06 September, 2012

Sherlock Holmes

You may or may not know this, but I am a huge fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Consequently, I find the recent spate of film adaptations of the series rather interesting; while there is, of course, plenty of room to mess up his character, a good adaptation of a favorite writer's work is always welcome.

The two versions that seem to be getting the most attention these days are the movie Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. and the BBC TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. So, curious, I went and watched the first movie and Season One. (Have yet to see the sequels A Game of Shadows or Season Two, mind.)

Note: This post contains ruminations on the details of both, so if you call character analyses spoilers, consider yourself warned.

Also: This post is over 1000 words long. I'd apologize, but I've been stewing over this for a while and have really wanted to blog about it. Here's a link to a video of the simulated evolution of the universe instead if you'd just like to move on to something more interesting than me rambling about mystery fiction. Or, you can just skip to the end questions. I welcome your comments both on Sherlock Holmes and/or the universe. :)

First, in case you don't know much about the adaptations, the movie is set in the Victorian era (as with the stories) and the TV series is set in the present-day--and the two different adaptations seem to have sparked an internet flame war over which was closer to the original. They did this wrong, that wrong, Doyle's Holmes would never have done such a thing, they've corrupted the Holmesian deduction, etc., etc.

I'm not a purist when it comes to taking a work to the screen, but there are some things about Holmes you can't change without turning him into a completely different detective: viz., his legendary deduction.

Both adaptations used the deduction differently. The movie presented a scene with Holmes deducting as slow-motion with a voice over, explaining what he saw and then replaying the scene in real-time, which I found fascinating to watch: There seems to be nothing remarkable happening as the blanks are filled out, until you realize he's predicting everything that's about to occur and processing it much, much faster than a normal person could. The TV series, on the other hand, used text instead, spelling out Holmes' thoughts. Most of time, he also explained everything to the people standing by in a rapid-fire summary of reasons why he'd made the conclusions he did.

Both, in my view, did a pretty good job with Holmes' thought process. It's the rest of his personality--and who they cast as Watson--that makes the difference.




Robert Downey, Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes is zany and brilliant, successfully bringing in the original's apparent randomness and dramatic flair. He's a bit too random and overly energetic, but he's also humorous and avoids being cold, distant, and inaccessible.

Furthermore, there was some great interplay between him and Watson (Jude Law), and Watson was a much more 3-dimensional character in his own right: Capable of deducing some things on his own and actually standing his ground in a conversation with Holmes. He's not really a bumbling sidekick, which I appreciated, because characters who stick around just to make the main figure look good get annoying pretty fast.




Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes, on the other hand, is cold and cutting. He's closer to the original in his part as the indifferent, calculating genius who dominates everyone and hasn't a care in the world for other people's perceptions of him--or for other individuals, really. A self-proclaimed "high-functioning sociopath" (though check out this post for reasons why, precisely, he's not a sociopath) there's minimal or zero regard for the actual lives of the people involved with the cases he takes on. It's the chase, the game, the thrill of the intellectual challenge that keeps his interest. The series emphasizes the negatives of Holmes more than the positives, and makes him more uncaring.

Watson (Martin Freeman) is also more like the John Watson of Doyle's stories: Sticks to Holmes almost all the time, doesn't do very well on his own, and is easily shut up. Though there are some funny exchanges between the two characters, he doesn't have quite the spunk of the movie. (The last ten seconds of each of the above trailers illustrates this difference pretty well.)

The two adaptations are, basically, aiming for a different kind of Holmes. Both are brilliant detectives and both solve the case with unique reasoning--but the movie heads for an accessible, more lovable version, while the series goes for the darker, sharper take.

Then there's plot. The movie is almost completely unrelated to the original (except for some dialogue and deductions), following a plot that was certainly not one of Doyle's. The last two episodes of Season One of the TV series (there are three, total) also have a main storyline that's different from the source material, but overall, the series is much more strongly linked to the stories--and the first episode (A Study in Pink) follows a similar plot as A Study in Scarlet, from the pills down to Watson's first meeting with Holmes, and even the second and third have numerous references to various stories.

