I kept from writing this one up until the week before the Great Sherlock Holmes Debate even though I know that my words may be used against me on the 10th of November. Someone was bound to move Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson into the 21st Century and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have done it superbly! There, I said it!
The BBC TV shows have taken Holmes and Watson and placed them into 2011 not with some stilted and artificial cookie cutter approach, but by truly melding them into the current day. The spirit of Doyle is alive in the persons of Holmes and Watson. Cumberbatch is the essential thinking machine and Watson is a man of action and feeling. Even Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson is perfect.
Modern day technology is not neglected in the transformation of the centuries but integrated into the story. The cell phone and the computer are used but don’t replace the thinking machine and the stalwart fellow. Deductions once made on Watson’s watch are now made on the condition of his cell phone and numerous sequences from the canon are
seamlessly integrated into the story lines. The Hansom cab is replaced by the taxi cab but ‘the game is still afoot”. (Well the new Sherlock says “the game is on”, but we know what he meant!) I was a bit disappointed in the line taken with Watson as the sufferer of PTSD. I can’t imagine the fine fellow with shell shock. All who have been there know some can compartmentalize and some can’t. The Watson of the Second Afghan War could, why not the new Watson? Of course his association with Holmes helps him though the disorder and the show overall confirms what you always knew about Watson…He’s an adrenaline junkie. Fifteen minutes into the first show Watson is over his problems, so why have that
problem at all? I know, in the original stories there is the conflicting data about where Watson was wounded (shoulder or leg) so why not give him a real wound in the shoulder and a phantom one in the leg, but it just doesn’t play with what we know about Watson. Besides, it they had read Watson’s Afghan Adventure, they’d know the real answer to the
There are other interesting little quirks to the show. Why is there ill will between Mycroft and Holmes? Will we find out why in a later episode? And rather than write short stories Watson writes a blog, which all of Scotland Yard reads, including Lestrade. (Watson’s therapist suggested it.) I also like the fact that Watson wears a shooting jacket all the
time. Hunting for answers? Interesting.
Cumberbatch and Freeman are the perfect team for the new Holmes and Watson of the 21st century.
Martin Freeman was born 8 September 1971 and has already had a career that would be the envy of any actor. He is the youngest of five children. He and his wife, actress Amanda Abbington have appeared together in numerous films. He has two children, a son named Joe and a daughter named Grace. He has a TV and movie career that dates back to 1997 with 58 rolls to his credit. The new Sherlock series is to be released in January 2012 and he has five other projects underway that are in different points of production. These projects include two Hobbit movies. One of my favorite films was the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Freeman was brought up as a Roman Catholic and educated in Catholic Schools. He also attended Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Besides TV and movies he has an impressive list of credits in theater and radio. He is at home doing comedy (for which he is probably better known: The Office, etc.) as he is doing serious drama. He has accomplished something that has been denied to Jeremy Brett, he won a BAFTA for his role in a Holmes story, as Dr. Watson in A Study in Pink. He is also a big fan of Motown music.
I hope he and Cumberbatch have a long and successful career as the modern day Holmes and Watson.