A thought occurred to me this morning that actually amazed me a bit.
I know we Sherlockians are a dreadfully biassed lot in the. direction of a certain consulting detective, but think really hard and answer me this: In the 134 years since Sherlock Holmes has walked the ether of this Earth, has there ever been a detective to match him?
It's easy to just exclaim a knee-jerk "NO!" but give it a moment. Seriously dig into your mind and see if you can actually find anyone who comes close. I mean, you can find detectives that might come close in one aspect or another. Brain power. Teamed with the perfect partner. Just total cool. But all at once?
Sherlock Holmes is the perfect package. The icon.
He's a prodigy when you need a prodigy. He's a person struggling with issues when you need an inspiration for overcoming weakness. He's a friend/partner/lover of whatever emotional degree you need to set the bar at. I really can't think of anyone in our legends or lore that compares. He doesn't just solve murders, he helps people solve their lives. (Well, when successful -- but then, his notable failures just make him all the more perfect.)
Part of Sherlock Holmes's perfection is that Conan Doyle has not been his only creator in all that time. Holmes as been interpreted, not just by actors, but by writers and fans, who have all done their best to communicate the Holmes in their heads. Some interpretations are better than others, of course, but they usually teach us something, even if it's shining a light on a missing piece that causes us to realize the importance of that aspect of the detective.
Perhaps his only flaw is that he could be a little more genetically diverse and a perhaps agendered, which I'm sure he will probably be more and more in future incarnations. His Victorian origins aren't going anywhere, and ACD Canon shall remain, even if the naysayers do a cry similar to the old "If you say Watson wrote the stories, people will forget Doyle!" The original texts aren't going anywhere. (I would love to know how many copies of ACD Holmes reprints exist worldwide at any given moment -- there are always multiple new editions in stores, and always a place for a copy on a household bookshelf.) But a good Sherlock Holmes being Victorian, male, or white is proving less necessary with each passing year.
So I still have to wonder: Has anyone matched our beloved Sherlock even in 2021?
I really don't think so. Let me know if you come up with any contenders.