Sherlock Holmes is an extremely popular British icon, so there are many film and TV adaptations of the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve watched quite a few, but my favourite by far is the BBC television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Although it isn’t set in the 19th century but in the present day, it has the same premise: Sherlock is a private detective who solves crimes with the aid of his friend and flatmate doctor John Watson.
To be perfectly honest, I’m cheating a bit by choosing Sherlock as one of my favourite book-to-TV adaptations, because I’ve only read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I’m not that familiar with the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I didn’t even start reading it by the first Sherlock Holmes book, only realising that afterwards. However, I loved the TV series, mainly the first two seasons, and from the stories I’ve read I think they did a fantastic job at bringing Sherlock to the 21st century.
Sherlock is magnificently portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is not a perfect hero, not being affable, nice or friendly. He is direct, sharp and highly intelligent. Solving crimes is more than a profession, it’s an addiction. Despite his arrogance, as time passes, he becomes far more likeable and human.
But there are more remarkable performances on the show. Martin Freeman as John Watson is both funny and emotional. Andrew Scott is formidably maniac as Jim Moriarty. And I also adored Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler. In fact, ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’ is my favourite episode of all four seasons. It’s loosely based on ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, which is one of the stories featured in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Not only are the performances wonderful, but Sherlock is also visually superb and innovative. At least I had never seen a TV series where the deductions and the mental processes of the characters were shown written on the screen. And then there are the fantastic views of London. When I first started watching Sherlock in late 2010, I had already visited London for almost two weeks, and I loved to recognise the sceneries and some of the places I had been to.
Although I was a bit disappointed with the fourth (and apparently last) season, I still love Sherlock and re-watch some of my favourite episodes every year.