2010 the BBC release into the wild an adaptation of Conan Doyle’s classic detective the television show; SHERLOCK. My wife, who loves all things British, and I caught the series from the start and were immediately entranced. By coincidence just a few weeks earlier I had decided to read A Study in Scarlet, the first adventure of Sherlock Holmes and his trusted aid and friend Doctor John Watson. The premier episode of Sherlock was titled A Study in Pink and it was a direct adaptation of that first novel.
Having the original novel fresh in my mind deepened my application of what the show endeavored to achieve; an adaptation of the original stories but in a contemporary setting. They navigated the tricky channels of this news course. Many of the things that made Holmes so far ahead of his time in 1887 are now simply standard police procedure, finding a way to bring in the character’s brilliance and unorthodox views was a challenge that I think the writers, producers, directors, and cast achieved.
Last night my wife and I went to our local movie theater for the series four finale of Sherlock. I had a thoroughly good time but it has occurred to me that an evolution has transpired over the course of four season and seen years. Sherlock has transitioned from one genre to another.
A Study in Pink, while populated by extreme characters such as Sherlock and Mycroft, sits firmly within the genre Detective Fiction. Last night’s episode, The Final Problem with it fantastic devices, super-human abilities, and a villain toying with the heroes by means of death traps, seems to me as something that belong in the genre of Superhero Fiction.
The Final Problem is not the transition, that occurred some time ago but it did not happen all at once. Gradually, as the stakes rose, as the antagonists grew and heroes swelled to outpace them, the stories slipped further and further from being about a man who can deduce to about the struggles between people with abilities beyond that of normal humans.
Mind you I am not complaining. I enjoyed my excursion last night and regret none of the time I have spent watching the series, but I do think that this change in tone is something worth commenting upon.