On the eve of Jonny Lee Miller’s debut as Sherlock Holmes, Pat Ward Facebooked to remind us of Jeremy Brett’s time as Sherlock. “Brett was Holmes,” Pat concludes. Her statement is a great thing for putting our newest Holmes into perspective.
Many a Sherlock Holmes fan agrees with Pat. And many of us didn’t.
The Granada productions that Jeremy Brett starred in were some of the most faithful, beautifully done Sherlock Holmes adaptations ever. The creators made scenes that exactly lined up visually with the original Sidney Paget drawings that accompanied the tales when they were first published. It was as good a Sherlock Holmes TV show as could possibly exist, there’s no denying that.
Which is why Jeremy Brett’s imperfections as Holmes stood out even more vividly to so many of us in fan world. He was twitchy. He hammed it up a bit in some scenes. His readings of some lines we knew by heart just sounded wrong. And now that we’ve seen Benedict Cumberbatch, I’ll even add one more criticism: He was too old. (Though that was a very common problem with Holmeses of the past. No one wanted the smartest guy in the room to be the youngest.)
But still, there were others who loved Brett’s performance and he became their Sherlock Holmes. We disagreed on him then, and we disagree now . . . which gives you some indication of how it’s going to go with Jonny Lee Miller.
No matter how good “Elementary” is, his Sherlock Holmes won’t be for everyone. And if it’s not good, there will still be those who like him, because he is their Sherlock Holmes.
“The old wheel turns and the same spoke comes up,” as the one true Sherlock once said.
Here we go again. And I’m still excited about it.