Sherlock Holmes: A Character Study

I’m sure you’ve noticed, just as I have, that Sherlock Holmes is a very, very popular character right now. The films with Robert Downey Jr. The popular TV show on the BBC. Even CBS is trying its hand in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle game, having ordered a pilot for a series called Elementary- a modern-day update of the Sherlock Holmes character (there aren’t many more details about Elementary, so as of now none of us have any idea how it’ll differentiate from the modern-day Sherlock already airing on the BBC).

Holmes is everywhere. And I’d venture to say that this abundance of Holmes is a good thing.

Why, you ask?

Well, it’s simple, really. With numerous Sherlock Holmes adaptations, we get the same character portrayed in different styles, with different actors in altogether different works.

And that allows me to write this article comparing them. So, in a way, we all win.

Let’s continue, shall we?

So the overwhelming opinion I’ve heard across the internet from those who’ve seen both BBC’s Sherlock and the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr. versions is that the BBC version is the superior one. Critics, more or less, seem to agree- while the Downey Jr. films have favorable scores on Rotten Tomatoes (ranging in the sixties and seventies), the BBC program cleaned up at last year’s BAFTAs (British Film and Television Awards), landing both Best Drama Series and Best Supporting Actor.

Now, having sampled both franchises, my initial reaction to all of this is “well, the BBC one stays truer to the original stories. Therefore it’s the stronger one.”

But that’s not necessarily true.

In the films, Downey Jr.’s Holmes comes off a swashbuckling, globe-hopping adventurer who not only solves crimes, but is also a master of disguise, and expert in hand-to-hand combat, and a charmer with the ladies. In the television show, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes is a weird, reclusive loner, and a genius “consulting detective” with an eye for deduction.

I naturally just assumed that having only read a handful of Doyle’s stories, that Cumberbatch’s Holmes is the more accurate one. And in a lot of ways, it is- most noticeably that the original Holmes was most definitely a friendless loner (who many modern fans think may have had Asberger’s Syndrome) and was definitely not a ladies’ man. But what I didn’t know (or had learned once and then promptly forgotten) was that the original Holmes was also a master of disguise and very skilled in both boxing and swordplay.

So what I instinctively thought- “oh, they’re making him more like an action hero for Hollywood,” wasn’t quite true.  Granted, there’s enough unnecessary bullet-time in the films to still argue that point, but that’s not what I’m going for here.

And while it’s easy to see why Guy Ritchie and company altered the character in the way they did (adding in globe-trotting, womanizing elements in order to boost the marketability of the film), why did Moffat choose to downplay the disguises/fisticuffs?

At this point I can only speculate, but I’d like to think my speculations are at least somewhat accurate.

What Sherlock Holmes is famous for, first and foremost, are his powers of deduction (as said powers made Holmes the poster child for the detective novel while shedding light the idea of forensic science as a whole). By concentrating Holmes’ talents into a single category, the BBC s Sherlock seems much more like the iconic detective to those fans (like me) who aren’t experts in Doyle’s writing.

But there’s another reason (again, still speculation, but I’m past all that at this point)- the Sherlock Holmes of the big screen, as a character, doesn’t really have any flaws. Yes, he’s an oddball and an eccentric, but for the most part he comes off as goofy, charming and handsome while also being smarter and more formidable in a fight then anyone else on Earth.

The Holmes of the small screen is nothing like that. He’s a small, peculiar little man who’s charming in his own way but nowhere near the god-among-men status of the Downey Jr. variety. And by having a Sherlock Holmes with real, human flaws, we get a Sherlock Holmes who’s much more sympathetic  and dynamic then anything from the films.

Downey Jr.’s Holmes doesn’t really need an assistant, for the most part. Yes, he and his Jude Law counterpart have great chemistry and work well as a team, but they’re more like two cool, dynamic dudes who team up more for a general sense of adventure then out of any real need. Cumberbatch’s Holmes, on the other hand, is pathetic and desperate in more than a few ways, and it’s these weaknesses (along with similar ones in Martin Freeman’s Watson) that creates a real bond between Holmes and Watson. Downey Jr. and Law do work very well together. I’m not trying to knock their performances in the slightest. But there’s an underdog-y warmth in the BBC Holmes and Watson that I think ultimately makes them the stronger pairing.

There are also about a trillion other ways to compare these two portrayals of an immensely famous character- use of the actual mystery plots from the novels, use of the secondary characters, use of the locations and settings and so on and so forth- but I think that’s an article for another date. Really, I just wanted to touch on my feelings for each series as a whole, and the major differences between the Sherlock Holmes of each adaptation.

And I think I’ve done just about that. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to purchase a deerstalker hat and pipe, then assist my local police force in any way possible.

I’m sure they’ll hate me.

See you next time!

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178 responses to “Sherlock Holmes: A Character Study

  1. I Honestly HATED Robert Downey Jr. and His Half-Arsed Attempt at Sherlock.
    FOR ME…
    …Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes.
    I Loved Basil Rathbone…
    …I Loved Peter Cushing…
    …But Jeremy Brett WAS/IS/ALWAYS-WILL-BE The BEST Of The BUNCH.
    PERIOD.
    At Least…
    …To ME ;)
    Keep It Up, Please.
    Love This Blog, Fo SHO!
    -BRADLEY

    • Yes, yes, Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. I’m glad I’m no longer the only one who thinks so. Although the BBC guy isn’t too bad. I agree with the author that he’s definitely better than the movie version.

    • Yes, yes yes, Jeremy Brett was the best Holmes EVER, and that series the best translation onto scscreen. But it was intentionally true to the stories in a way that the Downey and Cumberbatch versions didn’t intend.

      To me, the Downey movies are all about hopping onto the Victorian steampunk bandwagon. The Cumberbatch version (God, what a great name–Lewis Carroll might have made it up. It’s right there with bandersnatch) is about bringing Sherlock into the 21st century–i.e., what would Holmes done with tools like forensics and cell phones?

      What’s interesting to me about the characterizations is that while Bandersnatch’s performance is the closest to what Doyle intended, the character is so compelling and memorable that it bears an awful lot of varying interpretations. Sort of like Hamlet, who was famously portrayed by none other than Sarah Bernhardt.

      I adore Sherlock. I even wrote a fanfic paean to the guy–full of x-rated imaginings. What can I say? Sherlock was my first crush, followed by Spock. I guess I just love hot geeks!

    • Totally agree – I tried – I really did – I saw the first movie and was angry at the treatment and bored at the same time. Shrimp Downey is NOT Holmes. Give me Jeremy Brett, Give me Basil Rathbone, Give me Michael Pennington, give me Peter Cushing… in a rating of 1-10- Downey is a 1 without a doubt. The only actor that ties with him is Matt Frewer, who did two made for TV Holmes movies.