And, finally, setting. Of course, placing a Sherlock Holmes story in the time period when Doyle was living can certainly help the integrity of an adaptation, and I do think the movie pulled it off quite well. Seeing Holmes using modern-day technology, however, was novel, and changed the nature of his deductions in interesting ways--though, and I'm not the first person to say this, when it comes to a character like Holmes, it's more the man than the setting that matters.

Overall, the series made the greater impression on me. The movie was great, really, but it didn't seem quite as close to the original Holmes, and everything felt tighter and clearer in the series: The plot, the setting, and above all, the characters. I'd recommend watching both adaptations, but the series more so.

And one final point that I thought the movie actually handled better than the series: Women. Sherlock Holmes is a bit of a misogynist in the stories (not that this is the only problem with the stories; there are several points that don't translate well to today), but I was kind of hoping they'd make him a little more modern.

The movie, at least, gave Irene Adler the spotlight and had her doing some significant things. Oh, sure, she's another femme fatale, but she does have a brain, even if she usually uses it for crime. All the women in the TV series, however, were unimpressive (barring Mrs. Hudson, who is such an amusing landlady). In The Blind Banker I thought they were about to make a strong female character out of John's girlfriend, but no. Soon she was playing the damsel in distress with nothing particularly redeeming happening afterwards.

(I take that Irene Adler makes an appearance in Season Two, but, and though I shouldn't judge the episode before I actually see it, I can't say the trailers look promising. Sigh. The one woman Holmes ever respected, and they make her his stereotypical downfall (well, almost--no one gets the better of him in the end, of course).)


Seen any Sherlock Holmes adaptations? If so, which one(s), and what did you think? If you've seen the movie and the TV series, which do you think was the better adaptation?

(And in case this combines fandoms you're interested in, I had a great time laughing at this collection of Wholock (Sherlock and Doctor Who). Makes sense, too, since Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have worked on both series.)


-----The Golden Eagle

71 comments:

mooderino said...

Basil Rathbone will always be my Sherlock. I especially liked the movies where he defeated the Nazis (hey, there was a war going on).

mood
Moody Writing

Maurice Mitchell said...

This is an exceptional topic Golden Eagle. I'm actually a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I own several collector copies of the series and have read the complete set of stories so many times I can't even count. Since your post is 1000 words long (thanks for the warning) this comment will be 200. I was afraid the movie would take away from the books, but in many ways it's more faithful to Doyle's original vision. The plots are original but the concepts behind them are pure Doyle. I watched one episode of Sherlock and while it's stories are more similar to the original I find it lacks something. Sherlock is great, but Watson is an idiot. The setting makes it more modern but I just don't find his crime-solving technique fits with today. I like both series, but prefer the movies. Go figure. Elementary is coming soon and that looks like a marriage of the two protrayals. TO me the best are the old PBS series which were faithful to the books and still managed to be gripping. OK. That was 176 words.

Pat Hatt said...

I've watched both and can't say I really liked the movie version, it just felt so blah until like the last 15 minutes or so. I like the show version, but I agree there is no strong women characters on there. Would surely go with the show over the movies any day.

Jen Chandler said...

GREAT analysis of BOTH versions of Sherlock. I adore Sherlock Holmes, always have. The movie was enjoyable and I really enjoy the interpretation of the mad genius that Downey, Jr. brings to the table. I must agree with you: Law's Watson is far more agreeable than Doyle's, no offense to the original creator intended!

And you're right about the treatment of women. I appreciated the way both Watson's fiance and Irene Adler were handled in the movies (both of them!) however, I would love to see a stronger female role...especially if she could get Sherlock's goat :D

The series was interesting but as I've only seen the first two episodes, I'm not going to make any conclusions yet!

