I have a tiny Sherlock obsession.
Oh who am I kidding? I have a huge Sherlock obsession. Basically: I think extraordinary smartness is intensely brilliant. I love geniuses. I love complicated mysteries, cold readings, deducing, and detectives slightly out of touch with reality. So, naturally, I like to sherlock, and by “like to sherlock” I mean I watch 3 different versions, compare them, and try to decide who is best.
Although, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t actually read the originals. Classic books scare me! The wording tends to go in one ear and out the other. My eyeballs pack it in. My brain screams, “BUT WHAT DO THE DOTS AND SQUIGGLES ON THE PAGE MEEEEAN?!” And I stick quietly to my YA. But I would like to snatch some audiobooks of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and educate myself properly.
But I have read Father Brown mysteries. Because I am a hipster. So there.
There are stacks of Sherlock Holmes adaptions, but today I’m going to talk about three.
In order of how I watched them:
- Warner Brothers’ Sherlock Holmes films (starring Robert Downey Junior, Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams)
- BBC’s Sherlock (starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman)
- CBS’s Elementary (starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui)
I’m also going to admit something right up front…
I ADORE THEM ALL.
If you bribed me with orange chocolate cupcakes (totally do, sometime, peoples, I’ll cave for it every time) RDJ!Sherlock will always be my favourite. Then the two TV shows are neck in neck…but I think I do prefer Elementary, mostly because Watson is a girl and the whole show is quite empowering towards minorities, disabilities, feminism, and mental illness. Refreshing? I THINK YES.
But let’s talk about them one-by-one, okay?! OKAY. And then you can tell me which one you think sounds incredible and which you prefer. Because obviously I can’t make these decisions on my own.
\\ also, I’m not comparing them on loyalty to the original because I haven’t read the original, duh. //
I’ll always love this one the most because a) it was my first time with a Sherlock Holmes movie, b) I’d just seen Iron Man and RDJ is quite fantastic, and c) the soundtrack and costumes and dialogue are all so, so incredible. COSTUMES, peoples, COSTUMES. It’s set in the 1800s with all the flairs and bustles and hats.
It’s so fabulous I can only squeak.
Sherlock is portrayed as a rather eccentric genius in this one.
He’s not really “given cases” so much as he stumbles on them. People always want to kill him. (It comes with being so fabulous, obviously.) His observational skills are absolutely amazing, to the point where he deduces how a fight or conversation will go and it always happens how he predicts.
His relationship with Watson is very brotherly. As in: they fight like small children. It’s hilarious, but endearing. And he’s not condescending.
And did I mention the music?!
Hans Zimmer is, undoubtedly a genius, but he absolutely abuses the violin and piano in this soundtrack.
Any things I didn’t like?
- Moriarty is ugly. Yes I did just say that.
- There are only two movies which is so not enough.
- Adler disappears unconvincingly and her story line is never tied up/explained. Which is dumb.
The awesome is strong with this one, my friends.
The friendship! The mysteries! The heartbreaking finales! The betrayals! The time Sherlock died, like twice. And they are set to make a 3rd one, but who knows when that’ll happen. But please, someone, make it happen before I explode.
Now, excuse me, I need to go calm myself. I’m having a fangirl moment.
The fandom is strong with this one. Basically Tumblr exists solely to squeak over pictures of the beloved actor, Bendywhine Cookiebunch. When I started watching them I was initially disappointed because there was only, um, 9 episodes. I expected a mountain of action-y cases! But, um, no. Still…I forgot this disappointment in the last few episodes when ALL THE THINGS HAPPENED and it was staggering and amazing and the complex plots were delicious.
Fangirl? Sign me up.
I’m still in shock about the perfection of The Sign of Three and His Last Vow. Like, um, WOW.
Sherlock is portrayed as a very sociopathic detective.
In the first episodes he’s incredibly rude and has a very “I Am King of All, Bow To Me” aura that totally ticked me off. I am World Ruler, duh. Who does he think he is? But then he softens up and becomes fast friends with Watson. After, you know, faking his death and leaving Watson to grieve for ages and then popping up with a “Hello! I hate your moustache!” Dude, no.
He’s not as eccentric as the Movie!Sherlock. He’s far more Autistic, with no social abilities at all, and a very needy personality that makes him rather endearing. You know, between wanting to poke his eye out with a spork because he’s so rude and condescending. I really don’t like how he treats Watson.
And Watson just…takes it. I mean, their relationship does mature, but at the beginning I was rather infuriated. Being rude is one thing, but NO ONE should have to put up with being talked to like this.
The music is not brilliant.
