Having watched the trailer for Holmes & Watson, based on, well gee let me think. I’ve come to a conclusion, which is perhaps treason from a literary loving Londoner
I’ve come to dislike Sherlock Holmes. I tried to use the word “hate”, but that’s too strong. I’m not a philistine!
Sherlock Holmes is everywhere, he’s a global phenomenon. The story of an eccentric junkie consultant and his Doctor friend, who is not as inept as he’s typically portrayed.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cared so little about him that his wife Mary called John Watson “James”, it could be a term of endearment, or Conan Doyle didn’t care about continuity since Watson got shot in the shoulder and leg. His first wife Mary died at some point, from…something, second wife never got a name and Watson moved back in with Holmes again to fight crime.
Sherlock Holmes is a genius, and no one is better than him. Not even Inspector Lestrade and Holmes’s brother Mycroft, and you better never forget it. The stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have captivated the world for over 130 years.
Incidentally, there are four novels and fifty-six books in the “canon”, and I’ve read them all. Favourites are “The Final Problem” and “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” since being biracial at a time in the UK wasn’t illegal, but props to Conan Doyle for showing it in a sympathetic light.
Here is a short list of some of the Sherlock Holmes media, I’ve seen since the year of my birth onwards. I’m not counting anything that came out before I was born or I’ll be here forever.
The Great Mouse Detective/Basil of Baker Street. Disney animated, worth a watch. Vincent Price as Ratigan, the mouse version of Moriarty. And he’s having the time of his life.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett. Fantastic and worth seeing.
Without a Clue, starring Ben Kingsley as John Watson who writes the stories for the Strand who hires Michael Caine to pretend to be Holmes…just roll with it.
Young Sherlock Holmes. Holmes and Watson meet as children, and it involves cults, sacrifices, Egypt and a CGI Stained glass window which was really impressive back then.
Moriarty even appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Data the android had to go up against Moriarty, whose manages to seize control of the Starship Enterprise. Beige walls, a councillor on the Bridge, a Shakespearian actor pretending he’s French and Moriarty!
Maybe it was just me, but I always thought there was something about the Jeremy Brett Holmes in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s, Odo. From the sarcasm and indifference to the hair, undoubtedly based on Holmes.
Incidentally not the weirdest versions I’ve seen. That has to be Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. Inspector Beth Lestrade cannot kill a cloned Moriarty. So, she seeks and finds the original Sherlock Holmes’s corpse, after he died in old age, preserved in honey.
No mention if that was his plan all along or some really crazy fan did that. Holmes is revived, gets over the fact that he’s been snatched back from the afterlife pretty well. Now the famous Detective, and robot Watson fight crime together.
Conan Doyle himself is now a character, for example, Shanghai Knights, in which he helps Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson and ends with “You know I think I should write this down” before the actors leave with a child Charlie Chaplin hiding in a box! Those films are weird.
Everyone I mention had one thing in common, they’re all different media, but all feature Holmes. How many times can they tell the same story about the same person? Holmes and Watson solve crimes, get involved with Irene, has an antagonist called Moriarty or Moran? Holmes falls to his death, Holmes fakes his death. Over and over again for a century.
So, these brief mentions as well as the Sherlock Holmes books by Andrew Lane, Anthony Horowitz and Michelle Birkby. Holmes is a fictional character who has been granted immortality. I even read a book ages ago putting a very compelling case to why he could be Jack the Ripper!
Holmes is considered real enough, there is a blue plaque in Eastbourne where he resided in the last years of his life. There are also plaques in Baker Street and other places trying to lay claim that in this city established and named by the Romans, a fictional character once stood! There is also a museum in Switzerland near the Reichenbach Falls where he faked his death.
I’m Sherlocked out, I think the BBC version a few years ago was the end game for me. A 21st Century version of Holmes using modern technology and the world around him to solve crimes.
The first two series were excellent, with enough sexual tension to fuel the fanfics that Holmes and Watson were a couple. God bless those writers! Neither of them indeed denies this, and that’s been going back to the original stories anyway. Between the seasons I devoured those fics and loved all of them. Yep, I’m a shipper and proud of it. Also, the pairing for Mycroft and Lestrade are works of art.
So, the story of the “high-functioning sociopath and his boyfriend” broke records, everyone loved it. Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were fantastic, and finally, Freeman got the recognition which was long overdue as a jobbing actor.
And then it was spoiled by the titular character coming back after faking his death, with no resolution to what happened, unless the Darren Brown theory was correct. The stories went nowhere, the cases were almost non-existent apart from Mary being a spy and shooting Sherlock. Even though there are other ways to get rid of an ex!
Then everything turned out to be the machinations of the Holmes family secret sister Eurus, who assisted Moriarty and was behind the scenes for everything. That show lost the plot, and not even the acting abilities of Cumberbatch and Freeman could save it.
Since my childhood, I’ve been saturated by the stories, the adaptions, and everything else in between. Every generation seems to have their own Sherlock, be it Rathbone, Jeremy Brett or Cumberbatch
It never was like this, at least not for me. I was the ultimate Sherlockian. Years ago, I went with my college to a studio in Manchester, and there were those who were giddy at seeing the cobbles of Coronation Street. I was clueless about their excitement because I don’t watch it. Until I found out the next set was the location for Baker Street in Brett’s Sherlock. And oh, happy day.
