Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boldly going where no Frankenstein has gone before.

Imagine that you were given the freedom to create a new Sherlock Holmes.

Not a Sherlock Holmes-type character, but an actual, brand new Sherlock Holmes, an alternate universe version of Sherlock Holmes, where you could break with as many traditions as you want and keep as many classic aspects of the detective as you want. While that's always been possible in print, and many have done so for decades upon decades, the new status quo, with two successful Holmes franchises having moved Sherlock some 120-130 years into the future (and one casting him out of London like he chose to eat the notorious apple of Eden) combined with a public domain ruling, is opening up that frontier to the global hivemind of humanity at large.

So suppose you were given that freedom, as you do have, to create a new Sherlock Holmes . . . .

What do you keep? What do you change? What are the basic tenets to keep your Sherlock a recognizable character, other than the name?

Is Sherlock Holmes just a certain set of visual cues?  Is he a particular set of methodologies that rise above mere human personality traits? Or is he a given dramatic presentation style, a showman within the theater of criminal investigation?

It's something for a Sherlockian to consider, and not just as a pasticheur these days. As a consumer of Sherlock, we now have enough choices to make such decisions as well. Not all of us will ever create our own Sherlock Holmes, in print or on video, but it's still a useful exercise to consider what elements we would want in our own personal creation of the master detective.

And once created, how would you measure the success of your creation? If your Sherlock can appear in a next-to-nothing bikini on the cover of Sports Illustrated, you might draw a lot of eyes, sure, but would that still be considered successful as a Sherlock Holmes?

These are the questions we get to ask as our new Sherlockian frontiers open up. And that old phrase "playing the Game" starts to come with many a varation and rules redefine as well.


  1. I personally would like to keep the BBC version - only with cases that actually make sense and that SH solves with a flourish, and without all that sentimental nonsense from S3.

  2. I'm currently listening to the Bert Coules radio adaptations, and frankly I can't imagine improving on the original. I adore Sherlock, but he is alternate universe, and not THE Holmes. IMHO, of course.