This series is not without its flaws. It certainly could have used better remastering when transferred to DVD, and there are a few episodes, namely The Copper Beeches, The Red-Headed League and The Speckled Band, which seem to have been partially re-written, for what purpose I am still scratching my head over. While the deviations from the Canon stories were definitely a bit strange, it's a testament to Douglas Wilmer's portrayal of Holmes how watchable they still are and how just his presence in the role seems to make up for the instances of poor scripting.
Those episodes are the exception, though. Nearly all the rest have become definitive adaptations for me, not only due to their (for the most part) faithfulness to the stories, but there is something intangible about Wilmer's Holmes that I had never before seen translated from the page to screen. It's the very subtle nuances of his temperament, but more so than that, Wilmer brings across Holmes sense of humour so startlingly well, at times he gives a more faithful portrayal than even the great Jeremy Brett. Certainly, it would have been nice if the budget used to produce this series was cushier, yet personally speaking, that all became background to the unfolding of the plot and Wilmer's uncanny performance.
Nigel Stock as Dr. Watson was not so nuanced as other greats in the role, and I am loathe to say there were a few odd occasions - though it was not characteristic of the role - where he was just a bit dumbed down. Despite this, Stock gives a strong performance that very much reminded me of Doyle's Watson. His fierce loyalty, obliging nature, and yes, on the whole his intelligence shone through brilliantly. Save for a few small nitpicks, I can see him being ranked along side the likes of David Burke and Martin Freeman.
Some of my favourite stories were adapted here, and so I went into them with very high expectations. I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I'm prepared to say The Devil's Foot went above and beyond even the Granada episode, the latter paling dreadfully in comparison to this. So for all the minor imperfections in the DVDs and a few of the scripts, this is a definitive series and well worth every penny.