I have been putting off watching the BBC’s Sherlock for months, because I am a Sherlock Holmes purist. While Jeremy Brett is rather good, Basil Rathbone will always be my Sherlock Holmes. And after the SCREAMING disappointment that was the Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law Sherlock Holmes movie, I was not ready to have my heart broken yet again. (Why, Jude, why? I trusted you!) However, many, many, many of my fandom friends, including Frog, have been gushing over it, and extolling the virtues of the Cumberbatch, so I was torn: Keep ignoring it in the hopes it would go away but maybe I’d miss something awesome, or watch something that could break my heart again?
Ok, at this point, many of you are rolling your eyes and saying things like, “It’s just a television show, for goodness sake! Get over it, melodramatic woman!” Well, yes, it is. But Sherlock and me, we go way back. My Dad read me the complete Sherlock Holmes as bedtime reading starting when I was around 4, I think. He thought normal children’s books insulted my intelligence or his, or something. It seemed like for YEARS, every Sunday, there’d be another Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film on TV Sunday morning. And we’d watch them as a family, eating fried egg and bacon sandwiches and drinking orange juice on the living room floor. Sherlock Holmes was an integral part of my childhood, much as Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Firesign Theater, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, and Cheech and Chong. (This all explains so very much about me, doesn’t it?)
In eighth grade when my AP (advanced placement) English class had to read and do a book report on The Hound of the Baskervilles, I was the only one who didn’t groan and who had already read the book before, multiple times. And while I was assigned another book because I had already read it, I still read it again. Sherlock Holmes is one of my go-to reads when I’m sick or depressed (the others being Lilian Jackson-Braun’s The Cat Who Series, Glen Cook’s Garrett PI series, and the Little Fuzzy series by H. Beam Piper). When I was a kid we had a copy of the 221B Baker Street Mystery Game, which sadly had limited playability because apparently remembering the answers to all the mysteries is cheating. And the expansion mysteries didn’t come out until years later (I will get my hands on those, I promise you. Eeeee! There are at least NINE!). We also, as a family, did this immense jigsaw puzzle that was a double-sided, sepia-toned profile of Sherlock Holmes from one of the more famous illustrations. The images were identical on both sides. It took us months. My Dad, in particular, got real obsessive about it. If I remember right, the night after we finally finished it, he burned it. Ok, maybe it was a week. It did get burned, I’m pretty sure.
So, the other night the Geek Husband What Rules decided to watch the first episode, and report back to me. He liked it. I was dubious, but I agreed to watch the first episode Friday night after two episodes of Supernatural. He started it up, and I watched it with squinty, narrowed eyes for the first few minutes, then I started to relax and enjoy it. I had been dubious, because it is so easy to get Sherlock wrong, but Cumberbatch does a fantastic job of projecting his glee over finding worthy adversaries, and while I find him a bit less tactful than Doyle’s Holmes, I don’t find him near as grating or childish as the RDJ version. Finally, when we get to the point where Sherlock says, “Come, Watson, the game is on!” The GHWR said, “At least he didn’t say, ‘The game is afoot.'” I bounced on the bed and squealed, “But I WANTED him to!” And Martin Freeman as Watson is superb! Love him. He’s so very good!
So far “A Study in Pink” is the only episode I’ve seen. I can’t wait to see how they handle Irene Adler, as she is one of my favorite characters in the Sherlock canon. And while I didn’t hate her in the RDJ version, she could have been more. My fandom buddies reassure me that in the BBC Sherlock, she is. I’m very excited to see that episode indeed.
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