The best of Sherlock, the BBC’s contemporary reworking of Arthur Conan Doyle, has so far been very good indeed.
Unfortunately, the worst has been rather poor.
There’s a second run of three episodes coming soon, and they would look to be offering more of the same. As such I’m expecting one wonderfully well written episode, one fairly well written episode and one that just doesn’t come up to snuff at all. And please don’t get me rolling on some of the indulgences of cinematography and editing.
Nonetheless, even with its variable quality, Sherlock has proven to be a considerable hit – or at least, a smash within its reach. In the US, the show was aired on BBC America, a channel that simply can’t compete with the big networks.
So there’s definitely room for one of these same big networks to muscle in on the game and launch their own modern take on Holmes.
Which is exactly what CBS are planning.
We’ll have to wait and see how similar the shows will be, but they’ll have to have a lot in common. Mystery and detective fiction has to work differently in the age of smartphones, and this is something Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have understood perfectly. So much so that I don’t know how the CBS show could avoid similar solutions for the integration of Doyle’s mysteries and modern information technology.
Well, unless it avoids Doyle’s mysteries altogether, and that would certainly set it apart. With some 20-odd episodes expected in a year, they’ll need some completely new material sooner or later, so why not buy some distinctiveness by keeping entirely out of the way of the classics?
If we read Deadline‘s report a certain way, however, it looks like the plan really is to stick to Doyle:
a modern take on the cases of the pipe-smoking private eye created by Arthur Conan Doyle
Yeah, that can go two ways.
There is, of course, yet another smash hit series that has updated Holmes to a modern setting – House.
He’s House not Holmes and he’s befriended by Wilson not Watson, he’s addicted to painkillers not cocaine and he’s always knee deep in a specifically, particularly medical mystery, but the premise remains essentially familiar. The show has been an absolutely colossal hit internationally, and could well provide as many cues to CBS as the BBC Sherlock.