Monday, February 4, 2013

A Tale of Two Sherlocks

by Jennifer Harlow

Full disclosure: I am not a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I liked Hound of the Baskervilles but just could never get into the short stories. I kind of felt that Sherlock had no personality, he was just a smart dude who did drugs and was observant. I couldn't really identify with him. The cases were interesting and kept me on my toes but I'd never re-read them. But for whatever reason like everyone else now I cannot seem to get enough of the sleuth, at least on TV.

Started with House. When it first came out I adored this show. At first I thought I had a crush on Hugh Laurie but then realized I didn't want to shag him, I wanted to be like him. Brilliant, doesn't care what people think about him, can get away with almost anything because he's so damn good at what he does. As the seasons continued that desire waned as the world fell around his ears and the show got too formulaic. But really that was my first into to the power of "Sherlock."

Then came BBC and La Cumberbatch.

When I was in Toronto for the film festival, one night I was in my hotel room and turned on the TV. The first thing I noticed was Tim from The Office, now Bilbo Baggins, who I liked so I decided to watch. By the end of the episode I swear my jaw was on the floor. I loved how they kept the intriquite case, a spin on the first Holmes story "A Study in Scarlet" but updated it for our time. Sherlock using the internet, modern forensic techniques yet still keeping the mystery hard enough those tools weren't enough. I also loved, as it seems every fangirl in the world did, the intensity and depth he brought to the detective. (Killer cheekbones and bright eyes didn't hurt either.) And let's not neglect Martin Freeman's Watson. Playing a straight man is hard, yet he brings humor and warmth to it. The two of them together have wonderful chemistry. You believe the friendship and love between them. I was Sherlocked.

So when I heard about CBS doing the exact same concept, like most I was a little miffed. The BBC show is still running. It's like doing a remake of Gone With the Wind while the original is still in theaters. Then, gasp!, word came that Watson would be a woman! I gave it two episodes before Watson and Holmes were making goo-goo eyes at one another. We have Bones and Castle (neither of which I watch) already. But I like Lucy Lu and Jonny Lee Miller, and I wanted to be proved right, so I watched the first episode. And you know what? It was pretty damn good. Not as good as the BBC version by any means, but by American network standards it was leaps and bounds better than say Castle (sorry Nathan. I still adore you) And thank God the producers came right out and said Watson and Holmes will not be getting jiggy with one another. Ever. Like the BBC version the friendship chemistry is there between the two stars. They play well off each other. And if the cases aren't as dynamic as the BBC version I can only blame the 22 episode format. Some cases of the week are better than others but it takes me far longer to figure out who the baddie is than on flipping Castle. And now Irene Adler and Moriarty have been introduced things will only get better.

So until Series 3 comes out at the end of the year, Jonny and Lucy will keep us Sherlockians warm until Smaug and Bilbo carry the torch to glory.

What about all of you? Who among you is a fellow Cumberbi**h? Do you like Elementary? When were you first introduced to Mr. Holmes?

And just FYI on February 8th, Friday of this week, MIND OVER MONSTERS will be one of the Kindle Daily deals. For that one day the e-book will be reduced to $1.99. Spread the word. :)


Kathleen Ernst said...

I didn't watch either TV version for a while because the concept didn't appeal to me. Then I tried the BBC version and loved it. I don't like the US version as much but have started it too. You just never know...

Jennifer Harlow said...

Some episodes are better than others.

Beth Groundwater said...

I love the BBC version, too, Jennifer, so I'm avoiding the US version.

Michelle Fidler said...

I sort of like Elementary but not the Cumberbatch one. I like my Sherlock to be Victorian.

I've read the entire Sherlockian Canon. I started reading it when I was about 13. I also collect Sherlock Holmes books written by other authors. There's a lot. I like the short stories.