Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top 5 Reinventions of Sherlock Holmes

"I am awesome."

If you already know me enough, you know Sherlock Holmes is my most favorite fictional character since I was a kid.  The greatest detective in fiction charmed me greatly.  And I’m not the only one.  Plenty of people out there who encountered Sherlock Holmes became passionate devotees of the literary icon.  These fans even wrote their own original Holmes adventures.  There are countless stories out there starring the legendary detective that were not penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Aside from books and short stories, there are also plenty of Sherlock Holmes films already made through the years.  As an icon, he was already depicted many times by media.  Heck, he even teamed-up with Batman one time!  

However, I am a bit wary of encountering Sherlock Holmes adventures that are not written by Conan Doyle.  Though some succeeded in delivering the “original feel” of the character, I found that it’s still not the same thing as the original adventures.  

Nonetheless, there are those who totally stopped trying to completely mimic Conan Doyle but instead reinvented and reinterpreted the character.  Not all were that awesome.  But there were some that I found fresh and lovable in their own original way.

Again, as I’ve mentioned, I am limited to exposure to Sherlock Holmes material that are not Conan Doyle’s.  That’s why this is only a top 5, since, honestly, I only can think of 5 that I really like.

Like most fan-made Sherlock Holmes story, this was written the way as if it’s just one of Watson’s countless previously unprinted chronicles of Holmes.  The book portrays a Sherlock Holmes at his rock bottom, as he succumbs to the horrific consequences of cocaine addiction.  At the start of the book, he was a delusional, paranoid wreck.  It was revealed that all the things about Prof. Moriarty as a villainous “Napoleon of Crime” (i.e. “The Final Problem”) were all Holmes’ mad imagination of the matter.  

Watson, with the help of Mycroft Holmes, brought Sherlock Holmes to Sigmund Freud in Vienna to be cured.  Freud managed to free Holmes from his delusions and addiction, but was not able to revive his spirits.  What did the trick of bringing Holmes back to his normal self was the emergence of a complicated mystery for Holmes to solve, which he did, resulting to a prevention of a European War.  

In the end of the book, Holmes decided to take a vacation around the world and asked Watson to claim that he “was killed”.  So Watson wrote “The Final Problem” (in which Holmes’ “died”) and “The Empty House” (the first adventure after his “return from death”) to cover up his three-year hiatus.  

This was an awesome story by itself and the portrayal of Holmes needing help and, instead of the one doing the “reading” of people, is the one being “read” by Freud’s psychoanalysis was brilliant. 

Oh, this was also made into a movie.

4.) THE MARY RUSSELL SERIES (by Laurie R. King)                
There are, so far, ten books in the series, and I’ve only read and collected the first four.  But they were enough to greatly catch my fondness.  In this re-interpretation of Holmes, he “negotiated” a marriage agreement with Mary Russell, a girl 32 to 39 years his junior.  He first met her when she was 15, and in that first encounter, Russell greatly impressed Holmes with her strong personality and deductive power.  From then on, he informally trained her to be his protégé, serving as a father figure along the way.  When Russell hit her 20’s, they got married (the manner that got them at that point was an interesting part of the storyline).  In regular Holmes’ canon, the closest thing to “love” for an opposite sex that Holmes has expressed was through his admiration of “The Woman” Irene Adler.  In this reinvention, however, it showed a more entertaining and compelling Holmes-brand of affection than what Holmes’ had with Adler.   

3.) SHERLOCK HOLMES (Guy Ritchie’s film)
Guy Ritchie’s reinvention of Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. was mightily entertaining.

Sherlock Holmes was an effective combatant, being adept in boxing, fencing, and bartitsu (or baritsu).  But in this version of Sherlock Holmes, we saw a Holmes that was more of a kickass combatant than his literary counterpart, as he uses his mental powers to calculate and simulate the moves or combos he will do and their results before executing them.  This version of Sherlock Holmes was also a bit clumsier, and has more dry wit and humor.    

2.) SHERLOCK (TV Series)
What if Sherlock Holmes exists in modern times?  Yup, this TV show effectively covers that question.  Really brilliant.

1.) HOUSE M.D.
What?!  You don’t know that Gregory House is a reinvention of Sherlock Holmes?!  Oh, yes he is.  Isn’t it obvious the play of the name of “House” and “Holmes”?  Or “Watson” and “Wilson” (Wilson is definitely House’s Watson)?  Both likes to “read” people and use psychology.  Both only takes cases that are interesting to them (i.e. unusual or difficult), and refuse those they think are boring or easy.  Both are talented musicians.  Both have drug problems.  And both have the same home address (221B Baker Street).  House is definitely Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock Holmes has more social flaws and chose to become a doctor instead of a detective.             

Bernel is also a reinvented Sherlock Holmes in his own little world in “The Bernel Zone”…  

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