Friday, January 25, 2013

Forget James Bond, Hellloooo Sherlock Holmes

This image is missing a few people, don't don't you worry you're pretty little heads my dear darling readers, I'll get there.

Back in 2006 the iconic British Spy James Bond came back, and this time he was Blonde, James Blonde, and just a sexy as ever.  I myself have never been a Bond girl, literally and figuratively.  He's kind of boring, just a bunch of shooting and drinking, with the occasional tumble in the sheets.  Let's be honest, M is really the sexy brains of the operation.  But Sherlock Holmes was already stirring in the background, quietly waiting in the wings under the alias of Gregory House, sparking something I hardly think anybody expected.

That's right!  I credit the whole Sherlock resurgence with Hugh Laurie as the infamous House MD.  With Gregory House as Sherlock Holmes, James Wilson as John Watson and Lisa Cuddy in an Irene Adler/Mrs. Hudson-esque role.  We even had a bit of a Moriorty in House's season long nemesis Tritter.   America, and very quickly most of the world, fell in love with the pill popping, sarcastic, never clean shaven, constantly rude genius, falling equally in love with the man who stayed by his side despite it all, Wilson, played beautifully by Robert Sean Leonard.  I'm not sure that even the people at Fox realized how huge the show would be, but season after season viewers loyally watched, even if the show went a bit downhill around season 5 when the it took a dark turn.  But why... WHY do we love this terrible terrible man?  Yes he saves lives, but often at the expense of not only his own team, but the patients themselves!  Is it just because we are waiting for the moments that he shows glimpses of humanity through he gruff exterior?  But with House a spark went off, a spark that led to a very new adaption of the actual Sherlock Holmes.

While House MD continued on, the people at Warner Brothers got their hands on a screenplay and ran with it.  House was working out rather well, and Holmes hadn't been put on film with any sort of seriousness since maybe the 50s so, why not?  Using the brilliant directorial talents of Guy Ritchie and a perfect storm of actors, new life was breathed into Arthur Conan Doyle's dusty character.  Robert Downey Jr was perfect for the role, being somewhat similar to Sherlock himself.  He is a genius on film, maybe not in the same way as Holmes but still, and Downey has been known for his snarky attitude, past bad behavior and lets not forget drug addiction.  Let's be honest  it really works.  So with his equally sexy counterpart Jude Law as Watson, well ladies and gentlemen we have a movie!  And this is not the boring Holmes of yesteryear!  No!  This is action packed steampunk Sherlock Holmes!  And the sequel did not disappoint, bring the steampunk themes out full force with Gatling guns blowing trees apart!  Fantastic!  But again!  Shelock Holmes is kind of a huge dick.  A huge dick with the mind of a computer, but he's spends a good part of the films poisoning Watson's dog, trying to ruin Watsons marriage and blowing apart their home.  And yet we still love him!

Hello Sexy.  Steven Moffet you wonderful creature you.  Teaming up and nerd-ing out with the equally genius Mark Gatiss to give us a whole new and very modern Shelock.  The love that Moffet and Gatiss have for Doyle's work is evident in every frame of this show, from the sets to the actors they choose.  The update is nearly flawless, Martin Freeman playing possibly my favorite Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch bringing his brilliant talent to the role (fyi if you haven't seen him play Stephen Hawking, please do because it's one of the greatest performances I've ever seen on TV, next to Claire Danes as Temple Grandin).  Cumberbatch by far plays the most removed Holmes, his genius out doing all of the other Holmes' I've described so far, but he also seems the most heartless.  This Holmes has no idea how to be human, even being described as a virgin as sex isn't necessary for his mind to solve puzzles.  We yearn for the moments when he breaks and becomes nearly human for the love of John, Mrs. Hudson and of course the love of his life Irene Adler.  Cumberbatch and Freeman play brilliantly off each other, Freeman constantly reminding Cumberbatch what social protocols are, pleading with Holmes not to leave severed body parts in the fridge or not to openly point out other's failings or not do a happy dance every time somebody ends up dead.  And here we are again, falling in love with a man who often more cruel than he is kind, but we worship him.

Step in CBS.  It worked for the BBC, lets do this.  Thus, Elementary was born, and if you can't have Benedict Cumberbatch, the next best actor you can grab is the ever brilliant Johnny Lee Miller.  As I have mentioned in other blog posts, Cumberbatch and Miller switched off roles as Frankenstein and his monster.  I've only seen bits and pieces, but Miller is fabulous, moving his body gorgeously as the monster, but he was so different from Cumberbatch's monster... that's what made the switch off brilliant.  Both actors played the same part so differently the show stayed fresh every night.  The same can be said for Elementary.  Miller may be playing the same character, but it's so unique you can't point you're finger and the TV and yell "He's not Ben!"  Elementary is another modern telling of the Doyle story.  In this version, Sherlock is a recovering addict and Liu plays his addiction councilor as the first female version of Watson.  Shelock is living in NY and helping the police while dealing with demons from his past.  Miller's Sherlock is a little more human emotionally than others, but is still ever the total tool, being rude to everybody in his path.  This show is relativity new, but already gaining notoriety... but again, why, why?

In the last 10 years we have seen more of Sherlock Holmes than any other re-inventable character, including James Bond.  But what is it about this character that we all love so much?  So much so that I haven't be able to take a single Shelock Holmes novel out of the library without being on a ridiculous wait list.  After finishing the book I just started I plan on breaking down and buying one.  But what exactly is it about the character that we love so much?  By all accounts he should be repulsive, but no, the more he pushing the more we want him.  Is it his relationship with Watson that we adore?  How Watson is able to bring real emotion to the seemingly uncaring man?  Or is it his genius, his ability to see more than we could ever dream of.  For Christ sake I don't even notice if my own shoe is untied half the time.  Maybe we watch just to see those moments of humanity and love that so contrast the Holmes we know.  Maybe it's just that they get such hot actors to play the same man.  That could be it.  No matter what, I have yet to find a Sherlock/John that I don't love, so keep it coming Hollywood/BBC, I want more!