Saturday, May 30, 2015


"The name's Sherlock Holmes, and the address is 221B Baker Street. Afternoon!"

Oh, my God, I'd forgotten just how good this show was. Lightning in a bottle.

And the detail. Benedict Cumberbatch does look like an otter. Watson's sister's wife is named Clara, making her "Aunt Clara" to that baby bump that comes around third season. Anthea.

John Hamish Watson.

Re-reading the complete written Canon of Sherlock Holmes, often in the summer, has long been a habit of mine. Re-watching a complete television series, however is something new. So as summer begins this year, I decided to do it with that other Canon of Sherlock Holmes, as it's been called by so many. Not jamming through it in a weekend, but just taking it in at a leisurely pace over a week.

I thought, like the written Canon, I could take a lot of notes during the course of it, harvest a few details for later consideration as I went. But as I watched that first episode of BBC Sherlock all over again, all that went out the window.

"A Study in Pink" takes a lot from A Study in Scarlet, and other literary Canon sources, but it has never been a straight adaptation, which I've always loved. Straight adaptations, while all charming and nice as tributes, rarely get me too excited. I know those stories too well. My headcanon argues with what I see on the screen. "Pink," however, did something even better, and it was almost suddenly discovering shared telepathy with another human.

Oh, you understand Sherlock Holmes, too.

"A Study in Pink" didn't just show us that its creators read the Canon. It showed us that they got why millions of people have loved it over the past century. To use a metaphor that will sound too literal, but isn't: Sherlock wasn't just cosplay; it was real acting. Too often we've been treated to the trappings of Sherlock Holmes adventures without the spirit of same. Here, someone got the spirit.

And it's no wonder the Sherlockian world has never been the same since this thing appeared.

It's been an interesting road, with so much inspired from this flagship effort, and fans who love it so much that even the show itself didn't live up to their expectations in later years. (Expectations -- always trouble.) Going back to the source last night, however, proved even more interesting.

I had another favorite movie on as background while I cleaned and did other chores earlier in the evening, but when "A Study in Pink" started playing, nothing else got done, not even notes on the show itself. It just drew me into its spell all over again.

And that is a very good thing to rediscover after so many years.


  1. I'm planning on rewatching the series again this summer too, can't wait to revisit this one!

  2. "A Study in Pink" is pure genius, I agree. I watched it -- and the whole BBC series -- before I read ACD. It's what brought me to ACD. Now, being in love with the original Holmes and familiar with the Canon, as well as some of the scholarship, the BBC series is only that much more enjoyable. I completely agree with your assessment: these creators have understood what it is about Holmes & Watson that make them endlessly fascinating. I do quibble just a bit the "high functioning sociopath" thing, as I don't see that in original Holmes at all and I think it is rather juvenile really, but Watson is a thing of beauty, couldn't be more perfect (except if he were Jude Law).