It ain’t Hans Zimmer, is all I can say. But at the same time, it sounds fabulous with this violin arrangement.
Any things I didn’t like?
- Sherlock’s attitude.
- LACK OF EPISODES. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING.
- The fandom actually scares me a little (not that this is a fault of the show, though, but the fandom can be spectacularly rude to any other version, which is scary)
- The fact that there’s such a big “time gap” between seasons, which means there’s a lot of assumed character development. John and Sherlock become quite close friends…but we don’t see a lot of it.
But at the end of the day? I’m severely addicted.
The cases are INCREDIBLE! Also Moriarty is a bit of a psychopathic darling, crazy, yes, but he just wants to rule the world, so I can respect that. The details…the way Sherlock deduces and letters and numbers float across the screen. Every time Sherlock is phenomenal I feel like Watson when he just says:
I’ve only seen the first season but so far? I am so, so impressed. It’s modern and fresh and the cases are intense and grisly. There are a lot of murder scenes. There is a lot of brilliant actors and fantastic sets. Watson is American, but Sherlock is British. And it takes a different angle with making Sherlock a recovering drug-addict, and Watson begins as a retired surgeon whose turned to sober-companion. She’s hired to keep tabs on Sherlock, something he loathes at the beginning…until she turns out to be quite good at detective work.
Sherlock is portrayed as a rather childlike, recovering-addict.
Whereas Movie!Sherlock was eccentric, and BBC!Sherlock was Sociopathic, Elementary!Sherlock felt, actually, Aspergic. He was rude and totally ignored social norms, but he either did it purposefully to a) annoying Watson, or b) get a case moving…or else he did it accidentally. That was definitely endearing. And his character development was incredible. He goes from being snarky and rude to Watson, to being her mentor. He always refused to say what he was thinking/feeling…but in the end, Watson could tell from his anxious cues. SO CUTE. Um, ahem, I mean, such a good friendship.
And, I don’t know how…but Sherlock can pull off the most extraordinary wardrobe, including cardigans and vests. It should be awful, but it’s brilliant.
We need a moment for Joan Watson!
And, here, I just have to put in words about Watson because: JOAN WATSON IS A GIRL AND IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. I’m just going to shout about this forever! A Girl!Watson! YES PLEASE! And this show is delightfully feministic, in the fact that no one dismisses Watson because she’s a girl. There’s only one episode in Season 1 where the Chief tries to bundle Watson off “in case she gets hurt” and she calls him out on being sexist. Otherwise, it’s really refreshing. Plus Watson has gorgeous fashion sense and can deduce a murder in high heels. I admire that.
The music is fantastic, but still not comparable with Hans Zimmer’s.
I love this violin arrangement though, so…JUST LISTEN TO IT.
Any things I didn’t like?
- The stakes of the Season 1 finale where just a little bit…low? I wasn’t worried enough or emotionally caught up enough, which I was sad about considering the rest of the episodes were so dang amazing.
Yes…THAT IS ALL THE NEGATIVES.
See I told you this show as amazing.
I cannot even describe just how pleased I am with it. Particularly with Moriarty’s true identity, the refreshing lack of romance, the mysteries of Sherlock’s dead girlfriend (Irene Adler), and the endlessly complex cases. Every time it addressed society’s problems with women or disabilities or mental illness…I just CHEERED. And I loved the gender swap. Why don’t more retellings use gender swaps?! It’s so epic.
So basically I am an intense Sherlock Fangirl.
OF ALL THE SHERLOCKS! HUZZAH! They’ve all got strengths and weaknesses, they’ve all got different vibes and different focuses. They’ve all taken the classic character of Sherlock Holmes and remade him. (When do we see a girl Sherlock, though?! COME ON.)
But do you know what I can’t stand? When one fandom runs the other down. I’ve seen quotes from the BBC version saying how bad Elementary is (!?) and I know a lot of fans who will say Elementary is dorky…without even seeing it. (I tested this theory out on Twitter.) You can be fans of all versions! YOU CAN! It is possible, my Sherlockian friends. It really doesn’t matter so long as no one is belittling someone else, right? RIGHT.
how do YOU feel about Sherlock Holmes?!! have you read the originals? which version do you like best? well, more importantly: which soundtrack is best?! ohhh, and what do you think about fandom-on-fandom rage??
Cait @ Paper Fury
…is currently very frustrated with her photography skills (or lack thereof) and is looking for photography tutorials/blogs, so any recommendations would be SO WELCOME. Also, she’s nearing the finale of A Game of Thrones and is kind of freaking out. She doesn’t WANT everyone to die. Yet she has a bad feeling about this…