You might well ask why SciFiPulse is writing about Sherlock Holmes. Consequently, you may the draw the conclusion that the character doesn’t fit in with features of science-fiction, as a genre. For example, there’s no time travel, or fantastical plot devices at use. But things aren’t as simple as that. So, let’s get down to it and discover why we’re writing about the much loved character. We want to have look at where the character does fit in, and how genres aren’t always so simple. We’ll consider who the character is, his abilities, and also look at what has allowed new stories to keep emerging, and still foster fresh interest in such a classic, great character.
Insane or Genius
The BBC series Sherlock is maybe a great place to start to answer this question. The original stories weren’t as much concerned with this. Though, they did let readers know that the Sherlock Holmes was notably different from others. Really, Sherlock is a little bit of both. That’s the way genius works. Some smart aleck somewhere once said that the difference between genius and success is measured solely by success . . . In that case, Sherlock is a genius, as the case is always cracked! But what matters is that the question is asked, as it’s the human mind which makes the character such a wonderful invention. Furthermore, that’s what his “super power” is bases around. Also, it’s what always means that the character will have an element of “The Gothic”, too, bringing a certain spookiness.
Sherlock Holmes has the ability to deduce facts, via logic. That’s what makes him able to do what no other (almost no other) can. But it also makes him vulnerable, too. Sometimes, that gets overlooked. His temperament means he’s prone to addiction, something that The Irregulars focuses on. You can read all about what we had to say on that show, in our Review of The Irregulars – Season 1 . There are those who declare he must have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Perhaps that’s true, and it might go some way in explaining why the rest of the world (the neuro-typical majority) seems so hard to comprehend. It’s never been stated, as a definite truth, though.
Good characters all need flaws. The best ones have them. But the way to really make characters memorable is to use that flaw, as a defining trait. This is the case with Sherlock Holmes, too. Despite his lightning brain, and fantastic intellect he needs a “guide” to help him cope in the world. There’s no point in being a consulting detective if he can’t work with Lestrade, and co. So, we get his side-kick. But, what exactly is the role of the character, and why is it one that is so crucial to Holmes? Let’s shine some light on things, shall we?
The original stories are supposedly the narratives of John Watson. This concept is riffed on in the BBC Sherlock series. Martin Freeman as Watson makes Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) a sort of celebrity, due to his blog. But what we really start to understand is that Watson is how we understand Holmes (and, vice-versa, at times). This is apparent in almost every incarnation that the two characters have been in. For example, the same is true of Jude Law as Watson, and Robert Downey, Jr as Holmes, in their two films in recent years. Holmes explains his mind, his methods and his struggles to Watson. Essentially, Watson is the buffer between Holmes and the reader (or, onscreen the viewer — the device as a concept is easily adapted). You can’t have Holmes without Watson, then . . .
The final aspect of this feature is dedicated to the lasting legacy of Sherlock Holmes. Few would argue that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a truly awesome character. Over the years there’s been many adaptations, including some funny ones. Perhaps the most unusual is Holmes as a cucumber — yes you heard that right. This feature on unusual Sherlock Holmes adaptations tells will tell you more. Arguably the greatest versions are Basil Rathbone and later Jeremy Brett. Two absolute powerhouse performances there. But some swear by Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s definitely the most well known actor by the current generation of viewers – justifiably!
Other characters in the stories have also had their moments, too, on screen and in the current “fan-fic” age of the internet. Some are just having theirs . . . Recently we published our Review of Adler, which is a wonderful story, and a lot of fun. It proves that the winning formula of Sherlock Holmes (mystery with adventure) is adaptable. That was also the case with Enola Holmes (2020) too, which we reviewed. It’s even possible to make new characters! We’re likely to keep seeing stuff, then. Some are great, and others maybe not so much. But all prove that the public have a huge fondness for Sherlock Holmes and also for his truly awesome intellect. So do we, too!
Look out for a Sherlock Holmes poem, this Friday, brought exclusively to you by our fun weekly feature May The Verse Be With You!