Film and TV

Dear Hollywood, Get Some New Ideas: Sherlock Holmes

As a child it was my family's tradition to spend Sunday nights watching PBS's Mystery (Okay, we were a family of nerds). Amongst the various British detectives, my favorite was always Sherlock Holmes. The series starred Jeremy Brett as Holmes and his performance is considered, by some, to be one of the best. He had an air of arrogance that a brilliant detective should have, but his vulnerable side was never far from surfacing. He certainly wasn't attractive -- well, not to the eight-year-old kid that I was -- but there was something charming about him nevertheless.

Jeremy Brett rocked as Holmes

In 1985, the movie Young Sherlock Holmes was released and only sealed the deal of how amazing Sherlock really was. Young Sherlock Holmes took place during Holmes and Watson's boarding school years and featured a somewhat cuter Holmes than Jeremy Brett, with an Indiana Jones type of plot. It was a cheesy 1980s version of the 19th century. Spielberg was involved, as he was with most things that took place in that decade.

The Sherlock character took a back burner until 2009, when Guy Ritchie thought Robert Downey Jr. would make for a good, wild and wacky Holmes, with Jude Law as his not at all homely sidekick Dr. Watson. The movie did well enough to spawn a sequel, 2011's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

On the other side of the pond, or maybe the same side of the pond, BBC One TV premiered the series Sherlock in 2010, about a modern-day Holmes living in London, solving crimes via text-messages and the Internet. The show was a smash sensation in England and eventually carried over to PBS, where it has also broke viewing records in the states.

Knowing what we know about Hollywood and seeing as we can honestly say we've had about all the Sherlock Holmes we need for one decade, it makes perfect sense that CBS should produce its own version of a new Sherlock television show, right? No!

Last week it was reported that Angelina Jolie's ex, Johnny Lee Miller, would take on the title role in an updated retelling of the Holmes legacy in modern-day New York (because London isn't modern enough?). CBS is allegedly titling the show Elementary, after Holmes's catch-phrase, and it is slated to run in the fall of 2012.

Mark my words, CBS: This will flop. There is a business term called the law of diminishing returns which states that "a continuing application of effort or skill toward a particular project or goal will decline in effectiveness after a certain level of result has been achieved." The result has been achieved! Sherlock Holmes is back in the current culture's mind. It's a lovely day for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (RIP) and hopefully for his estate. Can't we just leave it as is for now, until the world forgets again in another ten years, and try resurrecting a modern-day Miss Marple?

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig