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I know that Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows  came out last December, and that BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series has finished its second season and the stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were published before 1900. But the new show, Elementary, with Lucy Liu as Watson will be premiering in the fall on CBS.

So there’s a lot of Sherlock Holmes wandering around the entertainment world.

Now, I liked the two movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law; my favorite effect was watching Holmes’ thought processes and then fast forwarding as he executed them; and you see him interacting with Moriarty at the end of Game of Shadows.

Then I watched one of the episodes of the BBC series, which modernized the Conan Doyle stories. So, I decided to go back and read some of the stories. I started with the four novels, A Study in Scarlet, Sign of the Four, The Hound of Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear. I did finish the first two, but not the last. I think that Sherlock Holmes, like Shakespeare, is better seen than read. Which is strange because they did not start out as visual media at all, but as serials.

Still, Holmes’ thoughts and antics are much more interesting visually than on paper. And I do have a vivid imagination.

Now, I didn’t read any of the short stories, but it appears that the two movies don’t follow any particular plotlines; the writers took the characters from Conan Doyle’s tales, but didn’t adapt any of the plots. As far as I know, at least. If anyone knows otherwise, feel free to dispute this. I admit that I haven’t read any of the short stories and only two of the novels.

However, the BBC series seems to adapt a plot for each episode. The first episode is called “A Study in Pink,” which follows how Holmes and Watson first met and their first case together. Canonically, A Study in Scarlet is the first of Holmes/Watson adventures, where they move in together and start working cases together. The first episode is the only one I’ve seen, so it’s the only episode that I can compare to the books and it follows it loosely.

One thing that both the series and the movies have is the chemistry between Holmes and Watson; and I like how the Watsons are intelligent and strong-willed; both are more like Holmes’ keeper than a subordinate (and Heaven knows that Holmes needs a keeper).These men are not bumbling idiots, but men that live up to the title Doctor. In the novels, I feel that Holmes looks down on Watson and Watson admits that he isn’t as smart as Holmes. However, he must have some intelligence to be a doctor and help Holmes solve cases.

But he talks back in the movies (I love Jude Law’s Watson) and in the series, I haven’t really seen how they would interact, but this Watson has a darker side, something in his personality that changed during the war. By the end of the first episode, while he hasn’t said a great deal, he does shoot the villain that tries to kill Holmes and they reach an understanding. I think that BBC version is probably worth pursuing further, to see how Watson acts and interacts with Holmes, and how Moriarty eventually gets introduced. I thought he already was, but it turned out to be Holmes’ brother.

But I miss Toby.

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