Holmes & Watson: Dynamic Duo

 What happens when you’ve been in a sleuthing partnership for decades? Sherlock and Watson. Like gin and tonic or pie and ice cream. The original, beloved sleuthing duo that has entertained and thrilled people since their debut in 1887 are masterfully reimagined in Charles Marowitz’s darkly comic Sherlock’s Last Case. But how do his characterizations compare to other Sherlock adaptations?

“Sherlock” (BBC 2010-PRESENT)

Setting: Present-day London

Sherlock: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is a genius,“high-functioning sociopath” complete with a canonical lack of emotional intelligence and superhuman deductive skills cranked up to the tenth degree.

Watson: Martin Freeman’s Watson is the kindhearted sidekick and occasional moral compass for Sherlock who is dependable to a fault; Freeman’s Watson is also a war veteran with PTSD, making him a more nuanced character.

Mysteries & Cases: Modern reinventions of classic cases, e.g. "A Study in Scarlet" (the original Holmes story) becomes "A Study in Pink"

“Elementary”(CBS 2012-PRESENT)

Setting: Present-day New York City

Sherlock: Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock, uncharacteristically, actually has social and emotional skills, making him inherently more relatable and likable than other Sherlocks; he also is a recovering drug addict.

Watson: Lucy Liu’s Joan Watson is on equal ground with Miller’s Sherlock and is also his sober-companion; Liu’s Watson is a surgeon whose accidental killing of a patient sent her into an early retirement.

Mysteries & Cases: A procedural drama àla “Law & Order,” every episode covers a new case with overarching stories running throughout.

“House”(FOX 2004-2012)

Setting: Present-day New Jersey, in a fictional town

Sherlock: Hugh Laurie’s Dr. Gregory House is another Sherlock-based leading man who struggles with drug addiction, sharing misanthropic genius qualities with Cumberbatch’s Sherlock; his last name House bolsters his derivation from Sherlock’s canon (House = Home =Holmes).

Watson: Robert Sean Leonard’s Dr. James Wilson (initials J.W.) is House’s critical, yet supportive best friend; he is also the type of charismatic and warm-hearted doctor that “people say thanks to when he tells them they’re dying.”

Mysteries & Cases: A medical drama à la “Grey’s Anatomy,” where every episode has a new medical case that needs to be solved, with an overarching story running throughout the series.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (TV-FILM, 1987)

Setting: Present-day Boston

Sherlock: Michael Pennington’s Sherlock is out of touch with modern times —literally: after being cryogenically frozen to avoid a bubonic death, he’s unfrozen years later and is an old-timey, very canonical Sherlock (at first).

Watson: Margaret Colin’s JaneWatson is a private investigator and descendent of Dr. John Watson; like most other Watsons she is overly empathetic and warm,which brings her to the brink of financial ruin.

Mysteries & Cases: A case featuring stolen money, double identities,and murder that is solved by Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes
(FILM, 2009)

Setting: London, 1890

Sherlock: Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock is a very canonical take on Holmes with eccentricities that get so out of hand that even Watson can’t wait to move out.

Watson: Jude Law’s Watson isalmost as canonical as Downey Jr.’s Sherlock except that he’s about to be married and can’t wait to move into a new place with his wife, away from Sherlock.

Mysteries & Cases: The duo is tracking down an occult serial killer who has been killing women and wants to kill men in power to gain more power.

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