Thanks for this!
Jen

D.G. Hudson said...

Sherlock Holmes is a favourite of mine. Best next to Basil Rathbone is Jeremy Brett (former TV series). He had the look, the manner and the bravery.

I love both the adaptations, but prefer the TV series as being most like the original character. I even like the way he strings along the girl at the morgue. His Watson is great, too, (as a Hobbit or Watson).

The movie with Robt Downey Jr and Jude Law features great interplay between the two, and shows Watson as another person who kept Sherlock on track at times. Fun to watch.

Great post and good comparisons, don't worry about the length.

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Huge fan of all things Sherlock, including Laurie B. King's series of spinoffs, THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE. My favorite Sherlock Series was the one done in the 80s with Jeremy Brett:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes_(1984_TV_series)

Charles Gramlich said...

Holmes, as Doyle wrote about him, often seemed a bit too perfect to me. I like the darker, edgier character potrayed by Downey in the movie.

Laurel Garver said...

Interesting analysis of both. If you can get your hands on it, you need to see the BRITISH version of the BBC show Sherlock. Not many folks know that the version broadcast in the US is edited down! Seriously!

I agree that the BBC Holmes is more like the original character--not so endearing as Downey plays him in the films. I think this has everything to do with American anti-intellectual bias. That overly-smart thing can seem a liability to be overcome to a certain audience, so the US films make him more charming, less abrasive.

JeffO said...

I've seen both the movies and the show. I like them both, but they are designed to appeal to different audiences. Or the same audience in different moods. The films are much more of a rollicking good time, really played for fun. I'll say this about the TV version: I don't like Holmes, I wouldn't want to spend time with him at all (which is fine; I'm not up to his snuff, so he wouldn't tolerate me), and there seems to be no point: anything anyone notices or discovers, Holmes already knows. I've enjoyed the show despite the faults of Holmes. It's an interesting program.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I'm a huge fan of both as well. I think they're really entertaining, and true to the original text while making changes and keeping it modern. But there's a new series coming out soon with Johnny Lee Miller. Not sure how I feel about that one.

Clarissa Draper said...

I haven't seen the movies but I'm in love with the series! I also can't wait for the Americanized version.

Andrew Leon said...

So, yeah, jumping on the "I'm a Holmes fan" bandwagon. I own the complete works and have read them, oh, I don't know how many times. I don't know how many times, because I read the individual stories in different orders when I was younger, but, once I got the collected works, I read them all again in the order in which they were written.

All of that to say that I love both adaptations. They have different focuses, and there have been some changes, but they have both done a great job of being faithful to the character overall. And the whole thing with Moriarty and Holmes in the 2nd movie is just excellent.

There will always be a special place in my heart, though, for Without a Clue.

Oh, one difference in the Watsons:
It is through Watson's eyes that we see Holmes in Doyle's work, and the series kept that. That aspect requires Watson to be a less aggressive character. The focus has to be on Holmes. The movie doesn't do that. Watson becomes a partner rather than a sidekick in the movies which allows him to be a more interesting character. It's something I like about the movies. (And Law and Downey are just great together!)

KarenG said...

A year ago I read the Complete Sherlock Holmes and was surprised at how short these stories all are! Yet they've endured through time and filmmakers can't get enough of how to interpret this legendary character.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I feel kind of bad that I've never allowed myself the time to read any Sherlock Holmes. I need to correct this.

Bish Denham said...

I've seen the movie and the series. I too preferred the latter to the former. I simply couldn't quite wrapped my head around Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock nor was I thrilled with the gratuitous explosions and Holmes spectacular ability to fight.

Connie Keller said...

I read some Sherlock Holmes, though not all. But I've really enjoyed both the series and movies. Perhaps because I wasn't so interested in seeing perfect representatiosn of the characters as the way the characters have been interpreted for modern audiences.

Rob-bear said...

