I Miss Sherlock Holmes

As our COVID Summer turned into COVID Autumn, and with COVID Winter nearly upon us, I’m contemplating more shut-in activities. Sadly, binge-watching is a popular pastime brought to us by the pandemic, so now I’m contemplating more of that.

I’ve already watched the following series:

  • Highlander
  • Burn Notice
  • Alias
  • White Collar
  • Psych (partial)
  • Monk (partial)
  • Elementary

That last one is a special case, if you love Sherlock Holmes as I do. Elementary is a CBS show about a modern-day Holmes who has moved to New York City. The series ended in 2019, but it was rerun at least once on certain TV channels. I recorded about a half-dozen-a-week for later consumption.

Elementary has all your favorite characters from the Holmes canon, with some obligatory and perhaps Equal Opportunity updates. For instance, Dr. Watson is a woman, played by Lucy Liu.

I can’t imagine that even the Holmes purists would object to the changes, however, because the writing was excellent. For the vast majority of the episodes, the plot twists were surprising.

Elementary ran for seven seasons. That was two more than anticipated. Viewers could tell that the last episode of Season Five was definitely meant to be a series finale. But another season followed due to popular demand. And then another after that.

Now it’s done — for sure.

Is it silly to feel a sense of loss when a favorite show ends? That’s what I felt when I saw the last of Holmes as Elementary ended. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, because it makes me sound like a TV-watching couch-potato. I do have healthy physical and mental pursuits, but the pandemic has subtly increased my time watching televised stories — and subtly increased my sense of guilt at wasting time.

But thank goodness for Ken Burns! The famous documentarian was on 60 Minutes recently, and he said something that emphasizes why stories are not a waste of time; they’re actually vital to the human condition:

“They do liberate us from the tyrannies of our limitations and our past and our foibles. And so this is what we human beings do to negotiate this all-too-short passage that we call life.”

Phew! I don’t feel quite so guilty now for getting wrapped up in serialized stories for the small screen. For me, watching, reading, and writing are all liberating.

I think Burns’ remark about “liberating us from the tyrannies of our limitations” explains some of my fascination with the Sherlock Holmes character. I wish I could be as observant as Holmes. It’s like a superpower that I don’t possess. As such, it’s fun to inhabit, or at least identify with, that character as he solves case after case — to the amazement of everyone around him.

So much fun, in fact that I’ve written two Sherlock Holmes adventures. One, titled A Christmas Carol Cold Case, has published this month. Did you pick on the subtle clue that it involves Ebenezer Scrooge? Anyway, writing the story has at least temporarily mitigated that sense of loss — for now.

Do you miss any characters from old TV shows?


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  1. I miss the series Firefly.

    I miss the series Dead Like Me.

    I wish there were more series like St. Elsewhere on television these days. (and, yes, I did watch ER after it had been on for a few years.)

    Maybe that’s why I read books – more character development. Hope you have a Merry Christmas, and a Joyous December.

  2. Jodi Palmer says

    Anyone remember watching Moonlighting from the 80’s with Cybil Shepard and Bruce Willis? That was a good show! I am currently mourning Schitt’s Creek ending after 6 seasons. So good with hilarious characters that are so over the top…

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