Whether discussing the 1887 version of Sherlock Holmes who first appeared in A Study in Scarlet, or watching Benedict Cumberbatch play the esteemed hero detective on BBC, there's nothing quite so exhilarating as having a fangirl obsession with the world's only consulting detective. I became a fan of Sherlock Holmes in the 7th grade when I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from our local library. Doyle had a style about his writing that really captured my imagination and took me along on the journey, through the clues with Holmes and Watson, and it was the best feeling in the world to solve the unsolvable puzzles with the indomitable duo.
Of course, there's nothing extremely sexy about the original Holmes. He was a lean, sharp man with a penchant for cocaine and the violin. He smoked too much and cared too little (or too much) and was more or less an emotional burden on poor Dr. John Watson. What I loved most about original Holmes was the way Doyle made him at once unreachable hero and a completely human person. The thrill of the deduction was just as exciting as seeing the small glimpses of a man inside the shell of Sherlock Holmes.
Which brings me to my favorite iteration of Holmes. The new BBC television drama Sherlock takes place in a modern day London. Sherlock Holmes is the world's only consulting detective, and he finds himself living with retired soldier Dr. John Watson at 221B Baker Street. There are so many things to love about this version of Sherlock Holmes. First off, his character is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He's both a wonderful actor and a cutie! He brings an air of bored playboy and broken man to the character of Sherlock Holmes. In this era, Holmes is a heroine addict who uses heroine when he gets bored. (It's something to do.) Though he has a group of loyal acquaintances, Sherlock has no one he can really call a friend until he meets John Watson. Watson has a deep and well-written character in this version as well. He is skeptical but thrill-seeking and just as intent on the chase as Holmes.
There's too much about the show to really get into every detail. I will, however, talk about my favorite episode. SPOILERS AHEAD-STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN SEASON 4!!!!!!
My favorite episode of the entire show has to be the episodes up to and just after Mary Watson's death. It's your standard Holmes/Watson escapade all the way up to the part where Vivian Norbury pulls the trigger and Mary jumps in front of Sherlock to take the bullet. Now, as an ex "wet work" agent, Mary has done her share of heroic deeds, but I think this particular one is a little bit of payback. Mary once shot Sherlock, and now she's saving his life. She saves him, I think, more for John than for Sherlock. She saw how broken and unhappy John was when he thought Sherlock was dead before. She couldn't imagine how broken hearted he'd be if Sherlock was really dead. The next episodes, when John really despises Sherlock and blames him for Mary's death, are exceptionally well written. We learn later on that it's also a bit of self-loathing on John's part that makes him act this way because he was texting another woman in the days leading up to Mary's death. The moment when John confronts his guilt and speaks to Mary's ghost (who has been haunting him through these episodes) are heart-wrenching. I adored the moment that Sherlock acknowledged that Mary was haunting him, too.
"I'm Sherlock Holmes; I'll wear the damned hat. Right, Mary?"
There are many reasons to love Sherlock Holmes, especially if you love a good mystery. To me, the character dynamics are just as important as the clever deductions themselves. We have Mycroft (Sherlock's interesting older brother) and Mrs. Hudson (his hilarious landlady), as well as Molly Hooper and Greg Lestrade. All these characters make the show multi-dimensioned and unforgettable.
I hope you enjoyed my gushing over the wonderful world of Sherlock Holmes. Let's talk about it! What is your favorite episode of Sherlock? Do you have a favorite Holmes adventure? Tell me in the comments!!
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