Thursday, January 9, 2020

Sherlock Holmes and . . . sigh . . . Dracula

I have long contended that t'were Sherlock Holmes ever to actually cross over with Dracula, he would expose that legendary monster as big a fraud as the hellhound of the Baskervilles. "No ghosts need apply," and all that. Sherlock Holmes is about the really real world, and not that silly imaginary overlay we like to hold in front of our eyes like a piece of stained glass.

Yet, like Holmes and the Ripper, those two products of the Victorian era, Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula, always line up. They are more perfect opposites than Holmes and Moriarty, reason versus superstition, a much more serious battle than good versus evil ever fought. In any book or movie where Holmes and Dracula cross paths, Dracula has already won just by existing. In Holmes's world, Dracula simply does not exist.

And yet, for tellers of tales like the now-notorious Moffat and Gatiss to slide from a Sherlock series to a Dracula series, the act feels quite natural. All those tricksy bits used in Jekyll, Doctor Who, and Sherlock can come back to play, and with a fine cast, including at least one notable holdover, there's a lot of fun to be had there, for those not nursing a grudge from past sins.

Dracula, like Sherlock, is one of those classic tales that some will always wish were told as always, like ritual. And then this, and then that, and oh, didn't they just capture that perfectly. I am not one of those. I delight in Dr. Watson thinking Sir Henry Baskerville owns Stonehenge, just to alleviate my boredom with a touch of the new, no matter how ridiculous. Perhaps that's why I love Holmes and Watson so much more than many of my fellows, as a lovely romp that captured something of Holmes and Watson without boring me with the rituals. So when Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss start playing with the toys of our culture, I rather enjoy their jerking the chains of the ritual.

Still, I fear that it might lead to more bringing the master vampire into the world of the master detective . . . and it's still a place he just doesn't quite belong, as tempting as crossovers always are. But, as the saying goes, "for those who like that sort of thing, that will be a thing that they like."

At least one hopes so. If we have to cross the streams, at least it best get us the desired result, whether we're Ghostbusters or not.

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