  2. I feel that the Sherlock Holmes films are more for entertainment than quality. They changed Holmes too much into an action star.

    I haven’t seen the BBC version, but I should check it out.

    • The BBC version is wonderful. It’s in a present-day setting, and whenever I hear “modern re-telling of a classic story” I tend to roll my eyes until they strain severely and I need to visit the hospital, but the modern setting actually works wonderfully.

      • Wonderfully indeed! Now is the age of reason and science that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes could have only imagined. We owe a debt to these two, since they are partially responsible for the modern-day deductive reasoning and policework that are the reality for the BBC Sherlock. For more thoughts on the show- http://cgsiggins.com/2012/02/03/the-game-is-on/.

    • I disagree. i think that Holmes was portrayed well into the role played by Downey jr.
      yes they may have gone a bit overboard on the ladies man thing, but i also think that in modern film industry, this is what people are looking for. it took great skill by the director and the actors to maintain the story and make it a big acheivement like they did.

      • I actually did feel feel Downey did a good job, and I did enjoy the first movie. Still, I feel the idea of Holmes being an action star is going against Doyle’s original interpretation. The new Sherlock Holmes films are really audience films, and I feel Guy Ritchie got what he wanted to out of the films.

      • I’ll definitely agree that Ritchie got what he wanted out of these films. They certainly aren’t attempting to do something more cerebral, and they succeed at being fun action movies.

    • Thank you so much for the reblog! And Sherlock is an absolute must-see. The stories and characters are all changed in some slight way, but it never feels unfaithful to the original stories- it feels just the right blending of old and new.

  3. For anyone who hasnt seen the BBC version of Sherlock, you really must. There are only 6 episodes of 90 minutes at this stage so not hard to catch up on. I think you may have your mind changed regarding the best Sherlock Holmes. Great blog, which I have now reblogged. =)

    • Thanks for your comment! I think the best thing about all this Holmes-mania is that people who might not be interested in the original works can get drawn in through all of these more-relatable updated versions.

  4. Hi there, I’m curious to know if you’ve seen Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes? He played him for several seasons in the 80′s and early 90′s (Granada TV) and that series is a lot closer to Inspector Poirot in terms of attention to detail. But I guess these are ‘dramatizations’ rather than modern makeovers. I think its worked better for sci-fi/fantasy stuff like Dr Who. Would love to see what Tim Burton would do with the material though…

    • I actually haven’t seen Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes- I thin after writing this that I’m going to have to go through all of Holmes’s past incarnations to see how his adaptations have changed over the years.

      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Jeremy Brett is to Sherlock Holmes as Tom Baker is to Doctor Who: the perennial fan favorite. But like David Tenant–and Matt Smith if they would give him better season-arc stories–I think fans will start giving more kudos to the present day renditions.

    The first time I watched the Benedict Cumberbath “Sherlock” I fell in love and declared it my new favorite show. I think it is a great update of the charter into the modern times. It wouldn’t surprise me if they bring in some of the master-of-disguise elements into the new series. That aspect of Holmes skills did not appear in every short story, so it may be an ability they only use sparingly.

    Good post.

    • Actually, something I’ve noticed after writing after I finished the article is that there are a tiny smattering of disguises throughout Sherlock.

      The most obvious example I can think of is the very last moment of A Scandal in Belgravia. I’d go into more detail, but I don’t want to offer up any spoilers.

  6. I wonder if one reason the BBC’s current-day Holmes works well (aside from good casting and directing and acting and all that irrelevant stuff, that is) might be that when Doyle wrote the stories, they WERE current-day? He never meant to write Holmes as a quaint historical figure.

    In fact, as the series goes along Watson, at least, keeps up with the times – by the early twentieth century, ol’ Doc is driving around in his own motorcar.

    • THAT is a fantastic point and one I haven’t heard at all so far. I always assume that “Updating Your Classic Story Into A Modern Setting” is just an easy way to make the classics approachable, but your idea puts a whole new spin on how I think about that kind of stuff.

  7. Jeremy Brett for traditional Holmes :-)

    Lovin’ the Cumberbatch-Freeman duo

    Can’t be bothered with the Ritchie interpretation. Slept through the first one, didn’t even bother with the second.

    I suppose there’s something for everyone %-)

  8. I enjoy both the films and the series. And I adored Brett’s Holmes as well. I would point out that while Holmes is not a ladies man he did have something with Irene Adler. Not a relationship or love affair as we recognize it, but then it was the Victorian age. Still, they were intellectual equals in many ways and therefore kindred spirits if not soul mates. It amuses me that the period piece has them jumping into bed while the contemporary version has not really touched upon “The Woman” at all (at least to my knowledge, being stateside I haven’t seen season 2).

    • Not to spoil anything, but Irene Adler does make an appearance in Season 2- thankfully, she’s more than just a straight-ahead love interest like we see in the Guy Ritchie films.

  9. Jeremy Brett is Sherlock Holmes! I’ve read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and Jeremy Brett encapsulates the character…I have been watching the series since I was 10 years old and he still is my favorite!

  10. Hey dude..Thanks for following and blogwalking. …I do think that Sherlock Holmes (both movies and e-series) have actually hypnotized the WORLD viewers to tangibly think more about the cases evtough its fictive or factual thingy

    Keep inspiring :-)
    Firmansyah SW
    Indonesia

  11. After seeing the Ritchie film I decided to read some of the Conan Doyle short stories to see what Holmes was actually like. Ritchie and company have taken a fair bit of creative license to make him an action star rather than detective. Seeing the trailer for the second film made me re-title it in my head as Sherlock Brolmes because of all the explosions.

    But I hope you aren’t serious about the deerstalker hat, as far as I am aware, Holmes never wore one in the books.

  12. Reblogged this on Musings and commented:
    This is spot on. I’ve enjoyed the BBC episodes immensely. I can’t help but think part of that though is the 1.5 hour episodes. It give the episodes enough room to get super dramatic and give you enough time with characters to really feel connected. I mean 13 hour episodes do sort of the same thing, but there’s something about getting a near movie every week.

    • Thank you so much for your reblog!

      And I absolutely agree about the extra half-hour. It’s essentially like getting a new movie a week, but the strict time constraints mean the pacing is always perfect.

  13. LOATHE the films. The casting, among other things, is a travesty. The BBC shows are weirdly brilliant. Martin Freeman is brilliant and odd-looking fish Cumberbatch makes a fair fist of Holmes.

