Sherlock: A Modern-Day Interpretation

(Longtime friend of Litkicks Kelly Nagle and her daughter Allyson are so enthusiastic about a new series based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective stories that we’re running here, for the first time, an article written by a mother-daughter team. Kelly is a librarian in Tampa, Florida, and Allyson is a college student. — Levi)

Sherlock, the popular BBC series starting this week on PBS, is brilliant, witty, a must-see. It’s set in present day London. Sherlock is a little younger than usual – about twenty-something – totally uncivilized and pure genius. He’s also a self-admitted sociopath (not a psychopath, as some would have it). Watson, back from the war in Afghanistan, natch, becomes his flatmate and keeper. The rest of the favorite Holmesian characters are here: Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson (Favorite line: “I’m not your housekeeper, dear”), Inspector Lestrade and possibly even Moriarty.

There are clever references back to the original stories. In the first episode, A Study in Pink, Holmes deduces Watson’s relationship with his sibling by studying Watson’s cellphone, where as in the original A Study in Scarlet he studied Watson’s pocketwatch. Which leads to this exchange:

Watson: That was amazing.
Holmes: You think so? Not what people normally say.
Watson: What do people normally say?
Holmes: Piss off.

Right then and there, you know they’re perfect for each other.

Modern technology comes into play. Watson blogs about their adventures. Holmes uses the latest forensic techniques, a smartphone and various computers to get his precious data, and sends Watson text messages instead of telegrams when he needs him.

You get to watch Sherlock’s amazing deductive process play out right there on the screen, through words and pictures describing what he’s seeing that everyone else misses. And his gleeful excitement at the prospect of a serial killer is positively catching.

The show is stylish, fast-moving and tons of fun. It was already a big hit in England, earning Benedict Cumberpatch (who plays Holmes) many groupies and causing sales to rise for coats and scarves similar to what Holmes wears. If the PBS broadcast is your first chance to see the BBC show, don’t miss it.

And after you watch it, you can check out Watson’s blog and Sherlock’s website. courtesy of the BBC. (Contains some spoilers.)

6 Responses

  1. Kelly and Allyson, this
    Kelly and Allyson, this sounds interesting. I’ll take a look. I also thought the recent Sherlock Holmes movie, staring Robert Downey Jr., was a good modern rendition of this classic.

  2. This sounds like a groove. I
    This sounds like a groove. I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan since I was a child, when my father’s reading of the Hound of the Baskervilles gave me nightmares for a week.

    I have mentioned these readings before. My dad would round up my brother and I, and read to us in a stentorian voice. But his choice of material was perhaps not age-appropriate. He read us Beowulf, Sherlock Holmes, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, for example.

    My favorite was The Charge of the Light Brigade. by Tennyson. After this, my brother and I would re-enact the Crimean War in the back yard, using cardboard swords.

  3. Remakes are an endless trend.
    Remakes are an endless trend. Here comes Sherlock Holmes following Nikita.

    What more can I say?

  4. PBS rarely lets me down.
    PBS rarely lets me down. Thanks, Kelly and Allyson, for reminding me to watch this!. Nice review.

    Michael, we all probably owe your father a debt of gratitude. His readings surely played a part in sparking your talent for dissertation on formidable classics like Proust’s “Remembrance.”

  5. I watched Sherlock last night
    I watched Sherlock last night and thought it was fantastic! Very cleverly done – and much better than the Robert Downey Jr. film. As any hardcore Holmes fan will tell you, the great detective would never lower himself to a fistfight or explosives – he solves crimes using his superior intellect. The BBC version captures this perfectly.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!