Sunday night The Lovely Anna and I watched the third season premier of “Sherlock”, the updated re-imagining of the classic character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… it was great as expected. As a Sherlockian myself, I love this show. I wrote a review of it when I posted the above drawings as a Sketch o’the Week a while ago. All of what I said in that review stands true in the new episode, which bodes well for the rest of the season. I especially love the nods to some of the original canon in a few of the side stories and quick moments… among those in this past episode was the brief appearance of Mary Sutherland and her step-father from the 1891 story “A Case of Identity”.
Possibly the most fascinating thing about the show is how much it demonstrates both the timeless nature of the Holmes characters and stories, and how little our world has really changed in its fundamentals since the late 1800’s. Nearly everything that was important about the original stories fits neatly into our world of today, even though 126 years have passed since the first Holmes story appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887. Holmes is once again a celebrated and famous amateur detective thanks to the writings of Dr. John Watson, but his magazine and newspaper articles have been replaced by a blog. The wires and multiple postal deliveries that made up modern communications in the Victorian era are replaced by texting, but essentially serve the same purpose and in the same manner. Hansoms are now mini-cabs on the London streets. Holmes’ network of poor, anonymous, and ignored street urchins, the “Baker Street Irregulars” are now the poor, anonymous, and ignored homeless people of the city. Holmes’ vast indexes and newspaper clippings from the multiple newspapers of the day are replaced by the internet. It’s all there, but defined by 21st century technology.
I find it amazing that, despite the obvious advances in technology in the last 125 years, that so much of what we have today was essentially there in the late 18th century… albeit slower and more cumbersome in its delivery and execution. The Victorian era was a time when science and technology began to change the lives of even ordinary people… the proliferation and inexpensive availability of newspapers and other mass-communication publications, convenient public transportation and the slow but growing education of the public filled the time with glowing optimism even in the face of great poverty in some areas of the world. Holmes was one of the catalysts in that great public intellectual growth… and “Sherlock” delivers the same wonder and fascination the original stories did for those readers who were so outraged when Conan Doyle killed off his Great Detective that their outcry eventually brought him back.
Now, “Elementary” on the other hand… >:(
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