  14. I think what really pushes Sherlock (BBC) to another level in quality is the sharpness of the script. It’s frighteningly well-paced and as funny as it is enthralling. Thanks for this post, nice writing!

  15. I have to agree with your take on BBC vs. the Downy/Ritchie Holmes. Each is a different animal, yes, but BBC really managed to capture Sir Arthur Conan’s feel while doing a successful update (quite the difficult feat.)

    I have a blog similar to this that hasn’t been updated in quite a while, so you inspired me to take a look at it again. Thanks for that! If you ever want to check it out and give me feedback, I’d love it. http://www.reelknowledge.com

    Keep up the awesome work.

    • I’m interested to see where they go with the third film- My guess is they’ll do The Hound of the Baskervilles, as most Hollywood franchises tend to wait until the second film before going to the well of popular villains or stories.

      For example: After Batman Begins (which served to establish the character and setting), we get a film with the Joker and then a film with Catwoman. After the Star Trek remake set everything up, we’re now getting a sequel that’s rumored to have Khan as the villain. Sherlock Holmes waited until part two to use the most famous villain from the stories- Moriarty. My guess is that The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the most-recognized element of the Sherlock Holmes canon besides Moriarty, and therefore will be the focus of movie #3.

      • Hmmm… I would have to agree with you on that. It would be pretty interesting to see how the movie will progress though. It should make a very entertaining film if done right.

  16. Oh gosh the BBC series puts Downey Jr’s pitiful excuse for a portrayal to SHAME! Thanks for the post my friend, always interesting to hear about Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

  17. Hi! Thanks for following my blog. I gave yours a quick scan and I’m commenting here because I’ve never seen any of the other titles you’ve recently reviewed. I don’t own a TV. We occasionally watch streaming video, which is where I saw the BBC Holmes.
    I agree with your assessment of BBC vs. Ritchie, (I enjoyed them both) and I also agree with an earlier comment; Jeremy Brett was the BEST.
    It would be interesting to see how the Cumberbatch Holmes would handle the mastery of disguise. Being set in modern times I would assume it would involve latex and prosthetics. Could be interesting.

    • Something I hadn’t really realized until after writing this is that there are actually some disguises used in the BBC program- they’re just not given the same focus that the deductive reasoning is. On occasion Holmes will wear a security guard’s jacket or a clerical collar in order to get closer to a person of interest. Neat, huh.

  18. I agree with most of your points; you bring up very good points. I can honestly say I enjoy watching both, though–the films for the entertainment and production aspects, and the TV series for the sharp writing, plotting, and great performances by Cumberbatch and Freeman.

    Critics say that in the movie, RDJ is just playing a version of himself rather than portraying Sherlock. I agree. I forget I’m supposed to be watching Holmes when I see him anyway, and I only get reminded when his name or Watson’s or Irene’s or Moriarty’s are mentioned. The movie is just based on the basic Holmes Story Skeleton (character names and circumstances, assorted character histories) but other than that, it’s like a different material altogether.

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by my blog! I hope to visit yours frequently since you write about TV. ;)

    • Thanks for your comment! And you make a lot of salient points here- especially that the RDJ Sherlock Holmes movies just feel like a standard action movie that’s been given a little twinge of Sherlock Holmes.

  19. Thanks a ton for following my blog, and I’ve followed yours in return :)

    I have yet to see the BBC Holmes (my friend has been poking me with a stick to get on it for the longest time now), but I really liked your comparison of these two interpretations of this great literary character. Also, to many a-reader’s pain, I have *not* read the books either. But my ex-boyfriend did and was delighted at the Downey Jr. version. And that might be why I haven’t seen TV-Holmes. His reaction to the movie was just so infectious that Downey Jr. is now *the* only Holmes for me.

    But it’s really interesting to look at this character, and his partner Watson too, and their reinventions over the decades/centuries. It’s not just the reinterpretation of an archetype, but of a *person.* I can’t think of any other character who’s gone through as many face-changes as this one has (from a 90s Chinese Girl to a cartoon mouse).

    Long comment is long sorry >< Here's some relevant Kate Beaton as an apology :)

    • No worries about the long comment! I enjoyed reading it. And I also can’t think of another character who’s gone through that many changes as Holmes has over the years. Maybe Romeo and Juliet… maybe.

  20. Great post, Adam! I’ve only seen clips of the BBC Sherlock but I already know it’s way better than the Guy Ritchie movie version. I kind of think the whole thing is kinda silly and the bromance goes overboard that the fun wears off quick.

    “…by having a Sherlock Holmes with real, human flaws, we get a Sherlock Holmes who’s much more sympathetic and dynamic then anything from the films.” You are spot on here, I do think Benedict’s portrayal is more enduring because he’s such a fascinating character who’s as flawed as he is brilliant.

    • If you’ve got Netflix, the first three BBC films are instant-streamable, so I’d definitely recommend them. And the best part (well, one of the best parts) of Cumberbatch’s performance is seeing him start to pop up in more and more places- first War Horse, then Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and then Star Trek 2 in the near future.

  21. I have to say you’re right about Sherlock Holmes being really popular at the moment. So far I have only seen the BBC mini series and not the film with Robert Downey jr. (and I haven’t even had the desire to watch the movie although I’ve always had a thing for detective stories).
    I recently read somewhere, that CBS is planning to do a Sherlock Holmes TV show as well, but for me, it would almost be almost impossible to top the BBC’s. Can’t wait for season 3 to begin :-)

  22. Honestly, I tend to be a bit in the dark about movies. For example, I did not realize that they made a Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes 2 until it came out, and all my friends were Facebooking about it. I don’t watch commercials, I do Digg/Redditt occasionally, but I had never seen anything about the movie. I happened to mention to someone at work that I didn’t even know they made a Sherlock Holmes 2, and they were all “It’s so amazing, it’s so great, you have to see it.” Well, again, not a movie person, so a couple months later, I hadn’t seen it. Then, quite randomly, a TV suggester program we were considering using suggested Sherlock. Sure, modern adaptation, not quite my bag, but I’ll watch it — didn’t take me more than 10 minutes to be into it. Well, suffice to say, after watching BBC’s Sherlock, I honestly don’t see any reason to watch the Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes.

    BBC Sherlock is clearly better — and I think much of it is for the character flaw reasons mentioned in your article. And, one of the quotes from the creators is that they were interested in friendship as a theme — well, friendships are one of my chief obsessions when I watch TV, so of course I was drawn into the interactions between Sherlock and John. After watching the first episode though, I have a specific “lense” that I watch the show through (S1E1 SPOILERS ahead) — at the end of S1E1, that moment when Sherlock is about to take the pill (even though he is no longer being forced to), that insanity of his obsession is so grabbing — and then John saves him by shooting the guy. So, the theme I take from the show is Sherlock’s obsession, his insanity in pursuing it, and then John pulling him back from the brink, so to speak.