I've seen neither the movie nor the tv series. So I don't have an opinion.

But you obviously like things Holmsean. That's "elementary."

L.G.Smith said...

I love both the new movies and the series. I'm a little more skeptical about the American version that's coming to television in a few weeks, because they've made Watson a woman, and I think it's going to impact the relationship between the two main characters in ways it couldn't have before. I'll probably still watch to see how they handle the exchanges, but, yeah, I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. Have been since I was a kid watching Basil Rathbone in black and white.

Bess Weatherby said...

I haven't seen the movie or show and haven't read the books, but this is making me want to! Especially the show. A cold, calculating Sherlock Holmes seems much more interesting. Although I would like to see that combined with the personality of Jude Law's Watson.

Jai Joshi said...

I'm a HUGE fan of the series, as you know. I tried to watch the movie and couldn't even get through, it irritated me so much with all that Hollywood flashiness and complete indifference to Doyle's writing style.

Regarding women in the series, you've got to watch season 2! It's not what you suspect at all. Trust me.

Jai

Joshua said...

I skipped the details because I have seen neither films nor seasons. They are on my to watch list.

Southpaw said...

Great analysis. I've seen both the old and new movies and the BBC TV series. They are all good in there own way.

I like that the modern versions are different. A little more guessing on my part.

My favorite I think is the BBC series though.

Mikazuki said...

Mmm, I haven't seen the movie but I agree with what you said about the show. I am a Sherlockian, completely obsessed. As for the whole "no strong women" thing, that would be Moffat, mostly. It's one of the biggest problems I have with Doctor Who, though it wasn't a problem until Series Five. Irene Adler is okay...they had her pretty good, up until the end. They made several mistakes with that; once you watch the second series (if you do), I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. Anyway, good analysis. :D

Cherie Reich said...

I just love Sherlock Holmes, so pretty much any adaptation will have me watching or wanting to watch. I haven't seen the series one yet, but I did enjoy the movie. And I am even looking forward to Elementary with a female Watson.

Jemi Fraser said...

I haven't read the Holmes' stories in years, but I've always liked them. I've seen bits and pieces of the movie and thought it was fun and pretty well done. Haven't seen the show yet. :)

Liz said...

The trailer for the movie made me think: Sherlock Holmes, Action Hero. The movie kind of held up to that.

I read some of the stories when I was in my teens, but not since. I've seen bits of the series. I'm a bit burned out on detective shows lately. I agree that the Jeremy Brett series was pretty good (at that time I had not succumbed to detective fatigue).

There's a reason that it's stood the test of time.

prerna pickett said...

I love your thoughts on both the movie and show. I haven't watched the tv series, although I've heard wonderful things. I enjoyed the movies, but had a hard time understaind RDJ at times. I'm curious to see how the US version compares with Elementary.

Anthony said...

I was not impressed with the Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies. I thought they had some significant plot holes. :(

Nonetheless, great reviews.

mshatch said...

I loved both the movies and the series and your analysis of them is spot on. Can't wait to watch season two :)

Deniz Bevan said...

I'm not one for adaptations, actually... But I'd be willing to watch a BBC version. I like Martin Freeman!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I haven't seen the TV show though I've been tempted to check it out. I noticed one of the networks has a new Sherlock program in the fall lineup.

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

I enjoyed seeing Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock..

E.D. said...

Basil Rathbone will always be my favorite too. I am not a huge fan of Downey in the role - too random as you say. There is a new show coming out this month I think also based on Holmes (not sure the name or channel though).

ali cross said...

I love Sherlock Holmes! So dark and delicious and just so dang clever. I have really been enjoying the movies. I love the way the characters have been developed in them. Haven't seen the TV series though.

I did see there's a new TV series coming out this fall with Lucy Liu as Watson. I'll probably check it out!

Amanda the Aspiring said...

