I have been a huge fan of detective series for a long time now. Right from Nancy Drew, er...if one could call her a detective. Agatha Christie's books were a feast growing up and I would care for nothing other than a good thick Poirot volume and a cosy seat to rest myself for the afternoon. Ah! Such fun. Though I read all Miss Marple stories I enjoyed Poirot the best from Christie's characters. His jovial, good natured quirks reminded me of my grandfather, and especially his shiny egg-head. :) Those days there was a Poirot tele-serial which I watched religiously. I could not follow the British accent very well but since I had read the stories many times over, I got what was happening. Fredrick Forsythe was loved too for his extremely detailed, thoroughly researched stories and super complex plots and sub-plots.
Then there was Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend, Dr. John Watson. I remember reading Sherlock in school and wondering if I understood it right. The stories were dark, the plot complex and usually some things were just left as it is. Sherlock could not be compared to my beloved Hercule Poirot who was polite and nice to the fault whereas Sherlock came across quite rude really. Gruff, blunt and sometime even hurtful. Gradually, he grew on me. I understood his friendship with Watson. I understood that though he was a brilliant detective, a master at the art of deduction, he had his failings as a human being. Like the rest of us. And that's when comparisons ceased and I started enjoying the series.
A couple years back I got my hands on the entire collection courtesy Kindle and I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes adventures all over again. On our trip to London, we visited Baker Street and I got a picture of mine with Sherlock's statue. It was a dream come true! Yeah, that's how silly and ardent fans are - I know he's just a character out of someone's imagination. But what the heck, I love him!
Then in India last Diwali I happened to watch BBC's tele-series Sherlock. An amazingly gripping contemporary take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic, the 90-minute long episode brings to life all the eccentricities of Sherlock and more. If Sherlock Holmes were to walk the streets of London today with the latest cell-phone stuck to his ear, it would be like this. Benedict Cumberpatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson are a dream to watch. The dialogues and the screenplay are superlative allowing the viewers to enjoy a generous helping of British wit and humor. Ben's mannerisms, the flick of his artistic fingers, the gait, the restlessness which is so Sherlock Holmes is absolutely brilliant. Freeman's Dr. Watson is so believable, so upright, so honest and so loveable! He's the perfect foil to Sherlock's high intensity dramatics. London plays an important role too for it's Sherlock's playground, the city he knows like the back of his hand.
The extremely talented writers, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have adapted the classic in tune with their unique interpretation. There's a lot more drama and emotional conflict than what meets the eye. The final work product is enthralling, engaging and completely satisfying. Of course they have taken liberties with the original, after all it's their take. For one, Sherlock doesn't say "Elementary!" Still there are no complains at all as a fan.
Last week A and I were watching the last episode of Season 2 - The Reinbach Fall. The same falls where Sir Arthur's Sherlock and his arch enemy Moriarty both fall to their deaths. The readers know that the celebrated author had to revive his hero after nearly ten years bowing to the demand of thousands of miserable fans. So, effectively, Sherlock doesn't die in the story. Now, in this series the story is changed quite a bit with the Fall being symbolic.
Spoiler alert - the story progresses to show Sherlock accused of being a fraud and the criminal behind all the cases he has helped solve. I watched in shock as they showed that he jumps to his death admitting in his last call to Dr. Watson that he's indeed a fraud. And he's dead! I'm so involved at this point that I'm sobbing uncontrollably, blabbering mindlessly, "But they cant kill him like this in disgrace...he doesn't die here..." A is beyond amused, he's laughing so hard his face is red and looks like he'd choke. But I dont care, I'm at the depths of despair - how could they kill Sherlock Holmes like this! Now, this is the power of storytelling. You forget it's a story. I know I'm a fan and already a believer, but mind you I'm not easy to trick. A was quick to regain his composure and tried to placate me by saying they wont do this - how can they kill the hero in disgrace. I was still weeping silently with Dr. Watson as he mourned his dear friend at his grave. Several long seconds later the camera shifted to reveal the familiar profile, Sherlock Holmes, hiding behind the trees. Ah! What a relief! So yes, there's at least one more season. Releasing next fall. One full year of waiting. Difficult, but certainly bearable with six old episodes to be watched over and over again!
Pic source: google.com