    • That push-pull between Holmes and Sherlock is one of my favorite things about the show- especially once their friendship stops feeling so new and they get a little more lived-in with the later episodes. The sub-plot where Sherlock tries to quit smoking in season two is a perfect example of that, as Sherlock’s going absolutely insane, and John just calmly reels him in (or tries to, anyway) like it’s no big deal.

  23. Here’s my take on the popularity of Sherlock. Visible evidence. Scotland Yard saw the birth of a new form of policing (detective work). See this terrific book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, http://www.mrwhicher.com/ on the history of this new science of detective work.
    The specialist detective Sherlock emerged at a time when new and congested urban formations (the industrial age) created radically transformed social interactions and public behaviours.
    Folk from different walks of life rubbed up against each other.
    As with our current era – globalization, mass migration and online connectivity have changed social formations and interactions at an exponential rate – considerable fears and public anxieties abounded, particularly among the newly formed middle class who felt threatened by the lower classes. New social classes were being formed, and traditional social boundaries were no longer clear. In spite of these popular fears about increased criminality and degeneration of social morals and behaviour (then as now) this era saw citizens internalize the gaze of surveillance, learn to watch and judge their own behaviour as much as they did the behaviour of others. The social freedoms of urban life, which cannot possibly be adequately managed by the police, are micro managed by the participants- folk learn to ‘behave’ themselves in public, aware that they are being watched and judged by each other. The new urban possibilities (well-dressed folk are promenading in the city) pre-suppose a self-regulating citizen.
    This is more relevant today than ever. In spite of media panics about the dangers of new media, online communities and social networks are highly regulated in the sense that participants watch each other and themselves, comment and assess and create various forms of consensus about what is acceptable or not, what is cool and what is not, what is to be ‘liked’ or not liked.
    So – visible evidence – AND our beloved Sherlocks who teach us how to read it and make sense of things for ourselves, plays a crucial role in so much of what we love to watch on TV, from the Avengers to X-files. Detectives, forensic scientists, body language experts (Lightman in Lie to Me), appeal because they seem to teach us that, although we “can’t trust what we’re told” (and we have more scepticism about science, the government and the news media, than we have about wonder products, conspiracy theories, ghosts) we can learn how to be vigilant and discerning and trust our own judgement. If only we can learn to be observant enough – using the right techniques and the right amount of scepticism (looking beyond that, which to others, seems obvious).
    We love to decode the visual field and see the truth that lies beneath the obvious. We yearn to be fool-proofed.
    We have undying interest in specialised forms of ‘know how’ to help us judge what we see – is he/she criminal or innocent, a ‘survivor’ or the next to be voted off the island, genuinely talented or a rank amateur.

    We also participate enthusiastically in new regimes of surveillance. We devote time to building up detailed personal profiles that we post on our blogs and Facebook; through our online search via Google we disclose our interests, fears, desires.

    • Wow.

      Well, um…

      Wow.

      I absolutely agree that an enormous amount of the appeal for the character of Holmes comes from his ability to innately read and understand people- I doubt that a single person who’s a fan of Holmes doesn’t wish that he/she could discern so much just from a few visual clues.

      • to be honest, i think that you can discern somethings about people within the first few seconds. Now where did I put my deerstalker and my pipe?

  24. Awesome analysis. Your summations match what I’ve been feeling about the two, but I hadn’t quite put it into words yet. Thanks for doing it for me!

  25. I want to see the movie and haven’t.
    I really enjoyed the BBC show, but netflix streaming only had the first two episodes last I checked.
    I haven’t read ANY of the books. I’ve never been much of a detective/mystery reader. I like more upbeat, cheerful books. Like Terry Pratchett. (His books made into films by the BBC are great! Hogswatch and The Color of Magic. See them now!!!)

  26. I saw the 1st 3 BBC Sherlocks on Netflix streaming – really well done (like that Watson’s just returned from Military service & Sherlock character is eccentric-ishly weird, as in the books!)

    Liked the Movie versions too – they are so totally different from the series – I think it’s refreshing to watch them both! (& if you like these, you may enjoy the Canadian ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ series based on novels by Maureen Jennings. – I’ve been hooked the past few weeks!)

  27. Nice read, Adam. I will have to check out this “updated” Sherlock Holmes, since the one in the first movie was a bit of a stretch on the main character for me too. I feel it’s worth mentioning that the famous Dr. House was inspired by Sherlock Holmes. House plays piano instead of violin, but otherwise is an aloof, arrogant, genius that solves the strangest and most difficult mysteries. He even has the token drug addiction, to vicadin instead of cocaine, of course.

    • Somehow I never put the House/Holmes thing together, but that makes perfect sense.

      Hold on. Could House be a play on Holmes?

      Holmes = Homes = Houses = House?

      Is that too much of a stretch?

      • I didn’t realize this until after watching Sherlock and my boyfriend said something about it. Instead of Watson, House’s go-to buddy is Wilson. So, Holmes and Watson become House and Wilson.
        So yeah, the names are a play on the Sherlock Holmes cannon as well.

  28. I’m a long-time fan of Sherlock Holmes and a big fan of Jeremy Brett. I took a picture of my Dad at 24 1/2 Baker Street with the hat, pipe, etc. I do like the new version of Sherlock with a mix of the new and old – I think it’s brilliant and I look forward to more episodes. I chose not to see the 2nd Robert Downey Jr. Holmes movie – it had too many special effects. I think Downey, Jr. would make a great Holmes a la BBC. I just saw the comment about the Canadian show called Murdoch Mysteries and I think you should check it out. Unfortunately the series has been cancelled, but there must be 3 or 4 series.

  29. I’m afraid the only comment I can add is that I remember coming across a comment that Holmes worked in an almost entirely English middle class environment. Although associated with London, many of his famous cases occurred outside of that city. I’m not quite sure where that leaves anything but I thought I’d put in my six ha’penny worth. Also worth looking out for Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and the very weird Seven Per Cent Solution with Alan Arkin and as a sleuthing Sigmund Freud. And thank you for subscribing to my blog!

    • That Alan Arkin one sounds so peculiar, and the moment I looked it up on IMDB the cast looks fantastic (Duvall and Redgrave and Olivier!). I would have never heard of this otherwise. Thanks for the heads up!

      • And if you fancy jaunt across the Channel, there’s always Inspector Maigret, the creation of the French writer George Simenon. There are no forensic pyrotechnics here, just an old-fashioned Paris cop with an empathic side for both victim and criminal. The BBC did a series with Michael Gambon in the 1990s, all available on DVD.

