Hypable Reader Opinion: My experience with ‘Sherlock’ and why Benedict Cumberbatch is the best Holmes

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12:30 pm EST, December 10, 2012

Sherlock Holmes is an iconic character in literature. It’s hard (or impossible) to disagree with that point. I started reading his stories and novels in high school and haven’t stopped.

Many are short stories that anyone can breeze through in 15 minutes, some even less, and that makes them perfect for short lunch breaks, waiting rooms, etc. To see how Sherlock gets from point A to point B can be an incredible thing to watch in the mind’s eye.

What makes them even more intriguing, and something that I didn’t know until I started to read them, is the large majority of cases are told from Dr. Watson’s POV. This allows us, as the audience, to sit back and observe, just as Watson does, a genius at work. Not only that but, just as in the show, we get to see Watson marvel at Sherlock’s ability to solve even the most puzzling of cases.

Benedict Cumberbatch is, in my humble opinion, the greatest of Holmes. He has created a man that is not only brilliant, but extremely rude. Now this is not meant to be an insult, rather, an observation of Holmes’ grand self importance as well as his social ineptness due to his brilliance. As with others whom are brilliant, social skills never truly develop because their mind is much busier solving other problems and the way Benedict has portrayed that shows just how talented he truly is.

Though Holmes is in fact an addict, he uses narcotics in the original stories, that hasn’t really been touched on in this series (albeit briefly in the pilot episode), rather his addiction is referenced when he goes through, what I like to call, “Case Withdrawls.” His constant need to have his mind stimulated and Benedict’s portrayal of a man who has gone too long without his fix is a fantastic reference to Doyle’s original drug addled character.

I haven’t watched 2×03 yet but I can still have a little fun and toss around what I think they should do in the future. We have only begun to scratch the surface on Sherlock Holmes’ cases but I think one story, or set of stories, which might be fun for fans to watch, is from “The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.” As I mentioned in the beginning of this piece, every story is told from Dr. Watson’s point of view. What’s different about “The Case-Book” is that it contains three stories that are NOT told by Watson, rather we have two stories told from Holmes and a story told in the third-person (hmmm, sounds like a perfect fit for a series doesn’t it?).

One case told by Holmes occurs after his “retirement,” another while Watson “deserted me (Holmes) for a wife,” which is also a reference to a possible second wife for Watson and the third occurs in one room, has a threat on Holmes life and lots of disguises. These stories can easily be reworked by the writers to contain much more action and mystery, as we have seen in many other episodes, most notably “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” In that story, Holmes does not travel with Watson to Baskerville Hall (certainly worth a read). Unlike other episodes, these would give us a deeper understanding of the man that is Sherlock Holmes.

We have witnessed him falling in love, we have witnessed him experience doubt, we have witnessed him as he understood friendship (though only to a certain degree) but we have not witnessed what it is like to BE Sherlock Holmes. Based on the previous episodes, I think the writers of Sherlock could achieve this and raise the bar on Sherlock Holmes shows, movies and plays that much more.

As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I urge all of you who watch Sherlock to pick up a set of Doyle’s short stories. Though written about 100 years ago, the language is easy to pick up and you don’t have to struggle through Old English dictionaries. Not only that, but you will begin to understand many of the stories and be even MORE surprised at the endings because the writers have taken a few liberties that I thoroughly enjoy (e.g. the end of “Hound of Baskervilles”). “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.”

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