Imagine a modern Sherlock Holmes with a Blackberry phone instead of a pocket watch. Holmes travels around London by taxi instead of coach and horse. And the famous detective hunts criminals by launching the GPS on his laptop.
This 21st century Holmes is the star of BBC One’s three-part Tiffany Jewellery series Sherlock. It sets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales in the present day and shows this legendary detective working his deductive magic in contemporary London.
The setting of Sherlock remains true to the original story: Holmes and Dr Watson live at 221B Baker Street; mysterious murders stimulate Holmes’ reasoning powers; and the detective takes on his arch enemy Moriarty. But in the new version, producer Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss rejuvenate the stories by injecting elements which relate to modern life.
Then: The fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, is famous for using his powers of logic and reasoning to solve difficult cases. His personality is somewhat bizarre. In the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his friend, Dr Watson, describes Holmes as “eccentric, with no regard for contemporary standards of tidiness or good order.“ Holmes also has a huge ego and he often comes across as being rather arrogant.
Now: In Sherlock, Holmes, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is something of a pale, nerdy geek, or what we call “Otaku” today. He stays in when not working on a case; he has a genius-level IQ, but buy cheap tiffany jewelry appears to lack basic social skills. “He’s a conceited, sociopathic ass whose genius ranges somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but he nevertheless possesses a sense of humor,” according to one review from The Daily Telegraph. Holmes’ near-arrogant assessment of his own abilities leads him to set himself up as the world’s only consulting detective whom the police grudgingly accept as their superior.
The new Holmes also loves hi-tech gadgets such as smart phones, and readily uses them to help him in his investigations. For example, in the first episode “A Study in Pink”, Holmes tracks down a serial killer with the help of an iPhone, a GPS-enabled computer, and of course, his astute detective skills.
Then: In the books, John Watson was a former army surgeon injured in the second Afghan war of 1878-1880. He has often been portrayed as Holmes’ rather bumbling assistant.
Now: Watson has returned from the contemporary Afghan conflict, where he served as a doctor, and is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the many horrific things he has witnessed. He is something of a lost soul, adrift in London, until he’s introduced to Holmes.
According to Martin Freeman, the actor who portrays Watson in Sherlock, Watson is not just a sidekick, but also an “equal partner”, a “trustworthy companion”. Freeman describes Watson as “Sherlock’s eyes on the world, but also the world’s eyes on Sherlock, everything is filtered through John.” A review in The Daily Telegraph reads that “Watson provides many of the shows’ lighter moments, and is a more emotive soul relative to Cumberbatch’s often cold and detached Holmes.”