  30. Great post! Holmes is one of those characters who seems to never go out of style, Doyle crafted a truly intriguing detective. I’ve been reading the collected works of Doyle and am about halfway through (there are SO many). My husband and I are big fans of the films and the BBC series. I was in the midst of reading when the first movie came out and was surprised to see how much Robert Downey Jr. seemed to speak to the character. And of course, the BBC version does as well. It is interesting to see what different actors bring to the character. And, the chemistry between the Holmes(es) and their Watsons is fantastic. We are also fans of House, which will be even more fun to watch through the lens of Holmes. Thanks for the thoughts & for checking out my blog.

    • Thanks for your thoughts as well! One of my favorite things about this character is the interpretations of each actor and the fanbases that have sprung up for each actor in turn. I wonder who they’ll get for the upcoming CBS series…

  31. I agree with your view about the Robert Downey characterisation, to me he seemed to be playing a Doc Savage Character, with deductive reasoning thrown in for good measure.

    For me being of the older ( much older ) generation whenever I think of Holmes Basil Rathbone is the picture I see, this man seemed to me to be Sherlock, with all the style flair and charisma of a wet salmon. Yet with the reasoning and power of deductive thought akin to the Einstein of the judicial process.
    Loved the blog by the way, will be wacthing for further revalations via email Regards Clive aka Vortash/Rowkesh ( Rowkesh because somebody had pinched my name on the site previously LOL )

  32. I loved the new version of this series on BBC … the updated and modern style fit right in. I cannot seem to get enough of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, no matter which actors portray them. Having said this, I admit to being a tremendous fan of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. Their action films of this these characters, whilst sexy and a bit latter-day unbelievable (like Will Smith in the remake of Wild Wild West), proved to be a tad unreal and tedious.

    In the end give me BBC and all of their presentations of SIr Artuhr Conan Doyle’s wonderful stories of the egotistical detective, black sheep of the family genius and master of disguise, before the big screen Mission Impossible styled presentation. I love watching all of them, but I am rather fond of black and white movies and the old fashioned styled film stars. They had the ability to mesmerize me and that’s not an easy task.

    Three cheers for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the books he penned. Good article! :D

  33. Great comments, and full of information you know and I don’t. Hollywood makes its money from action films, let’s not pretend it doesn’t, so no surprise if the Downey film is yet another actioner, more James Bond than an accurate rendering of the Conan Doyle stories. Earlier versions were adaptations too of course. The majority of the Rathbone films for example were original stories where he fought the Nazis. The Brett version is the closest to the books I think. What is a shame is that no version brings many (apparently) to the Conan Doyle stories. They vary extremely in quality (Doyle hated the character in the end), and a good exercise would be choosing the best among them. In them, Sherlock is a flawed character. Cerebral, easily bored, isolated, and at first at least, a drug addict. He is both a master violinist and an expert swordsman and sharpshooter, and possesses immense strength. He’s both intuitive and rational, scientific and artistic, both in extreme form with very little balance. Not many actors could portray all that (and it took Conan Doyle 56 stories). Doyle is both loved and under rated because he wrote detective stories. His plots are often as perfectly constructed as many of Agatha Christie’s, yet he is most effective as a creator of atmosphere. The London fogs, the hansom cabs, the Irregulars, they’re all indelible sketches that have lasted over 100 years and look good for a while yet. So to those who only know a video version of the stories, read the print version for added enjoyment, and try his many other excellent non-Holmes stories.

  34. My favorite depiction of Holmes is the Jeremy Brett depiction shown in public television in the US. For me his most closely captured the essence of Holmes in the books.

  35. I love Sherlock Holmes. I’ve enjoyed every movie version that I’ve seen. I think it’s because the character is so dynamic the actor can choose which aspect of the character best suits his abilities to highlight.

  36. I feel to be quite picky here, but as a childhood fan of Conan Doyle’s stories, I haven’t enjoyed any filmed version of Holmes before or since ITVs Jeremy Brett.

  37. This is ridiculously biased. Not that the BBC version sucks, it has such a large fandom for a reason, but I really feel like you’ve only picked arguments that support your preference. You think BBC version is more true to the original Holmes, therefore you give arguments to support your views. Here and there you say ‘but the movies are good in their way as well’ as a way to satisfy the movie fans, but you’re still overlooking major parts that would support the argument that the movies are actually more truthful to the books.

    First off, there are at LEAST as much people who think RDJ!Holmes is a better Holmes than Cumberbatch. I don’t feel qualified to say this myself because I haven’t read the books, but I’ve seen others who have and who like both shows and lots of them seem to agree that RDJ!Holmes is possibly the best accurate portrayal so far. So at the very least this point is a tie and not an obvious win for BBC.

    You say the BBC version stays more true to the actual stories, while covering your ass saying ‘it’s not necessarily true’ and then continuing to give some lame-ass elements of the movies that fit with the stories. You chose BBC’s strongest arguments and the weakest from the movies. ‘BBC!Sherlock is a loner, a genius detective with an eye for deduction’ and ‘RDJ!Holmes is a master of disguise and expert in hand-to-hand combat’. RDJ!Holmes is as much of a genius, deductive detective as BBC!Sherlock, surely you’ve seen the various scenes in which he checks out everything around him, only to share his findings with us later on. He realizes days later that a book on taking care of plants must contain the code for cracking Moriarty’s notebook, solely based on the observation of a dead plant right next to said book. How’s that for non-deductive? Just a small example, but I don’t feel the need to elaborate on this: if you don’t see that RDJ!Holmes is also a brilliant detective with an eye for deduction, I don’t see the need for discussing this because it’s obviously a hopeless case.

    Not to mention the grave error you’ve made here: Holmes is ABSOLUTELY NOT a charmer with the ladies. Yes, Irene fancies him. Yes, they kiss a few times. But if you’d look at it from a point of view other than BBC-is-superior-in-every-way you’d see that JUST AS IN THE BOOKS he’s merely fascinated by her because she’s the only person who has ever outsmarted him. He may love her, but not in a romantic way – just as in the books there’s no definite proof of that. Holmes is never one to initiate the kiss, Irene has to drug him to get what she wants. And ultimately it’s HER feelings for HIM that lead to her demise. Is Holmes a womanizer for making her fall in love with him? No, if only womanizers could get the girls, the world would be a much lonelier place.