I saw you'd posted a blog called 'Sherlock Holmes', so I obviously showed up right away. XD I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and, having seen both movies and Seasons 1-2, I think I love them both equally, for just the reasons outlined in your post. The movies present a more lovable Holmes(I liked Game of Shadows best), and the series, a darker, cynical Holmes, but they're both just so great. And I loved the series's portrayal of Irene Adler. Also Moriarty. ^_^

Griffinclaw said...

I Love love love Sherlock Holmes. I haven't seen the movie adaptions but they sound awesome. I love the new BBC Sherlock but... In all honesty my favorite adaption of the Sherlock Holmes stories are the 1980s series by Granada TV starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. Jeremy Brett has hands down-- done one of the best jobs of portraying Sherlock ever. If you have not seen that series, watch it. 'Cause you can't talk about Sherlock Holmes portrayals in movies and tv and just forget to mention this brilliant series that did awesome adaptions and faithful adaptions of most of the stories. :) Just what I think though. And Basil Rathbone was pretty darn awesome too.

DWei said...

Sorry, i didn't read any of that. I just started watching the BBC series and I don't want any spoilers.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I'm a really big fan of both the movie and the BBC series, and I'll definitely give the US version a shot too (though I'm not hoping for much). It's hard to choose between the two Sherlocks though; I love the setting of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock, but Cumberbatch makes for a brilliant Holmes.

stuartnager said...

Good post as always GE..never apologize for length when you need to expand and enthuse.

The first season of the new BBC SH was really, really good. The second: not so much. That is my opinion, and I know I'm in the minority. Overly confusing and less than stellar. I'll still watch the next one, as I always hope Moffet can pull things off.

The new movies are just action movie entertainment vehicles, and while I can enjoy them, they are not my favorites. Robert Downey Jr. IS fun in the role...and that's really all I can say about the movies. Fun, but...something is missing for me. I would love to see London at that time, not a modernized steam-punkish version.

I'll take a look at the new CBS show (Elementary?) but...it's CBS.

I grew up with the Basil Rathbone movies on TV. Watched them with my dad, who then got me into reading the stories. They serviced the need of the times in Great Britain and still like them the best.

My parents were both fans of the BBC Jeremy Brett series, and I've enjoyed a number of the shows.

Then again, there is always House: one of the more interesting adaptations of the Holmes character. Character, not storyline.

....Petty Witter said...

Great post.

Alas not a fan of Holmes though I have to say that I did enjoy the recent book (House Of Silk) by Anthony Hororwitz.

As for film/tv adaptations - I quite like the old black and white films starring Basil Rathbone and the latest ones starring Robert Downey Jnr were fun but I really don't like the BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Mind you that could be because I don't like him as an actor.

Susan Kane said...

I'm a longtime Holmes fan. To date, Benedict Cumberbatch is my favorite. There is an ENGLISH BBC version??

The Golden Eagle said...

Mood: I haven't heard of Basil Rathbone before; will have to check out those movies. :)

Maurice: I love rereading the stories; it helps that Doyle wrote a LOT of them.

True, deduction is a little outdated in world where there's a lot of technology that does the same thing. Though it's fun to see him using technology in the process of investigating.

I hope Elementary is good. Things could go wrong with Watson as a woman, but it could also work out well.

Thanks for leaving such a long comment. :)

Pat: I agree, the last part of the movie was definitely one of its strongest elements.

Jen: Thank you!

Doyle wasn't a perfect writer--of course. It's interesting to see how the people who adapt the stories/characters change around the source material.

Yes, absolutely!

The third episode is a tie with the first for the best in the season, for me. I really liked it. :)

You're welcome! Glad you liked the post.

D.G.: I can picture the original characters being like they were in the series; I suppose it's more of an issue with Doyle's stories than with the adaptation itself, per se.

Thank you!

Angelina: I'll have to check out that series. I love the title's reference. :)

Charles: Yeah, Holmes was a bit sterile personality-wise. He was predictable in his genius--though not to say boring.

