With the New Year came the return of something much anticipated around the world: the latest instalment of the BBC’s popular series, Sherlock.
If you missed the follow up to Benedict Cumberbatch’s swan dive from the rooftop of a London hospital, don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the story for you.
Conan Doyle’s famous detective is actually pretty popular at the moment, with three major incarnations currently active on our screens. Of course, there’s the previously mentioned Sherlock. Then we have the latest film version of the story, Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. And finally, there’s Elementary, produced by American channel CBS, starring Jonny Lee Miller.
So what is it with the character of Sherlock Holmes that makes him so popular with today’s audiences?
Thanks to shows like CSI and Law and Order, cop dramas and procedurals have become huge over the last decade or so. We seem to have an insatiable appetite for tales of murder and crime.
But even with the advances in forensics, other detectives can never be a match for Sherlock Holmes.
Surprisingly, all three incarnations manage to bring something different to the story. And as the character of Sherlock Holmes was recently judged to be in the public domain, we might be seeing even more new stories before much longer.
Robert Downey Jr’s Holmes brings a good dose of comedy and big budget adventure. Alongside Jude Law’s Dr. Watson, it’s a Victorian buddy movie.
Benedict Cumberbatch manages to capture Holmes’ fierce intellect and lack of regard for others with ease. The stories featured on Sherlock are intricate yet huge in scope, with serial killers, international gangsters and terrorism.
But I think my favourite has to be Elementary. The newest of the three, it staked its claim to an original concept by transporting Holmes to New York and casting Watson as a woman, played by Lucy Liu.
Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes is intelligent, arrogant, obsessive and cares little for social niceties. But there’s another layer to him too, as his drug habit is a large part of the back story, revealing the character’s vulnerabilities. By pairing Holmes with a female Watson, the relationship dynamic is different, more open to emotion.
The supporting characters of Captain Gregson and Detective Bell also round out the story nicely, with their more traditional investigation methods they balance out Holmes’ often aggressive approach.
Plus, some of the episode plot lines are excellent and Holmes’ subtle yet fierce need to save abused women reveals his human side.
I can’t wait to see where this series will take Holmes and Watson.
What do you think – do you have a favourite Sherlock?