Week 8: Television in translation: Drama Focus

Like comedy (outlined in Week 7 blog), drama too can be appropriated for different audiences and like everything, it will please some whilst displeasing others. A story that has continual success and transcended throughout the ages is that of Sherlock Holmes. It has been adapted through many different mediums such as print, cinema and TV and I think that this has what has aided its success. Different interpretations and portrayals keep audiences interested. This is emphasised through the comparison of the US TV show Elementary and the British TV show Sherlock.

Elementary: Is set in New York where Holmes lives after suffering a breakdown and meets his ‘sober companion’, Dr Joan Watson (a classically male role played by female actress Lucy Liu). Their relationship progresses and she becomes his apprentice and their detective adventures begin. A huge change to the original text is having Natalie Dormer play both Irene Adler (lover who broke Sherlock’s heart and caused his breakdown when she died) and Moriarty (a criminal mastermind) (Asher-Perrin 2014).

Sherlock: Set in modern Britain where Holmes lives with Watson and Holmes’ and a local inspector often asks Holmes for help with his more challenging cases. Elements from the original narratives are preserved as much as possible.

Despite both having different settings, actors and varied plot lines and diving audience opinions about which is the better version, it is the overarching story line of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures that keeps audiences interested. (Penny 2014) Through the accumulation of production quality further intrigue and entertainment value is added.



Asher-Perrin, E (2014) ‘Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation’ Tor.com, available online at http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/02/battling-super-sleuths-the-awkward-case-of-elementary-sherlock-and-building-the-better-adaptation

Penny, L (2014) ‘Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase’ New Statesman, available online at http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/01/sherlock-and-adventure-overzealous-fanbase


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