PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! has a brand new adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries but brought forward in to the 21st century. What would a die-hard Holmes fan think about a Wifi, mobile phone, GPS and DNA using Sherlock?
Since I was 10 years old, I’ve been fascinated by the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Watching the original Basil Rathbone movie adaptations as a kid were interesting, but Dr. Watson was portrayed as a buffoon which always bothered me. Then my sister/brother-in-law turned on our family to the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes and, for classic fans, Brett is arguably the absolute best embodiment of the character yet. The Granada TV adaptation also was so rich in visuals—and made the viewer feel late 1800’s/early 1900’s London—that I’ve hoped for a BluRay version of this series.
Our family loved Holmes mysteries so much we went out of our way during a trip to London to stop at the The Sherlock Holmes pub and head over to the Sherlock Holmes Museum at the (used with permission of the City of Westminster in London) faux address of 221b Baker Street, Holmes fictional home/office location.
Being such classic fans, when PBS launched this new series my wife, daughter, son and I were highly skeptical of any sort of re-do, especially one set in the 21st century. To say we are incredibly delighted with the series is an understatement. Within 10 minutes of watching the first episode we were hooked and thinking this ‘new’ Holmes and Watson are nearly perfect.
Having Holmes leverage all of today’s new technology and techniques could’ve been intrusive and a crutch, but its use surprised us that it didn’t take away from the core mystery. In some ways new tech and techniques take a back seat to the drive Sherlock has in solving the mystery and doesn’t seem to be invasive.
In another way, having Holmes and Watson be in the 21st century solving mysteries does something odd to a longtime Holmes lover: it takes away one troubling feeling that a consulting detective, living in a time when fingerprinting, DNA and other forensic techniques hadn’t yet been invented, was at a distinct disadvantage. This adaptation makes it contemporary and the focus now is on the purity of the characters and the mystery itself.
Haven’t been this enthused about a Masterpiece Mystery! program ever. There are only three episodes in Series I and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that there will be many, many more.
Check it out and, if you miss it, you can watch last week’s episode online or with the iPad PBS application.
NOTE: Ironically, the world’s best collection of Sherlock Holmes items resides here in my home State of Minnesota (see more here):