Moriarty, Holmes is resurrected in "The Empty House." Brett is outstanding as the famed sleuth, whose return from what Sherlockians call the Great Hiatus is challenged by one of Moriarty's most murderous lieutenants (Patrick Allen), already a killer on the run in London. "The Abbey Grange," a bloody mystery with significant moral and ethical implications, was also an early episode in the new onscreen association of Brett and Edward Hardwicke (who ably replaced the departed David Burke as Dr. Watson), and the two actors seem as perfectly meshed as their allied characters. Arguably the most entertaining and satisfying episode from the entire series, "The Second Stain" finds Holmes facing intertwining problems, each with very different consequences. The look of epiphany on Brett's face when the ever-clueless Inspector Lestrade (Colin Jeavons) tells Holmes about an odd detail in the murder victim's home is enormous fun.
Counselor Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation--or rather actress Marina Sirtis--is part of the cast of "The Six Napoleons," a wild mystery that suggests that a madman with a grudge against Napoleon Bonaparte is smashing clay busts of his likeness all over London. "The Priory School," one of the most interesting stories from Doyle's Holmes canon, makes for a particularly taut and exciting episode in which Holmes and Watson are summoned by the desperate founder of an exclusive prep school for boys to locate the missing son of a duke. An extreme rarity in the Holmes canon, a policeman of real competence named Inspector Baynes (Freddie Jones), is also on the case in "Wisteria Lodge," making this tale all the more interesting for Holmes fans interested in comparing and contrasting investigative styles. "The Devil's Foot" finds Watson pressuring the exhausted sleuth into joining him on a vacation on the Cornish coast. Instead of relaxation, however, Holmes and Watson encounter one of the most horrifying multiple murders they have yet come across.
Doyle caught a fair amount of flak for getting a lot of details wrong in "Silver Blaze," a story about the training and racing of horses. Nevertheless, it is one of his most popular yarns and makes a fine basis for a keen mystery with one of Doyle's most inventive solutions. A strong story with some of the sleuth's most impressive investigatory work, "The Bruce Partington Plans" also saw the return of Mycroft Holmes (Charles Gray), brother of the Great Detective and indispensable repository of government business. Holmes's methodical approach to the arcane problem in "The Musgrave Ritual" is a lot of fun, and Brett and Hardwicke seem to be having a particularly good time outdoors, pursuing the solution under a bit of sunshine. "The Man with the Twisted Lip" is one of the most ingenious of the Holmes stories, satisfying from beginning to end, with a witty conclusion and unexpected moral about class pressures. --Tom Keogh