Brilliant, arrogant, and flawed, Sherlock Holmes uses both his powers of observation as well as modern scientific methods to solve mysteries both big and small. In the process, he has captured — and held — the public’s imagination since his first appearance in A Study in Scarlet (1887).
Holmes, along with his friend and biographer Dr. John Watson, is the literary creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but the two characters have taken on lives of their own, appearing in numerous films, stories and novels. Today, there are two television versions of Holmes (Elementary on CBS and the BBC/PBS series Sherlock), and a 2015 film Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellen as an elderly Sherlock nearing the end of his life.
In addition to direct depictions of Holmes and Watson, there have been alternative versions of the two men; these versions may have different names and/or different occupations (Dr. Gregory House and his friend Dr. James Wilson in Fox Television’s series House, for example), yet they share a common bond with Doyle’s original characters, especially with the difficult and intense Holmes.
In this interactive presentation, we will examine the ways in which the character of Sherlock Holmes has been presented in film and fiction, and discuss the effect these different versions of the Consulting Detective have on the reader/viewer.