    The disguises are only a very small part of the second movie and are just used for laughs. Sure, Holmes got some clues while being disguised which he otherwise could not have gathered (following Moriarty into the park, attending his lectures) but mostly it’s just for the audience (he could’ve just told Watson and Sim about what he’d found out). It’s not as if he’s in a different disguise in every scene, so I wouldn’t say that ‘this is one of the few things that keeps true to the stories’. Just like the globetrotting – he’s only traveled outside of London in the second movie, and that’s because according to the creators (and I heavily agree) that such a high-profile case would’ve been difficult – not to mention slightly boring – to take place just in London.

    Yes, the movies are more action-oriented, and I know people who think it’s too much. That’s all okay and perfectly understandable. But don’t act like the movies are just about making Holmes some sort of action hero while BBC!Sherlock is the great, silent, awkward detective.

    Oh. Right. The issue of ‘goofy, charming and handsome’. First off, handsome? Sure, Robert Downey Jr. has an enormous fanbase, including me. But Cumberbatch, again, has quite possibly at least an equal amount of fans who think he’s incredibly sexy. I don’t agree with them, but again this is just another tie that you’ve ruled in favor of the BBC show because obviously that’s where your loyalties lie. Then, ‘goofy and charming’ remain. Holmes isn’t a ‘charming’ person, his actions depend on his relationship with other characters. He’s rude and hostile towards both Mrs. Hudson and Mary, doesn’t seem to care much for people he doesn’t know, and the only ones around which he acts ‘charming’ are the ones he respects most (Watson, Irene, Moriarty, Mycroft). I think you’re confusing RDJ!Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. himself here. Same with ‘goofy’ – those elements are put in to amuse the audience and it’s mostly just RDJ’s effect in those scenes. I wouldn’t say he was goofy when he was hanging from a large metal hook, for example. RDJ!Holmes acts the way he’s supposed to in a large variety of scenes, some of which are for laughs, others which are completely serious. So you’re really degrading the movies by calling RDJ!Holmes just ‘goofy’ and ‘charming’.

    Also, you pointed out that BBC!Sherlock is a loner whereas RDJ!Holmes is apparently not. I’ll say this only: “Sherly-no-mates.” RDJ!Holmes doesn’t have many friends, as said before he only acts nice around the people he respects. His only real friend is Watson and he cares about his brother and Irene. He’s not as antisocial as BBC!Sherlock, but I think he certainly could be qualified as a loner as well. He can be holed up in his room for days, doing drugs and drinking, and the only one who’d bother to check up on him is Watson. So much for charming, social womanizer.

    This is what possibly pissed me off most. RDJ!Holmes has no flaws? REALLY? Have you been watching the same movies I did or what? The man does drugs. The man has no personal hygiene. The man drinks a lot. He can’t get himself to be happy for his friend when he’s getting married and tries to talk him out of it. He’s a self-destructive masochist who fights to avoid feeling emotional pain. He can’t function without a case to keep his mind busy.

    Did I mention yet that the movies are really sticking to the canon of Conan Doyle’s books? I know BBC!Sherlock solves a lot of similar crimes, but to simply say that ‘BBC has similar crimes, the movies just use the same characters’ is greatly simplified. There are a lot of actual quotes used from the books (‘My mind rebels at stagnation, give me problems, give me work’ for example) and the movies are composed of various elements of the books. Not to mention that, since BBC!Sherlock is modernized, the elements are more abstract in the series than in the movies (because obviously they take place in the same era). The Reichenbach Fall in the show is essentially the same as what happens in the books (Moriarty dies, Sherlock appears to be dead) but when it comes down to it, the movie version is the more exact portrayal (they actually go down a waterfall, Holmes actually takes the risk of dying along with Moriarty to save the world).

    Then about Holmes not needing an assistant. Again, I haven’t read the books, but from what I’ve heard/seen, older adaptations had Watson often portrayed as just following Holmes around and gawking over his amazing skills. Yes, Law!Watson is very independent and has picked up a few skills of his own after spending so much time at Holmes’ side. But it’s also explicitly stated in the movie that ‘if he hadn’t been so preoccupied with his wedding, they would’ve solved this case already’. They’re literally saying that Holmes would’ve solved the case much faster if Watson had helped him instead of being busy with moving out and planning his nuptials. How’s that for ‘not really needing each other’? Again it’s obvious that you prefer Cumberbatch and Freeman over RDJ and Jude Law, which is fine, but your ‘facts’ are really just opinions. I don’t see them as ‘the stronger pairing’ at all. As a movie fan, I see how heavily they depend on each other. It’s just in subtle scenes, as Holmes nearly drags Watson to his wedding, or as Watson watches him fall down the waterfall. Everything they do radiates their need for each other. You don’t see it if you don’t want to see it, but that’s just what I’m trying to show: a preference for one thing makes you turn a blind eye to other things.

    I’m not saying this to ‘prove’ the movies are more true to canon than the BBC show, just to point out that seeing as you prefer BBC, you can’t make an objective comparison.

      • I’m merely comparing the characters, just as the poster did. I just came from a different angle. Let me guess, you also prefer the BBC show. ;)

      • I was actually responding to the length, ferocity, and even obsessiveness displayed in your comment, not its content.

        I’m amazed by the intensity that people can pour into these discussions, and wonder how our world might be improved by focusing all that attention on something that really exists and truly matters, such as world hunger or warfare. Don’t misinterpret my statement–as a fiction writer/editor, I regularly spend quite a bit of time in invented worlds.

    • Wowsers. You wrote a whole bunch here, so I’ll just dispute a few of the salient points instead of writing a second article in the comments alone.

      You say my ‘facts’ are opinions. That’s true, in a sense. I’m speculating on a number of elements of both versions, but this is a piece (like any review, really) influences in some way by my opinion. Your response is the same way. Just because you know a bunch of people who liked the Downey Jr version more doesn’t mean that’s concrete evidence of anything. I at least cited a few awards shows and review aggregate sites.

      The Downey Jr films are action films. A quick Google search lists the primary genre as “action,” as determined by at least ten websites within the Google algorithm. Plus, in the majority of the BBC episodes, the climax is Holmes solving the case with his deductive skills- both Downey Jr films end with an elongated fight sequence.

      One more quick point- you argue that the Downey Jr films are truer to the original stories, but the first film is a completely original story and the second is only loosely based on Doyle’s The Final Problem. Each of the BBC episodes is a specific story (or multiple stories woven together into one two-hour idea) from Doyle’s original canon and there are a number of direct quotes and more subtle references worked into every episode. You say that because the BBC episodes are more modernized, they adhere less strictly to the books, but if you actually look at the stories and the characters of each version, the BBC is much closer to the original works.

      • Citing a few awards shows still doesn’t mean that Cumberbatch is THE better Holmes. I merely pointed that out to say that he’s not obviously “the superior one”.

