Sherlock: No sh$%

Sherlock (BBC)I returned from a lengthy trip and caught a few episodes of the Grand Moffat’s latest series, Sherlock, on the flight. This particular reimagination of Sherlock Holmes is unique in that it is set in the modern day rather than the Victorian era, which for me was like a revelation. The Wikipedia entry describes the series development and inspiration in detail and makes for good reading in its own right, as a case study in adaptation of a literary masterpiece to a different medium. For example:

The writers say that they didn’t want to force the modernity of the world onto the story. There were some creative challenges, such as the decision to include the sign “221B” on Holmes’ front door. Gatiss and Moffat reflect that in the modern world the door would only display the number of the house, and there would be doorbells for each flat. However, the full house number is so iconic that they felt that they could not change it. The writers also decided that the lead characters would address each other by their first names, rather than the traditional Holmes and Watson. Director Paul McGuigan came up with the idea of putting text messages on the screen instead of having cut-away shots of a hand holding the phone.

One of the modernizing facets of the show is that John Watson is encouraged to start a blog, as means of working through his adaptation to civilian duty and the psychosomatic limp. That blog is actually available online, and makes for great supplemental material to the show, as is Holmes’ own website and even the website of the landlady at 221b Baker Street! These tie-in websites are well done, if a bit amateur (though I am utterly spoiled with respect to
ARGs by Cloudmakers).

Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re just getting introduced to the series), there were only three episodes made thus far. The series will be continued but our man Watson is off to New Zealand to play at Bilbo (which is also good news).

Frankly, the series was superb. So much so that if it continues, it could even eclipse Doctor Who. The parallels between the Doctor and Holmes are pretty amazing if you think about it (right down to the sidekick) and that certainly isn’t entirely coincidence. This is a great series. Between this, Dr Who, and Stargate Universe, it’s a golden winter for science fiction.

(and yes, I count Sherlock as science fiction. Discuss!)