So, I decided to give the TV-series Sherlock a chance. It’s a British remake of the legendary books, in the form of a humoristic, modern crime story. This did make me a little suspicious. I have read some of the original stories and they are simply brilliant – I hardly thought anyone could match them.
I love the atmosphere (that is, I love reading about it) of the books. London around the turn of the century, with Englishness leaking through every sentence; there are about a hundred different word for the frequented horse cabs, they run through narrow alleys with gas lights and have tea by the fire.
In focus are, of course, the complex cases with their genius villains. “Watching” the even more genius Holmes solve them is a thrilling pleasure, period.
Sherlock himself has changed a bit. In the books he is extremely intelligent, and has a remarkable ability to see details and draw conclusions from them. This is what makes him a great detective – especially in a time without surveillance cameras and DNA-tests – and fortunately it isn’t lost. Neither are his passion for music and craving for stimulation. Still, TV-Sherlock and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock two different people, mostly because his sociopath traits are made much more prominent. The original Sherlock is not in any way social, but he can interact with people.
Sherlock also gives female characters more prominent roles. Another attempt to make the stories more in tune with our time – the original stories demonstrates some pretty sexist tendencies. Same goes for colored characters (who Sherlock does not have high thoughts on), but it’s not made a big deal of.
In total, it is a fairly good series – at least the episode I watched. But it’s not Sherlock Holmes.
Oh, and one more thing…
The language was an obstacle for me reading the books. I’m not just complaining here, I’m warning you that I may (OK, will) have lost something. The already complicated stories are described in long sentences, specked with unusual words, sometimes even in a different order. The odd things often lean towards my own native, Swedish, such as using for in place of because or writing a sentence “backwards” (e.g. “said he”). One might think that such similarities make it easier to understand… HA!
Another thing, first sentence of The adventure of the copper beeches:
“‘To the man who loves art for it’s own sake,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of The Daily Telegraph, ‘it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived.'”