Baker Street Tube Station has his silhouette on the tiles wall, 221b Baker Street never existed until it did and it was a Nationwide, and now it’s the Museum of Sherlock Holmes. He has his own museum and is a figment of the imagination.
It is telling that Conan Doyle himself got sick of his own creation and killed him off in “The Final Problem”, only to receive hate mail about it. Which makes me wonder what Victorian hate mail looks like.
“Dear Mr Conan Doyle, (he got his Knighthood in 1902, and “The Final Problem” came out in 1893), please recommit to your tales about the Detective in Baker Street, or I shall place excrement in your letterbox, immediately”.
According to conandoyleinfo.com. “over twenty thousand people cancelled their subscriptions to the Strand Magazine”. Because overkill is underrated, even back then.
Sherlock Holmes entered the zeitgeist, became more popular than his creator. He’s as real as all of us, and I’m sick of him.
The latest film Holmes and Watson, looks like shit, even with Pam Ferris as Queen Victoria, and starring Hugh Laurie as Mycroft Holmes, whose acting partner Stephen Fry played the same character in the Downey Jr films. Laurie also played the lead in House M.D. Which was a retelling of sorts of Holmes. The connections in this film will leave you cross-eyed!
One of the things about being in the public domain, (sort of, I’ll explain at the end), there are so many stories, why not have a crack at them.
Sherlock Holmes is as real as you or I, he never said “Elementary, my Dear Watson” or even wore a deerstalker hat, but he’s considered real. Especially around Baker Street, since there really is nothing special about the place, but thanks to him it is. Unless you’re going to Madam Tussauds, and don’t bother going to Madam Tussauds. Just don’t.
Outside of film and the few people I know have ever read the books canon or otherwise. Holmes is a global icon, and that’s the “Final Problem”
Let me go through the list of the versions in the past decade and a few others because why not.
Sherlock (2010) with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) featuring Robert Downey Jr. Which were ok, the sequel wasn’t as good at the first, but Downey Jr had some cracking lines and was enjoying himself. It had loads of continuity location errors and Irene Adler is a hell of a woman, being able to jump from Parliament into a very clean River Thames and emerge at Tower Bridge, which is almost three miles away. However, I do respect, any Sherlock adaptation that gets rid of subtext.
Elementary (2012) with Jonny Lee Miller, and though I haven’t seen this one in a while, and to be honest I preferred my Jonny Lee Miller Sherlock Holmes when he looked like he’d just walked off Trainspotting, going through withdrawal being a complete bastard and solving crimes. A clean and sober Holmes is a boring Holmes indeed
Mr. Holmes (2015) featuring Sir Ian McKellen. Pretty good, stellar performance, strange to see Ian McKellen play Holmes as old and decrepit, and quite sad really. I enjoyed it but can remember nothing about it.
Psych, (2006 to 2014, film came out in 2018) ok this one’s a stretch, Shawn is a fake psychic, he scans people because he’s really a genius and loves to mess with everyone. Yeah, I loved it.
Sherlock Gnomes (2018) thankfully I didn’t see this, but my niece did. She said it was ok, Mackenzie is 8, let’s leave it there. Having Watson be the villain would have been a nice touch instead of misdirection. No, it was Moriarty after all. Missed opportunity right there.
Yes, I just spoiled Sherlock Gnomes for you all…I don’t care.
I may have missed some, probably have. You get the point.
And now, Holmes & Watson, an upcoming film written and directed by Etan Cohen. The film stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, two great actors but after seeing the trailer, I knew it was the end game.
From the first moment when they’re lusting over Queen Victoria, inventing the selfie and are just inept. It’s like they heard of the source material but were like “Ah Victorian Detectives, we can play those”. Though one of the Baker Street Irregulars saying “No shit, Sherlock”. That was funny.
I want a break from Sherlock Holmes, I want to go five years at least with no adaptation or retellings or inspired by. I want Holmes to take a break.
Overall, I’m just tired of the adaptions, there are so many books in the public domain, just pick one and go crazy to it. I just wish Hollywood would just stop making these films because like Conan Doyle, when Holmes goes over The Reichenbach Falls. He just better bloody stay there.
However, I want a break until 2023, then I want everything and for good reason. This I didn’t know until I was looking at the Star Trek episodes and Paramount had to pay the Conan Doyle Estate to use Holmes and Moriarty, but in the UK Sherlock went into the Public Domain in 2000. In the USA, that doesn’t expire until 2022-23, however that only covers the final ten stories as listed below from “The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes”
“The Adventure of the Creeping Man” (1923)
“The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” (1924)
“The Adventure of the Three Garridebs” (1924)
“The Adventure of the Illustrious Client” (1924)
“The Adventure of the Three Gables” (1926)
“The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier” (1926)
“The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane” (1926)
“The Adventure of the Retired Colourman” (1926)
“The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger” (1927)
“The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” (1927)
Due to enter the Public Domain in 2023. After long and lengthy battles at who owns Sherlock Holmes. Links below, which are more in detail. I want every version you can get of these final ten stories. Give Watson’s second wife a spin off and even a name! Because even Mr Holmes, the film ran into trouble because of this.
So, I want film versions, tv shows, even a dramatic reading with sock puppets. Because in five years’ time, I’ll be ready to love Sherlock Holmes again. Because there is a lot to love about the world of Holmes, Watson, Lestrade and of course Moriarty. But if anyone cares, my favourite one is still Jeremy Brett. Nothing will ever change that.