by Trish Velez
When I was younger, I used to think Sherlock Holmes was a real person, and that 221B Baker Street was a real place. I was incredibly disappointed when I was told that he wasn’t real, and that 221B Baker Street never existed. It was akin to telling a child that the tooth fairy or Santa Claus did not exist.
My earliest memory of watching something related to Sherlock Holmes was Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective. As I got older, I discovered the Granada series starring Jeremy Brett and David Burke, which was my very first exposure to the fascinating world of Sherlock Holmes.
There have been countless incarnations of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, with each incarnation giving a different approach to the world-famous detective and his partner. In recent years, there’s been a sudden fascination for the detective again, with Benedict Cumberbatch currently the internet’s favorite Sherlock.
Let’s take a look at some of the memorable adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, and what they’ve attributed to the ever-evolving character.
Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes in the Granada Series
When I read the novels, I imagine no one but Jeremy Brett in the role. He’s got the perfect Sherlock Holmes character down pat. The eccentric yet classy and sometimes even slightly flamboyant Holmes of canon. Jeremy Brett, along with Basil Rathbone, were the definitive Sherlocks of their time.
Robert Downey Jr in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film
RDJ’s version of Sherlock Holmes is dirtier, grittier, but definitely just as eccentric as we can imagine Holmes to be. The 2009 film introduced Sherlock Holmes to a whole new generation of fans. I liked that his version of Holmes showed us that he knows how to fight, and fight well. He shows that Sherlock Holmes has as much brawn as brains.
Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock (BBC)
A list of Sherlocks without Benedict Cumberbatch? Unheard of! Many people would agree that Benedict Cumberbatch did a fantastic job as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He is eccentric, a psychopath (sorry, high-functioning sociopath), and can manipulate people very well. Not to mention elegant and very handsome. Though it seems that he doesn’t know the human psyche, he knows how to use people’s emotions to his advantage. Putting Sherlock in a modern-day setting makes things more interesting as well, especially with how the elements of the story are translated to a modern setting.
Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary (CBS)
Yet another modern-day version of Sherlock Holmes, Jonny Lee Miller plays Sherlock as a ladies man with a very apparent substance problem. Elementary also introduces a female Watson for the first time, making the relationship between Holmes and Watson even more interesting.
When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, it’s difficult to say who the ultimate Holmes is. Each incarnation brings something more to the table, each incarnation makes Holmes more and more interesting. However, that’s not to say we don’t have favorites. We’ve all got a favorite for one reason or another.
Who is your quintessential Sherlock Holmes?