Laurel: *groan* Why do they always do that to British TV shown in the USA? Americans can handle British content. :P Thanks for letting me know about that!

Good point. That's quite a likely reason for the difference in character.

JeffO: I wouldn't want to hang around the series version of Holmes, either. Too aloof, too arrogant. A fictional version of him is enough.

I agree!

S. L.: I haven't seen anything Johnny Lee Miller has done, so I don't know what to think about the new show. Watson as a woman has potential, but it could badly wrong, too.

The Golden Eagle said...

Clarissa: I'm curious to find out how they do it. :)

Andrew: I did the same thing! I read a collection of "The Best of Sherlock Holmes" or something of that sort, and then went through and read everything chronologically.

Haven't seen the second movie yet. Looking forward to the conflict between Holmes and Moriarty!

Yeah. Holmes really takes the spotlight in the series, as per the original stories.

I like that about the movies as well.

KarenG: True. He's an interesting character in that he's remained in popular culture for so long!

Michael: Here's a link to a (free) online collection of all the stories, in case you're interested:

http://arthursbookshelf.com/adventure/doyle/complete-holmes.pdf

Bish: It did say in the original stories that he was a boxer and physically fit, but I wasn't a huge fan of all the violence, either. The series is a little cleaner (though Holmes is crueler in other ways) which I appreciated.

Connie: Hope I didn't come off as someone who didn't really enjoy the adaptations. I did--I'm just nitpicking over the details, since I'm a big fan of the original stories. :)

Rob-bear: Thanks for commenting anyway!

That I do.

L.G.: I agree. I do hope they don't make Watson a complete doormat compared to Holmes; and I don't know what to make of a potential romantic relationship.

Bess: It's interesting--I have trouble picturing Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch in the same film. Both Robert Downey, Jr. and Martin Freeman, respectively, seem to make up the pairs. I don't think Cumberbatch/Freeman is quite as dynamic as the other, but they do work well together.

Jai: It is rather flamboyant compared to the original series.

I was kinda hoping someone would tell me that . . . Irene Adler is a fascinating character in her own right, and a significant step up from all the other women in the stories.

Joshua: Hope you like them. :)

Southpaw: Thanks!

I agree. The adaptations are unique different ways; it's just different style.

Mikazuki: Moffat, huh? I haven't seen Doctor Who (really, really want to, though) but that's interesting.

I'll probably post again once I've watched the second movie and season two. :) And also the other adaptations people have mentioned in the comments with Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone.

Cherie: I just hope they don't mess it up with Elementary. Could be really good, if Watson's a strong female protagonist.

Jemi: You'd probably like the show, if you're a fan of the stories. :)

Liz: True! The trailer is fairly representative of what the movie's actually like.

I've definitely added that series to my to-be-watched list.

The Golden Eagle said...

Prerna: Thanks! I'm glad my long post didn't bore you. :P

He does talk oddly sometimes. And I'm interested in Elementary, too!

Anthony: The first movie wasn't the most coherent, it's true.

Thank you!

Mshatch: Glad you think so.

Me, neither. I have it on hold at the library, but I've been waiting for it for a long time now . . . it's quite in demand. :)

Deniz: I like him, too. I'm sure in a movie where he has the part of a leading character (one of the reasons I'm looking forward to The Hobbit even more) he'd shine.

Susan: CBS, yeah. And Watson is a woman played by Lucy Liu; I hope they don't mess that up.

Duncan: It was a good adaptation, in my opinion!

E.D.: Elementary, from CBS. Watson's played by a woman and Holmes by Johnny Lee Miller.

Ali: The series is very dark--Holmes character is cold and sometimes cruel, and that guides the episodes. Especially the last one of the first season.

Me, too.

Amanda: Lots of Sherlock Holmes fans in the blogosphere, apparently! :)

Have yet to watch A Game of Shadows, but I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Moriarty is creepy. Holmes comes across as a little unstable sometimes, but Moriarty . . . whew. Man to avoid, right there. LOL.

