Americanization of Sherlock Holmes: how bad an idea is this?

I’m seeing initial waves of nerd rage over this news that CBS is trying to develop its own pilot for a modernization of Sherlock Holmes, set in New York City. The timing of this, given that there is another active modernization of Sherlock Holmes in production with the BBC, is not a coincidence; note that this article says that the producers of Elementary apparently approached the producers of Sherlock to ask about taking their show over to the States, and were rebuffed.

I’m just full of “buh?” about this, myself. Mostly negative “buh?”, too, expanded out from the comment I just dropped on’s post on the matter.

Part of it is the ongoing weariness of the trend of remaking every single idea that was ever popular in the last 50 years over and over and over and over and over. This goes for TV AND for Hollywood movies. Enough with the remakes and reboots already.

Part of it is the disgust with the idea that any fun concept out of non-American media or culture has to be Americanized in order for American audiences to actually watch and enjoy it. Certainly this doesn’t seem to be a problem at all for American geek culture–though I sadly admit that it’s a legitimate concern once you’re outside said geek culture.

Part of it is certainly the bad timing of trying to launch this show while Sherlock itself is still in active production.

But really, what it boils down to for me is just not trusting that the idea won’t suck. Mostly because of the fear that in transferring Holmes and Watson not only to the modern day but out of England entirely, too much will be lost that make these characters recognizably Holmes and Watson. And even more importantly, I’m leery of the risk of cultural appropriation, since so much of what makes these characters who they are is that they are, in fact, British.

I’m not inherently opposed to another attempt to modernize Holmes, mind you. I’m not even inherently opposed to porting Holmes and Watson over to the States–in the hands of suitably awesome writers, such a porting could be pulled off. There was a graphic novel a while back that explored an alternate history for Superman, asking the question of what would have happened if baby Kal-El’s ship had crashed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas. userinfosolarbird, who’s read it, liked it quite a bit.

However, I’m much leerier about American TV writers, who by the very nature of their work are trying to attract as many viewers as possible and therefore have to think about things like “how much do we have to screw around with the source material to make it appeal as much as possible to our target audience?”, doing this with non-American cultural icons. Even if those icons are now in the public domain.

So yeah, I’m extremely dubious. Though I also have to admit that I’m curious enough that I’ll keep half an eye on this and see what reviews are like once the show finally shows up.

What do you all think? Does this have DO NOT WANT stamped all over it for you, or are you willing to check it out when it airs? Here, have a poll! (And if you’re reading this on LJ or DW or Tumblr, please to click over to the original post to leave your answers!)

Americanization of Sherlock Holmes: Good idea, bad idea, or wretched?

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And now, a holiday review!

I’m coming off a nice long vacation, thanks to my workplace having given the entire lot of us the week of Christmas off. This was as the cool kids say AWESOME, given that it meant that userinfosolarbird and I were able to have Longest Night without me having to take an extra day off for that. And that was a nice way indeed to fire off a relaxing break.

The weekend of the Solstice was pretty much given over to, aside from a special Solstice Murkjam (more on this in another post), a mighty rewatching of the entire extended edition Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are few movies I can happily watch over and over again, but these? Absolutely. Especially when Dara starts asking me questions about Middle-Earth lore and we get to Tolkiengeek. <3 Plus, this time around I started finally watching a lot of the copious extras in all three sets of discs, which I had never done despite owning these things for years now. I'm sure you all know by now, but yeah, lots of lovely stuff there and I've only barely scratched the surface of it all. Did a lot of catchup of medical appointments during the week, and the highlight of that was getting to touch bases with both my endocs and say "by the way, I'm working on seriously trying to lose weight, just so you all know". In particular, wanted to check with the thyroid endoc to make sure I coordinate with him about how to reduce my T4 and T3 dosage as I drop pounds. I've already had to start tweaking my intake since I've dropped six pounds or so. I dropped in on userinfokathrynt to say hi in between some of those aforementioned medical appointments, and was treated to tea and a cookie and her delightful offspring informing us, when asked where her dump truck was, “it could be ANYWHERE!” Lillian continues to impress me with her smarts. This kid is going to be scary when she gets older. Hell, she’s kind of scary now!

Christmas itself was pleasantly low-key and featured first going out with userinfomamishka to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Picoreview: big silly fun if you can buy that this was totally a fluffy, alternate-universe version of Holmes and Watson that didn’t bear too much resemblance to the canon versions. I did like many get a kick out of the chemistry between Holmes and Watson, and felt that poor Mary was sadly underused as a character, and that the actress playing Irene wasn’t quite up to the task of her own character’s awesomeness. But really, the thing I liked the most about the movie? The music. Especially the jigs during the action scenes and the take of “Rocky Road to Dublin”. I may have to buy the soundtrack on the strength of that alone.

Christmas evening, userinfomamishka, userinfodarthhellokitty, and userinfoking_chiron all had dinner with us at the Murk and then we all watched the new Doctor Who, “The End of Time, Part 1”. Most definitely more on this in another post. There are rumblings of another group watch of Part 2 to come.

I closed out this past weekend with going, finally, with Dara to see 2012 before it finally vanishes out of the local theaters. We wound up having to catch it at the Alderwood Mall cinema, which was really kinda crazytalk since the place was swarming with after-Christmas shoppers and getting from our parking spot to the theater was a nerve-wracking exercise in dodging oncoming traffic. But we did manage to get there on time, and once we were actually settled in, despite being too close to the screen for comfort, we had a delightful time. I’m sure many of you already know this by now too, but yeah, this movie was awesomely bad. We’re talking epic levels of MSTable disaster pr0n, which is pretty much exactly what we were there for. Mutating neutrinos, baby!

Didn’t get a damn bit of writing or reading done, but on the whole, I didn’t really mind. I’ve been catching up on fixing broken stuff on this web site instead, and that sits well with me, since the long-undone tasks there were annoying me, and I found fixing those relaxing. I assure you all though that more writing and reading will be coming with the New Year.

And oh yes: with userinfospazzkat coming home from Virginia on Sunday, we had our little house gift exchange. My nifty l00t: one box of Ninth Doctor DVDs (man, I do love Nine and Rose, I must say), one lovely tin of bath bombs from LUSH, one $50 Barnes and Noble gift card which I promptly spent on five new ebooks, and last but not least, this, which is pretty much the Best Possible Christmas Ornament to Give to Anna, Ever:

Indy Ornament
Carefully, Indy

There’s a button on it that plays the Raiders March when you press it. userinfospazzkat knows me very, very well. <3