I like John H. Watson. I really do.
But I started watching Dexter, finally. You know, the show about the serial killer who kills serial killers? Kind of like a detective's detective, in a way. Dexter Morgan, the unusual anti-hero of the show, narrates the show himself. He's a psychopath, sure. He's isolated from humanity, unable to connect with other people, and yet he make an engaging storyteller for an hour of TV drama.
He reminds me of Michael Westen from Burn Notice, another master of his trade -- the spy game, who narrates his own televised story as well.
And if those two very disparate personalities can narrate their own television shows without a Watson, well, why couldn't Sherlock Holmes? He's a consummate professional, like Westen. And you certainly can't claim his personality is too far from normal to do it if the psychopathic Dexter is doing it.
And if Sherlock Holmes was narrating his own television show, the writers would have to actually be smart enough to write smart. The great thing about Sherlock Holmes when Conan Doyle first wrote him up was that his methods did not seem like something he was getting away with simply because he was a storybook character. He did things that were very possible, if you could just think of them yourself. Having him explain his tricks to the viewer would put the viewer in the place of Dr. Watson, a position that most of us would love to be in.
Yes, we might miss the friendship between Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson, but I'm sure there would be someone in the show for him to interact with. Scotland Yard is always there. Or Mycroft . . . the real, smarter-than-Sherlock Mycroft . . . has been a character we've wanted more of for a very long time.
I actually think an excellent television show could be made these days without Dr. Watson's chronicler and room-mate accompaniment. A truly daring and innovative show might try that one of these days, when faced with the possibility of being just-another-modern-day-Holmes.
And when things get slow in the second or third season . . . then you bring in a wounded warrior kicker of ass named John H. Watson, M.D. Which would just be all the more fun!
Because even the best Sherlock Holmes creators ever couldn't ignore Watson forever . . . .