Saturday, July 11, 2015

Book Sherlock vs. the Series Sherlock

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be have thoroughly enjoyed the hugely popular TV adaptation. I wrongly assumed the series would be totally unlike the original. The juxtaposition of the quaint 1800's where "cabbie" referred to horse drawn carriages to taxis was quite unnerving to say the least. At the same time, it made the genius of Sherlock to the general public.

To give you a perspective on how mind-boggling it is for a Sherlock Holmes fan to follow the series, I'm going to cut/copy/paste something from Wikipedia about the third episode in Season 3, "The Great Game".

  • Sherlock's surprising ignorance, discussed on John's blog, about several commonplace subjects including astronomy, comes from A Study in Scarlet.
  • Holmes' annoyance, about ordinary people filling their minds with useless subjects and unable to use their brains in the right errand, also comes from A Study in Scarlet.
  • Andrew West, the name of the MI6 clerk, comes from "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans", in which the victim is called Arthur Cadogan West; the idea of the culprit being the brother of the victim's fiancée appears in "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty". The Bruce-Partington Plans are also referenced in Sherlock's final blogpost before meeting Moriarty at the pool.
  • When Sherlock asks Watson what he thought about the trainers, that is clear reference to a scene early in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle where Holmes asks Watson to deduce what he can about Mr Henry Baker's hat in the original story.
  • The pink mobile phone receives messages with Greenwich Pips, with their numbers decreasing with each message, pointing towards "The Five Orange Pips".
  • The investigation of the death of Connie Prince resembles "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman", especially Watson's idea about masking tetanus with calcium hypochlorite on the cat's paws and Holmes reading internet forums to gather information about the TV star's relatives.
  • The conversation between Holmes and Moriarty in the final scene mirrors and quotes the confrontation in Holmes' study in "The Adventure of the Final Problem".
  • The "thick Bohemian paper" comes from "A Scandal in Bohemia", as does the scene where Sherlock notes Molly's weight gain.
  • Sherlock's statement "I'd be lost without my blogger" echoes his "I am lost without my Boswell" from "A Scandal in Bohemia".
  • Holmes' network of homeless persons who help him locate the Golem are referred to as his "eyes and ears all over the city", similar to the Baker Street Irregulars who appear in many of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
  • Sherlock firing a gun at a smiley face spray-painted on the wall at the start of the episode and the holes left in the wall is a reference to "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual", in which "Holmes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair... and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks".
  • The scene where Watson examines the shoes resembles a scene in "A Case of Identity" where he tries to deduce information about Miss Mary Sutherland. Sherlock's remark that Watson "missed everything of importance, but...hit upon the method" is also from the same story.
  • The conversation between Holmes and Watson after investigating the house of Connie Prince, where the former says, "We have to do some burglary", is from "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton".
Clearly, the author of the series is one of the biggest fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To weave together so many dialogues and characteristics from the 200 odd stories is definitely the work of an obsessed genius.

Sherlock Holmes

The book Sherlock Holmes is a bit more dignified, just ever so slightly. However, the arrogance and the "Science of Deduction" has been portrayed most brilliantly. I loved the screenplay where they flashback and show his thought process. Some of the thought processes were a bit expected for me, but most were improvised and fantastic. 

Mycroft Holmes

I was a bit disappointed that Mycroft was introduced in the very first episode. There is a certain thrill when Watson discovers a man infinitely smarter than Sherlock but lacks the dexterity Sherlock possesses. I felt the genius of Sherlock had not been established well enough to ready the audience for Mycroft.

Similarly, Moriarty's involvement with Sherlock comes much later. Moriarty is a bit of an enigma in the books, with his physical features being described almost after a dozen stories that mention him. So, it was definitely a weird experience to see Moriarty in the flesh.

Dr. John Watson
I believe this was the character that was depicted most accurately. An intensely loyal worshipper of Sherlock and his methods, A brilliant man himself but not quite in the league of Sherlock. He published books/blogs on the science of deduction used by Sherlock. 

Ah, the bumbling inspector Lestrade. Who cannot sympathise with him? From the book, I imagined him to a young energetic man, but that was obviously an error considering he is the head of Scotland Yard!

In all, the series Sherlock Holmes is a must watch for any fan. Though it may make you cringe at some points, they are remarkably less than the avid book fan would criticize a screen adaptation. 

Get Deducing!

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