Monday, December 08, 2014
Cult-TV Theme Watch: Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective, Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in 1887’s A Study in Scarlet.
Sometimes after that -- as TV rose as an art form in the mid-20th century-- the character migrated to the air-waves. Since the mid-1960s, the great detective has appeared in a number of televised adventures, and has been portrayed by a number of actors.
In 1959, Alan Wheatley played Holmes in a BBC production.
In 1954, an American production starred Ronald Howard.
In the 1960s, Douglas Wilmer and Peter Cushing each played the role on a British TV series.
And from 1984 – 1994, Jeremy Brett portrayed Holmes for Granada television and for many fans, defined the role.
In recent years, we have seen Holmes re-imagined as a 21st century detective, both as Benedict Cumberbatch on Stven Moffat's Sherlock (2009 - ), and by Jonny Lee Miller on Elementary (2012 - )
Uniquely, Sherlock Holmes has also intersected with science fiction television at other memorable junctures.
In 1987, an episode of Filmation’s cartoon series BraveStarr featured a two-part back-door pilot for a series called Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century. The series never arrived, but Jonathan Harris made for an interesting Professor Moriarity.
And on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 – 1994) it was established early in the first season that Data (Brent Spiner) had an obsession with the literary detective. In “Lonely Among Us,” the sentient android used Holmes-esque deductive reasoning to solve a puzzle involving a body-jumping alien.
By the second season, Data was embarking on full-blow Holmesian adventures in Victorian London in episodes such as “Elementary Dear Data.” There, he encountered the nefarious Professor Moriarty, a villain who recurred in the sixth season story “Ship in a Bottle.”