Those who love Sherlock Holmes just can’t get enough of him. When author Arthur Conan Doyle, killed off the world-famous consulting detective, in the story “The Final Problem”, there was an uproar. He had to be brought back to life. Period. The Sherlock magic has never left the world ever since it began.
Sherlock remains to be a popular culture icon today. What is it about Sherlock that is so appealing? The use of intellect and deductive reasoning is probably what really adds to Sherlock’s popularity. Quite clearly the “art of deduction” has pervaded a whole subsegment of the self-help genre.
Popular culture has since then, made him just more magnetic. The movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and the prequel Sherlock Holmes (directed by Guy Ritchie) that have an authentic representation of Holme’s London and don’t stray much from the original storyline, but do give us a very charming image of the detective. The Sherlock TV Series (BBC) reinterprets Holmes in the 21st century. It takes liberties with the plot, with enough to peg on the original stories as well.
But, Sherlock is after all, a product of his times. We live in a world that has moved away from the mores and values of 19th century England. Yet, he continues to be popular. The most natural thing for our hero to continue this ‘relevance’ would be to resonate with a modern audience and still retain the quintessential ‘Sherlockdom’.
What if Sherlock had an equally smart sister? This has been explored in the BBC series. However, the Netflix original Enola Holmes turns the spotlight completely on the fictional sister of the fictional detective. The movie is based on the eponymous best-selling young-adult book series by American author Nancy Springer. The series was published between 2006 and 2010.
The Netflix adaptation is set in 19th century England. You cannot miss the undertones of the sweeping change of feminism which was to engulf the country. Enola is drawn into this by her mother, who conveniently disappears on her 16th birthday. She has to then call for her two older brothers- Mycroft and Sherlock for help. The former carries orthodox notions while the latter, is supposedly unemotional.
The movie provides for great viewing and entertainment, and delightful setting as well. Only, I wish they have focussed on Enola’s deductive ability more than her physical prowess in fighting! After all, Sherlock is all about deduction, right?
Purists will cringe at the lengths that movie maker’s go to capitalize on a much-loved character (the original novels don’t mention any sister). But ardent Sherlock fans might appreciate the fact that the world’s most famous detective can indeed be outwitted by an imagined sister, who refuses to be a victim of the orthodoxy of her times. Enola Holmes is simple, well-shot and the characters are timeless and alluring. Just like Sherlock. And Enola!
The universal and timeless appeal of Sherlock Holmes shines through literature, cinema and television. And with Enola Holmes, we get more characters who will continue to live and thrive in our collective consciousness!