Thursday, 27 December 2012

Sherlock Holmes

We have three current incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, or at least three that are high-profile and ongoing. One is the movie version portrayed by Robert Downey Jr, set in its original era and with the original stories, though with a couple of steam-age/modern tweaks. I like it, mostly for RDJ.

The second is "Sherlock", made for TV, 90 minutes per episode, three episodes per season, and only one season every two years. Modern setting, updated versions of the old stories. The appeal here is mostly in knowing the old stories and seeing how they are updated, plus Holmes' character, which is quite fun to watch, especially as he absentmindedly takes advantage of Watson.

The third and most radical departure from the source material is "Elementary", also made for TV, but this time created and set in modern-day America. Holmes is still English, and shares many characteristics with his literary namesake, but each 45-minute episode is a new story, revolving around a case-of-the-week and Holmes' unique investigative style. The female Watson, played by Lucy Liu, is a bold and excellent casting, and watching their relationship unfold as recovering addict and hired "sober companion" adds a nice depth to the show. I am thoroughly enjoying this one, which just goes to show that the appeal of Sherlock Holmes is mostly in the character himself, his abilities and flaws, than in the particulars of the old stories. There are also some aspects of the old stories shared here, but not so many that they're heavy-handed or awkward.

Incidentally, Holmes first appeared in print in 1887, and we have these three current incarnations today, approximately 130 years later. James Bond first appeared in a novel in 1953, so I expect something of a major deviation and branching of that character by 2083, which should be interesting, if I get to see it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Doctor Who won't get that chance at a total re-imagining until 2093.
PPS - If the character lasts that long, that is.

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