Did I mention I was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan? HUGE Holmes nerd (I still can’t call him by his first name, it seems wrong). Ever since my dad bought me my first large red leather edition of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” I’ve been hooked.
Since the beginning of my love of Sherlock Holmes I’ve been very interested into the scholarly work behind the fandom. I’ve heard every theory and read many papers on the various interpretations behind Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’s relationship. I’m pretty much a hardcore purist in many ways. I believe that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are the purist form of friendship that one can find in fictional characters.
When I heard that CBS was doing a version of the British “Sherlock” (which I love), I was interested. When I heard they were making Watson a woman, I was concerned. When I saw some the trailers I was mildly worried.
So when I found out that they were going to be showing the pilot at ComicCon I tried to enter with a optimistic mind. After all, I had been wary of “Sherlock” itself. It was hard to picture Sherlock Holmes removed from Victoria England, but it worked for “Sherlock,” so maybe I was being too quick to judge. Perhaps the other elements of the show would be fantastic.
While I wasn’t blown away by the pilot, I wasn’t entirely turned off either. The acting was amazing thanks to Lucy Liu (Watson) and Jonny Lee Miller (Holmes). The real credit goes to Jonny Lee Miller who makes an intense Holmes that is different from Benedict Cumberbatch, but still rings true to the character. Lucy Liu is a good foil for his character, providing quiet strength to every scene she’s in, but a bit of humor as well (which is sadly very needing).
Another shining point was the music, but that may be changed before the episode airs this fall, but hopefully not by much. The music choices really had a good balance of tradition and modern and added a lot to the series.
Sadly, the show fails when it comes to writing. There’s way too much talking heads and very little action. The show removed some of the visual elements that had really saved “Sherlock” and instead Miller is forced to drone (on… and on…) for a majority of the episode. This can be brutal for even non-Holmesians who are forced to just hear someone say how clever they are rather than see it for themselves.
As a fan, I was a bit disappointed on several fronts. The show also plays up Sherlock Holmes’ drug addiction (which is a major story line in the TV show, but never that big of a factor in the original stories). Very little else came from the source material other than the surprising choice to have Holmes keep bees (which, in the original stories, he does upon retiring). Another disappointment? Sherlock has sex (not because he enjoys it apparently, but because it’s “necessary,” which makes my skin crawl).
I do hope the show picks up the action and emulates some of the things that have made Sherlock so wonderful. Otherwise, it’s just a show about a crazy person who talks a lot and his female companion…