Thursday, June 6, 2013

But is he "brave," "bold," or "and?"

Since Dick Sveum kindly offered to watch Elementary for me tonight, I thought I'd use my free evening to hit Netflix and watch "Trials of the Demon," the episode of The Brave and the Bold cartoon that teams up Sherlock Holmes with Batman.

"But, Holmes, are you certain it's not that Moriarty fellow?"

"Stop being an imbecile, Watson. Moriarty's weapon of choice is a unique air rifle assembled by a blind german mechanic. I fear they might be . . . supernatural."

The first two lines from Holmes and Watson is like a "spot the differences" puzzle for Sherlockians, superficially Canonical, but so, so wrong. I'll leave those for you to work out. I find at least three issues immediately, and one point of debate.

The larger question I come to first is this: How old is Sherlock Holmes in all these cartoon incarnations?  Forty? Fifty? He's not a young man, but also not a gray-headed old timer like Watson usually turns out to be. He's looking rather craggy this time out. Timeless, I guess?

Otherwise, Sherlock Holmes is apparently able to deduce hero status from the "bright colors" in Batman's outfit, and not "circus performer." But this is Batman's show, so he's quick to top Holmes's deductions, with banter at first and knowledge of anagrams later. Sherlock Holmes, one has to admit, was definitely less experienced at working out puzzle clues from riddle and joke obsessed baddies, so we'll give him that.

Holmes gets ahead of Batman after dumping Watson (with a desiccated woman in his arms, of course), but just can't cope with super-powered villainy. Apparently this is a Batman/Demon team-up and not Batman/Sherlock Holmes as anticipated, so they start hogging the stage, so blah-blah-blah, fight-fight-fight, and Sherlock Holmes stops in for the post-climax wind-up.

Luckily, this adaptation of Holmes is only a twenty-three minutes one-shot, so much can be forgiven, though mainly just forgotten. Our favorite detective was more stage dressing than an actual part of the story, which well would have proceeded the same with a Scotland Yard man in his place. An argument might be made that such appearances help draw children toward Holmes, but after seeing him come in second to Batman (or third, given the Demon's part), I think they're just going to go with Bats.

Since the advent of Netflix streaming, it's much easier to be a Holmes video completist, but boy, am I glad I'm not depending upon such stuff to keep me awake. Otherwise, I might have to turn Dick Sveum down on his offer next time.


  1. This is why I dislike crossovers - one party usually gets short thrifted. And I hate it when it's Holmes. When I read about Sherlock Holmes, I want him to be the main attraction.

    It's an error many pastiche writers also make. They get so carried away with their "wonderful" original characters that Holmes gets relegated to the side lines. But, of course, readers buy the story because of his name attached to the endeavour.

  2. And another two thinky articles on SH, his drug addiction and how to handle it and his relationships to the Watsons and Hudsons in his TV life.

    And I ask myself WHY do these people watch anything Holmes-related at all? What do they get out of it?

  3. I agree with Silke. One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to pastiches is when Holmes is upstaged. Honestly, I don't even like him to be upstaged by Watson, but I am a bit peculiar that way. That being said, the episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold with Aquaman can be hilarious.

    Leah Guinn