        Did I say the RDJ movies aren’t action? This is what I said: “Yes, the movies are more action-oriented”. So I don’t really see why you wrote what you did there.

        I seem to have phrased that poorly – while I have stated a few times that the movies could be considered as more true to canon, could I direct your attention to, well, the entire post in general aside from those lines? I’m obviously talking about Holmes himself, not about the movies in general. When I say that there are parts of the movie that could support the claims that the movies are more canonical, I meant when it comes to the character of Holmes. I can see how this may have confused you, but now let’s focus on the real issue I was raising here: am I or am I not right to argue that based on my own arguments, it’s POSSIBLE to think of RDJ!Holmes as the ‘more accurate’ one?

        I didn’t mean for the post to turn out long and rant-ish, but it’s just annoying that when people obviously prefer one thing over the other, they try to find all these arguments to substantiate their claim while completely ignoring arguments that would support other views. That’s all I was trying to point out; that there are far better arguments to see RDJ as the better Holmes than “he uses disguises and goes on adventures”. And saying things as “RDJ!Holmes doesn’t have any flaws” is just wrong, so wrong on so many levels.

        It’s just not possible to make a real comparison if a. you’re not really that familiar with one side of the equation and b. if you allow your preferences to influence your judgment. That’s all I’m saying.

      • I just read my own paragraph where I was actually talking about the movies being close (not ‘closer’) to canon. Not once in that entire paragraph did I say that the movies are closer to canon than the show (I’ve explained the few lines elsewhere in my previous reply). I’m just arguing that the movies are a lot like the stories in their own ways. Also, I said that the modernized version is more ABSTRACT, not that it’s necessarily less canonical.

        I hope you understand that I’m not looking for a fight or anything, I just assumed that since we’re allowed to offer our opinions here, there’d also be room for less popular ones. I am not at all trying to put down the Sherlock series and I’m trying my best not to generalize the fandom, but really, I find it ironic that someone who replies to a character study on a fictional character gets chewed out and you thank them for it while YOU’RE the one who wrote a character study about said fictional character in the first place. I’m open for discussion, hence why I wrote down my response to your arguments.

        And I still have to disagree heavily with your last statement of ‘if you look at the … characters of each version, the BBC is much closer to the original works’. Not just because I find the movies’ portrayal of the characters to be more accurate, but because you can’t say that they ARE closer. You FIND them closer to the original works. If it was just a fact, we wouldn’t be disagreeing here.

  38. hello, just come across here and totally regret why i didnt met this post earlier ^^

    I cant say more than to agree with your review. I am a huge fans of Sherlock since I was very little (by very little I meant like elementary :p)…and read almost everything consist of him including the later released anthology of Sherlock cases. This is the one anthology released after Doyle’s death.

    From the moment I saw Ritchie’s trailer I cant say I am fancy of it. I even almost choose not to watch it. But I can understand why Hollywood make such an arguably choice. I think not everyone knows Sherlock. Mostly they’ve heard of him (he’s very famous afterall :) ), but hardly read its original story. So Hollywood feels they need to add a “pop-formula” into it. To attract both Sherlock fans & fans-to-be. That is just my opinion…

    I dont have anything against Robert Downey Jr. I like him in Iron Man. But I dont think he’s quite the material for Sherlock. What I pictured of Sherlock based on Doyle’s writing is that Sherlock is a loner and a passion-driven man. He is a think-holic. He can never put his mind to rest. That’s why he take drugs sometimes, when he had no interesting case to work on.

    He has a world of his own inside his mind. No one can really understand his point of view. No one but Watson. Thats why Sherlock needs Watson, while Watson is driven by his interest in Sherlock’s ability & point of view, beside his care for him.

    But even Watson surprised by Sherlock unexpected acts from time to time. So Sherlock is complex. From what you describe, I think the BBC one is the closest to Sherlock. Because if you had to eliminate one or two personality to picture him, his martial art & charm-for-lady is the best option rather than eliminate his loner, cynical & eccentric mind.

    To be honest, I have only watched 1 episode of the BBC series, so I cant say much. But most of my friends love it. Reading your review, I think I would love it too :)

    Tq for the review…& sorry for the long post :)

    • I’m always intrigued to see what die-hard fans of Doyle’s originally stories think about this whole thing. And I’m with you 100% on your take on Downey Jr.- I think he’s an actor who’s strengths are charm and charisma and being as smooth and handsome as possible. Yes, his characters always have a little bit of a tortured side (much like the actor’s real-life story), but ultimately, a producer hires Downey Jr. if he/she wants a lead character who’s smarmy, dashing, and light-hearted.

  39. First, thanks Adam for visiting my food blog! I do love the new BBC version and I think it offers a lot of room to expand on Sherlock and Watson’s skills. I just found out season two has started so I have some catching up to do. Now come to think of it, I sort of remember in the BBC version about Sherlock meeting Watson for a meal but true to Doyle, Sherlock does not eat and stays distracted by food. Hmm, that inspires me to try to come up with a recipe that would tempt the great detective! Cindy

  40. Jeremy Brett will always be Sherlock Holmes to me. Both Dr. Watson’s with Jeremy Brett were good as well, but in different ways.

    I pretty much hated any other actor attempting the part before and after.

    At least until receintly. I expected to not like Downey’s Holmes. So I was very surprised to find out that I did like him a lot. I actually think Law as Watson is the weak point in the interpretation.

    I disagree with your interpretation of Downe’s Holmes as a womanizer. In the books, he is rather mysoginistic and only really falls for one woman who is his intellectual equal and I believe was on the opposite side of the law from him. Much like in the first movie. I actually found that to be relatively consistent with the literature.

    It was much more of an action film and I found myself enjoying it very much as such.

    I think the new British series, Sherlock, is also very very good. It also picks up many elements from the books but gives it a somewhat different focus and twist. Updating it was handled very well. I find it a believable interpretation as well. And the Dr. Watson here is a much better Watson than I find Law to be.

    • I didn’t mind Jude Law as Watson, and in fact I preferred him over Downey Jr.’s Holmes, but in retrospect Jude Law doesn’t really do much as a character.

  41. Jeremy Brett was terrific as Holmes, but I have to agree with whoever said that Cumberbatch might be closer to what Doyle had in mind. We tend to think of Holmes and Watson as being older (because of Brett, Basil Rathbone, etc) — but when Doyle started the series, they were in their mid-twenties, as is Cumberbatch. Martin Freeman is a bit older, but he still radiates young, compared to the Watson of some of the other series.

    Plus, I crush on Martin Freeman’s Watson….