Griffinclaw: I am totally going to hunt down that series now. It sounds like his performance as Holmes was remarkable!

DWei: No worries. Would be interested know what you thought of it when you've watched the series, though. :)

Jamie: I hope they don't hopelessly mess up Holmes and Watson's relationship by casting Watson as a woman. Could be good, could be very bad.

Benedict Cumberbatch nails the role as Holmes!

Stuart: Thank you. :)

I'm still looking forward to watching the second season--I'm curious how they're going to adapt the original stories, which I assume they do (based on the episode titles).

The steampunk element appealed to me, but it's certainly glamorizing what London must really have been like at the turn of the century. Would have been interesting to see a more realistic version, I agree.

That's what I first thought when I heard about Elementary, too. CBS? What? :P

I'll have to check out those adaptations. Brett and Rathbone seem to be the most popular.

House is based on Sherlock Holmes? I didn't know that.

Petty Witter: Thank you! :)

That book is on my TBR list, thanks to your review.

I really like Benedict Cumberbatch, actually, but I can easily see why someone else would not. He's a bit strange.

Susan: I didn't know, either, until I read Laurel's comment! Now I want to watch those English versions.

Shallee said...

I love both the movie and TV series for different reasons. I love your analysis of them!

laughingwolf said...

absolutely NO one will ever top basil rathbone, no matter how much they try! :P lol

Madeleine Sara said...

I've seen these adaptations and enjoyed them for the same reasons you describe.What doesn't sit so well, as a CSI fan, is that in the Cumberbatch version the Forensic team would be making the deductions and collecting evidence albeit more slowly and meticulously for the courts.
I often think Gregory House is a Holmes type character...

Natasha said...

I've never read Doyle's works but I did love the films and the series though I enjoyed the series more. I loved the suspense, the characters, the intrigue and I thought that Benedict played him really well. I always find it interesting when they transcribe books onto the screen and then you can get different sides of the character based on the actors who play them. This was a great blog post! xxx

The Golden Eagle said...

Shallee: Glad you liked my post. :)

Laughingwolf: Looks like a lot of people count Basil Rathbone as their favorite Sherlock Holmes; I'll have to watch him.

Madeleine: I actually liked that about the series. You get to see Holmes' process, haphazard as it is.

Natasha: I agree! Particularly for something like Doyle's stories, which have been done so many times (and probably will be in the future).

Thank you. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I'd rather read the books. I tried watching the first Sherlock movie, the one with Downey Jr., and it was too fast-paced and action-packed for my taste. I haven't watched the series yet.

Angela Ackerman said...

I loved the movie adaptation, but haven't seen the series for TV. I will have to look for it. :)

Deborah Walker said...

Benedict Cumberbatch for me. yum. yum.

Milo James Fowler said...

A great review of both -- now, what about the new American TV series? I don't think I'll be checking it out; I'm too big a fan of the BBC's SHERLOCK. It's freakin' awesome.

The Golden Eagle said...

Medeia: Try the series. :) It's closer to the original stories and things don't explode as much.

Angela: Hope you do check it out!

Deborah: LOL. I concur with that.

Milo: Thank you!

I'll probably watch it if I can (hoping they'll put episodes online or something), but I doubt it's going to be as good as Sherlock.

Ciara said...

I didn't see the tv series, but I loved Robert Downey JR in Sherlock Holmes. I can see how someone who is a serious Sherlock Holmes fan could have issues with the movie, but I just found it fun.

Stephen Tremp said...

Holmes is one of the quirkiest characters of all tim and I think that's what helps gives him that appeal that has lasted generations and will for many more. He's odd and different and that works for characters as long as they solve the case at least most of the time.

Belle said...

