I am, first and foremost, a literary nut. No, I really am. I will slip quotes from books and poetry into everyday conversation, just to see what I can get away with. Talking about things like plot devices, synecdoche, intertextuality and phenomenology makes my heart flutter and my voice catch in my throat. And if you can hold your own in a conversation about the Anxiety of Influence, I am all yours.
And so, I am very, very apprehensive about filmic adaptations of literary works I love. The medium of film is another of my great loves, but I believe adaptation to be a very tricky exercise. Some works are simply not translatable between media. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind would never work as a book; I hated the film adaptations of Everything is Illuminated and The Time Traveller’s Wife because they are among my favourite books and there was a serious discrepancy between my reading and interpretation of them and the film’s.
So when, earlier this year, Facebook was abuzz with talk of BBC’s Sherlock, I was not convinced. Here was a literary world which played a big part in my childhood, and then my life at University. I was just not prepared for some television production to trample all over that.
Eventually, I gave in. I watched the first episode one evening. It was an hour an a half long. During this hour and a half, I fell in love (so, so hard) with Benedict Cumberbatch (Benedict, Let’s have dinner – DH), fell in love (again) with London, and decided that if Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat wanted my firstborn, they were welcome to it.
After that first episode, I watched the second. Another hour and a half. Then the third, making it a four-and-a-half-hour Sherlock marathon. By then it was 4 a.m. and I had to be up for school in four hours. I slept, went through the day in a complete haze, and watched the second season that evening.
At this point, I have to physically stop my hands from expressing my thoughts in tumblrese. That is to say: HOMG YOU GUIZE, FANDOM WIN! WIN. WIN. ALL THE FEELS. WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN.
Which roughly translates as: do yourself a favour and watch this show, even if you are a fan of Conan Doyle. ESPECIALLY if you are a fan of Conan Doyle. BBC’s Sherlock does away with the overdone period props and updates Sherlock, dropping him right in the middle (221B Baker Street, darling) of modern-day London. This is Sherlock Holmes with all the gadgetry and trickery afforded to him by the 2010s. Then of course there is the writing, which is impeccable, and the acting. Cumberbatch is an absolute MASTER of the form (watch him in Hawking and Third Star if you don’t believe me. He will break your heart – twice) and Martin Freeman is incredible, and the perfect Watson to Benedict’s Holmes.
I’d love to gush about this forever, but I really don’t want to spoil it for you.
Now stop reading this and go buy the DVD. Do it.