    Haven’t seen the Downey/Law movies. But I do like Morton Downey Jr.

  42. So much agree, so much. I’ve read all of the Holmesian canon and I absolutely love the BBC’s “Sherlock”… and I can’t stand the new movies. Part is personal preference and part is that I feel the BBC version captured the essence of Sherlock Holmes so much more than the movies did… IMHO.

  43. I like this post. And I like the movie with Robert Downey Jr., and didn’t very much like the one with Gareth in it but I am wiling to rethink it after i watch it again. I haven’t watched the nw series entirely through on BBC but I do intend too. I actually I believe downloaded an enitre series of Sherlock Holmes on my NOok hoping to get to it. I would like to thank you for joining my blog and I shall return the favor. You have an interesting blog here.

  44. Great post. I love the way you compared the 2 adaptations.

    Have you seen the Russian adaptation with Sir Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes. I love this adaptation.

    Cheers!

  45. Yes, Holmes was a drug addict (no, he did not display Aspergers – or Asbergers, as you described) like many wealthy men of his time. He also enjoyed playing his violin – badly – to help him think.
    Watson’s interest in Holmes was more out of academic curiosity than friendship, though there was an element of friendly loyalty about.
    I have read the books, but was much younger at the time – my mystery novel phase, which drove my dad’s wife insane – and it always astounded me that Holmes did not have a regular job. But he was able to travel extensively (globe-trotting, as you called it), employ a good housekeeper, unlike the surly woman from the movies, and was well recognized in many wealthy circles.
    Holmes, therefore, did not live on the fringes of society, but was numbered among society, unlike one that may have had a mental illness at the time, even one unknown, such as Aspergers.

    Sorry this is so long, but as a childhood hero, one must indulge me a bit. After all, this is a character study.

  46. Jeremy Bret was the best of the traditional, Victorian period pieces that stuck to the stories. The earlier generation of truists seemed to deviate from some of his personality ticks.

    The BBC one that sets him in modern times has gotten rid of some of the unessential stuff such as his disguises, but keeps the critical elements of his eccentric deductions, which is what Holmes is always about and Watson is not. For a bad adaption see Rupert Everett’s portrayal that was on PBS maybe 6 years ago.

    The new CBS version is successful, too. Again, they keep the key elements of Holmes and Watson and just change all the other particulars.

    In the end it isn’t the cases per say, but the characters that make returning to Holmes worth while. Although, don’t read the stuff written around World War I. It’s horrible.

  47. I think that Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law make a great team. I also think Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman work well together (BBC), although some things may change if Paul McGuigan is not going to be directing the new season…

  48. Since Sherlock Holmes is an homage to Edgar Allen Poe’s Monsieur Dupin, it is perfectly reasonable that there would be subsequent homages to Holmes, some which try to portray him as Doyle did and some which emphasize some aspects of his character over others. Those of us who came to Holmes from the books are probably drawn to portrayals that stick close what we imagine him to be from the source. For me, no one will come close to showing Holmes as Holmes as did Jeremy Brett (who also gave the world the definitive version of Freddy in “My Fair Lady”!). Downey, Jr. is fine as the action-hero version of Holmes; Cumberbatch does a marvelous job as a modern-day Holmes, as does Jonny Lee Miller in “Elementary” which is getting better with each episode; George C. Scott played a wonderful character who believed he was Holmes in “They Might be Giants” with Joanne Woodward as his Watson; and, Nicol Williamson was brilliant as Holmes in “The Seven-Percent Solution” which was more a movie about Holmes than Holmes solving crimes. Of course, there’s Basil Rathbone’s version; well, enough said about that. And we get lots of knock-offs of Holmes in “House,” “Monk,” and even Shawn in “Psych”.
    So take your pick. Sherlock is an enduring, and endearing, character and I enjoy all the versions. But the one that was imprinted in my mind when I first read the books fifty years ago is best by far.

  49. Sherlock Holmes, one of my most favorite characters. It will also be among the books that will be discussed shortly on classics at TNB (the newsinbooks.com). I might be seeking and asking permission to use part of your post. I will make sure I give a link to your blog as well. Great Post!

  50. I really loooove Cumberbatch’s Sherlock…. honestly i never read the books…but i know the story and i know the background… i think the Robert Jr’s sherlock is a bit different than Cumberbatch’s… i love them both but i prefer Cumberbatch’s version… :)

  51. I love Ben Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock. And then I proceeded to read all the Sherlock Holmes stories I could get my hands on.

  52. When reading the books now, it is very difficult not to see Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke in ones mind’s eye. Before the Granada series, one could see Basil Rathbone, but never Nigel Bruce.

  53. Hello and thanks for the follow, I am reading your blog as ordered and it is very entertaining! Would have to be Jeremy Brett for me…. so mysterious and naturally weird. Think the more recent attempts have been trying too hard to be weird.

  54. Thanks for “liking” my blog. I’ve sampled yours, and wish I watched television–so the cultural references would make more sense. I loved the insight in this Sherlock blog.

  55. Very interesting comparisons. I’ve always thought that Doyle’s Holmes had bipolar disorder, hence the seven percent solution of cocaine to stimulate him chemically when there wasn’t a mystery afoot to occupy his mind during his depressive phases. I must admit I prefer a more cerebral and flawed Holmes to a CGI-dependent one though :)

  56. This was an awesome post, especially since I’ve managed to get swept up in the fandom of BBC’s Sherlock. Thanks for writing it. :D And thanks for checking out my blog too! I’ve got an upcoming post that explores this trend of intelligent heroes/main characters we love in spite of the fact that they are woefully lacking in common (and polite) social graces, and one of the characters I examine is Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock. It’s interesting to me though that you point out that Conan Doyle’s Sherlock was indeed just about the same, and I’m all the more intrigued to peruse the books and see for myself.

    Thanks again for the awesome post! :D

  57. I liked Robert Downey Jr.’s version when I saw the movie but I liked it less the more I thought about it. I do like Jeremy Brett’s version of Holmes the best, but I am glad the latest movies finally got a proper Watson. Too often Watson has been portrayed like a fat, old bumbling sidekick when in fact he was nearly the same age as Holmes and an ex-military man who kept himself in good shape. He was often Holmes’ trusted back-up on dangerous cases. I also liked the fact Jude Law looked almost exactly like Sidney Paget’s illustrations from “The Strand.” I’ll have to check out BBC’s latest version of Holmes for myself now.

  58. Interesting discussion, but I wonder why they have all come up now? Have you thought about that? Funny how these trends often appear seemingly out of the blue. And for the record I LOVE LOVE the BBC ones, too. Thanks for the follow!

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