Know me as a big detective fiction buff, my friend(s)- so here again is something related to crime but yeah, pretty mainstream- Sherlock and this article will look at Sherlock not as an individual entity but how it carries forward Conan Doyle’s legacy.
Sherlock Holmes was THE detective- one of its kind, an impeccable masterpiece born out of the mind of another genius, Sir Doyle. There have been numerous attempts to bring to life this man and most have failed to portray him aptly, unfortunately although, few actors indeed reached that point where they could not maintain the aesthetic distance between their real self and the fictional (sigh!) detective. One such man was the very talented actor Jeremy Brett, who became the living and breathing Holmes in Granada TV. The modern Sherlock, Cumberbatch is also a big fan of Brett’s portrayal of Holmes as ‘tragic’ and something majestic. It indeed is a very tough and risky task to adapt Holmes’ adventures and casebooks with precision and art and still make it appear as novel as possible. BBC has done exactly the same- bringing Holmes, NO, Sherlock, to the 21st century.
The thing that I like about the BBC production of Sherlock Holmes is that Sherlock and John have the same chemistry as Holmes and Watson of the good old’ days, although, Watson is much more vocal, much more active rather than being just the passive sidekick who writes Holmes’ brilliant methods and skills in his diary, though the media still calls them as ‘Hatman and Robin’. Also funny is how they both are taken for a couple by people. Homoeroticism, I’d say. Another thing is that Sherlock has the same idiosyncrasies as Conan’s Holmes and thank God that the production didn’t change the essence that makes Holmes. He is allergic to boredom and addictive to complicated crimes. He can’t stand ‘stupidity’ though Sherlock is a bit too arrogant about his exceptional skills and a bit low on emotional quotient as compared to Holmes. But that is acceptable as long as they don’t make a caricature-ish Sherlock.
The cases are good and the directors have just adopted the outline- not the whole original case, which is good because it makes it less predictable for those familiar with Holmes. What really impressed me (and is also HILARIOUS) is the change in the names of the cases. ‘A Study in Scarlet’ becomes ‘A Study in Pink’, ‘Scandal in Bohemia’ becomes ‘Scandal in Belgravia’ and the funniest- ‘Naval Treaty’ becomes ‘Naval Treatment’ and ‘A Speckled Band’ becomes ‘A Speckled BLONDE’!! It might be interesting for the readers to know that the first season didn’t have that many viewers as compared to second season. For the second season, the makers had done a poll to find out which were the most popular Holmes stories and then they adapted those particular stories (or novels like ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’) into episodes.
Let me tell you, it was an absolute delight to watch such adaptations except that I was a little disappointed with Irene Adler and also with the consultant criminal Jim Moriarity. But Mycroft and Mrs Hudson are excellent! I mean Sherlock and Mycroft might not look like bros physically but the way they both act- that shows that they are siblings. As for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman- both do justice to their roles, though for me Brett will always be the quintessential Sherlock Holmes. But nonetheless, that was the end of the 19th century Holmes, and we need a 21st century Sherlock and good news is that BBC’s Sherlock is back for the third season. It’s time to go back to Science of Deduction and be Sherlocked!