How we view Sherlock Holmes has always depended largely on how we view ourselves.
Ardent golfers have written lovingly about Holmes the golfer. Buddhists have made convincing arguments for Holmes following that religious path. Doctors view his methods with a keen eye toward his skill sets that match their own. And true romantics often pick out those qualities in him that they'd enjoy in a lover.
I've never had a problem with any of those views on Holmes. Usually they're just viewing the same facts that I am from an entirely different angle, which is what we humans do every day of our lives. Once you start stretching a few of the facts on Holmes ("Facts" being the original Canon of sixty stories, in this case.), you're always going out on a limb, and the further out you go, the more you have to give your audience a reason why you're so far out there, as for obvious humorous effect. And that can be okay in my book, too.
What starts to grate in our modern evolutions of Sherlock Holmes, however, is what some people like to call "humanizing" Holmes. Which makes me start to wonder about how different my view of "human" is from those folks. Sherlock Holmes has always seemed like a human to me, displaying all of the qualities I've observed in much-beloved friends (just maybe not all in one person). Conan Doyle wrote him really well, which is a part of the reason Sherlockians have been shoehorning him into actual history for a long, long, loooooong time. Actual human history.
The "humanizing" trend often seems to be about giving Holmes more weaknesses, which sometimes seems to me like someone hasn't really read their Canon well enough, if at all . . . like they made their impression of Sherlock Holmes based on an actor's interpretation of Holmes, which might have been based on a different actor's impression of Holmes, which was that actor's interpretation of a script adapted by a screenwriter who was interpreting . . . . and so the game of telephone goes on. It's no wonder that Holmes doesn't seem human any more after having himself moved from brain to brain like that, so I guess you can't blame them.
But I liked the original Sherlock Holmes. He touched something in me about the way I view myself -- that through focus, informal education, hard work, and really paying attention, a person can be very successful in a given field, even a field he makes up for himself. While personally I may not have become accomplished at that level, I still feel like it's within our grasp as humans to succeed as Holmes succeeded. And bring Watson along with us for the ride, because a truly great Holmes has a truly great Watson.
Too often, attempts at humanizing Holmes feel more like "loser-izing" Holmes to me. Maybe a Holmes that's more of a loser appeals to that share of the populace who feel like losers. Instead of attempting to bring ourselves up to a point where we can relate to Holmes as he is, it seems a little like some just want to bring him down to a level where we don't have to feel threatened by his skills, success, and genius. And maybe there's a market for that. Not with me as a potential buyer, though.
Sherlock Holmes was way cool and very human just the way he started. No real "upgrades" are needed. Bringing him into the modern day? Not a bad thing, and not really an upgrade. A true Holmes can work on Mars or in the lost city of Atlantis. 2013 is no real challenge for him. Location in time and space isn't really the issue. It's the man himself.
If Hillbilly Holmes becomes the new cable sensation this fall and you enjoy the new corn-cob pipe smoking, moonshine-drinking detective, you're welcome to him. Just don't expect me to give him a free pass and wave the "all Sherlock is good Sherlock" banner.
Because bad Sherlock is still out there. And it could well be coming soon. I'd just like to think we think a little better of ourselves than that.