Monday, August 29, 2011

CONTEST: Share Your Thoughts about Sherlock Holmes on Screen, Win the Original Canon on Audiobook

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard the phrase “You never forget your first Sherlock Holmes.”  It seems that no discussion of the various incarnations of Sherlock Holmes on the screen is complete without a mention of that particular viewpoint.  But it’s true; the first actor you see portraying the Master Detective, on stage or screen, tends to shape your perception of him for the rest of your days.  That’s not to say that there will not be other actors that you enjoy in the role; performers who capture the unique brand of indifferent elegance that you like to see in Sherlock Holmes or that portrayed Dr. John H. Watson with the perfect combination of loyalty and military hard-headedness (or whatever characteristics you personally like to see).  But the first Sherlock Holmes inevitably colors how you view all other portrayals, and even how you read the Sherlock Holmes canon and pastiches.
Whatever your preferred pairing, and however you may personally define a successful Sherlock Holmes actor, there is certainly no shortage of options from which to choose.  So in that spirit, over the next month I’ll be hosting a new blog contest, and all you have to do to win is share a little bit about your favorite Sherlock Holmes actor.  Here are the details:
A new copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1 (A CSA World Classic), unabridged on audiobook CD: Read by the incomparable Edward Hardwicke, who played Dr. John Watson in the Granada Television series from 1986-1994.  This collection contains audio versions of the following classic stories from the Sherlock Holmes canon: The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot,” “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange,” “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box,” “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” and “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans.”
A new copy of Sherlock Holmes: Three Tales of Avarice, unabridged on audiobook CD: Part of a series of “thematic” audiobooks, this volume contains three stories from the canon centering on the subject of “avarice,” Edward Hardwicke expertly and vividly renders the following three tales: “The Adventure of the Priory School,” “The Red-Headed League,” and “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”

Tell me about your favorite Holmes and Watson pairing, on stage or screen.  For example, do you prefer Basil Rathbone and Nigel BruceJeremy Brett and either of his Watsons?  Or is it Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: The Next Generation’sElementary, My Dear Data”?  Or would you like to mix up things a bit and pair up Benedict Cumberbatch with Ian HartRupert Everett with Jude Law?  If the actor has taken up the mantle of the world’s first consulting detective and his doctor, then tell me who your favorites are, and a one sentence reason as to why.  Leave the entry providing the pair of actors and explanation in the comments below.  Entries can also be submitted via e-mail at betterholmesandgardens[at]gmail[dot]com, by direct message on Twitter, or by Facebook comment.  Feel free to enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must be unique.

The contest is open from now until 11:59p.m. EST on Saturday, September 24, 2011.  At that time, a random entry will be chosen from the correct entries using Random.orgThe winner will be announced on Monday, September 26, 2011 via blog post, Twitter, and Facebook. 
Best of luck, and have fun!


  1. I cut my teeth on Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce (well not literally, but you know what I mean), so I have a strong allegiance to them. I do, however, think Brett & Hardwicke made up the most impressive, accurate team. (I did watch and enjoy the Cumberbatch version though.)

  2. I would mix and match Jeremy Brett's Holmes with Jude Law's Watson. Both are spot-on perfect as far as I am concerned: an authentically passionate and witty Holmes paired with a highly capable and clever Watson at his side.

  3. My favourite Holmes and Watson are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. They embody the spirit of their book characters while endowing them with a brilliant spark of immediacy.

  4. My Holmes and Watson are forever and hands-down Jeremy Brett and David Burke. It was actually David Burke's excellent performance which hooked me on Granada, when he first appeared on-camera in SCAN and I thought, "Oh my goodness, THAT'S Watson!" - and Jeremy so fully embodies every aspect of Holmes's character, from coldness to anger to love.

  5. I don't think I have enough experience with Holmes and Watsons to pick the best, and yet asking me to choose between them feels like asking which child is favorite. :) I was aware of Sherlock Holmes from a young age because my mom had loved his stories growing up but I personally haven't even read all the canon yet.

    The first onscreen memory I have of the characters was a Saturday early morning cartoon, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd century. I don't really remember much about the show even though I still randomly get the theme song stuck in my head. Sherlock was brought back from being frozen, Watson was a robot, Lestrade was a girl...

    I think I had a bumbling Watson image in my head (possibly from that robot) so when the 2009 movie came out I was really surprised about how awesome Jude Law was. I thought RDJ was pretty cool, too, and loved their banter, though I get that many people think he was wrong wrong wrong for the role and they made them action heroes rather than what they were in the books.

    I love Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in the updated Sherlock but I think they're a bit "wrong" too based on my limited reading of canon (and considering how much Doyle doesn't even stick with his own canon if I probably keep reading I'll find out they match better than I realized). Sherlock is too sociopathic and unreasonably mean (and why doesn't he get along with Mycroft?! He admires him and admits he's smarter in the books...), John is too murderous, their connection is too instantaneous (Watson spent months just wondering about his weird roommate before finding out what he actually did) no matter how much I like it.

    It was someone's fanfiction based in the Ian Hart movies that got me more into Sherlock Holmes fandom so he seemed pretty cool even if one of his Holmes made me think of Frankenstein's monster (kind of ironic considering Benedict actually played the part) most of the movie.

    I have less experience with Jeremy Brett and his Watsons but I have been slowly going through those shows and they seem to be pretty true to the original stories even if I don't always agree with their take. I admit I'm superficial and watch shows for a pretty face and Brett kind of loses his looks as the series go on (I know it wasn't his fault, I said I was superficial). Plus I just want them to be younger which is kind of a beef I have with Sherlock Holmes on the screen in general. I realize the stories are written over decades and decades and Doyle ages them unlike most mystery writers today, but I like the forever young idea rather than past middle age experienced. Of course you can take it to the other extreme like with the Young Sherlock Holmes movie. :)

    So in conclusion I guess if I had to pick bests I would have to go with Jude Law and Jeremy Brett (but I still love Martin most? I'm conflicted).

  6. Haha, just looked at the rules again and I TOTALLY failed to follow the one sentence why thing. Sorry.  Briefly put, Jude Law because he struck me with his awesomeness, friendship, and long-suffering and Jeremy Brett for being the most accurate portrayal.

  7. Well, I've missed the contest so I'll just put my preference here. I've been completely Cumberbatched and it is Benedict's portrayal that started me on the Sherlock path. While I am very new to the canon and the entire world of Sherlock, I have enjoyed playing catch up. I've watched all of the Brett series on YouTube and enjoyed his work as well. So far, though, nothing can top the pair of Cumberbatch and Freeman.