Listless: Iterations of Sherlock

sherlock hound

Sherlock Holmes is a man that is still captivating today, even though his first story was published 125 years ago. Why? Because he’s the ultimate bad ass. He’s a top notch detective. He knows martial arts. He’s an expert on disguises and a total ladies’ man. But he’s also flawed. He’s an asshole most of the time, he uses cocaine obsessively, and despite his acute sense for detective work he’s completely unorganized in his home life. Sherlock is someone we could strive to be, and realistically could become, but at the end of the day he’s very much his own man.

Now the character is blowing up everywhere. CBS is debuting Elementary, a “modern” take on the Sherlock Holmes cannon where Watson is a woman (OMG NO WAI), and BBC has the (far superior) Sherlock. God knows what else will come out about the man in the near future. But you can always get your dose of Holmes in a different way. So I give you…

Sherlock Holmes for the modern man/woman

— Hark! A Vagrant’s two Watsons

Watson is always characterized in two ways – the bumbling sidekick or the suave colleague. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, Watson is the latter. But somehow throughout the years he’s morphed into a weird characterture of his former self. Then there’s always the “Watson and Sherlock are gay” angle, which I don’t feel like going in to right now. Tumblr does that enough. Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant did a couple of comics about Sherlock’s Watsons that I love. She can get into the Gay Watson thing better than I could.

Click on the picture to read the entire thing

Sherlock Hound

Started by Hayao Miyazaki (director of My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, and probably most of your childhood), Sherlock Hound was a mid 80s anime series about the anthropomorphized dog duo of Sherlock and Watson. The show itself doesn’t stray terribly far from the feeling of Doyle’s short stories, other than the fact that, you know, they’re dogs). Miyazaki, and later Kyosuke Mikuriya, directed a thoroughly entertaining show for adults and kids alike with a couple of twists. It’s cute, steampunky at times, and the animation itself is extremely well-done. And oddly enough, a lot of them are on YouTube:

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon

Have I said that Michael Chabon is one of my favorite writers? Well he is, mainly for the fact that the man can write in any genre and still create a solid piece of literature. The Final Solution: A Story of Detection is a novella Chabon did that borrows heavily with Doyle’s style of writing. The title itself is a play on Doyle’s story “The Final Problem,” where Sherlock finally confronts his archfoe Moriarty. An retired detective in 1944 (who may or may not be Sherlock Holmes), embarks on one last mystery – to find a missing parrot for a mute Jewish boy who lives nearby. Of course, there’s more to the parrot than meets the eye and the detective goes off into a crazy spiral of murder, Nazis, and intrigue.

Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century

Future cloned Sherlock? Hell yes. Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is, well, about what the title suggests. When a clone of Moriarty is spotted in 22nd century London, Inspector Beth Lestrade resurrects Sherlock to help her take him down. Many episodes of the late 90s cartoon are direct rewrites of Doyle’s short stories, but some are drastically different. It’s kind of hard to stay faithful to the material when Watson is a crime-fighting robot.

Sherlock Holmes Baffled

Here’s some OG Holmes material for you. One of the earliest representations of Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Baffled is a short silent film from 1900 that played on the Mutoscope. And when I say short, I mean short. The entire film is 30 seconds long and follows Holmes’ failed attempts to catch a thief. It’s a silly movie and doesn’t really showcase any strengths the world’s greatest detective may have. But hey, it’s kind of fun to see Sherlock Holmes be a goof. Sherlock Holmes Baffled was thought to be lost, until a print was found in 1968. You can watch the whole movie on Wikipedia. Go on, it’s less than a minute.

  • Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century…

    Man, that’s just… Why is Moriarty even there? And is that a machine hand on Watson? Why?! We’ll never know.

    Until the 22nd Century. And that music.

    What about House?