The Sherlock series has been a not-always-successful updating of the famous Sherlock Holmes tales to modern day London. I haven’t seen yet the latest installments of Sherlock, but if they are as painfully awful as this review in The New Yorker, I’ll go back to reading the originals. Emily Nussbaum tries to make a point about “fan fiction,” but it’s clear she’s spent far too much time deconstructing television to be taken seriously.
Yet for all the “Wait, are they actually gay?” gags, the show is admirably committed to something more serious: the notion of Sherlock/Watson as both True Detective and True Romance. This is a real love affair, not a joke one.
It’s also a central shift from the original: Sherlock is still a detective, there are episodic mysteries, there is still Baker Street (now equipped with Web access), but the subject of the show is not so much Sherlock’s deductions as this relationship, which is itself a kind of mystery. Sherlock and Watson are best friends, certainly. They’re also chaste boyfriends, as well as a captain and his first mate. Mostly, though, they’re a god and a mortal, mutually besotted—the most impossible love affair of all.
Of course, this was the same magazine that had a cover implying a homosexual relationship between Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street.