Why more Sherlocks? That's elementary, my dear Watson

Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:04am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - How many times can Sherlock Holmes be reinvented?

At least once more, judging by the latest TV incarnation of the British detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle more than 120 years ago.

"Elementary," which debuts on CBS on Thursday, puts a modern twist on the classic tale by casting British actor Jonny Lee Miller as a recovering drug addict living in New York, and Lucy Liu as his rare - but far from first - female sidekick, Dr. Joan Watson.

The part-crime, part character-driven U.S. show follows hundreds of movies, TV series and books about, or inspired by, the eccentric amateur London detective with superb logical skills and his long-suffering friend.

In just the last few years, Holmes has spawned two hit movies with Robert Downey Jr. as a cheeky 19th-century action hero, and the BBC's award-winning modern day miniseries "Sherlock," starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Holmes also inspired the character of brilliant but cantankerous diagnostician Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) in the TV medical series "House."

According to Guinness World Records, Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed character in movie history, with his first screen appearance dating back to 1900.

"This guy has got about as identifiable a brand as you could ever ask for. Everyone knows immediately what he means, and what he stands for. It's like Superman, you could keep on remaking this for every new age," said Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University.   Continued...

Cast members Jonny Lee Miller (L) and Lucy Liu participate in a panel for CBS series "Elementary" during the CBS sessions at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Phil McCarten