Friday, September 25, 2020

The one we never saw coming

 Enola Holmes is sitting at a "Certified Fresh" of 92% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It's number two in popularity on Netflix in the U.S., and number one elsewhere. And it has its own fans, at least one of who suggested basing a new religion on the movie, which is a very cult-Sherlockian thing to say.

So far, Enola seems to be the most successful Holmes since BBC Sherlock in the English-speaking side of the world. And here's the big kicker . . .

Enola Holmes is the most successful Holmes besides Sherlock, ever.

Think about that. Mycroft has had a few books, but no movies or television of his own (and don't say "Mr. Mycroft," as that was pseudonym-Sherlock, and just TV at that). Basil of Baker Street had a movie, but c'mon, he was a mouse and a mouse who copied Sherlock, which puts him in the category of Mr. Data and Solar Pons. 

Enola Holmes isn't just "girl Sherlock," a little sister carbon copy of her brother. She's an original who was influenced by not only Sherlock, but the household that grew Sherlock as well. You could call her a spin-off, but spin-offs that do this well are far and few between.

Did any of us in the Sherlockian world see this coming at all? Our eyes constantly focused on new Sherlocks, maybe enjoying the myriad Holmes-related books out there . . . Nancy Springer's six novels might have gotten lost in for most of us, if not for Millie Bobby Brown. It's a very crowded field, with Brittany Cavallaro's Charlotte Holmes having caught my readership long before Enola.

But Enola dared to go Watsonless (unless you hold to my theory of the audience-Watson for the movie). She doesn't have that drug issue. She makes a definite statement about a point in history, and I'm not talking Victorian times here. Despite her origins in the Holmes family, Enola now seems to have sprung forth as an original character, worthy of her own franchise, and showed that Sherlock Holmes can be a mere supporting cast member if you make the main character engaging enough.

Think about that one for a second. How many times have we seen a creator try to steal the spotlight from the legendary Sherlock, only to see it gravitate straight back to him?

Irene Adler, Mary Russell, Shadwell Rafferty . . . they all made it to several novels, but none escaped Holmes's gravity enough to become the titular character of a movie. Sure, Enola benefited from her brother as a booster rocket, but, you know what? I'd watch a movie with Enola Holmes and no Sherlock. at this point. And the books certainly dodge him as much as possible.

Enola Holmes is something special, and a next-level moment for Sherlock Holmes in our culture. That's something to take a moment and appreciate.


  1. Before Enola Holmes, there was Shirley Holmes a really good series, least we all forget. 1997-2000
    The Adventures of Shirley Holmes  
    Meredith Henderson is Shirley Holmes and John White is Bo Sawchuk.

    Credo Entertainment Group, Forefront Entertainment, Canada.
    24 min. 24 February 1997 premiere
    Dirs. Gary Harvey, Anne Wheeler, John Paizs, T.W. Peacocke, Rick Stevenson, Neill Fearnley, Norma Bailey, Kim Todd, Graeme Lynch, Richard O'Brien-Moran, John L'Ecuyer, Mark Soulard and Elise Swerhone.

    Plot: Shirley Holmes who is Sherlock Holmes’ grand-niece, and her friend, Bo Sawchuk, are always in the middle of a new crime that needs solving. Many times the opposition is supplied by Molly Hardy (a play on the name Moriarty).

    The Case of the Burning Building, The Case of the Cunning Coyote,The Case of the Blazing Star, The Case of the Precious Cargo, The Case of the Ruby Ring, The Case of the Liberated Beasts,The Case of the Alien Abductions,The Case of the Maestro's Ghost, The Case of the Mystery Child, The Case of the Exact Change,The Case of the King of Hearts, The Case of the Singer's Secret, The Case of the Second Sight, The Case of the Wannabe Witch
    The Case of the Doggone Cats, The Case of Babyfingers, The Case of the Bouncing Baby , The Case of the Rising Moon, The Case of the Exploding Puppet,The Case of the Cryptic Creature, The Case of the Missing Marbles, The Case of the Mischievous Poltergeist, The Case of the Left Thumbprint, The Case of the Golden Cave, The Case of the Patron Saint, The Case of the Broken Oath, The Case of the Celestial Signal, The Case of the Galloping Ghost, The Case of the Crooked Comic, The Case of the Flim Flam Farm , The Case of the Mysterious Message, The Case of Second Take, The Case of the Code of Silence, The Case of Bamboozling Blonde, The Case of the Real Fake, The Case of the Open Hand, The Case of the Ten Dollar Thief, The Case of the Miracle Mine, The Case of the Forbidden Mountain
    The Case of the Calculated Crime, The Case of the Vanishing Virus, The Case of the Dead Debutante, The Case of the Virtual Zeus, The Basket Case, The Case of the Skeleton in the Closet, The Case of the Perfect Boyfriend, The Case of the Falling Star, The Case of the Puzzle from the Past, The Case of the Desperate Dancer, The Case of the Hidden Heart, The Case of the King Arthur's Alibi, The Case of the Dragon's Breath

    Cast: Meredith Henderson, John White, Annick Obonsawin, Brendan Fletcher, Sarah Ezer, Shelley Duvall and Nathan as Watson the Dog!

    Odds and Ends: Meredith Henderson (1983 - ), played Shirley Holmes, Sherlock's grand-niece for 52 episodes of this superb Canadian children's TV program.When contacted for an autograph Henderson sent a lengthy letter, in which she expressed a desire to reprise the role as a grown-up Shirley. Sorry to see that this never came to fruition. John Neville, who played Dr. O. Henry in the episode The Case of the Celestial Signal (1998), played Sherlock Holmes in the film A Study in Terror (1965), on stage in Sherlock Holmes (1974-76) and in The Incredible Murder of Cardinal Tosca (1978) and on radio in The Incredible Murder of Cardinal Tosca (1979). Movie heartthrob Ryan Gosling, The Notebook (2004), surely had one of his earliest acting roles, as a bad boy, in The Case of the Burning Building (1997) an early episode of the show. Series producers stated that growth spurts among key members of the cast was one of the key reasons for canceling the award winning program.

  2. If they actually make this into a franchise, you are in for a treat! There's some major societal criticism happening in the later books. Enola rocks and I'm glad the movie conveyed that.