Even though I am a ’90s kid and I was even still watching some cartoons when Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century premiered in 1999, I had never even heard of this show until I got the chance to review the Complete Series DVD release (and I certainly never saw an episode). While that means I have no attachment to the series or memories of it, it also means that I can review the series without nostalgia potentially clouding my judgement. Based on the first few episodes I watched for this review, I have come to the conclusion that Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is a solid late ’90s animated series but not really one that is a must-watch. Even though I hold no nostalgia towards the series, I was overall entertained by the series but there are certainly better shows out there to watch.
The concept of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is pretty much described by the show’s title. The show is set in 22nd century New London. Inspector Beth Lestrade (a descendant of the Inspector Lestrade from Sherlock’s time) is investigating a crime when she finds out that her suspect is working for Moriarty, who has somehow arrived in the 22nd century. Since Sherlock Holmes was the only person who could bring down Moriarty in the 19th century, she decides to use cellular rejuvenation to bring Holmes’ preserved body back to life. Watson doesn’t get to come to the 22nd century with Sherlock but an android assumes his name, face, and mannerisms to help Holmes out. Most episodes are inspired by the actual writings of Arthur Conan Doyle but with a 22nd century take on them. Animation wise, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is a mix of traditional 2D and 3D CGI animation.
This series definitely didn’t give me a great first impression since the first thing I saw and heard was possibly the worst opening theme ever (or at least the worst one I’ve heard). The opening theme to Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is awful since it basically just remixes random Holmes phrases with some pretty awful music. Thankfully, after the dreadful opening theme song the show itself is much better. The 2D animation is good if not great. Thankfully, 2D animation makes up most of the show since the 3D animation looks kind of weird. Also, since it is used so sparsely (mainly just for the spaceships and other vehicles) it really sticks out like a sore thumb. I really wish they would have just stuck with the 2D animation as it looks much better than this early 3D CGI animation.
One of the cool things about this show is that you get to see a take on Sherlock Holmes in the future. It is slightly odd that Sherlock seems to know more than the people who have actually lived in this century their whole lives (even with his brains I think that is pretty unlikely) but Sherlock Holmes stories are timeless and can easily be adapted into different time periods. As far as I know, this is the only version of Sherlock Holmes set in the future. While Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century isn’t a very funny animated show (probably one of the least funny ’90s kids cartoons I’ve seen), its stories are quite interesting and definitely the highlight of the series. I wish the series was a bit funnier but the lack of childish humor does help in one way, it makes it much more palatable to watch as an adult. There are still a few funny moments here or there though (especially Sherlock’s hilariously terrible disguises that the other characters somehow never recognize). However, even though I overall enjoyed the stories, this is still a pretty mediocre series if you didn’t watch it as a child. A completely watchable one (especially if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes) but the episodes are just moderately entertaining, not something you are going to become obsessed with and watch a ton of episodes in a single viewing session.
Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: The Complete Series was first released on DVD in its entirety back in 2012 but that release is now out of print and reasonably pricey on Amazon ($47 compared to the $13 or so dollars that this version was selling for at press time). The video quality on this release is quite good and definitely a huge upgrade over Mill Creek’s Street Sharks: The Complete Series release from a few months ago. For a little-known ’90s cartoon series, I don’t think you could ask for much better video quality. Other than a digital copy for Mill Creek’s video service, no bonus features are included on this release (the only extras on the previous release were episodes from other animated series so you aren’t missing out on much).
Overall, I did enjoy the episodes of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century that I watched. However, as I mainly gave out ratings of 3/5 for most of the episodes, my enjoyment was a bit more on the mixed side. Basically, the 3/5 I am giving Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century means that the show is enjoyable for certain audiences (people with nostalgia for it from their childhood, Sherlock Holmes fans who don’t mind animation, etc.) and most people should at least get some enjoyment out of it, but it definitely won’t be the most enjoyable thing you’ve ever watched. You’ll probably get some fun out of it, but there are also plenty of better things to watch unless you fit into those target audiences.
Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: The Complete Series was released on DVD on April 3, 2018.
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: The Complete Series used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.