I've read all the books and seen the series and the movies. I love the character of Sherlock Holmes. I enjoy the TV series more than the movies because, as you say, it is closer to the books and comes closer to the character for me. Cumberbatch is wonderful.

Susan Fields said...

I've seen the first Robert Downey Jr. movie but not the second, though I'd like to eventually. I haven't seen the TV series, though - maybe someday!

Talli Roland said...

I admit I'm not a huge fan of The Holmes, but I have seen the Robert Downey Jr versions and enjoyed it. Or maybe it just enjoyed Downey. Hm...

The Golden Eagle said...

Ciara: It's a good movie. I'm a big fan of the original stories, so I couldn't help comparing the two. :P

Stephen: True! Though it does make things interesting if they don't succeed occasionally.

Belle: He's very good in the role of Holmes.

Susan: I haven't watched the second movie, either.

Talli: Opposite way around for me, LOL. I don't believe I've seen any other movies with Robert Downey, Jr.

Crystal Collier said...

My 11 yr old son has become the ultimate Holmes fan. I loved Young Sherlock Holmes all growing up, but never really got into the genre by way of reading. I liked the newer Sherlock Holmes--just the first one though. Fun topic.

Christina Farley said...

i love Sherlock. As a teen i was obsessed with him because he was just so cool in how he could solve all those mysteries.

Denise Covey said...

Well it's elementary Dear Watson that I would love the film adaptations with Robert Downey Jnr as Holmes. I love the characterisation here, though the characterisation in the books is much, much better. A hard one to turn into film I'd say.

Heather said...

I'm partial to the Robert Downey JR version. I love your breakdown of them!

Lynda R Young said...

I've seen both and I love both for different reasons--reasons similar to your own.

jnana said...

A very detailed and well-thought out analysis!

I love Doyle's Holmes series, but I can't say the same about the screen adaptations.

David P. King said...

We're huge fans of Holmes, too, and your post pretty much sums up our feelings about the film and series. Love the series, btw. Please tell me you'll see Season 2 soon? :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Crystal Collier: I don't read a whole lot of other mystery fiction, either. Though there are some really good books in the genre.

Which first one?

Christina: His deductive capabilities are impressive! :)

Denise: Robert Downey, Jr. is quite the character. LOL.

Heather: He's an interesting Holmes.

Thanks!

Lynda: Both adaptations have their good points.

Jnana: Thank you--I'm glad you liked it. :)

He's a hard character to present onscreen, I suppose.

David: I desperately want to. I have S2 on hold from the library, but there must be a lot of other people ahead of me because I've had a hold on it for over three months now. :P

Paul Tobin said...

Congratulations on such a well argued post. I agree with most of what you say, Downey Jr. is a little too zany, I am not a fan of Martin Freeman but the writing does capture that essence of Watson well. My argument with the first Richie directed Holmes film was that I do not think the great Irene Adler would be frightened by Moriarty. For me she is to cool for that, but it worked as a film and I enjoyed it. I have not seen the second yet. The BBC Holmes again captures something of the man but also does not quite get it. I have to admit to liking Granada TVs Jeremy Brett series of rather faithful adaptions in the 1980's. I saw him on the stage as Holmes and he is for me the best. Have you read Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk yet? He makes a fair fist of writing an engaging homage to the Great Detective. The most bonkers one I ever read was Sherlock Holmes War of The Worlds-of course Holmes is responsible for capturing a Martian War Machine! Although Sherlock Holmes versus Dracula came a close second...

The Golden Eagle said...

Paul: Thank you!

I agree. Her fear of Moriarty felt unrealistic, especially considering her criminal history in the movie.

The House of Silk is on my TBR list, and I'm hoping to watch some of the series with Jeremy Brett. :)

Holmes and The War of the Worlds? And Dracula? Wow . . . those must be crazy situations!

Icewolf said...

I am a HUGE fan of the BBC Sherlock Holmes! I just think that Cumberbatch is a beautiful man and he plays his character in a way that's almost endearing. :)