Sunday, 5 January 2014

On Sherlock and the BBC Adapatation

      If you've never seen Sherlock the BBC television series which first aired in 2010 than you are really missing out. I first encountered the series during my first year of university when one of my friends from the same floor suggested it. After several hours spent watching and re-watching Sherlock I can most definitely say I am a huge fan. That being said I unfortunately haven't gotten up to date with the latest episodes yet.. I know, I know *cringes* .... But at least that means this post won't have any spoilers right?!

     If you are unfamiliar with the storyline of Arthur Conan Doyle's original book Sherlock Holmes than here's a quick summary: there are two main characters Dr. Watson a medical doctor from the army, and Sherlock Holmes, a private detective of sorts whose keen sense of observation and quick analysis of crime scenes gives him superhuman deduction capabilities. Together the pair visit crime scenes and aid or rather take over Inspector Lestraude's criminal cases in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Photo credit- Virtuouso by: Alicexz
     BBC's most recent adaptation of Doyle's book follows Sherlock and Watson's escapades in the 21st century. Normally I dislike when adaptations modernize stories however I have to give BBC credit, their modern adaptation of Sherlock is fascinating, despite its modernization and thankfully alters relatively little of Doyle's story. The BBC's main changes occur to Sherlock, rather than his original addiction to heroin, in the series he is a smoker, his personality is definitely a degree or two colder and he is portrayed as a sociopath, an attribute which certainly deviates from Doyle's original character.

    In response to the BBC's depiction of Sherlock as a sociopath I read an interesting article called Stop Calling Sherlock a Sociopath! Thanks, a psychologist, written by psychologist Maria Konnikova. In the article Konnikova insists that sociopaths and psychopaths are in fact the same thing as opposed to Sherlock's statement in the first episode of the first season, "Don't call a person a psychopath when what he really is is as sociopath". According to Konnikova Holmes lacks too many of the clinical characteristics of a sociopath to be one. But I suppose in the end whether you're watching BBC or reading Doyle's book, Sherlock Holmes is fictional and should perhaps be accepted as such without getting one's stomach into too much of a knot over whether he's a sociopath or not. What do you think, does it matter if Sherlock's a sociopath?

  However, despite Konnikova's perhaps over dramatic response to Sherlock's characterization I am very intrigued by a recent book she wrote titled, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes in which she analyzes Doyle's Sherlock and how the average person's thoughts compare to his deduction skills. Considering the conflicting views posted by reviewers I simply cannot wait to pick up this book and share my thoughts with you!

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