hour long documentary on Steve Job by the BBC. awesome.
I’m fascinated by Sherlock Holmes.
I’ve read all of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s literary masterpieces that include this most eccentric of characters. Why am I writing about Sherlock Holmes? Because there are at least 5 shows on television at the moment that use Mr. Doyle’s basic thematic elements—-basically an eccentric genius who solves crime/medical mysteries in an unusual fashion. The most blatant is the show House (which jumped the shark about three seasons ago, but originally was pure brilliance). House even has as his side kick Dr. Wilson (a clever homage to Dr. Watson).
House, The Mentalist, Lie to Me, Endgame (the new Canadian show you should check out) etc. are all shows that include those basic thematic elements and were incredibly fascinating to watch. Most of these shows have become formulaic and tired as time goes by, basically running out of new material, but originally they were brilliant.
On a side note—-the networks do not understand that 24 episodes a year tend ruin a show in two seasons (sometimes sooner). The UK discovered this a while back, hence the shorter run for all their shows. The re-imagining of the Sherlock Holmes story set in the 21st century was a brilliant 6 part mini-series that left it’s audience begging for more—-which is a much better outcome than forcing formulaic drivel down the collective throats of the American Public year after year. I think HBO and Showtime have figured this out—-better to spend a nice chunk of change on a 12 episode run than the to spend the same amount spread over 24 episodes.
So why are we fascinated by eccentric geniuses who solve life or death problems? Can the general public connect with this type of hero better than the genetically altered super heroes of the comic book world? Is it easier to see oneself as Dr. House rather than The Green Lantern? Or Patrick Jane (from The Mentalist) rather than Superman? Sure—-but there’s something deeper.
That ability to do something better than anyone else in the world—-to solve problems that no one else can solve—-that is what fascinates us. Could we be that person. Could we find that one specialty, that one skill that makes us the best in the world? I think THAT is the attraction.
So after all these years, Mr. Doyle’s formula still works, still appeals to the masses, and still inspires.
And if you haven’t read anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, start with A Study In Scarlet or The Hounds of Baskerville—-they will blow your mind.