Elementary Sherlock and His Audience

Like the Victorian public waiting for the next episode of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures to be published on the newspaper, and sometimes even actively participating in the fate of the detective (Conan Doyle actually had to resurrect the character due to popular demand at one point), many viewers of the movies or the series in the 21st Century are filling in the blanks and writing their own versions of what could happen next.

This is actually something the BBC Series poked fun at in the first episode of the third season.

Although I’m not entirely sure which of the Sherlocks is my favourite, from those I have mentioned in the previous article The Evolution of Sherlock Holmes…, they all have characteristics that are commendable in different ways…

I have to say, although I simply love Jonny Lee Miller’s interpretation of the character and I think he’s a brilliant actor, I miss a sense of Englishness in the series he stars in. Much as I like the series, I feel like it generalizes the character a little. This is partially because it isn’t set in merry old London, but also because it doesn’t quite establish the same relationship between the audience and Sherlock as the other adaptations do.

In both the BBC version and the movie versions, viewers are offered the chance to participate in the crime-solving process by means of techniques which work pretty much the way third-person narration would in a novel to depict what the characters are thinking.

The movie version makes use of slow motion scenes with voice-overs, whereas the BBC series makes use of words appearing on screen with the same swiftness that the process of deductive reasoning occurs in Sherlock’s mind. It is perhaps this aspect of Sherlock’s reasoning process that is missing from the otherwise excellent CBS series and which as a result makes Sherlock feel like a generic crime detective.

When it comes to the other two-versions, however my choice gets a little blurrier. Both adaptations are brilliant in their own way, and I can’t seem to point at my favourite interpretation. Whereas the movie version keeps Sherlock in his original historical period, the BBC version transposes all the different techniques used by Holmes to our own time brilliantly.

Either way, I am very eagerly waiting to see what the directors of each of these adaptations will be cooking up next for our favourite Detective and his trusty side-kick John Watson.

So, if you’re a Holmes neophyte, but you love witty banter and intelligent series that keep you on your toes, I highly recommend both Elementary and Sherlock, and naturally if you haven’t watched the movie adaptations yet, rest assured you won’t be disappointed by them.