I was walking past a television this morning when Hugh Laurie caught my attention, as he used to do on a weekly basis. He was playing Gregory House, M.D. on a rerun of the likewise titled House. Laurie won six Primetime Emmy Awards for the role, an achievement we're still hoping to see an actor playing Sherlock Holmes accomplish once.
But here's the thing: Hugh Laurie was playing Sherlock Holmes . . . sort of. He had his consulting practice and his Wilson and his apartment 221B, but over time he developed into a fully-fleshed character in his own right, taking Sherlockian seed and growing a more successful hybrid than, I dare say, any character in the previous hundred years.
Yet even though Gregory House is not Sherlock Holmes, you can still see Sherlock in him . . . in fact, from my vantage point, there's more of Sherlock Holmes in him than two out of our three big-media Sherlocks at present.
In fact, House is so close to Sherlock, that you have to wonder if, in some parallel universe, House's creator David Shore had decided to just make a modern-day Sherlock Holmes show in 2004 starring Hugh Laurie and call it Elementary, would Benedict Cumberbatch even have found a BBC show about Sherlock Holmes in his future?
Even ten years later, House continues to be an amazing work using a Sherlock Holmes character, and it's a shame that the creators of a certain modern knock-off didn't spend more time studying that show and less time dancing around its British inspiration.
Watching any Sherlock Holmes on whatever size screen these days, House still provides us with a viable test, high bar that it is, of a Sherlock. Does that Sherlock Holmes feel more like the true Sherlock than Gregory House?
Something to consider.