“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”
-Arthur Conan Doyle
We all like mysteries. We are all captured by the idea of unsolvable puzzles and even more enthralled by the wit and ingenuity of human beings who have the ability to solve them. For years and years people have been lining up to read detective thrillers for the same reason, and in this regard, Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the granddaddy of them all. The stories written by him for this fictional super-sleuth are timeless classics and almost unbeatable when it comes to the characterisation and the representation of late 19thcentury and early 20thcentury England.
Needless to say, a literary body of this magnitude has been adapted to the audiovisual medium in a big way. The Guinness Book of World Records has consistently listed Sherlock Holmes as the “most portrayed movie character” with more than 70 actors playing the part in over 200 films. To top that off, Sherlock Holmes has seen some highly acclaimed adaptations on the small screen, including the famous series on Granada Television which starred Jeremy Brett as the main character, which he essayed fabulously till his death in 1995. Recently there have been a couple of adaptations of Sherlock Holmes which have put his skills to the test in today’s day and age. Almost everyone is going gaga(and not without reason) over Benedict Cumberbatch’s sensational portrayal of the detective in BBC’s Sherlock. For a lot of people, he has gone on to become the quintessential Sherlock. However, there is another Holmes adaptation which in my opinion shouldn’t be overlooked. It is called “Elementary” and it stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson.
It is aired on CBS and it presents an interesting premise. Sherlock Holmes is revealed to be an ex-drug addict who is now trying to reclaim his life in New York away from his own country. In the process, he starts consulting for the NYPD and helps them out with cases. To fight his addiction he meets Dr.Watson ( played, interestingly enough, by Lucy Liu), who becomes his sober companion and goes on to become his apprentice as the season progresses. The acting is very good, especially by Jonny Lee Miller, who gets the balance between eccentric and genius spot on. The character of Watson has been given more deductive abilities than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ever gave him (Watson the character). Other characters, Aiden Quinn as captain Gregson, for example, do a very fine job as well. The deduction procedures are clearly explained, the method behind the quirkiness and irrational behaviour even more so. In addition to that, since they have more episodes to work with, the makers of the show have been able to highlight Sherlock Holmes’s relationship with other characters in his life, like Lestrade and Mycroft.
The biggest advantage that this show has is that it takes care of your Sherlock hunger weekly and that too at a consistently high level which is great news for a fan like me. Yes, I know that the comparisons with the BBC show are inevitable, but what people need to understand is the fact that the BBC version has only broadcasted 6 episodes from 2010, Elementary has already crossed 30!There will be some compromise somewhere in producing so many episodes. Moreover, nobody said you couldn’t like both the versions. The mythos, at the end of the day, remains the same.
The other thing that I really like about this show is the fact that Watson and Sherlock are friends, partners, but they are not falling in love. I just hope this does not change in the future. And yes, Moriarty is brilliant and he is completely not what you expect. My only gripe with the show is that Mycroft is not as good as you would expect him to be.
I am a fan of this show now and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of detective serials. If we look at it without needlessly comparing it to others, it’s a taut, fast show, with enough and more surprises in store. In the end, the bottom line is, you can never have enough of Sherlock Holmes, can you?